How to be a master of the Renaissance trend

Ever since I learned of the concept, I’ve been fascinated by trend forecasting. At first I was a little miffed that the design trends I loved to see emerging each season were set out well in advance and therefore more of a self-fulfilling prophecy than a mystical zeitgeist. Now though, I love the guessing game that follows the trend predictions each season, seeing which will fly and which will fail.

At Home this year I went along to a presentation by Trend Bible, who were introducing their predictions for autumn/winter 2014. I’ll revisit them again nearer the time, but this stunning image from Claire Pettibone‘s couture collection brought my favourite of those trends to the forefront of my mind.

Claire Pettibone couture dress with flowers

{Claire Pettibone}

Trend Bible called it ‘Renaissance’ and I’m going to stick my neck out here and say I predict this trend’s going to be a winner. Let’s take a look at how we can translate the look from fashion to home and get ahead of the pack…

Fashion to Home Renaissance decorating trend Decorator's Notebook

{Abigail Ahern}

You can already see where I’m headed with this, right? The trends that stick are the ones that don’t re-write the rulebook, but instead twist and develop those design ideas that have been popular before.

Thus, Down Pipe-and-Fuchsia becomes Stiffkey-and-Peony. We’re ready for it and when it comes, we’re there with our paintbrushes aloft and our mouse fingers poised to pin the heck out of it.

How to decorate with the renaissance trend Decorator's Notebook

{Julia Hoersch}

So, you like the look of it but Renaissance isn’t the easiest trend to (forgive the pun) “master”. Here’s my simple guide to getting it right.

1 | Don’t be afraid of the dark

This is no time to chicken out and go for the safe mid-tone on your paint chart. The drama of this look comes from the contrast between a sultry backdrop and lively shots of colour. For the walls, opt for a flat matte paint (no wallpaper) and, if you’re especially brave, use the same shade on skirtings, ceilings and cornicing as well. The home of London stylist Jo Atkins Hughes (below) is a great example.

Dark grey living room with coloured accents

{Jo Atkins Hughes}

2| Think like Caravaggio

This trend isn’t called ‘Renaissance’ for nothing; still life oil paintings are a key influence. Head to an art gallery and stand in front of a few old Dutch Masters for while. Take in the dramatic use of light and shade and the vibrancy of the flowers and fruit – usually on the cusp of decay. These are just the kinds of accent colours you should consider to punctuate your scheme… deep figgy purple, ripe pomegranate red, bursting peony pink and acid yellow-greens are all perfect for this look.

Still life of fruit and flowers by Jan Davidsz. de Heem

{Painting: Jan Davidsz. de Heem}

3| Add abstract shapes

At first glace this is a very historical look, but it also requires a hint of the unexpected. Add it in the form of geometric and abstracted shapes and hard materials like brass, wrought iron and copper, to contrast with the natural elements. The good news is there are lots of great accessories around at the moment, so keep your eyes open for interesting pendant lights, prismatic vases and angular furniture as you shop.

Gold geometric light fitting

{Etch lights, Tom Dixon}

4| Create your own arrangements

The easiest way to introduce the colours of flowers and plants to your room is to use real ones! Have fun at the florist with eye-catching colours and showy blooms, then create a casual arrangement in a prominent position. Don’t just stick to vases though… embrace the still-life look and have them spilling out of a bowl or hang dried stems upside down down with a big silk ribbon.

Bouquet with succulents

{Joanna Millington for Love My Dress}

So, what do you think? Is the Renaissance trend one to stay or another flash in the pan? Chip in with your comment below and or tell me what you think on Twitter @DecoratorsNotes.

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Comments

  1. says

    Really enjoyed reading this post. You have a very engaging writing style. Am going to point my readers in this post’s direction when I blog my ‘Friday links’ post later on today. Will send you a tweet once it’s live. Have a good weekend, Claire.x

  2. says

    I love this. I suppose it has kind of been in the food photography scene but I absolutely love that Claire Pettibone shoot (pinned it the other day) and love these ideas of bringing it into the house. Though not sure the landlady will approve of matte black walls (I might wear it on my nails). And definitely on copper!

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