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What do the experts predict are going to be in and out in the world of interior design this year

01:00 Fri 11th Jan 2002 |

A.� As if they'd all agree! Interior design is, or certainly should be, a matter of personal tastes, so there are plenty of different predictions out there.

However, if there is one general trend prediction that emerges it is that we will move away from rigidly set design concepts like modernism or New York Loft (you know, the sort of minimalist urban space that car advertisers seem to think anyone between 25 and 40 should live in) that dictate what should be there and what should not. It seems we are going to be trusted to impose our own more comfortable, idiosyncratic ideas on where we live and start to mix and match what we liked from previous style trends.

Q.� So what sort of colours will we be painting our walls

A.� Some predict the anaemic colour-wash and the citrus colours are coming to an end to be replaced with a greater emphasis on bold, earthy ethnic colours, while others disagree predicting soft colours like aqua, pale blues and pinky-greys will be in the ascendancy.

What everyone seems to agree on is that paint effects will get bolder, with strong shapes like stripes and crystals replacing water washing. The fashion of different emphasis on adjoining walls to reflect natural contrasts, like using light and dark versions of the same colour to suggest sun and shade, is forecast to get increasingly popular.

Having said that, some say we'll start to move away from paint altogether and embrace the renaissance of wallpaper. Not perhaps the sort of flock that makes the front room feel like the saloon bar of the local pub but the wide range of new designs that are now hitting the shops, often based on bold, natural patterns.

Q.� And furnishings

A.� Apparently we will swing away from the 'loft living' ideal of modernist chrome and back towards comfort and Victorian style opulence.

Leather will continue to increase in popularity, as will fabric coverings in things like corduroy, patchwork, wool and even crochet. Retro influences from Art Deco and the 50's and 60's are also predicted to be strong and we'll see the return of large floral print, paisley and other strong patterns and clashing colours.

Q.� What about the floors

A.� Wait for it. Some are predicting that the fitted carpet is on its way back. Not so much the thin tight knit stuff but thick deep piles, again in strong, earthy colours.

Wooden flooring will remain extremely popular, not least because it is so practical, but apparently the laminate floor has peaked. It's predicted we will look for darker hues like oak with more graining with a more matt rather than glossy finish. Boards will get bigger and chunkier and patterns like parquet will be bang in fashion.

Having laid the floor we are going to obscure ever-larger parts of it with bigger and thicker rugs, not just the classic Persian, but bold and simple patterns like the barcode stripes and asymmetrical bands and waves of colour.

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By Tom Gard

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