Find Your Marbles

Find Your Marbles


Every so often there’s a trend that rocks and this year, stone – the natural material or clever faux effects – is chiselling its mark in the decor stakes.

It was tipped as a winner back in 2015, and has amply fulfilled its promise to bring drama, luxury and personality to rooms.

Leading designers, including Matthew Williamson,Ted Baker and Tricia Guild, have embraced the material – especially marble (whose name derives from the Greek words for ‘shining stone’), and creatively captured the magic of its richly veined patterns and subtle shades.

“Marble’s very much proving to be the ‘material of the moment’ for interior schemes. Best-known for being teamed with a rustic style over the last few years, where natural materials from wood to stone have been celebrated, it’s now most frequently used alongside minimalist design, as it’s renowned for exuding a strong sense of luxury and classicism,” says Will Cawson, design manager for sofa specialists Duresta, whoarticle image have a new bespoke furniture collection by Matthew Williamson, featuring stunning upholstery incorporating a marbled effect and the designer’s signature butterfly motif.



“While marble and pale stones such as limestone are perfectly at home in the bleached wood and neutral palette settings characteristic of Scandinavia, there’s also been a surge in the use of coloured marble,” adds Cawson. “Geometric, coloured marble originally found favour in the Fifties, and its revival is a sign of the increasing exploration of the material’s pleasing visual qualities.”



Think again if you regard stone effects as cold! Lavish designs and rich colourways, from green through to dramatic black, used on wallpapers and fabrics have transformed the effect to stylishly cool rather than chilly.

Be aware, though, powerful and atmospheric shades or patterns are probably best reserved for a feature wall, with the other three walls in lighter, toning sarticle image hades, otherwise you risk overpowering a space or making it too dark.

“We’ve been inspired by two key trends for our Marbled wallpaper, chosen as our Wallpaper of the Year: the natural simplicity of marbling in stone, complemented by metallic embellishment in blushing gold hues, which makes for a glamorous, handcrafted aesthetic,” says Maryanne Cartwright, senior stylist at Graham & Brown, whose Marbled paper, in charcoal and rose gold, £20 a roll, has been created to celebrate their 70th anniversary.

” The natural, organic hues of pebble, stone and graphite ooze understated opulence and team harmoniously with either classic or contemporary accent colours, making them versatile for all tastes and rooms, and offering a cool canvas for interiors.”

GET THE LOOK: Matthewmym2 Williamson’s Duresta furniture collection, upholstered in Marble Butterfly, is available in vivid shades of jade, cranberry, raspberry, and electric blue: Margot Chair, £2,943 Palais Stooarticle image l, £1,828, Scatter Cushion, £160.

Tricia Guild’s created a Delahaye marbled collection of papers for Designers Guild, in cobalt, slate, emerald and magenta, from £59 per 10m roll. Keep an eye out for the collection launch later this year, from August onwards. If your taste leans towards monochrome, Limelace has an incredibly realistic Black Marble Wallpaper by Piet Hein Eek, £199 a roll.

STONE STARS: Complement a stone feature, or simply pay a nod to the look with appropriate accessories. Set the style, and the time, with a Menu Marble Wall Clock, available in black, white or green, £219, Black By Design.

Dinosaur Designs work with resin and explore cutting-edge design, resulting in truly impressive stone-effect items including their black marble-effect range: Medium Modern Tribal Platter, £120, and Large Pebble Vase, £240.

Small touches are effective, and Limelace has a Set of 6 Marble Cork Coasters, £9.95, while Oliver Bonas has Agaarticle image te Stone Book Ends, £60, and a Marble Look Cushion, £32 (available September).


White or grey marble is a classic choice, can make a small space appear larger and is versatile, suitable for a sleek contemporary interior, or to ramp up the luxe factor in a traditional setting.

“Marble’s synonymous with opulence. However, its muted tones and sleek finish means it lends itself to a plethora of interior trends,” says Sian O’Neill, head of marketing at Topps Tiles.

“I particularly love the dramatic ‘wow’ factor of large format marble floor and wall tiles. Incorporating marbled touches, combined with all-white decor and bare wood, is an easy way to create the essential bones of the fashionable Skandi look, which is ideal for those who desire a pared-back aesthetic.

“Porcelain tiles can be a hard-wearing alternative to using natural stone, and these days, techniques ensure a marble effect is indistinguishable from the real thing. If you opt for real marble, be aware it’s porous and needs sealing with a stone-specific treatment to protect it from stains and scratches.”

mym3GET THE LOOK: Get the real deal with Topps Tiles’ Arabescato Tiles, a highly polished Italian grey marble with distinctive black veining, £182.69 per square metre (£33.99 per tile).

Make a feature of the floor with Ted Baker’s Marble rug (76102), from £1,095, Kelaty. Or look up for inspiration and focus on lighting, often overlooked, but so important: a marble effect metal Buffalo 1 light pendant, £99.50, is one of the on-trend items in the Dar Lighting range, available from Ocean Lighting.

Marble’s a favourite for side tables, and MiaFleur has a beautiful Marble And Brass Side Table, £325. If that would carve too large a hole in the budget, you could simply show you’re up to style speed with some affordable details, such as MiaFleur’s Marbled Ceramic Cereal Bowls, currently reduced from £12.95 to £8.95 each. Just as bank balance-friendly is a Marble Effect Porcelain Vase Plant Holder Votive, from £7.95, Made With Love Designs.

STONE STARS: Mineheart Stone Heart Cushion, £71.95, Limelace Normann Copenhagen Stone Wall Hooks, £24.90 for set of two, Black By Design and a retro style Marble Phone, £65, Oliver Bonas.

Costal Crush

Costal Crush

cc1As an island nation, it’s hardly surprising we’re drawn to the sea, and the trend for coastal style decor returns with the regularity of the tide every summer.

It’s clean, crisp look is so appealing, and lifts spirits by bringing to mind memories of sun, sea and sand holidays.

Happily, taking the plunge and conjuring this easy-on-the-eye look isn’t difficult, and it’s a perfect way to revamp rooms suffering a decor winter hangover.

So get on board and cruise into a full-on captain’s cabin look, complete with anchor motifs and a ship’s wheel, conjure the sand-between-your-toes informality of a beach hut, or simply be inspired by the natural landscape of the seashore with a neutral palette and swooping seabirds imagery.


Salute a classic coastal look with a sea-spray white and blue scheme, with nautical touches.

“The spirit of the British seaside is alive in our coastal collection, where the warmth of nostalgiarticle image a is given a fresh, modern update,” says Caroline Driver, designer at John Lewis.

“Relaxed textures, simple stripes and plainly crafted pieces reflect the comfort and informality of a home by the sea. We’ve enjoyed reminiscing about our childhood experiences of the coast and visiting British seaside towns for inspiration. We’ve included marine motifs, such as ropes, anchors and sailing boats, on all sorts of pieces, alongside fabrics with classic deckchair stripes in whites and blues.”

DECOR TIP: Surf supermarkets for style – this season they’re awash with pieces: by Sainsbury’s Authentic By The Shore Embroidered Cushion, with an anchor design, is a bargain at £14, and available in stores and online.

GET THE LOOK: Generous-sized seating’s key for a space where relaxed informality rules. John Lewis’ Nelson Sofa, from £699, can be upholstered in a pale blue Selva Pacific fabric and teams well with a Holkham Armchair, in a deep blue Solva Blueprint fabriarticle image c, from £1,199. Bring in stripes with a Padstow Footstool, from £299, and a Coastal Stripe Throw, £49.

Navigate carefully through the vast array of nautical accessories – too many could capsize the look into kitsch – so select a few simple statement items. An Anchor Table Lamp by Jonathan Adler, with a price tag of £345, is definitely for those with a serious coastal crush. Pay a more affordable nod to the style with a Porthole Style Chrome Mirror, £75, Next. Cream Cornwall’s brilliant Maritime selection has Mackerel Lampshades, £48-£196, and beautiful bone china dinnerware: a Packet Ship Dinner Plate, £17-£24.



Sun-bleached neutrals and driftwood grey tones conjure an unpretentious beach-hut sanctuary.

“Opt for a pared-back style with a muted colour palette, which reflects all the shades of the sea, from stormy steel to high-noon azure. The addition of bleached woods and pale textiles will create a living area thatarticle image ‘s as calm and cool as an ocean breeze,” advises Andrew Tanner, head of home design at Sainsbury’s.

“The essence of our coastal collection brings together organic forms, reactive glazes and matte tactile surfaces. Bring in detail with sea-green bubbled glassware, model sailing boats, beachy artwork, and interesting textures provided by wicker storage and pottery in driftwood-hues, to add further charm and personality.”

DECOR TIP: Coast away from conventional lights and opt for a quirky Vegas Metal LED Circus Light – Anchor, £39, Cult Furniture, and monochrome Sea Shell Votives, £6 each, with a choice of a coiled shell or sea snail design, from Monty’s Vintage Shop.

GET THE LOOK: Stripped floorboards, white painted tongue and groove panelling for walls, and weathered furniture are essential ingredients for a shoreside retreat. Sainsbury’s Coastal Living includes Glass Bottles, from £5 a Bird Cushion, featuring white seabirds on a grey background, £12article image tasselled Coastal Bird Throw, £14, and Blue Ceramic Vase, £12.

No yacht – no problem! Simply accessorise with a wooden Linea Ships Wheel, currently reduced from £40 to £20, House of Fraser, and dress up a sofa with a Super Soft Printed Heron Cushion, reduced from £8 to £4, George Home.



Evoke a gentle, seashore setting with a soft palette of pale, watery blues.

“This trend evokes the romantic notion and escapism of life at sea, and our collection’s influenced by the tantalising tales and legends of the ocean life,” says Julie Varma, senior design director at George Home.

“This season sees the conventional coastal colour palette take a theatrical turn, with the introduction of inky blues, hints of soft pastel blue and smoky grey hues and lilac. Thoughtful details, such as rope, rustic linens, classic sailor stripes, emulate the beauty of an antique cabin.”

DECOR TIP: Add a touch of luxury with metallic silver to evoke the enigmatic glimmer of the ocean. Mermaid Antique Mirror Tray, £10, George Home.

GET THE LOOK: Ensure a clear blue horizon with walls papered in an Ombre Wallpaper, £15 a roll, Next – ideal for a serene bedroom setting. Get on board with George Home’s highly original swallow-print bedlinen collection, featuring appropriately naval tattoo-style designs with swooping birds, anchors and a ‘faith, hope, love’ slogans: Swallow Print Double Duvet Set, £16.

Details count, and I love the witty ‘Seas The Day’ Wall Art, £6.50, The Contemporary Home a Boat Scene Cushion, reduced from £20 to £10, John Lewis, and a Coastal Clock, £14, by Sainsbury’s.

A Paddle Tripod Floor Lamp, whose three legs resemble oars, £130, Pagazzi, makes an interesting addition.



The Contemporary Home: 0845 130 8229/

Cream Cornwall: 01326 563 367/

Cult Furniture: 020 8185 6960/

George Home:

House Of Fraser: 0870 160 7270/

John Lewis: 0845 6049 049/

Jonathan Adler: 020 7589 9563/

Monty’s Vintage Shop:

Next: 0844 844 8000/

Pagazzi: 0344 257 1908/

Red Candy: 0121 224 7728/

Sainsbury’s: 0800 636 262/

Pure and Simple

Pure and Simple

media (2)Colour may be cool currently – but if you prefer to dance to a different decor tune, and yearn for light-filled, calm, easy-on-the-eye rooms, then a white palette’s the obvious choice.

Ignore the ‘white is for wimps’ wisdom that only the brave stylishly splash on fashionably bright shades and enjoy a technicolour world, while the rest of us scaredy-cats pale at the sight of colour charts and scurry back to the safety of neutrals.

What this theory fails to recognise is the simple fact that white works.

What’s not to like about a palette which makes spaces appear lighter and larger – and with such a huge variety of shades on offer (yes, really!), from subtle and warm, to crisp and sharp, there’s bound to be at least one, or more, that suits.

“White, combining all the colours of the visible spectrum, is a dramatic, affirmative choice, rather than a passive one,” declares Karen McCartney, champion of a white palette and co-author of White Rooms : Decorating With Style, Pattern And Colour.

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“White creates the sense of a blank canvas, a fresh beginning upon which we can impose our decorative style,” she adds. “Light reflects off white it bounces around and has the effect of lifting the spirits.

“And its credentials have been proven over time – white’s been used for generations and in many cultures, to symbolise honesty, purity, perfection and spirituality.”

She firmly believes white has the power to “set rooms free” and suits any style of home, from modernist to Moroccan interiors, country cottages to industrial lofts – examples of which all feature in the beautifully illustrated book.

“It may be, of course, that other factors are needed to make a white scheme work – textured neutrals against a soft white background, a hint of pink in the paint to tie in with a key decorative feature, or being clever about the way in which gloss and matt contrasts. There are all sorts of additions which can enhance a white space whether its sheer white curtains or shutters at a window, or lighting, from natural light to LED.

Sound all-white to you? Time to freshen up those rooms…


Bewildered by the vast array of white paint shades? Follow a few simple guidelines to ensure a white scheme works.

“Simple white reflects light and helps to make a space appear bigger, but can feel cold and impersonal,” says Marianne Shillingford, creative director at Dulux. “Try a combination of pure white and a warm off-white with added light-reflective properties, such as Absolute White and Morning Light from our Light & Space range.

“Layers of subtle neutrals make a different kind of impact on a room than deeper shades, but they’ll still make an impact. The creative use of light from floor to ceiling brings subtle shades to life at night too, and of course, you can add colour to a neutral room in accessories. ”

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WHITE WISDOM : When you’re not using much colour in the room, you need to excite the senses with texture. Use a velvety flat matt on walls and layers of sensuous fabrics on furniture, with warm, smooth wood flooring. Use tester pots and view in all lights before making a final paint choice.
WORK WHITE: Dulux’s Light & Space range features an array of whites, including Absolute White, from £20.99 for 2.5L, and Morning Light, from £26.48 for 2.5L. For walls in high traffic areas (or those which could be ‘under attack’ from children and pets), the Dulux Endurance + range is particularly suitable as its washable. Two classic shades are Pure Brilliant White and the crisp Gardenia, from £20.99 for 2.5L.


“What’s so appealing about white is its great  democracy. It doesn’t discriminate between high architectural art and a warehouse interior, where garage paint can cover every surface, rendering ugly pipes, bricks and stained floorboards invisible,” says McCartney.

“White allows the eye to float over every surface, and the furnishings, art and objects to take centre stage. Patterned pastels, bold artworks, antiques, sculpture, designer pieces and found objects all work stylishly within the context of white.”

WHITE WISDOM: If a white open-plan room with large floor-to-ceiling windows is eye-wateringly bright, use tints to soften the effect. A touch of grey/brown for paint and a low-reflection flat wall and ceiling paint will help.

media (4)WORK WHITE: White’s brilliant for bedrooms and kitchens, as it helps create a calm, peaceful atmosphere. The White Company, naturally, is a renowned source for all things white, including furniture and bedding. Carlton Glass 3 Drawer Bedside Chest, £495, and one of its stars, Pimlico Bed Linen which features an elegant stitched border: Double Duvet Cover, £170, and Oxford Pillowcase, £50. Furnish a romantic, elegant period sanctuary with a white painted bed from The French Bedroom Company, such as a Provencal Sassy White French Bed, from £1,345.

Craving a kitchen makeover? B&Q has classic Cooke & Lewis Raffello High Gloss White Slab kitchen units, from £1,763 for eight units.

Furniture will be a focus so it needs to be stylish, and pieces from Rume could fit the bill. Its contemporary white Florence sofa starts from £1,461. Window shutters contribute to an uncluttered, streamlined feel. LifeTime vinyl PVCu shutters, from £319 per square metre, Thomas Sanderson.


Interesting white objects in a group act as an eye-catching feature in a space.

“The joy of grouping white objects together is that while they may vary slightly in shade, this only adds to the interest they provide when displayed in a pleasing cluster,” says McCartney. “Pay particular attention to the shape, materials, height and placement of objects, to ensure that, whether they’re showcased in front of a dark or light wall, their form is easily defined.”


WORK WHITE: Use Hexagon Shelves, £10 each and available in black and white, to frame objects and bring a white wall to life.
Black By Design’s striking LSA International vase collection includes the Cashmere in white matt, £60. Pure white Pebble High Gloss Side Tables, £119 each, Danetti, could be useful as display surfaces.

White Rooms: Decorating With Style, Pattern And Colour by Karen McCartney and David Harrison, photography by Richard Powers, is published by Penguin Lantern, priced £25. Available now