Luxar Porcelain

Spring Pastel Interior Trends, 2016

With London Fashion Week coming to a close a couple of weeks ago, now is a really good time to have a look at trends that are being duplicated in fashion and in the world of interior design. The interior design community often looks at the current fashion trends and styles and often draws inspiration from the different colour pallets being used during the event.

London-Fashion-Week-AutumnWinter-2016-Trend-Report

Source: IMAXTREE

With spring on the horizon, the trend for pastel shades was very fitting at this years Fashion week and it is a trend that is very strongly being mirrored in the world of interiors. This may be due to Pantone announcing that Rose Quartz and Sky were its colours of 2016. The 2 shades have gained an almost instant popularity as a result. Pink, in particular has gained great credibility- it is no longer banished to a babies nursery or little girls ‘princess’ bedrooms, but is now being used along side the ever popular grey in living areas to create contrast, and give it a more ‘grown up’ look.

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Source: Benjaminmoore.com

Barker & Barkers designer, Janet Dixon notes that ‘Using a pale grey as the dominant colour, the addition of an understated bright yellow will create a focal point within the interior. Mixing different patterns using a soft palette can create a vibrant feel without making an interior feel chaotic.’

Grey chair

Source: Barker & Barker, Serenity Collection

Pastel shades work perfectly with another interior trend on SS16 with is the use of metallics. Whether is with accessories or textiles, shades of silver, copper and gold are being widely used to co-ordinate a pastel colour scheme. Pink and copper, blue with silver, mint with bronze are being paired together more and more – a quick Pinterest search brings up hundreds of results already!

Pastel shades are often complemented by darker shades were widely used on the catwalks of London Fashion Week. Purple proved a very popular colour and this can easily be replicated in the home. Try using soft pastel shades of pink or lilac along side a deep aubergine purple with metallic accents. It is important to remember to keep the bold colours minimal- you don’t want to overuse it and drown out the accent lighter shades altogether. Such as the case with clothes and fashion, layering can also be used in the home. Try using the lighter pastel shades in patterned cushions and curtains, co-ordinated with metallic light fittings and keep the dark statement colour to one wall.

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Source: Designers Guild, Alexandra, Amethyst

 

Eddie Meer room

How to use Grey in Children’s Decor & Interiors

Its safe to say now that 2016 has well and truly started and Christmas seems like a lifetime ago already!

Here at Barker & Barker we have been taking a look at the forthcoming trends for this year. Pantone announced their colour (s) of the year in December and they have been received incredibly well by the world of interiors. The Soft Shade of Rose Quartz combined with the cool copper metallic shades have already featured heavily in editorial in many of the glossy magazines, and it can give the often described ‘baby pink’ a bit of a grown up make over.

With that in mind maybe its time to reverse some of the ‘grown up’ shades and incorporate them into children’s room décor!

The many different shades of grey do not seem to be going any where any time soon, and may seem like a bit of a funny choice for a child’s bedroom but read on!

Often, we choose bright bold colours and designs for a child’s room, and there is nothing wrong with that at all, but these can sometimes be outgrown rather quickly. Children’s likes can change and fast and having to keep changing a room’s décor is neither cost effective or a practical option.

Grey wouldn’t instantly be the go to colour of choice by parents but it is actually a very practical option. It is safe to say, Grey goes with every colour. It gives a brilliant neutral backdrop, which allows you to use some real pops of colour with textiles, mural’s or wall coverings. The walls can stay the same shade for years either painted or a subtle wallpaper such as Barker & Barkers Lily Batik Wallpaper in Grey but can be given an update with a change in bedding, cushions, rugs all in different themes making the room grown with the child.

Lily batik grey

(Barker & Barker, Serenity Wallpaper, Lily Batik Grey)

For boys, grey can be mixed with bold reds and blues- think of the bold primary colours of Lego Bricks, cushions or racing cars murals, then as they grow older, replace the primary colours with bright neon shades of green or orange often used in graffiti to give a more modern twist.

Grey Boys Bedroom

(Source- www.lokeyou.com)

For girls, grey can still be used as the base and often is used as a replacement to white, but mixed with shades of pinks, purples or yellows. As the child grows older, softer shades of pink can be replaced with bright pops of fuchsia or electric purples.

Grey Girls Bedroom

(Source: Unknown – via Pinterest)

If you wanted to use a theme in the room, this can still be achieved by incorporated using wall stickers and mural’s which are easily removed. Also, a very simple and cost effective trick is to frame a favorite poster, which can be changed.

Barker & Barker have recently launched their very own children’s collection, based on the story of a meerkat called Eddie Meer. The collection comprises of cushions and posters featuring the illustrations taken from the book ‘Eddie Meer & Barter in the Bush’. The cushions and posters can be used in the way previously mentioned. The cushions are on a grey background and feature small pops of colour (reds, blue, orange) making them really versatile and easy to co-ordinate with other colours in a bedroom or nursery.

Eddie Meer room

The posters can also be used to give a room an instant refresh and create a feature or theme to an other wise bare room.

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Using colour in the home; a Demonstration by Designers Guild

On Friday 20th November, Claire & Sally from Designers Guild visited our Cambridgeshire showroom to give a demonstration of their paints and to show how to co-ordinate them with their fabrics and wallpapers.
The day was very inspirational indeed! We learnt a lot about colour co-ordinating, current trends and the difference between ‘warm’ ‘cool’ and ‘clear’ colours and how they should be used in the home to create different effects.
Although there are no strict ‘rules’ when adding colour to your home – ultimately your choice is down to personal taste and your level of confidence you have using certain colours / styles! Here at Barker & Barker, we believe that your home should be an expression of your own personality and you should create moods for spaces that you really want to live in. However, Designers Guild had some tips that should be used as a guide and Claire from DG described them very well.
To summarise quickly, they separate their paint colours into 3 groups

  1. Cool
  2. Clear
  3. Warm

These can create different effects in different rooms. For example, if you have a room that is dark and doesn’t get much sunlight, try using a ‘warm’ colour to create a lighter effect in the room.

They then separate the groups into neutrals and Brights.

Cool Neutrals – have blue or grey tones. They work well in light-filled rooms.
Warm Neutrals – have a creamy yellow-tinged base and add depth and warmth to a room. Good to use in north facing rooms.
Clear Neutrals – provide a flat wash of true colour, use them anywhere for a crisp finish.
Cool Brights – provide a lively vibrant finish and work well in light-filled rooms.
Warm Brights – these are richer in their base tone and have a warm depth and strength of colour.
Clear Brights – crisp and with a well defined clarity. They work well everywhere.

It really is amazing how many different shades of white and grey (Cool Neutrals) there are – it’s only when you see them in different rooms and next to different fabrics that you realise this and can actually see the difference!

Claire & Sally bought along some beautiful fabrics and wallpapers to demonstrate this with great effect, there were many ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhhs’ when different colour paints were also introduced!

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The afternoon was continued with the chance for everyone to put what had learnt into practice by creating mood boards using various Designers Guild paint and fabric samples.

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Many people commented on the fact they now felt braver with colour and felt more confident to use bolder shades, knowing they can co-ordinate it with a calmer fabric or wallpaper and their mood boards certainly reflected this!
And after so much creativity everyone was rewarded with delicious cakes!

Cakes!

We would like to thank Sally & Claire from Designers Guild for giving us the presentation – it was a real insight into how the paints are created and provided everyone with lots of ideas to take home and put into practice. The afternoon was such a success we are hoping to hold more paint workshops in the New Year. If you missed out this time, watch this space for further announcements!

 

 

Diarama Temperate, Odonata & Tundra Living Space

Introducing ‘Dierama’, the new fabric collection by Barker & Barker

Over the past 3 weeks we have given you an insight into the design and production of our latest fabric collection ‘Dierama’ but now it is time for the highly anticipated reveal!

Dierama is a beautiful collection of delicate woven designs based on an oriental theme. As well as upholstery grade fabrics, the soft colour palette enhances the designs and brings the whole collection together.

We will be showcasing the full collection at Decorex International show at Syon Park this Sunday 20th – 23rd September- you can find us on stand K20.

If you are unable to make the show, here is the full collection in all of its glory-
Dierama 'Mercury'image1[1]Dierama, Luxor, Lana & OdonataDierama Luna

If you are interested in swatches of this stunning collection of fabrics & upholstery, they are now available to view on our website here: Latest collection of fabrics & upholstery.

Tina Hyacinth

Creating a new fabric collection – Part 2, Fabric Books

Last time we gave a bit of an insight into how Janet creates a new collection and how she chooses the colours. This week we will talk about the creative process involved in making the fabric books.

This is a much bigger task than it sounds! The fabric books are used to sell the fabrics via our stockists and distributors and so need to be not only a representation of the collection, but also Barker & Barker as a brand.
The books need to draw you in and take you on a story through colour and design. The finished books need to catch your eye and encourage browsers to turn the pages, and engage with our products.

Walk into any interior design studio or fabric shop in Cambridge and you will be met with rows upon rows of fabric books- it can sometimes be quite overwhelming! The trick is to create something that will stand out, show the fabrics in the best possible way and ultimately be the most memorable.

The design of the books begins on the cutting table in the studio. After receiving the final colours and designs of the fabrics from the mill, it is a case of matching colours and different designs. The lead fabric in our new collection ‘Dierama’ had already been chosen but what colour was to be the lead?

Janet has to group the fabrics in colours and then make a decision as to the order. Janet had to use her creative eye again to decide which designs sit better next to one another so that the colours flow.

Making sure colours compliment each other is very important. The colour spectrum helps us to use colours effectively, making sure we show complimentary opposites to their full potential. For example, blue and orange are complimentary opposites, as are red and green.

Colour Wheel
Another important thing to consider is the design and repeat of the fabrics. This can be difficult to show in fabric books- it would be lovely to have books that show the full repeat of some of our fabrics, but they would end up being too big! Janet had to choose the part of the design as a representation of what the rest of fabric looks like. They then have to be positioned in a way to show the maximum amount of the design in a smaller scale.

Once the layout had been decided it was time to get a bit more creative! The easiest way to show our book producers exactly what the books should look like, is to make a mock up.
This involved a lot of cutting and sticking and labeling- the showroom resembled the Blue Peter studio for a while but it was for an important cause! The layout of a fabric book should take you on a journey through the colours and designs of the fabrics. They should show which designs and colours co-ordinate and sit well together. They should also give the buyer extra options, ideas and inspiration about what would look good in their interior.

We have people in our showroom who say they are looking for one thing, see our fabric books and then choose something completely different because of how the fabrics have been presented in the book!

Once the book makers have received our mock up, they start work on their own mock up.

Here is one we had made recently for our Best of Europa / Premier book and also a first look at the new Dierama book in its mock up form.

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It’s a little rough around the edges but its always an exciting moment as it means we are a big step closer to seeing the finished product. The fabrics will all be in place, sealed and stepped in the right order and labeled with the names and compositions.
Then it is a case of proof reading and checking everything down to the smallest detail (we wont bore you with those!) and choosing the imagery.

We will talk more about the imagery in the final installment of this series next week (and maybe even show you the full collection!)

lana porcelain

Creating a new fabric collection – how we do it!

As the build up to our latest collection gains momentum, we thought we would give our readers a bit of an insight into the different stages of the creation of a fabric collection. What you see in interior design and fabric shops is the final product – the pattern books, displays and swatches, but we want to show you what goes in to the whole process.

Our lead designer Janet draws inspiration from her surroundings and travels. As mentioned in our previous posts, Janet regularly sketches whilst she is out and about. She is nuts on design and is constantly developing and discarding ideas! Anything from an interesting flower, the shape of a leaf or the movement of a feather can get the creative juices flowing and gives her ideas or themes for new designs. However, as all artists know, the creative process isn’t always black and white.

Our latest collection features soft following flowers, butterflies and dragonflies as well as beautiful Ombre’ co-ordinates and Upholstery grade fabrics . All have very fluid movements and so create a calm feeling. The collection is called ‘Dierama’ which is the Latin for the flower ‘Angels Fishing Rod’ featured as in the lead fabric of the collection.

Angels Fishing Rod
Dierama Ice Blue

After this design was chosen as the lead fabric, the rest of the designs then followed and the collection began to build.
Once the designs had been drafted, it was time to choose the colours. We are lucky here at Barker & Barker to have very good working relationship with our English based mills who we work closely with during this creative process.
A fun part of this process is of course the colours! Our mills produce ‘Colour Blankets’ for us. These are lengths of our fabric featuring our design that covers the whole colour spectrum. Although this is the fun part, it is also the most agonizing in chosing the right colour.
We study trends past and present to see how the collection will sit in the market but we also want to be at the forefront of trend and be ‘Distinctly Different’ (which is our strap line!). Getting the balance right between past trends and innovation for the future is really hard and exciting at the same time. We are not a ‘run of the mill’ (sorry for the awful pun!)
We have also worked really hard on the durability of our ranges without compromising their feel to ensure they can be used for a variety of settings well into the future.
Anyway, back to the blankets! The colour blankets are fabulous! They really are like a technicolour dream coat and you can always hear ‘ooos’ and ‘ahhhs’ coming from the studio when they are delivered! This is what our design ‘Odonata’ looked like as a colour blanket. You will have to wait until the full launch to see the final chosen colours!

Odonata Colour Blanket

Each blanket features the design in its full repeat but with various different colour combinations running through it. The difference between a fabric that has ‘Natural’ warp as apposed to ‘beige’ or a ‘Black’ warp in considerable. It changes the appearance of the lead colour and can create a whole new look to the design so the decision often comes down to ‘on Natural?’ ‘On Beige?’ or ‘on Black?’. The difference may be subtle to some but for us the difference can literally make all the difference. One thing that Janet wanted to achieve with the collection is longevity.
The main colours used in the collection are soft pink, blue, and yellow pastel shades- all key colour interior trends for 2016. However, she wanted to create some contrast as well. The result of this is the same designs in monochrome colour ways. Shades of grey, black beige and cream give the typically feminine flower designs a real masculine feel especially when they are combined with an almost metallic Ombre co-ordinate. Who said flowers were just for girls?!

Luxor Colour Blanket

As you can see from the next image, the blankets do not look very pretty for long! Once a decision is made, the exact colour choice is cut from the blanket and sent back to the mill to show them the final colour of the fabric.

Cut Colour Blanket

Janet had to choose 8 colours from this blanket – not any easy task but she got there in the end with fantastic results.
After this process we have the first look and feel of what the collection will look like. There is usually yarn all over the studio and cuttings of fabric everywhere (very organized chaos!!) but it means when the mills begin weaving the fabrics, we can begin to think about the story our pattern books will tell.
Find out how we do this in our next blog, which will explain how our books are made to make them work best for you.

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Fabric Designs and Trends in Barbados

At the end of June, the Barker & Barker team headed to Barbados to introduce the Island to the Barker & Barker collections, and meet with various Interior designers and potential new stockists. How did we end up looking at Barbados we hear you ask?! Well, Janet (our designer) has been a regular visitor to the island since 1999. The Island holds many special memories of family holidays and long lazy days in paradise and is absolutely overflowing with inspiration for fabric designs. Janet often makes sketches of the beautiful flowers and sights whilst on the Island and so the decision was made to link business with pleasure and explore possible openings there.

The island has a very strong interior design community who were all so helpful and open to share their knowledge of do’s and don’ts on the Island. Whilst discussing the current trends on the Island, it actually came as no surprise that the current ‘Tropical’– a designer fabric trend that is massive in the UK both in the home and on the catwalk, is just as big there. Not surprising considering the surroundings!

The prints are bold and the colours are bright, ranging from bold green palm leaf prints, to almost neon tropical flowers and birds. The rooms are by no means full of the prints though.

When using a Tropical theme in the home, it is important to remember that they should only be used as splashes of colour. Some of the designs are fabulous and it can be easy to get carried away but in this case less is more. For example, use bright cushions on a plain sofa, or striking curtains in an otherwise plain room- you want to make a statement but you don’t want to feel like you are actually in the jungle!

We love the Sanderson ‘Voyage of Discovery’ collection that features a combination of florals, butterflies, Palm leaves and even monkeys.

Clementine-Fabric-Cushion-Detail Floreanna Fabric Main_lr

A bold print like these can be complemented with a plain cushion (our Charlbury Plain fabric would be ideal).

Alternatively, try keeping some plain fabrics and add the tropical theme to a room using a wallpaper, such is this Cole & Son design – perfect for a subtler take on the theme but still on trend.

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Its fair to say our trip was a huge success. We secured new stockists on the Island, and plans are now in the pipeline for our own tropical Print collection – with inspiration like this, it would be hard not to!

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Barker & Barker

Curtain Fabrics

Deciding on the type of curtains you choose depends on various factors, such as size of the space, orientation of the windows, i.e do they face north, south, east or west.  Does the space get lots of natural light or is it enhanced by artificial light sources.  Others factors include, how do you want the space to feel?  Light and airy or warm and cosy, whichever, will determine the type of fabric you use.  Colour is also and important factor to consider when choosing curtain fabric. Cotton and Linen fabric prints will give a softer feel while heavier velvets and weaves will make the space feel more luxurious.

Using paler colours on a north/east facing window will help to make the space feel brighter while on a south/west facing window you can use darker colours. It is always recommended a lining and interlining is used when making curtains. This will help to block out sunlight, especially if you use a blackout lining, and will help to keep in the heat. It will also make the curtains hang better for a more stylish professional look.

Using Silk as a window treatment will always make a space feel opulent.

Going back to colour as an important factor when choosing window treatments, It is always best to consider the size of the room and how the room will be used. Will a small room be able to take a bold dark colour? Will cool blues make the room feel cold and un-inviting. General rule of thumb is that colour evokes different emotions for different people. So Green is calming and restful. White and Blue are cool, expansive, airy and can be challenging to live with. Yellow and creams are warming and positive, while Red is emotional and evocative and gives a sense of passion.

Lighter curtain fabrics such as lace, linen and sheer cotton can look graceful and pretty when compared to heavier fabrics. They let in light and while they may not be best suited for use in a bedroom to block out light they will help to give privacy during the day. They can also be used to add style and grace to a room. Delicate lace, for example, will enhance a period property while modern sheers will compliment a more contemporary space.

Whatever fabric you use for curtains or blinds be absolutely 100% that you love the fabric you choose as it can be a very costly mistake. Also remember that whatever fabric you choose sunlight will fade fabric over a period of time.

If in doubt, research is the key. Good Luck!!

Sky and Pink Main

Upholstery Fabrics

Upholstery fabrics are fabrics used to cushion and cover furniture. There are many different upholstery fabrics available. They fall into two broad categories: natural or synthetic. Obviously, when you are choosing new fabrics for your sofas or chairs, you look for patterns and colours that you like, or what it feels like to sit on. There are many other factors worth considering, such as price, durability, how easy the fabric is to clean, or how fast it will fade in the sun.

For example, in both natural and synthetic upholstery fabrics, woven patterns last for longer than printed ones, as do higher thread counts and tight weaves. Look for the Martindale rub test, as this will indicate how durable a fabric is. The higher the Martindale the more durable a fabric will be.

Natural upholstery fabrics are softer than synthetics; however, their colour can fade in sunlight and can be susceptible to pilling. Some examples are:

  • Linen: Linen is made from the flax plant. It soils and wrinkles easily, and it won’t withstand heavy wear. However, linen does resist pilling and fading. Soiled linen upholstery must be professionally cleaned to avoid shrinkage.
  • Cotton: It is made from the cotton plant. It has good resistance to wear, fading, and pilling. It wrinkles more when compared to heavier fabrics such as linen. Its durability and use can vary: damask weaves are formal, while canvas is far more casual and durable. It can also come in various cotton blends, which are nice and sturdy.
  • Silk: An elegant, expensive, fairly lightweight fabric. Silk is not suitable for areas and furniture which will be experiencing heavy wear, such as kitchens or children’s bedrooms, since it must be professionally cleaned if soiled. It is most often used for expensive furnishings as a status or sensory high point in a room, and is obviously unsuitable for rooms with pets or small children.

Synthetic fibres are manmade, using chemicals. They are more durable and usually more resistant to staining and fading than natural fibres. Most of the synthetic fabrics were developed as improved versions of specific natural fabrics. For example:

  • Acetate: Acetate was developed as an alternative to silk. It is less expensive than silk and can be washed, although only by hand and with extreme care. It is resistant to mildew, pilling and shrinking, but still shows dirt easily and tends to wear, wrinkle, and fade in the sun. It’s not a good choice for furniture that will get tough everyday use.
  • Acrylic: This was developed as imitation wool. It resists wear, wrinkling, soiling, and fading. Low-quality acrylic may pill to an unwanted degree in areas that receive high degrees of contact – chair arms for example – though the level of pilling does depend on the quality.
  • Rayon: This was developed as an alternative to silk, linen, and cotton, and is closely related to acetate. Rayon is durable, however it does wrinkle.
  • Vinyl: This is a type of plastic, and can be used as a synthetic version of leather. It is easier to clean and far less expensive than leather, making vinyl fabric ideal for busy family living and dining rooms.

Check out our Explore menu for some examples of beautiful cotton and silk fabrics, and our Gallery to see some suggestions for how they could be used.