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WIN: Lunch and a lesson with Elizabeth Ockford

Win the chance to have lunch and a lesson in watercolour painting with Elizabeth Ockford at her studio in sunny Sussex.

We’re running a fantastic opportunity to win the chance to have lunch and a lesson in water colour painting with Elizabeth Ockford at her studio in sunny Sussex. 

For your chance to win like our Instagram post, follow us on Instagram and tag three of your friends whose interior may need a little revamp!

Want an extra chance to win? Use the hashtag #ElizabethOckfordLunch and tag us in any posts featuring Elizabeth Ockford Ltd wallpapers on Instagram for additional entries. The competition closes on Tuesday 1st June 2021. Good luck!

The small print:

  • This competition is open to residents in the UK aged 18 years or over.
  • The winner must be able to travel to Horsted Keynes, West Sussex on a date arranged between Elizabeth Ockford and the winner.
  • There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
  • The closing date for entry will be 11:59pm BST on Tuesday 1st June 2021. After this date, no further entries to the competition will be permitted. 
  • The winner will be contacted no later than Friday 4th June 2021.
  • The rules of the competition and how to enter are as follows: follow @ElizabethOckford on Instagram, like the Instagram post announcing this competition and tag three friends who would be interested in using the Elizabeth Ockford Ltd wallpapers in their own interior.
  • Additional entries can be gained by sharing images of the Elizabeth Ockford wallpapers on Instagram using the hashtag #ElizabethOckfordLunch and tagging the Elizabeth Ockford instagram account (@elizabethockford). 
  • The prize is a catered lunch and a water colour painting tutorial with Elizabeth Ockford at the studio of Elizabeth Ockford Ltd (Horsted Keynes Business Park, West Sussex, RH17 7BA).
  • By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions. 
  • The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material. 
  • Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.
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New collection: The Garden

Elizabeth Ockford Lady Penrose Wallpaper

As our lives slowed down last year, we felt very fortunate to be outside as spring turned to summer and we immersed ourselves in watercolour painting and botanical drawing… Fairly effortlessly, the idea behind our new collection – The Garden – started to grow.

The Garden is a collection of hand-drawn wallpaper designs which explore blooming flowers – from cheerful pansies to exotic orchids – as well as the array of insects typically found in the garden. A love for colour is evident throughout this collection – experimenting with an array of hues to achieve different results.

Here’s an insight into three of our new wallpaper designs from The Garden collection…

Our Cleo design features tiny bugs, beetles, dragonflies and butterflies and was inspired by the precision of entomological studies of insects in pen and ink. Elizabeth opted for a simple two-tone effect – setting delicate linear rows of insects against a contrasting hue.

“In the studio I simply wanted to enjoy drawing the insects. The result is a charming and very
useable wallpaper which takes on a different quality and mood depending on the
chosen colourway.”

Elizabeth chose names based on strong women of historical importance – she was inspired by Cleopatra’s iconic status as a powerful Egyptian queen and femme fatale.

  • Teal – pure emerald green on taupe
  • Sky blue – warm ginger on pale baby blue
  • Fresh green – grass green printed on a cream ground
  • Marine blue – cornflower on a yellow-cream ground
  • Noir – white print on charcoal ground
  • Indigo – an inky ground with vibrant pink print
  • Fuchsia – hot pink ground with deep blue print
  • Ochre – a golden yellow ground with red/pink design

Elizabeth started with delicate botanical illustrations of flowers, seed pods and fruits, before adding in some butterflies and setting them amongst tonal ‘ghost’ outlines of other plants.

Marianne North was a prolific Victorian biologist and botanical artist. North travelled the world in the 1870s and 1880s, making detailed illustrations of the plants she observed in exotic locations. The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew opened an exhibition of her work in 1880, and the North Gallery remains open to this day.

“Not only do I love the boldness and brilliance of colour in North’s oil paintings, I’m fascinated by the idea of a woman – in a corset and long skirt – journeying up the Amazon to discover and meticulously document native plants.”

  • Botany – fresh green, cornflower blue and rosy red on off-white
  • Noir – green against a black ground, reminiscent of an enchanted garden at night
  • Lavender – soft mauve and mint, for a pretty vintage effect
  • Sky blue – a fresh pale blue ground with blooms picked out in cream and pastel shades

This design began as a series of ornate swooping butterflies in jewel colours. Elizabeth opted to have them flitting over a tonal ground, with the classic floral and acanthus leaf motif of a softly faded damask.

Lady Penrose – widely known as Lee Miller – was an American fashion model, photographer, photojournalist and World War II correspondent.

“I’m intrigued by the facets of Miller’s life. She was fearless in her war-time reportage – documenting concentration camps and capturing rural poverty – but she was also a muse and collaborator of Surrealist artist, Man Ray. My favourite picture of her is in Hitler’s bath – it’s iconic, audacious and provocative.”

  • Dark blue – a denim tone overlaid by a stone design
  • Sky blue – pale blue against a white and stone ground
  • Pink – a soft rose on white
  • Taupe – a stone ground with lighter floral print
  • Ochre – a sunny yellow ground with lighter floral print

As with The Islands, interior designers can access our entire new collection via a compact style box which includes A4 samples of all designs. To order The Garden as a style box, please email Enquiries@elizabethockford.com

We hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into the new collection – we’ll be introducing more of The Garden in a future article…

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Expert advice: Decorating with black wallpaper

Hand drawn bugs in silver on black wallpaper

How to decorate with black wallpaper? | Elizabeth Ockford offers her expert advice

“I talk so often about colour and my love of it, that somehow black wallpaper gets overlooked. A teacher of mine at school used to argue that black and white were not actually colours- but I disagree. These days there are so many variations and tones of black, that it’s got its own colour palette all to itself – just think of various paint shades, for example Rainy Slate (Conran Paints), Basalt (Little Greene) and Off Black (Farrow and Ball) to name but a few.”

a kitchen with black wallpaper
Rainy Slate, by Conran Paints.
Image credit: Dear Designer
A bedside table with black wallpaper
Basalt, by Little Greene.
Image credit: Little Greene
a fireplace with black wallpaper
Off Black No. 57, by Farrow & Ball.
Image credit: Farrow & Ball

Using Black as an accent colour with black wallpaper

“I find Black is so very useful as a foil to colour. When it is rich it creates a luminescence in the colours that sit within it – seen here in my Aruba wallpaper. The vibrant lobsters radiate from the textured black ground – they almost appear to be neon.”

Wallpaper pictured: W-01043 Aruba, Black

Beryl black wallpaper with flowers in a textured style

“In this floral Beryl paper, it can create atmosphere, mood and style whilst also adding a touch of masculinity to a female floral design. The traditional English Garden flowers have been fragmented in the pattern and seem to come and go out of the dark ground.”

Wallpaper pictured: Beryl from The Garden collection, coming soon

“These designs along with Pearl River, are all very easy to use and decorate with – as they offer such a diverse range of colours within the black background, that can be used to accent the décor of the rest of the room. I feel it often works best when paired with rich reds and greens to create a warm and intimate feel to the interior – but equally a striking blue and silver colour palette would work well with them.”

Wallpaper pictured: W-01082 Pearl River, Black

Soft and delicate wallpapers using black and white

Using black in your scheme doesn’t have to be about creating dramatic impact. A muted or perhaps sophisticated colour palette of blacks, greys, neutrals and whites leads to a very calm atmosphere. 

Butia, in black and white, adds a touch of glamour to a room, being a complex geometric pattern that resembles a woven silk, or even a Paul Klee abstract painting. It certainly has tones of Art Deco and the 1930s too. The colours softly blend and blur into each other, creating a pattern that is at once both sharp edged and softly focussed. Add into this interior a sofa in a tan tone of suede or leather and you have a very inviting and calm room. 

More delicately patterned are Montserrat and Faroe, both designs from The Islands range. Although their subject matter is sea based, they work really well in calm neutral tones that include black accents, making them very versatile for colour schemes.

Be brave and bold with black

“Sometimes though, it’s all about creating a dramatic impact- whether that is through scale, pattern or colour. I would say that using black as your main colour of choice on a wall is not something for the cautious decorator- it’s definitely a bold choice.

One personal favourite is Martinique in white on black. The oversize shells sit on a black ground that has the appearance of seagrass and a pearlescent finish. It’s so chic!

From my new collection, The Garden, are these two designs Marianne and Cleo. Cleo is a firm studio favourite – we loved sketching all the bugs and butterflies, and they work so well in soft white tones on a black ground.

While Marianne has this ghostly appearance of leaf and plant skeletons, appearing out of the black ground, alongside almost polarised botanical florals. It’s a classic design that has been given an Urban and modern twist with the use of colour.

So, I say- go for it with black! Find a room where you want to make dramatic effect, choose a stunning black wallpaper and accessorise away.

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Expert advice: Choosing wallpaper for darker rooms

Decorating a north-facing room, or space with few or no windows?

A light-starved room needn’t pose a problem – here’s our advice on choosing the perfect wallpaper for your home and aesthetic…

Infuse your room with light

Maximising the light in your room doesn’t mean that you’re restricted to clinical white emulsion – wallpaper can be a strong choice for making a dark room appear brighter. Wall coverings in soft dusky pastels, such as Faroe in pink, pale blue or sepia, will work wonders in a children’s bedroom or nursery.

Faroe wallpaper in sepia
Faroe, Sepia - W-01064
W-01061-Faroe
Pink - W01061
W-01063-Faroe
Blue - W-01063

It’s worth noting that the light in north-facing rooms can be a little cooler, so choosing warm-toned wallcoverings can rebalance this. A wallpaper like Martinique in sunny yellow, with its light warm palette and gentle pearlescent finish, will maximise how much natural and artificial light reflects around the space.

Martinique, Yellow shell wallpaper with a desk in a home office with house plants and minimal decor
Martinique, Yellow - W-01022

Likewise, a light-toned wallpaper with a subtle print, like Nevis in white/grey or Montserrat in black/white would perfectly suit a living space.

Nevis, Grey - W-01063
Nevis, Grey - W-01063
Martinique, Black - W-01023
Martinique, Black - W-01023

Other suggestions to maximise the light flow in your room include:

  • White or light colours on the ceiling and for the woodwork
  • Streamlined window dressings to avoid obstructing any natural daylight
  • Large mirrors to bounce the light around
  • Pale flooring – we love painted floorboards
  • Low-slung furniture

Embrace the atmosphere

Instead of fighting against the lack of light, why not go with it?

Adding darker, richer colours to low-lit rooms can accentuate the space and create something really interesting. Darker colours absorb light, which makes walls appear closer and the room feel more intimate and cocooning.

If you’re looking to create drama and sophistication in an occasionally-used room, such as a formal dining room or living room, then the rich and vivid tones and larger scale pattern of Pearl River in black or Bahama in wine would work beautifully.

Pearl River, Black - W01082
Pearl River, Black - W01082
Bahama, Wine, W-01051
Bahama, Wine, W-01051

Or, for a cosy and relaxing feel in a bedroom, snug, or study, opt for the woven linen texture of Lucia in black/gold.

Lucia, Black/Gold - W-01033
Lucia, Black/Gold - W-01033
Lucia, Black/Gold - W-01033
Lucia, Black/Gold - W-01033

Checklist...

  • Consider your lifestyle and how you use the space

If you’re mainly going to be using the room in the evening, with low lighting, then darker wallpaper can add atmosphere.

  • Think about the light you’re working with

The light in north-facing rooms typically brings out the cooler tones of a colour, so be aware that anything with green, blue or grey base will appear even stronger.

No matter how much natural light you have, your home can be packed full of style and character when you opt for wallpaper.

We hope our article has given you some inspiration for wallpaper for your low-light space but if you’d like some more advice then please email us and we’ll be happy to help – Enquiries@elizabethockford.com

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Interior inspiration: Playing with colour

The artist Kandinsky said: “colour is a power which directly influences the soul” – and who could argue with that?

The colours you surround yourself with are, indeed, one of the most personal and transformative decisions you can make in your home.

Colour has the potential to influence the mood of a space – which is why it’s always a central part of our designs. That’s not to say that our designs are always bright or vibrantly hued, just that we embrace colour in all its forms.

Playing with a palette

Our most recent collection – The Islands – was inspired by exotic, far-flung destinations. The forms we used included whales, lobsters, seashells, coral and tropical birds and we created a series of textures and geometrics to accompany our more illustrative designs.

The colour palette for this collection began with fresh, cool and typically beachy hues of sea green, blue and golden yellow. We then started to experiment with adding…

W-01052-Bahama
Rich tones of wine and deep petrol blue...
Bahama - W-01052
W-01043-Aruba
Pops of pastel and bright neon...
Aruba - W-01043
W-01013-Kitts
Dazzling accents of coral and jade...
Kitts - W-01013
W-01092-Butia
and we expanded into more muted tones.
Butia - W-01092

Exploring the way colour changes our designs is always fascinating. Take Martinique, a design based on outsized anatomically-drawn seashells. When the design is rendered in charcoal tones it reads as formal, elegant and sophisticated, and would suit a minimally styled interior, whereas the classic blue and stone combination lends itself to a more airy, playfully nautical theme.

W-01023-Martinique
Martinique - W-01023
W-01025-Martinique
Martinique - W-01025

We also created several colour variations – ranging from light and bright to rich and dark – which completely alter the mood and effect created by our Kitts and Bahama designs.

W-01011-Kitts
Kitts - W-01011
W-01014-Kitts
Kitts - W-01014
W-01054-Bahama
Bahama - W-01054
W-01051-Bahama
Bahama - W-01051

If you’re drawn to a distinctive and colourful wallcovering, for example Bahama in stone/green (below), then you might opt to base your colour scheme around that. Here, the russet, silver, and emerald have pulled through into the furnishings: 

Bahama - W-01053

Don't fear colour: seek out inspiration...

Many of the most exciting, stylish, and aspirational interiors incorporate colour in a brave and creative way – but where to begin? We recommend composing an overarching colour scheme that pleases your eye and sparks the mood and feeling you’re looking to create – whether that’s cosy, airy, dramatic, lively, or relaxed.

One tip is to look for inspiration from those who have accomplished colour in a way that you enjoy and admire. The American modern painter Milton Avery is one of Elizabeth’s favourite artists. Avery used colour in a really exciting way – the paint has a luminosity and dynamism, where the dark offsets the light or clean and pure hues meet subdued or moody tones. These paintings are saturated with a depth of pigment and have an almost electric quality to them that is very pleasing. Avery’s colour combination in the painting below, for example – inky blue, dusky pink and mauve, crisp white and earthier sand and brown tones – could be reworked into the scheme for a room:

Milton Avery, Along the Coast

Pinterest is also a helpful resource for exploring colour inspiration – simply search for terms, such as ‘emerald green room’ for successful design ideas: 

Image credit: deardesigner
Pink and emerald interior shot
Image credit: Maggie Overby Studios
Emerald lounge
Image credit: Nicola Broughton
Emerald and pink interior room
Image credit: Living After Midnight

The website and Instagram account of Michelle Ogundehin – writer, TV presenter and former Editor-in-Chief at Elle Decoration UK – are also great references for finding colour inspiration – see how she has pulled together a tonal palette, inspired by this image:

Inspired colour palette
Image credit: Michelle Ogundehin

Look at colour trends...

We can’t help but be drawn into the buzz that surrounds both Dulux and Pantone’s colours of the year when they’re unveiled – it’s interesting to see the accompanying palettes and observe how these are received by the industry and public.

Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year is 19-4052 Classic Blue – a richly bold and velvety hue that reminds us of deep oceans and the sky at dusk. Classic Blue is restful and reflective. It is timeless and reassuringly solid: a colour that’s altogether ‘bigger than us’.

On revealing Classic Blue in December 2019, Pantone describe the colour as “instilling calm, confidence, and connection, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.”

Pantone Colour Palette Desert Twilight
Image credit: Pantone
Pantone Colour Palette Untraditional
Image credit: Pantone

Likewise, a fresh start and the colour of the sky also informed Dulux’s Colour of the Year for 2020. Sitting in the space between grey and celadon-green, Tranquil Dawn was inspired by the serenity of the morning sky. It’s a soft and ethereal hue – a versatile almost-neutral that adapts and shifts with the light and whatever other colours are used alongside it.

In fact, Dulux’s colour experts have explained that Tranquil Dawn “can be used to create spaces for care or for play, to find meaning or for creativity”

Dulux Colour Inspiration Tranquil Dawn
Image credit: Dulux
Dulux Colour inspiration tranquil dawn
Image credit: Dulux

Both institutions selected their shade for this year – the start of a new decade – with an optimism and an emphasis on a fresh start but who could have predicted what lay ahead for our planet?

And finally: ignore the colour 'rules'

Shouldn’t pair pink with red? Nonsense! We love this combination – in all its iterations – from pastel pink with crimson to dusky pink with deep ruby, and clashing hot fuchsia with raspberry red.

Blue and green should never be seen? This is a combination found in nature – how could it be wrong? With so many shades to choose from – from palest apple, vibrant verdigris or deep forest green; and ice through to ink –  the possible pairings are endless.

We believe it’s fine to break these outdated and general rules – you should enjoy the freedom to combine colours that spark delight.

We hope our article has inspired you to take the plunge with colour! For help and advice about any of our collections, please email us on enquiries@elizabethockford.com.

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Interior inspiration: How to use wallpaper in small spaces

There’s a bit of a myth that small rooms require plain, light wall coverings. However, wallpaper with a medium or large-repeat pattern adds a sense of depth that wasn’t there before, making walls appear more expansive and rooms feel more spacious.

Decorating a small room doesn’t mean that you need to restrain your decorative style and creative character. Even the smallest of spaces can be packed with personality if you opt to hang wallpaper…

It’s all in the application

Hanging wallpaper with a medium or large-repeat will create a cohesive look which will visually expand the sense of space:

  • Once you’ve committed to your chosen wallpaper, it’s best to avoid breaking up the space by painting some walls or using other patterns, as this can emphasise tight quarters and make the space feel even smaller.
  • In rooms with short wall runs – such as a cloakroom/downstairs loo – make sure you centralise the pattern. When the design is hung symmetrically, cropped equally on both sides, it makes a big difference to the way the eye ‘reads’ it.
Butia, W-01092, Black/White

Create a visual journey

If you’re decorating a hallway, staircase or landing then lean into your limited space with a decisively bold print. Wallpaper with a meandering pattern, such as Kitts, will lead the eye and create a feeling of movement in a connecting space. In narrower areas, pattern adds visual interest without encroaching on precious square footage.

Kitts, W-01011, Cream

Go all out: be bold and fabulous!

Dressing rooms, en suites and powder rooms provide the perfect opportunity to be fancy or playful and indulge a theme.

Initially it might feel counterintuitive to use a busy pattern, but it often makes a small space feel more luxurious, dramatic and special compared to using simple, solid colour on the walls.

Let your creativity run free by choosing a wallpaper with a large or opulent print to provide the perfect backdrop for a stylish mirror and lighting – something like Bahama lends itself well to this sort of space.

Faroe, W-01062, Dark Blue
Bahama, W-01054, Cream/Red

Add subtle texture to a multifunctional space

In a box room – which might function as a home office and a guest bedroom – add character and depth to walls with a timeless and versatile stripe. The cool, restful colour palette and sophisticated lines of Nevis are ideal for work and relaxation.

Nevis, W-01071, Ginger/Black

Paper a sloping ceiling

Decorating loft spaces that have been converted into rooms is notoriously tricky – often they feature asymmetrical or atypical architecture, such as the eaves, joists, chimney breasts, skylights and sloping roofs.

A delicately patterned wallpaper print can help make this space feel more fluid and cohesive. Something like our Montserrat design can be used throughout the space and all the way up onto a sloped ceiling, highlighting and framing skylights. 

Montserrat, W-01103, Multi
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Community post: Design Havens for Heroes

Elizabeth Ockford Ltd is proud to have teamed up with Design Havens for Heroes, an initiative that will provide interior havens for NHS workers who have been on the front-line during the Covid-19 pandemic. We will be donating free wallpaper to several schemes working closely with one of the fantastic Interior Designers who have pledged their time.

Design Havens for Heroes was founded by Francesca Rowan-Plowden, of Rowan Plowden Design Ltd, as a way of bringing together people from across the interiors sector to help give back to the NHS workers.

You can nominate an NHS worker by tagging them in any post on the Design Havens for Heroes Instagram page. The team will match the nominee to one of the many Interior Designers who have volunteered their time and services. The Interior Designer will then work with an extensive list of companies who have donated their products to the cause to help create a beautiful haven for our hero.

“Design Havens for Heroes is a collective from all areas of interior design; designers, brands, suppliers, makers, and trades, who will pull together their talents and resources, donations of products and time, to create havens for frontline NHS workers which they can retreat too post the coronavirus crisis passes and lockdown eases.” 

– Francesca Rowan-Plowden, founder of Design Havens for Heroes

How to nominate your NHS hero

Visit the Design Haven for Heroes Instagram page and tag your NHS nominee in any of their posts or you can email nominations@designhavensforheroes.org.uk.

This initiative has created a beautiful sense of community spirit, and we are so glad to be a part of it.

Before you go...

In a previous blog post we mentioned that we are offering a 20% discount to all key workers who order directly through us.

Take a look through our extensive range of wallpapers and once you have decided how to spruce up your home, email info@elizabethockford.com with your order (along with proof of key worker employment) and we will apply the 20% off.

Featured wallcoverings in this post: 

Quote taken from Francesca’s interview with Good Homes magazine.

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Interior inspiration: What inspires us…

Before we start designing a new wallpaper collection, we normally sit down and talk about a mood, a theme, and maybe a colour palette. We might bring along a piece of inspiration – a scrap of fabric, a postcard, or something torn from a magazine. We then create a mood board for our studio wall which becomes our reference point – it usually grows and develops as we go along.

As for our overarching creative inspiration, many things – from music and film, to artists, locations, historical eras, fashion and found objects – shape our aesthetic…

Elizabeth reflects on her creative influences

“Browsing in vintage shops and antique markets is one of life’s little joys – I seek out pieces of treasure and imagine where these items have been before they were in my possession. I’m drawn to anything that’s shiny, bright and vivid – colour and metallics always catch my eye. Over the years, I’ve amassed a collection of decorative objects, textiles, jewellery, furniture, books and imagery that I often reference in my wallpaper designs. I love to extract from a cherished piece of vintage art or design from my archive, then use modern techniques to create something that’s completely unique and unexpected. Some of the designs from our latest collection, The Islands, were inspired by antique prints and illustrations from my archive – in particular, Faroe and Kitts.

Milton Avery’s Meadows and Mountains, 1946

Milton Avery is one of my all-time favourite painters – the freedom of his marks, the stylised forms, and the luminosity of the colours he used are endlessly compelling – soft and yet vibrant at the same time. Recently I’ve been enjoying the works of Dame Elizabeth Blackadder – for her delicate botanical pieces – and Mary Fedden – delightful naïve still life paintings, flooded with colour.

“Still on a colour theme, the Italian fashion house and homeware brand La DoubleJ also inspires me. JJ Martin’s rather fabulous maximalist designs feature geometric, kaleidoscopic patterns and sassy florals – she’s resurrected vintage prints that had previously been archived and used a palette that’s saturated with luscious, eye-popping colour.

 “In the world of interiors, I’ve recently discovered Calico Wallpaper. The New York husband and wife team have re-appropriated traditional techniques and combined them with modern digital technology to create themed collections of wall coverings. Fusing handmade art with digital enlargement and print creates these wonderful custom-made murals which bring texture, colour and pattern to living spaces – they’re beautifully atmospheric. 

Fragments – hand-painted with raw pigments and minerals
Microcosmos – bubble prints, seen through a microscope

“Another new find is Newton Paisley – a textiles and wallpaper brand. At first glance you’ll see gorgeous intricate depictions of nature, in a spectrum of rich and vibrant colours, but each design showcases neglected or endangered species and sales of fabric contribute to the preservation of wild habitat through World Land Trust – ethics in line with our own commitment to sustainability.   

Madidi Clouds – featuring the endangered Andean spectacled bear – along with toucans, frogs and hummingbirds – in the cloud forest of Bolivia

“I also follow the interiors writer, broadcaster, and influencer, Michelle Ogundehin. Michelle used to be the editor of Elle Decoration and she’s just released a book – ‘Happy Inside – how to harness the power of home for health and happiness’ which explores the link between our homes and wellbeing – this is something I’m really interested in. Michelle has some fantastic Instagram stories about using bold, rich colour combinations with all sorts of texture, from antique mirror to anaglypta, in her home. I love how playful and bold she is with colour and texture – although it’s varied, it just works so well together.

“Retro and fashion-oriented TV shows and films are really inspiring me at the moment. I love the styling of Killing Eve – the assassin Villanelle’s diverse wardrobe features Dries Van Noten, The Vampire’s Wife gowns, gothic Alexander McQueen couture and frothy Molly Goddard tulle. The costume design for Spike Lee’s movie, BlacKkKlansman also caught my eye. It’s all about 70s style with prints, earthy tones, metallics and exaggerated wide collars. And I’m loving the 80s resurgence and how it’s being referenced in current design – our Bahama wallpaper captures that opulent ‘more is more’ character of Versace’s flamboyant silk shirts and scarves.

Lauren, our senior designer, shares her inspirations

“I don’t usually go looking for inspiration – it often finds me, unexpectedly!

“I was out in the garden recently and noticed the blossoming apple tree. Just seeing it made me want to get straight to my desk and draw the delicate pale pink petals and closed buds which contrasted with the slightly gnarly branches. I’ve always been inspired by flowers – especially spring blossoms and the more sculptural magnolia blooms. 

“Like many people, music puts me into a really good, happy place and makes me want to be creative. I lose myself in rock music – my favourite band is Enter Shikari, an electronic-based rock band – but I also love 70s rock. 

“Nature and the seasons are a constant source of inspiration for me. Walking my dog means exposure to the ever-changing scenery, all year round. We’ve been taking Baxter to Friston Forest, along the South Downs, and found a hidden gem of a vantage point where you can see for miles and miles. Eventually I’d love to create a design based around the sweeping views – at this stage I’m not sure how literal it would be, it might end up being something quite abstract.

“Films with a strong identity, like The Great Gatsby, also spark my creative side. The fusion of style, costume, set, soundtrack – and mood they evoke – really inspires me. I’d love to do a collection based around an iconic film, where I’ll sit and watch the film and pull together a set of designs.” 

We hope our article has given you an insight into what inspires us – and how this filters through into our design style.

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Showcase: A bespoke project

As well as designing our own collections we also accept commissions, creating bespoke wallpaper designs for our trade clients’ commercial and residential projects.

In addition, we can digitally modify designs from our newer collections – for example, tweaking a colour palette or removing certain details – to meet the specific needs of a client’s brief.

The client

We were approached by Jacqui Smith of HomeSmiths Interior Design. Trained in Applied Colour Psychology, Jacqui provides interior design services to a variety of clients including private residential clients and care home operators. Jacqui invited us to work with her on a project for a prestigious new care home in Henley-on-Thames. 

The vision

Jacqui’s vision for Henley Manor was to design a series of distinctive zones – using wallcoverings that are appropriate for residents who might be be living with sensory and/or cognitive decline – to create a homely and inviting space. 

The outcome

We created a bespoke wallpaper design – a palm stripe – especially for the care home. Elizabeth hand-painted the palm design in our studio and we then digitally repeated the motif. The subtle colour palette and vertical forms are elegant and soothing on the eye – ideal for a social area.

Jacqui asked us to adapt one of our existing designs – Baxter, a dainty botanical style in a fresh colour palette –  in order to make it more appropriate for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. We removed the copy and shadowing from the original design (shown on the left), giving the botanical illustrations a plain light background which instantly make it simpler to look at. 

We also designed this light and airy wallpaper especially for the project. Inspired by New England clapboard houses, the simple and timeless design adds subtle texture and character to the walls and works really well with the neutral décor in this area of the property.

A glowing testimonial...

"We commissioned Elizabeth and her team for the design and supply of wall coverings at Hallmark Care Homes’ luxury home in Henley-on-Thames. From initial ideas to seeing the paper on the wall, the process was incredibly easy. Elizabeth grasped the brief straight away, providing beautiful large format samples and options, perfectly meeting the client’s timescale expectations. Whilst Elizabeth produced a new design for us for this project, we also asked her to recolour and adapt some of her existing designs. This enabled us to produce a truly bespoke scheme for our client, one which has received many positive comments. We fully intend to work with Elizabeth again."
Jacqui Smith
HomeSmiths Interior Design
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Going green: Sustainable wallpaper is the way forward!

With environmental issues – from water pollution to global deforestation – at the forefront of our minds, we’ve taken a number of steps to minimise our impact on the planet.

Although the current coronavirus outbreak is grim and deeply concerning, one silver lining is that we’re all doing less to pollute the environment. In a matter of months, greenhouse gas emissions have fallen across continents as a side effect of less travel and industrial manufacturing. Life will inevitably return to some sort of normality, in time, but we have made a long-term commitment to reduce our impact on the environment in a number of ways.  

We’ve adjusted our day-to-day actions in the studio – we always switch off unnecessary lights and computer monitors and recycle our rubbish.

But it’s in the production of our wallpaper that we’ve made the biggest changes… We’ve examined each aspect of the process – from print to packaging – in order to reduce our carbon footprint and protect the environment:

  • we only use paper from FSC-certified sources
  • we only use eco-friendly water-based inks
  • all of our packaging is either biodegradable and/or recyclable

In addition, to minimise wastage, we use a high quality in-house digital printer so that we only print as much product is required by our clients.

Reforestation with One Tree Planted

We’re also proud to have joined with an inspiring global reforestation initiative, One Tree Planted.

As part of the One For One model, we’ve pledged that for every roll of wallpaper sold from The Islands collection (and all future collections), we’ll contribute to a tree being planted.

One tree planted logo

Embracing green

We’re not alone in our dedication to sustainable practices, here are some of our favourite green British homeware companies:

1. Weaver Green

The team behind Weaver Green have perfected a process to turn plastic bottles into fibres that are soft and wool-textured yet also machine-washable and stain resistant.

With fair trade and ethical manufacture as another core value, Weaver Green employs artisans throughout Europe and Asia to produce beautiful products, including rugs, blankets, dog beds, table linens, footstools, cushions and bags, using their hand-woven 100% recycled plastic textile.

2. Tala

Tala is an award-winning lighting brand that specialises in low-energy LED lighting that recreates the warm glow of incandescent bulbs. Sustainability, technology and design are the key features at the heart of their collections.

Like us, Tala support reforestation programmes by donating a portion of their revenue to tree-planting programmes – The Heart of England Forest and the National Forest Foundation in the USA – to offset the carbon emissions generated by their products.

The Tala team is also exploring upcycled materials, with a range made from a new product created from repurposed broken solar panels.

3. MAiK

With a strong sense of responsibility to the environment and people at its core, MAiK offers a range of sustainably sourced and ethically produced homeware products.

Kitchenware and bags are made from responsibly sourced wood and cork, unbleached organic cotton, and water-based inks and are wrapped in 100% biodegradable and recyclable packaging.

4. Wearth London

Wearth London is an online platform that is dedicated to selling products by independent eco-friendly brands. Categories on the site enable consumers to search for products which satisfy values including plastic-free, refillable, recycled and social contribution.

As well as stylish homeware and furniture, you’ll also find lifestyle and beauty products, zero-waste essentials and jewellery.

We hope our article has inspired you to think about making greener choices when it comes to your home and business.