For an eye-catching interiors scheme, try veering off the straight and narrow and opting for fluid shapes and soft silhouettes. Here’s how to work the look…
Trends may come and go, but curves, circles and fluid shapes retain perennial appeal. From rounded sofas to circular kitchen islands, they feed brilliantly into the current trend for maximalism because of the decadent air lent by their off-beat shape. But fluid outlines also suit minimalist interiors just as beautifully, as a combination of clean lines and soft edges creates visual interest. Think of a curved sofa against a Crittall window, or a voluptuous armchair set against the straight lines of a generous bookcase and you get the idea.
“Reminiscent of 1970s design, curved interiors provide a softer look that can inject a sense of serenity into a living space,” says Emma Deterding, founder of Kelling Designs (kellingdesigns.com). “Hard lines and sharp edges are currently being swapped out for flowing curves and waves to create a calming, natural aesthetic.” The easiest way to inject that sense of softness is with a statement-making sofa. Jonathan Adler has a great go-to collection, including the show-stopping Ether Curved (£4,400) and the cloud-like Ether Settee (£3,950; jonathanadler.com). For compact spaces, Sofology’s Perle loveseat in Plush Honeycreeper works brilliantly (from £799; sofology.co.uk), as does sofa.com’s Albie two-seat in Cobalt (£1,730; sofa.com), which nods to the current trend for wide flute detailing, creating a modern, yet slightly art-deco aesthetic.
“Curvaceous sofas are a voluptuous alternative to the more formal arrangement of two straight sofas facing each other, or the classic L-shape,” says Sofology’s Buying Director Suzy McMahon. “Capable of accommodating as many people – but in a more sociable way – they often feel cosier than their straight counterparts.”
Image: Terrence Conran
Conversely, a fluid-shaped coffee table can offset the lines of an angular seating arrangement. Opt for a design classic such as Vitra’s Noguchi coffee table in oak (£2,100) or Made’s concrete Zurn round coffee table for a more industrial feel (made.com). To inject a simple softening touch, try adding a classic chair, such as Terence Conran’s recently re-issued iconic Glove chair (£1,995) which is both timeless and strikingly curvaceous (contentbyterenceconran.com).
Images: Brookmans; John Lewis & Partners
Blur the Boundaries
Curves aren’t limited to freestanding furniture – they can make an impact in fitted kitchens too. “A few gentle lines or a subtle curved design creates a naturally softening element,” says Iain O’Mahoney, Ideation Director at Brookmans by Smallbone. “We like to use curved brackets on our kitchen cabinetry to ensure there is a gentle rounded edge to the lag on the island. For a softer silhouette, try using bullnose edges not just on worktops, but also on shelves and cornices.” For a combination of classic detailing and eye-catching style, opt for a generous island whose cabinetry is curved, such as Kitchen Makers’ Somerton in Baltic Green and Brushed Brass (burbidgekitchenmakers.co.uk). Or for an easy update, adding curved seats at your kitchen island, such as Brookmans’ Lucy stool (£780) with its shallow dish on top and lathe-turned legs (brookmans.co.uk), will introduce an organic note.
Image: Kitchen Makers
Round shapes are big news when it comes to dining too. Circular dining tables are great for informal, convivial mealtimes, feeding into the current trend for restaurant-style dining at home. “From oval-back dining chairs to elegant bistro tables, furniture with softened profiles are making a comeback,” says Pip Prinsloo, Partner & Head of Design, Home at John Lewis & Partners (johnlewis.com). “Spheres, arches and lozenges are becoming increasingly popular choices. Softened edges are born from natural geometry and these fluid shapes create a less rigid, more welcoming look.” The fluid shape of John Lewis’ Design Project No.169 8 Seater Dining Table in oak (£999) is perfect for casual dining.
Images: Hone; Curious Egg
Simple accessories can also channel the vibe. Heal’s Column table lamp in Black (£140) via Hone (honestore.co.uk) is an elegant addition to a side table or desk. And instead of a straight-edged rug, try Jennifer Manners’ Scallop (from £370 per square metre; jennifermanners.co.uk) whose playfully curved edges add texture and charm to sitting rooms and bedrooms. A few small touches like these are all it takes to veer off the straight and narrow – with eye-catching results.
Article written by Emma J Page