I always thought of Laura Ashley as a prim and proper outlet that sold lots of lacy items with flouncy frills. Last year I had an appointment at their headquarters and I took a peek at their stock and was impressed by their gorgeous home furnishings. Embracing the best of British, Laura Ashley is stacked with items that reflect the latest trends from the fashion catwalk.
Neon brights: Fashion designers couldn’t get enough of hot pinks and traffic light oranges this summer, and Laura Ashley has followed suit. Inject a touch of colour into your house with a lime green sofa, a bright feature wall or a set of neon chairs. Other ways to jazz up your home with colour include bright bed linen, curtains, rugs, skirting boards, blinds or wallpaper. Combine with bold retro patterns or subtle pastels to get this summer’s edgy look.
Industrial: There was a time when an old metal filing cabinet or a steel swivel chair would have been seen as junk – now, they’re coveted pieces which can be hugely versatile around the home. Industrial chic looks best in urban environments, particularly in converted warehouses or lofts, but you can make it work anywhere. The trick is not to go overboard. Add a touch at a time – a battered old locker for storing clothes in your bedroom; an enamel lampshade in your living room; or a set of steel shelves in the kitchen. You can buy modern imitations, but sites such as Salvoweb have the real deal.
1970s: The bold designs of the 1970s have returned once again to cheer us all up during the economic crisis. It can be tricky to get the 70s style right, but essentially think shag rugs, brave colours and statement wallpaper. This looks work particularly well in the bedroom, when it’s centred around a huge bed – Laura Ashley does a good selection of double beds that mesh well with any style. Aim for a combination of luxury and surrealism. Handmade crafts: The rise of etsy and websites like it has signalled a growing passion for handmade, sustainably sourced furniture. Whether it’s a patchwork quilt, an embroidered cushion or a distressed French dresser, the handmade look will give your home a cosy feel as well as a modern edge.