Belfast Telegraph

Home Life Weekend

Dark Desires

by Sam Wylie-Harris

It may take courage to create an ultra-glam look with extravagant textures in rich hues and jewel tones, but moody room sets, like Boutique Hotel at John Lewis, come into their own this time of year, and grand designs can be a pleasure to come home to.

Luxurious and opulent, plush velvets, furniture with gentle curves, smoked glass and anything inspired by the glamour of the 1920s, art deco or 18th century classic French design, will help you create an eye-catching scheme with long lasting appeal.

Style me up

"The Boutique Hotel look was born out of an increased interest by our customers in products which bring a sense of luxury back into their homes," says Pip Prinsloo, design manager for Home at John Lewis.

"This demand is not disposable, it's for striking pieces that are beautifully designed and use the best materials to stand the test of time. From luxurious textiles to opulent finishes and prints, Boutique Hotel has a polished feel that aims to impress and stimulate the senses."

Lustrous and dramatic, rich textiles can transform a room, especially when they're mixed with dark colours and anything ornate - and they can withstand wear and tear more than you might think.

"Velvet is a fabric which speaks sartorial volumes. It screams luxury, but also comfort, as nothing can compare to the silky, tactile softness of this fabric's unique pile," says Alison Cork, founder of WITHIN Home.

"This is why it's superb for any item of furniture we may sit upon and be enveloped by - a velvet sofa is the ultimate statement piece."

  • Furia Odyssey Large Sofa, Marco Sapphire Blue, £2,000, Firenze Cut Velvet Cushion, Blue, £40, Puccini Four-Door Cabinet, £1,999, Puccini Rectangular Coffee Table, £850, Bailey Fixed Cover Footstool, Daytona Fabric, Citrine, Light Legs, £200, Boutique Hotel collection, John Lewis (
  • Balfour Sofa - Three Seater - Grape Velvet, currently £796 from £995, cushions from a selection, WITHIN Home (

That's Entertainment

Along with glitzy hotels, designers have also drawn inspiration from elegant city living that reflects the glamour of a Parisian apartment, New York pied-a-terre or a bygone age of opulence.

"When it comes to creating a luxurious, opulent interior scheme, the materials used are crucial," says Kate Mooney, CEO, Houseology.

"Rich timber, crystal and metallic finishes are perfect for creating a look that exudes decadence."

Designers cite copper and brass as the most popular metallic finishes this season, as they add warmth.

Also key are throws, cushions and rugs in wool, cashmere and velvet, to make sure the finishing touches are as inviting and comfortable as they are stylish.

  • Eichholtz Townhouse Trolley - Gold Finish, £960 from £1,200, Houseology (
  • Oscar de la Renta Pineapple Candlesticks (below), £187, Amara (
  • Wedgwood Arris Octagonal Charger Charcoal (33cm), £95, Wedgwood Arris Octagonal Side Plate White (23cm), £45, Wedgwood Arris Dinner Plate (28cm), £30, Bloomingville Brushed Black Cutlery Set, £15, Houseology (
  • Puccini Dining Chair, Taupe, £299, Puccini Dining Table, £1,699, Levin 8 Bulb Ceiling Light, Brass/Opal, £240, Boutique Hotel collection, John Lewis (

Colour Codes

"I adore mixing and matching different textures to add surprise and interest, it creates a delightful layered look," says Annabel Astor, co-founder of furniture store OKA.

"Black is an incredibly flexible colour, it works with everything. It can transform a room into an extraordinarily glamorous space - just don't be too afraid to try."

One of the most underrated colours in design, black works as a neutral and helps tie everything together. It can even be used on doors and window frames as a building block to set off window dressings, furnishings and even floorings.

"A patterned carpet in deeper-coloured berry tones will contrast beautifully against dark walls, and will instantly create a luxurious decor to any room set," says Emma Hopkins, marketing manager at Crucial Trading.

"Introducing these colours to bedrooms and living rooms will work particularly well, as it will create an opulent ambience - simply finish the look by adding homewares such as glass vases, art deco mirrors, velvet cushions or a statement, jewel-toned armchair for a refined and timeless feel."

  • Saint German Console Table, £1,585, The Cordon Bois Ottoman, £925, Tracery Table Lamp, £295, Vouvant Mirror, £195, Ophelia Cushion Cover, Large, £65 OKA (
  • Mississippi Red Plum Carpet (WS123), £67m2, Crucial Trading (

Bling is a Natural Bedfellow

If you're feeling flamboyant, the bedroom is where you can really go to town. Sumptuous surroundings lend themselves to little treasures such as perfume bottles, costume jewellery spilling out of a crystal bowl, and introducing anything that shimmers, sparkles or signals richness.

A velvet headboard, charcoal and black paint effects and eclectic decorative pieces or colourful curiosities set against a moody backdrop, will also bring the bedroom to another level, and place in time.

  • Biba Seraphina Embroidered Bedding Range, from £27, Biba Quilted Velvet Cushion, £30, Biba Allegra Housewife Pillowcase Pair, currently £27 from £45, Biba Opulence Glass Pendant, £182 from £260, all by House of Fraser (
  • Anita Dual Droplet Ceiling Fitting, £59.99, Dunelm (
  • Abigail Ahern/Edition Purple Raven Applique Cushion, £40, Abigail Ahern/Edition Turquoise Beagle Bust, £60, Debenhams (
  • Large Hobnail Lidded Bottle (left), currently £47.20 from £59, Marks & Spencer (

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