The latest decorating trend: soft is the new sleek

The latest decorating trend: soft is the new sleek

After years of hard-to-maintain minimalism at home, you can relax, because now decorating your house is all about soft textures and higgledy-piggledy design.

After years of hard-to-maintain minimalism at home, you can relax, because now decorating your house is all about soft textures and higgledy-piggledy design.

It’s more than 20 years since we were exhorted to chuck out our chintz, and ever since then the interior design mantra has been ‘less is more’. We’ve simplified our sofas, pared back our picture frames and taken our inspiration from clean, modern Scandinavian design.

And while that mid-century style is still the height of interior design fashion, there’s been a recent move to soften those hard lines and make our homes that little bit more, well, cosy.

We’re not saying it’s time to bring back all those fuddy-duddy florals (although bold prints are definitely making a comeback, in contemporary colours), but as shown by last year’s obsession with the Danish concept of ‘hygge’ (cosy warmth), there’s an appetite for what you might call the ‘perfection of imperfection’.

Here are five great ways to soften the style of your own home.


This may be a stretch if you like knife-edge corners on your bedlinen and perfectly placed cushions on your sofa, but choosing naturally creased fabrics such as Irish linen can bring a natural sense of relaxation to your home. Don’t go overboard – part of the power of this look is the contrast of a rumpled bedspread over perfectly ironed sheets.


We’re not talking floral sofas or wallpaper in every room here, but adding a really contemporary take on an old-fashioned print by the likes of William Morris can create a wonderful talking point in your home. It could be a cushion, a newly upholstered chair, or even a single wall that’s boldly wallpapered. The secret is to go for something traditional in design, but choose more modern colours.


This trend isn’t all about looks: it’s how you feel in your home, too. If your bedlinen is soft, your towels are fluffy and your cushions are radiantly clean, then you can get that ‘hygge’ effect without even trying. Use Fairy Non Bio Fabric Conditioner when you wash your linen to get huggably soft textiles that are gentle enough for even sensitive skin.


So much of your home’s atmosphere is down to lighting. Instead of relying on ceiling and pendant lights, wire in some wall uplighters in a soft, unglazed ceramic (these are super-cheap), and fill your rooms with mismatched lamps. For the softest atmosphere of all, ditch the electrics and go for candles. (Just don’t leave them unattended!)


This may bring back memories of dusty house plants and indestructible spider plants, but hanging baskets and terrariums are having a real moment, and bring a nature-loving mood to your home. There are some beautiful big glass bowls around, planted with succulents that need virtually no care, or if you prefer something more practical, why not get a self-watering herb planter, so you always have fresh herbs ready to cook with?

How do you keep your home warm and welcoming? Share your tips in the comments box below.

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Leebee 26/07/2017

I like to put photos and paintings in each room which reflect where we have visited on our hols. This injects some homeliness as well as my individuality.

Come on in cup of tea

Pinkshoes 26/07/2017

Embrace the warm colours, painted walls. Throws and cushions. Flowers from Mother nature picked from my garden. The scent of the "fairies" in the fabrics. Pale and pastel, so quiet. Do you take milk?


Elizabeth 26/07/2017

Freshness and comfot you can rely on

Nice smells

Benjiebev 24/07/2017

I keep my home warm and welcoming by making sure it smells nice, I love plug ins and also aromatherapy oils. I think they make your home smell fresh and clean. I also like a nice candle in the evening especially when it's dark.

Trusted Favourite

Gemma 24/07/2017

I love fairy for washing my kids clothes as its so good for their delicate skin

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