04 Feb 2020

Surfaces - What's on trend?

Dale Telling, Commercial Manager at Fassa Bortolo UK, discusses how age-old interior trends are now being made for the 21st century with traditional surface coverings now in demand.


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Colour trends

Interior finishes are essential to any project and with so many options now available to self-builders, the opportunities to create a functional, architecturally stunning space are endless. Grey has dominated colour trends of recent years. Dove grey, charcoal, putty; grey fast became the modern-day neutral replacing white and beige, and was the perfect base colour for the industrial look, but the cool grey tones we have come to know will be replaced by warmer colours.

Shades of rich, warm taupe, earthy brown and soft silver will be in demand, creating a more inviting, relaxing space. The trend experts have also predicted that neo-green is set to be the colour of the year. Soft, intriguing and versatile, it’s a colour that can adapt to its surroundings and bring a feeling of wellbeing. Pure blue, cassis, mellow yellow and cantaloupe are also predicted to be influential colour trends this year.

Surface effects

Current surface trends have seen natural materials on walls and floors offering a tactile quality. Timber, exposed concrete, polished concrete, natural stone and marbles are all strong contenders when it comes to interior finishes bringing the trend for natural materials to life with a huge range of renders, plasters, wallpaper, tiles and cladding now available.

But there’s a definite movement towards understated glamour that’s sleek and sophisticated without being overpowering. Polished surfaces will be in demand this year, breathing light into rooms to create an elegant design that’s full of light and space.

The latest interior design schemes are also all about creating seamless open-plan spaces for a clean, contemporary design that allows the colour and chosen finish to stand out. One of the biggest trends is for fewer lines and broken up expanses with a flowing, continuous design across walls and floors, making a space look less cluttered.

Start as you mean to go on

While design and interior trends are often one of the key considerations, one of the best places to begin when specifying your interior finish is the condition of your substrate and the property you’re working with. Newly plastered walls provide home improvers with more scope to experiment with different materials, while worn walls or uneven surfaces will require a different internal finish to rectify the issues with an uneven substrate. Some projects will specify surface solutions that fall within specific budget parameters or finishes that can withstand heavy use or work well in damp environments, so always check what you’re working with before moving on to the design phase. Heritage sites, for example, can be more complicated and will require different wall treatments due to damp and condensation, while new builds are more of a blank canvas.

Surfaces with character

Polished plaster is making a comeback when it comes to surfaces, allowing home renovators and self-builders to bring a whole new dimension to projects. A surface covering found in many historical buildings, plasterwork has been widely used across Europe for hundreds of years. These days, plaster tends to be viewed as a practical necessity that delivers a professional, smooth finish ready for paint effects, wallpaper and tiles to be applied, but we’re seeing a real movement towards decorative plaster now being used more widely.

Time-worn finishes and industrial-style concrete effects sit alongside smooth stone effects with a polished appearance. The colour options vary from neutral shades and delicate pastels through to bold, jewel tones, with mesmerising shimmers, elegant metallic finishes and light-reflecting marbles also on offer.

The options are endless, with a style of plaster to suit all projects. Popular styles currently include stucco finishes, with high shine, reflective surfaces creating a dynamic, visually impactful space. This style is often referred to as Venetian plastering, which is a traditional plaster often mistaken for opulent polished marble, perfectly suited to period buildings and historic sites.

Natural effects are also in demand with scratch-effect plasters used to create uniform, structured lines, or rough textures similar to cement for a raw, industrial look. Stone effects remain very popular, bringing a feeling of the outside in. The finish is neither smooth nor rough, instead gently textured, making it well suited to a whole range of properties.

Harder wearing, easy to apply to irregular surfaces and available in a huge variety of colours and textures, decorative plaster is an option to be considered for all projects. It’s incredibly easy to maintain with most finishes wiped clean with a damp cloth. It’s also easy to apply and highly workable, allowing plasterers to create alternative visual effects.

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