Opinion: In Praise Of Playful

The benchmark may have gone up, but that's no excuse to go bland,
says Belfast-born interior designer David Carter.?

With the rise of Scandi-minimalism, many say interior design has become a bit formulaic, but truthfully, that has always been the case. Most people want something that is safe, predictable and on-trend for now, and that's when you end up with lots of boring design.

There have been periods where my style has been very popular, and then there have been times when I have fallen out of fashion because my work is quite extravagant and theatrical. As interior designers, we are all creative prostitutes and we all need patrons. We need clients to commission us. Fortunately, there are people who love more rich and gutsy design out there, and these are the kind of people I work with.

I'm delighted to see colour and pattern seeping back into interiors again; people get bored of plain. It also reflects how people live. Today, generally, people are far more conscious of how they live and their lifestyles than their parents or grandparents were.


There is so much choice now; it's never been easier to create something interesting in your home, thanks to the amount of products and shops online. Suddenly, you can get designer furniture for a few hundred euro, or a cool 1950s-inspired cocktail cabinet?for a steal online.

Similarly, look at Pinterest. Twenty-five years ago, if you wanted to research an idea, you either had to buy some very expensive Rizzoli books in a bookshop or you'd go to a library. Now, you just go to Pinterest and type in ?black and white stripes? and you get thousands of schemes. In terms of accessing ideas and suppliers, we are very, very spoiled now, and the bar has risen for us designers, as everyone can access this information now.

A lot of people feel like they need permission to have a bit of fun in their own home, which is bizarre to me. People can be worried about what other people will think if they decide to paint the walls black and cover them in stars. I've always believed our homes are our own private sanctuary. It's the place where you can retreat from the harsh realities of everyday life. If you can't have fun there, where can you?

I spend a lot of time shopping for clients, but inevitably, I see things that I love for myself too. These work their way into my home and I have to do some shuffling around. It's always evolving, I never feel like it's done or finished. It's an ongoing process. A successful home is a bit like an autobiography; it only stops when you're being packed away in your coffin. A home should reflect the things you're passionate about, the things you're doing and the people you have in your life, and that's an ongoing process.?alacarter.com

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