Following an advertising campaign tantalizing the design and décor taste buds of gay and straight alike, I went off to the recent Decorex 2007 exhibition at Gallagher Estates. With the promise of everything new, reinvented and absolutely fabulous, my expectations were high.

I hoped to see what international and local trends have to offer the budding DIY buff, the interior decorator/designer and those just hoping for inspiration to pimp up their love-pad.

I was sorely disappointed. The majority of displays were lacking visual placement design and styling and frankly at times Decorex felt like the Rosebank Roof Top Market on a Sunday. In essence, the show delivered limited options and offered very little to stimulate the imagination.

All was not lost however as certain exhibitors were out to impress and some succeeded with flying colours.

Local Trends

Local designers and interior houses were in abundance and definite trends were evident at the various stands.

Living Leather explored the use of leather with textured leather imprints and leather wall panels to define wall features. Another interesting product development is the use of leather soling as highly durable floor tiles. Weich Studios also presented prominent use of pig skin canvas wall dressings in which images are hand-beaded according to client specification and image.

When it came to fabric trends, Home Flair and U&G Fabrics prominently incorporated the use of imported and local hand-finished fabrics within specific colour schemes to elegantly complete an impeccable room.

Also interesting, was the use of tapestry and woven fabrics as wallpaper. Another notable trend, presented by 4blankwalls, incorporated the use of printed canvas wall and floor coverings, giving you the choice to completely customise the look and finish of your walls. There was also the move towards incorporating mirrors in different shapes and sizes, not only to illuminate but also to project a sense of space.

Light fittings took a turn for the unexpected with translucent bone china boxes from Klay, point lighting in balustrades railings from Metallica, and Swarovski and Pool Stain Glass Chandeliers, not only using the traditional clear crystal but also coloured crystals.

Furniture incorporated clean structural designs in ebony and dark wood as seen at the Red Apple and Bedroom Basic Design stands, again incorporating leather finishes.

Natural stone and marble finishes brought the exterior into the interior with stone panelling by The Colonial Stone Company and immaculate full marble bathrooms, including the bath, by Marble Classic.

Other favourites at the show included the wall-mounted stainless steel gas heater by Chad-O-Glo, which is a must have for the cold winter months; Sivan Décor’s pleasantly impressive cylindrical glass candles that fit any candelabra (gone are the days of candle wax drippings), while Hollywood Design produced an impressive fit-it-yourself PVC wine rack in black and white.

International Trends

Once again, appliances and electrical fittings were high on the agenda at the exhibition.

AMC German Technology provided full automation for your humble abode – incorporating everything from electrical and light fittings to air conditioning fittings. SMEG Appliances once again impressed, not only with their range of art deco refrigerators, but also with their new range of dishwashers and washing machines in a variety of colours.

A definite show-stopper was the patio furniture range by Gloster; with clean designs such as the Ying and Yang patio lounger and the stackable 4 seater wicker patio set.

Some decor tips

An event such as Decorex can be a confusing experience with so much on offer. The best advice when designing your living space is to first plan and budget. Decide on a specific design theme, colour palette and consider the use of the living space.

Start with neutral base (timeless) pieces which might set you back a few Rand and dress the room with accent colours. It is easier to replace and change accents as opposed to big pieces of furniture.

Do not, and I cannot stress this enough, go out on a shopping spree and buy everything your heart desires. This leads to confusion as to the identity of a room and simply results in unplanned and unstructured chaos.

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