As pieces of furniture go, bean bags continue to grow in popularity. They are bright, fun and funky as well as being comfortable and supportive. They come in a whole host of shapes and sizes, making them perfect to match to individual customers and their uses. What is more, far from bean bags being a trend all on their own, they actually reflect many of the hottest interior trends of spring/summer 2014. Not only that, their natural versatility and the wide choice of colours and designs means that they also evolve with interior styles as they change season by season. In short, your carefully chosen patterned wallpaper may drop out of fashion when the autumn/winter trends arrive, but your bean bags are highly likely to complement the latest styles that interior gurus have to offer.
Fashion and Style
As a change from taking a look at the latest interior trends and how these can be implemented in your home, this article will centre on the fabulous ways that bean bags complement these trends in the here and now, but also go beyond them as fashions change to make a great choice when it comes to investing in furniture for your home that will stand the test of time. Rather than it being a choice between fashion and style, we aim to show that short-term fashion trends and hard-to-achieve long-term style can go hand-in-hand.
So what trends do we see emerging that you use a bean bag to accent or complement?
This trend was popular for autumn/winter 13 and continues to be popular in 2014. It draws on several sources and those wanting to decorate with this trend can take their pick from botanical prints of flora and fauna alongside colonial-inspired pieces or move more towards the South Seas with Pacific Island patterns and prints in bold, bright colours.
Bean bags in bright tropical green, zesty yellow or exotic orange will all reflect the tropical theme very well for the present time and will continue to be fresh and fun and adaptable to other trends in the future.
For the minimalists out there, graphic and geometric prints in monochromatic schemes make bold and defining statements. Mondrian and Barbara Hepworth inspired textiles, artwork and accessories are perfectly displayed against black or white backgrounds with splashes of primary colour to prevent the ‘photo negative’ effect.
It’s easy to choose bean bags that work with this trend. Stick to the basic colour scheme of black, white or the primary colours in simple shapes, either the rectangular form of the Bazaar bag or a structured gaming chair. The great thing about these colours is that they are highly adaptable to whatever trend you feel like moving onto next.
For 2014, cobalt is the colour. It first became a major fashion colour after Yves Saint Laurent used it extensively at his Morroccan home. Indeed, I’ve used it as my primary kitchen colour for the past 10 years. This beautiful and evocative colour can be seen everywhere this year, from shoes to earrings, rugs to bookcases, vases to kitchen clocks. The important aspect is controlling the amount of cobalt that is used and choosing the correct neutral background to showcase it. Neutral has moved on somewhat in recent years, away from the magnolia and beige of the last decade to varying shades of grey; pale, stone grey and dark, charcoal are particularly popular. The fashion for cobalt also works well, when teamed with black and white, to move towards a monochromatic or geometric look as detailed above.
The bean bags need to be blue. It’s as simple as that! A deep blue bean bag can be your way of introducing this trend into your home in a single reasonably priced item with the addition of a few small accessories to prevent cobalt overload. And when the trend moves on, your cobalt bean bag can stay as a lasting statement piece of design in your home or adapt to other colour schemes; perhaps the introduction of other jewel colours and some rich textiles for a warmer, opulent look or brightened up with acid yellow and lime.
Upcycled industrial reclamation juxtaposed with fresh, modern pieces epitomizes industrial chic. Salvaged pieces, such as a pallet with castors attached to create a makeshift coffee table, scaffolding planks for bookshelves, exposed brick in some areas or rough plaster work can be contrasted with glossy worktops in the kitchen, sleek appliances or floor to ceiling glass windows.
For industrial chic, bean bags will be providing the modern edge to the look. They’re going to stand out against the rougher, industrial pieces and background, so go to town with a statement, structured shape in a classy black or grey, or a classic shape in a statement colour. My money is on the statement shape in black or grey, which will have the added benefit of complementing just about any decorating scheme or interior you should choose to move onto next.
Retro and vintage continue their reign as top style trends across fashion, interiors, toys, books and many other retail areas. As the trend evolves it focuses on fans finding their own individual style and there is plenty of room within it for you to do this too. Whether you are more drawn to pale, French-inspired shabby chic, the warmth of homespun crafts or bright, colourful, Pop Art-inspired retro funk everyone can express themselves differently with a style that just runs and runs. In fact this section could probably be split into as many as ten different style areas under the umbrella of retro and vintage. For a bit of inspiration, try the V&A Museum or this Tumblr.
What could be more retro than a classic bean bag in a funky shade or an interesting material? Whether you’re picking up on the candy colours of kitsch with pale pink or blue pastel shades or decide to opt for the durable, retro corduroy covers of a jumbo bean bag you’ll find something for whichever route you go down with a trend showing no signs of abating.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and that’s just the point. Trends come and go, evolve into new trends or merge into each other to make hybrid trends. However, choose well and your bean bags will be style icons that last years and make a great choice for your home.
Andy Atkins has been involved in the home interiors industry for 20 years, as both an advisor and a senior manager responsible for the design and product development of companies in the furnishings, tableware and kitchenware sectors. He’s travelled the world in search of design ideas and still attends 5 or 6 major trade shows a year.