Lino to make a comback? Six interior design predictions, hopes and dreams for 2021

Interior design predictions for the year ahead, from Country Life’s guru Giles Kime.

The pelmet

Together with fabric-lined walls, a very deep chair and a roaring fire, there are few things more cosseting than a pelmet.

Credit: Sims Hilditch / Brent Darby Photography

They have the pulled-together look of a well-tailored suit and offer an additional buffer against light and sound. They’re a faff compared with a pole, but a faff that is definitely worth tolerating.

The flower room

Dreaming of an enormous open-plan kitchen the size of Wembley Stadium? Sadly that’s now a bit 10 years ago. The thinking person’s mega kitchen isn’t any smaller, it’s simply sliced up into spaces dedicated to specific purposes.

Inspired by Downton Abbey, all-singing, all-dancing kitchens now come with a pantry, a scullery, a laundry room and, if possible, a flower room for budding florists. Go on, you know you want one.

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Old china

Ever since formal dining went out of fashion, vintage English china has been a steal, particularly when bought individually or in incomplete sets (who wants the whole co-ordinated 30-piece enchilada anyway?). Mix and match to your heart’s content. Country auctions are a good hunting ground.


The doors of Charleston might have been shut for much of last year, but its decorative spirit pervades the Sussex downland in which it nestles.

Credit: Tess Newall / Jon Day Photography

The designers Molly Mahon, Amy Balfour and Tess Newall (all locals) have dug deep into the aesthetic legacy of Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell and their circle to create beautiful textiles and furniture with a graphic simplicity that is the tonic we all need.


This is set to be the pattern-based micro-revival of 2021. Wallpaper, fabric and paint finishes can be employed to evoke myriad looks from fogeyish Doric to playfully ironic.

Credit: Pentreath & Hall / Oscar May


This isn’t merely a wishful thought — it’s also a personal crusade. There was a brief moment in the 1980s when proper old-fashioned lino looked as if it might be on the cusp of a revival. Made from a mixture of ingredients, including ground cork and linseed oil backed with burlap, it comes in beautiful soft colours, creates great patterns and can withstand almost anything thrown at it.

The problem is that it’s often assumed to be synthetic rather than the forgiving, natural material it actually is. Anyone else happy to fight for this worthy cause is welcome to join me.

C. H. Pepper’s Linoleum for Nurseries. Why did we ever grow out of it?