Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Interiors: Tribal trends for 2017

Moving into my new pad a couple of years back, I was struck by how much I craved colour. Much as I love an understated, grown-up colour scheme, bright pinks, yellows and blues made their way into my home – a kind of mental health insurance if you like. The house we live in now is entirely white walls and pale carpet, providing the perfect opportunity to inject pops of colour in the form of accessories. Enter one of 2017’s biggest trends - tribal.

A good friend went to The Gambia a few years back, lugging home with her baskets and kettles in clashing shades. Just one or two of these patterned beauties can bring an entire interiors scheme alive, and the trend has caught on here. Not only is it a key interiors trend though, these are trends that do good.

TK Maxx and HomeSense have these incredibly beautiful baskets and bowls on sale in store now, hand woven by the Rwenzori Trading Company. HomeSense (part of the TK Maxx family, extending its home section to an entire store) has been working in Uganda since 2008. Their support of the local craftspeople has generated increased incomes, enabling more than 10,000 children to go to school. Since this sustainable trade project started in 2011, there has been a 40% increase of children finishing primary school education which is definitely something I can get behind (and my kids, too. Since watching Red Nose Day this year, their view of school has really shifted).

Some background: there are very few schools in the remote mountainous regions. Where schools do exist, there are often over 60 children per class, teacher shortages, few books or materials and makeshift classrooms. By supporting education facilities and developing a sustainable trade programme to help parents increase their income from coffee, cocoa, cotton and craft, the TK Maxx/HomeSense partnership has increased enrolment in schools from 53% to 94%. Working with communities to help them develop their knowledge and skills has led to increased yield and better quality of crops, too. Parents have a more reliable and better income, allowing them to save for school fees and materials.

So, onto the products themselves. See how each is labelled with the name of the person who made it? Such skill goes into each one, and the quality is so high. Baskets and bowls range from £3.99 for the tiny pink and black lidded caddy, up to £34.99 for a huge lidded laundry basket (the one pictured is the smaller size - £24.99), while the bowls are £9.99. I love this type of accessory – beautiful and practical. I’m planning to use the lidded baskets for all those weird bits and bobs that seem to accumulate here – toys and little crayons and sunglasses. You know the sort of thing, right?

And the large baskets are great for laundry (although it’ll be a while before my laundry basket is this empty!). They can also be used for food – I love the idea of fruit piled up in the generous, wide baskets and I’m planning to line the oval black-and-white basket with a tea towel for bread.

I love how HomeSense is such a treasure trove of delights, you never know what you’ll find but, as they say, it’ll be exactly what you weren’t looking for. On my visit, there was an entire row full of baskets in different colours and sizes, so plenty of choice and variety, alongside drums, glassware and decorative items made of horn (the latter isn’t my cup of tea but they are very beautiful).

And this range seems to attract animals, too. See how one of my kittens couldn’t resist jumping into the basket?

My youngest kid, too, was intrigued by the smaller baskets. Imagine my surprise when I discovered he’d hidden Mr Poison, his cuddly snake, inside?

If you’re interested in getting your hands on one of these beautiful products, hurry!
They’re in TK Maxx and HomeSense stores now.

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