Some of the coolest trendsetters in the Sixties were known the Beat generation – a seriously hip group of laid-back individuals with an eclectic, Bohemian lifestyle all of their own.
While those days are gone, the Beatnik vibe remains cool and stylish – and this Autumn, it’s creating a fantastic new feel in our homes.
So what’s a Beatnik look all about? Think relaxed, for starters, and with a reclaimed edge that speaks volumes about incorporating environmental principles into our everyday lives.
Seeking out pieces that look gently distressed is a good place to start. Hide is a strong theme in the Beatnik look, and I love the plump cushions of the Caruso sofa from Barker and Stonehouse. It’s upholstered in vintage-inspired outback tan leather, and provides a luxurious heart to what can be quite a hard-edged look.
For a slightly more traditional seat, the Pelham sofa with its buttoned back, antique brass or wooden feet and deliciously-worn leather would also fit superbly well into this theme.
Wood is another important element of putting the Beat into your living room. Reclaimed wood is a big trend in many kinds of décor this season, and fits particularly well here because of its Bohemian credentials.
After all, who can resist a piece of furniture with a back story? The Mary Rose TV plasma unit used here as a hall cabinet gets its name from Henry VIII’s flagship, famously sunk on her maiden voyage.
That’s because most of the hardwood used to build it and the rest of the Little Tree furniture range comes from reclaimed fishing timbers – and amazingly, some of it is over 150 years old. These pieces have real soul, and their faded hues are a perfect way to introduce subtle colour into a Beatnik scheme.
Another piece that makes the most of re-used wood is the Diego barstool, which fuses bleached old pine with a black metal base – just right for adding to the industrial-meets-rustic feel we’re aiming for.
So it’s also no surprise that wooden floors are ideal in this kind of room – add ethnic rugs for texture and pattern – and exposed brick walls add their rugged appeal.
There’s space here for some wall colour, though, and a deep red wallpaper such as Graham and Brown’s Temple Tulips, with its quirky blossoms, would add both warmth and a touch of lightheartedness to the scheme.
So far, I’ve talked about a lot of muted themes – hints of colour, natural woods and distressed leathers, but it’s essential to add an element of sheen to this décor to provide points of light and contrast.
Copper is superb in this setting – its glowing colour and high shine look great in the shape of the Merle copper pendant light, and on the shelves in the shape of curvaceous vases
What else do you need to complete your Beatnik room? A book of poetry, and maybe some extremely hip jazz playing softly in the background. Cool, man…