Following the simple philosophy that the fun graphic style she so adores can spark joy, Orla Kiely’s designs are often referred to as “Happy prints that make you smile”. No truer words could be used to describe her latest furniture collection, now available online and instore at Barker and Stonehouse.

Best-known for her signature Mid-Century inspired prints, the Irish pattern designer launched her very first upholstered furniture collection with us back in 2019. Since then, the colourful collection has captured the imagination of our customers who have embraced Orla’s striking patterns and playful retro aesthetic in their homes.

The past year has seen so many of us welcome brighter and more vibrant colours into our spaces, experimenting with bolder patterns that uplift and inspire.
Who better to tell us more about the must-have new collection than the incredibly talented, and stylish, designer behind it…

Your first upholstered furniture collection was a huge hit with Barker and Stonehouse customers, how have you developed the range for 2021?

I personally like pieces that have a strong identity, whether through the use of vibrant colour, a striking silhouette or a strong all over pattern, so we’ve focussed more on pieces that embody all of that.

What’s new in this collection?

We have introduced new pieces that would suit any size home, including petite sofas, loveseats, footstools and accent chairs, so it’s now even easier to add a pop of colour or playful print to your space, wherever that may be. There are also four brand new patterns, as well as whole new set of colourful fabrics, designed to freshen up the collection.

The Power of Pattern with Orla Kiely: Ivy sofa

The Ivy Sofa

Describe the collection in three words

Playful, vibrant, stylish.

What is your favourite piece from the new collection and why?

I love the Rose Sofa in the Retro Tile Candy print. I really love the slim silhouette, and the print makes me very happy – which is what my designs are all about.

Pattern plays a huge part in any Orla Kiely design. How did you choose the patterns for each new design?

As always, nature has a huge influence on my designs. This time, we considered the size of the furniture and the potential sizes of the spaces they may go on to inhabit. For example, an oversized pattern can sometimes make a small space feel larger and so this collection has been designed with that in mind – making it perfect for the modern living space.

The Power of Pattern with Orla Kiely: Alma chairThe Alma Chair

Colour also plays a big part. How did you choose the palette for this collection?

I personally love yellows and greens because they bring a sense of the outdoors inside.

Recently, we have sought comfort and solace in the great outdoors more so than ever before, so that has only become more important to me. Plants, flowers, fruits and insects have all featured in my designs, and it’s no coincidence that the colours I use are often found in the natural world.

Are there any pieces that you think people would be surprised by with a slightly different look?

Even though flowers are an integral part of my designs, people may be surprised by the shape of the Daisy stools – it’s the first time we’ve used the silhouette in furniture! I love how playful these stools are, especially with the print combinations available. A stool can go anywhere in the home, not just in the living room, which makes it such a versatile piece.

How should people style this collection? For example, can you mix and match pieces?

Absolutely. We know some people like to match their sofa and armchair, and we’ve designed enough pieces within the collection to style it that way but alternatively, there are enough accent pieces to mix and match colours and patterns – I say the more daring the better!

The Power of Pattern with Orla Kiely: Linden sofa

Linden Corner Sofa

How can people incorporate bold splashes of colour and pattern into their home without the scheme looking too busy?

Be brave, experiment and give yourself time to adjust. Trust your instincts and be confident! If you’re not sure if a print or bold colour will work in your home, experiment with accent pieces at first, such as cocktail chairs and footstools, which are so versatile they could happily sit in any room and can work with most colour palettes.

How do you think the last year has affected the way we approach our homes?

Well, our homes have certainly become more important to us over the last 18 months – becoming not only where we live and relax but where we work too.
I think many people may now be seeking to create a space of uplifting colour to counteract the anxieties of the outside world. In times of worry, we often look back retrospectively to times of our childhood when we felt safe and happy, so I would not be surprised to see another retro-revival coming soon!

Mid-Century style is a running theme throughout your designs. What is it about this era that captures your imagination?

This era for me embodies everything I like about design, the philosophy of form and function. It was an experimental era, with brave bold design. The shapes, textures, textiles and colours of the era bring me a sense of calm and joy.

The Power of Pattern with Orla Kiely: Birch snuggler

Birch Snuggler

What do you look for when it comes to buying furniture for your own home?

Furniture plays a huge part in the aesthetic of any room. Investing in key pieces such as sofas can make all the difference to a living space and adding accent pieces is an easy way to make a substantial change to a room without taking on a big decorating project.

The iconic ‘Stem’ graphic is instantly recognisable, how do you keep it strong and relevant each season?

My team and I are always looking for ways to update the stem. We experiment with colour, scale and building new motifs which add texture to the repeat pattern, creating a new rhythm and flow. Different scales and colours applied to different products can produce very different looks which keeps the print fresh – as you’ll see from this collection.

Shop the new Orla Kiely furniture collection in-store or online at www.barkerandstonehouse.co.uk/orla-kiely.