Creating a mid-century modern look

I have always loved mid-century modern furniture, way beyond the time when it was fashionable. One of my first pieces of furniture was a G Plan dining table which the receptionist at Britvic Soft Drinks, where I was working in PR at the time, was throwing out. A small donation to a local charity and the security man and I had it in the back of the car – I seem to remember I had a Ford Tigra at the time, so how I got it in is a complete mystery, but I did.

Wallpaper (l-r): Striped Petal, Multi Stem, Scribble , Linear Stem, Striped Petal, Giant Rhododendron l

Some years later and a complete change in career, first to garden design and now incorporating interior, garden and landscape design in my business, I still look out for mid-century modern pieces. Today they are far easier to come by and the look has been translated into home wares and fashion too. That’s why I was so excited when Internationally-renowned Irish designer Orla Kiely joined forces with Harlequin, one of the UK’s foremost interiors companies, to create a striking collection of bold and beautiful wallpapers. The signature collection was launched at Decorex in September: here are some of my favourites.

Wallpaper: Giant Stem


Founded in 1995, the Orla Kiely brand has become a byword for inspirational design, quality and visual innovation which is driven by Orla’s love of pattern, colour and texture. Her distinctive graphic and stylised motifs, in clean repeat constructions, achieve a very modern style, while her love for all things mid-century adds a nostalgic quality.

Wallpaper: Giant Rhododendron

What started with a small bag and accessories collection has now grown spectacularly to include Ready to Wear and fashion accessories, homeware, furniture, travel accessories, stationery, fragrance and now wallpapers.

Wallpaper: Multi Stem

The Orla Kiely collection is a testament to her flair and highly individual hand-writing. It comprises fourteen existing and immediately recognisable designs, several of which have been reinterpreted or rescaled. Coloured with wallpaper in mind, they retain the distinctive Orla style. They include evocatively named shades such as Bird’s Egg, Hibiscus, Nettle, Warm Calico and Bay Leaf, which sit comfortably alongside Olive, Midnight Blue and Classic Red to form an eclectic palette of vibrant brights and pared back neutrals.

Wallpaper: Giant Abacus Flower

Orla Kiely elaborates further: “One of my greatest passions in life is pattern and colour so the idea of creating a book of wallpapers was an exciting one. To me, the home is where we can truly express our style and personality, where we can be playful. Working with Harlequin was a great pleasure; combining our design aesthetic with their experience and knowledge to develop a book that I am very proud of.”

Wallpaper: Acorn Spot

If you have an interior project where you would like to use one of Orla Kiely’s wallpapers then why not get in touch. Or if you have a building project, interior or garden and landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for, then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973 843020.

Wallpaper: Giant Abacus Flower

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland, Oundle and Northampton as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.


 Wallpaper: Rhododendron

 Wallpaper: Striped Petal