Creating a Look

Small spaces guru Nikkita Palmer gets ‘on trend’ with glamping interior design

Trends can be a funny thing. While we lust over coffee table books, magazines and interior Instagram feeds, there’s always that roll of the eye ‘not again’ moment we all feel. It can be disheartening knowing all that time, effort and most importantly money you’ve just put into redesigning your space is now out of date in the blink of an eye.

Being a designer, I naturally love trends, but something I am truly passionate about is timeless, functional and affordable design, all of which I incorporate into my thinking and design process. Therefore I am reluctant to make this article a trend report. I want you to come away from this piece excited and inspired to transform your space, and not be intimidated by the mass of colour, surface and plant based talk even I feel when reading other trend based pieces. Also, remember that this is a process and that process is important. No space is going to be transformed after one IKEA shop and if it is, you’re not doing it right.

Rustic style glamping interior
Pic: Quality Unearthed

Firstly, what’s on trend? Well, we could quite honestly be here forever. In such a multicultural, post modern, media-filled world, we are continuously submerged in imagery and ideas meaning that not one thing is on trend at one time. Basing my ideas around the glamping sector, and being a lover of small space design, I am going to concentrate on just a few interior looks that I think could work for you and your glamping business.

Scandi inspired cool and crafty products from Nikkita's studio
Scandi inspired cool and crafty products from Nikkita’s studio

Scandi
Scandinavian design is something which has been floating around the interiors market for a number of years now. It is a movement characterised by simplicity, minimalism and functionality. It is supported by a Danish concept called ‘Hygge’, which is a celebration of slow design and ‘just the right amount’. Hygge can be described in a number of different ways but it is essentially how you want your guests to feel when they visit your glamping site; a sense of relaxation, cosiness, a feeling of home, community and warmth.

The Scandi trend is traditionally a mix of white walls and clean lines, with a light and airy finish. You want your space to have a sense of outdoors, incorporating natural light but still being warm and cosy. Raw, imperfect materials work well here; we incorporate this style into some of our pieces by adding an element of pattern and block white shapes. I love the combination of warm raw wood and painted cooler Scandi inspired cool and crafty products from Nikkita's studiosurfaces, and this trend really embraces this. Add a freshness to your space with whites, off whites and greys, adding touches of colour with pastels such as greens, pinks and peaches.

Cool and Crafty
Pull your space together with practical but stylish accessories. Think organic and harmonious adding geometric touches for a sense of ‘cool’ through accent cushion covers, lampshades or duvets. Other soft furnishings, which give a real Bohemian feel, are macrame hammocks, over-sized dream catchers and cosy chunky knit blankets, which are huge on the craft scene at the moment.

Geometric statement print wallpapersIf you can use wall space, add geometric statement prints. A great way to achieve this effectively and affordably is to use wallpaper samples or offcuts placed into white box frames. You will also see moody and emotive black and white photography making a come back in the next year.

Of course, easy care cacti and succulents are also very trendy at the moment. Place these in simple terracotta pots with painted geos around the rim – think Spanish terrace. We source ours cheaply from Wilkos but if you’re looking for rustic charm, reclamation yards are great.

The Explorer's Carriage in Lyme Regis has mastered the industrial rustic look
The Explorer’s Carriage in Lyme Regis has mastered the industrial rustic look

Industrial Rustic
The rustic lover among you is probably wondering where you fit into this clean, white finish? Well do not fear, the industrial rustic theme is still going strong within the interior market and is a really emotive and personal finish for glamping sites. With more of an upcycled twist, this theme takes it back to the basics making it both achievable, effective and fun for both the owner and user of the space.

While reclaimed materials such as pallet wood and scaffold board are still making an appearance in the market, spice things up by adding surface waxes and chalk paints. Rich dark tones are in for this trend and add luxury and sophistication to a space. Add a sense of the outdoors with dark greys, rich earthy tones and fresh greens. If you’re looking to mix in a Bohemian feel, like you’ve seen at whimsical outdoor weddings recently, add autumnal mustards, yellows and rusts.

Metallics are still on the radar and work best when mixed; the surge of copper is disappearing with timeless gold and brass replacing it. This not only brings a sense of warmth but also an electric and sophisticated edge. Concrete continues to be used – try casting your own planters for personal and crafty touches; there is an abundance of ‘how to’ YouTube videos on this. Cork is also a great material to use and is both affordable and sustainable, the latter being a great concept to brag about in glamping spaces.

With the focus of this trend around reuse, the sourcing and placement of your goods can have emotive memories for your guests. Don’t strive for perfection here and be sure to tell a story, engage with the senses and again, create a real experience for your customer.

An industrial rustic look in the 'Cabin' at Brownscombe Luxury Glamping, Devon
An industrial rustic look in the ‘Cabin’ at Brownscombe Luxury Glamping, Devon

I love the styling of this trend and it can completely change a space with small and easy touches. We use old bean tins all the time; they’re great for storage and look really industrial. Try contacting your local restaurants or school cafes as they have much larger ones which are even better. Castors are a great addition to furniture and transform a piece into something practical and stylish. These range in style and can be more paired back or galvanised and oversized. Blanket boxes add a sense of cosiness on summer nights around the fire – we use fruit crates or old metal factory tins. Galvanised sheeting is great when used in shower rooms and removes the need to clean grubby grout in-between tiles. Think outside the box with this trend; there really are no rules apart from the quirkier the better.

Accessories
Think practical with your accessories – what does a small space need? Where do you dry your towel? Is there an accessible mirror to apply make up? Do your guests have a breakfast tray? All of these things can make or break a space; think carefully about style, finish and material to really pull things together and create an experience for your customer.

Geometric modern glamping unit
Pic: www.lochtay-vacations.co.uk / www. largoleisureholidays.co.uk

Decisions decisions
The most important factor on deciding on how to theme your glamping site is to think about the type of clients you’d like to attract. It is a good idea to create a profile of your target market; ask yourself lots of questions about that specific type of person – what does your client buy into? How old are they? Where do they do their food shop? Where would they like to do their food shop? What kind of lifestyle do they lead? What do they want to shout about to their friends? You need to consider every aspect of their lives; some brands give this person a name, some base it on a well known person in the media. This will really help you to draw together an image and will allow you to create a space which makes your client want to book with you.

Consider your USP (unique selling point) here and play on it. Are you surrounded by beautiful countryside providing a technology detox for the city work-a-holic? If this is the case, concentrate on natural materials, engaging with the senses and clutter-free spaces. A great book to help with this (and much more) is How To Style Your Brand by Fiona Humberstone.

Sticking to a budget and DIY

Hygge Scandi style rugs
Pic: Lulubelle

Working out your budget and then sticking to it can be hard, especially when you’re dressing more than one space. However, with access to such a wide variety of resources, you’d be surprised how many nifty ideas there are within the likes of Pinterest, DIY blogs, Facebook and Instagram. While DIY can be daunting and can take some research, you can now source materials, tools and equipment which make the job much easier. Chalk paint, for instance, now allows you to paint furniture easily with little prep work. We love Vintage Rocks Chalk Paint which comes in a wide range of beautiful colours as well as finishing products sure to get you the look you’re after. If DIY isn’t for you but you’d still like that handcrafted look, you’d be surprised how many small business like my own are available, offering affordable and quality services.

Of course, not everything needs to be handmade and you can usually find what you’re looking for second hand if you dig deep enough in the right places. While I’ve been brought up on skip finds (always ask permission), car boot sales, auctions and yard sales, the online second hand market has really taken off. I find an array of local treasures on sites such as Freecycle, Preloved (that also has a Freeloved section) and Facebook marketplace. With all of this at the click of a button there really is no need to go out and spend a fortune on new items.

With regards to budget, think about the impact of your pieces, try to avoid filling spaces unnecessarily and remember that less is often more. Work out your key, most expensive (or largest) items and accessorise around these; this also allows you to easily change a look if needed later on.

Most importantly…
Flaunt it! Remember, you’re not just providing glamping pods, tipis or yurts, you’re creating a lifestyle that people want to buy into. One of the biggest trends at the moment is the desire to experience. People want to experience things more than ever and this sits way above purchasing things in our current market. They want to flaunt their fancy glamping trip on Instagram, and so should you. With social media being an amazing free marketing tool, there’s no need to spend time and money on printing flyers, banners and adverts. Engage your target client with your social media by selling them the lifestyle you have on offer, whether it’s a chunky knit blanket draped over a vintage chair or toasting marshmallows on the fire – tell the story your guests could be turning into memories.


Resources I’d recommend

  • For those of you who haven’t been on Pinterest, do it. It will transform your life!
  • Book: In Praise Of Slow by Carl Honore
  • Book: Happy Campers by Kat Heyes
  • Book: How To Style Your Brand by Fiona Humberstone.
  • Book: The Little Book Of Hygge: The Danish Way To Live Well by Meik Wiking

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Design graduate Nikkita Palmer runs her own design company alongside her partner Billy. They create bespoke furniture and homewares from reclaimed materials for domestic and commercial interiors. As well as commission pieces, they also provide a personal design service dealing with everything from branding to visual identity and refurbishments.

Nikkita is an expert in the trend of small spaces and is passionate about ‘slow design’, reconnecting with nature, the importance of community, and the trend of experiences rather than things. 07766 827997 / www.nikkitapalmer.co.uk

Farm Business Innovation Show tickets
About Open Air Business 439 Articles

The voice of outdoor hospitality - in print and online.

If you liked this article, subscribe to the printed magazine for free here.

Between magazines we produce the electronic OAB Bulletin - get yours here.