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“The light is what guides you home, the warmth is what keeps you there” (Ellie Rodriguez), is one of my favourite quotes. Our homes are places we should feel warm, happy, calm, secure, relaxed, inspired, or anything else we want to feel. And as a Home Design Assistant I love that I play a role in designing products that help families and friends make their homes a special space.

People often ask how we get inspiration for these products, and the simple answer is it’s an on-going and all-consuming process. We take inspiration from anything and everything, macro trends, lifestyle, culture and travel to name just a few. We’re interested in the past, present and future, everything from what we can dig out from our Archive to the very latest emerging trends. We thoroughly research across numerous different platforms to ensure our products are relevant for our customers, and of course that they’re beautiful.

Being a designer requires a thirst for inspiration, we’re constantly on the lookout for topical trend information using a variety of different blogs, reading magazines and of course browsing trend books. Another key tool for designers is WGSN, a trend forecasting website used throughout design in the majority of retail businesses. It’s a highly informative platform that looks at customer and consumer trends, we take snippets of information from this platform throughout the year to inform and inspire our seasonal trends, this can be anything from the newest food festivals or trendy hotel openings to fashion and home collaborations - all of this rich data inspires our product development. We also use external trend companies like Luminary and Nelli Rodi to help us to confirm our in-house thoughts and provide a broad overview of macro trends.

Unsurprisingly, Instagram is now a great tool for instant information and sharing trends on the go! Our own M&S design curated Instagram is fabulous to keep up to date on colour, print, pattern, fabric & even the newest exciting exhibitions - @marksandspencerhomepr. And some of the feeds I like browsing include @greenandmustard, @styleophileuk and @tintaluhrman. One thing that’s great about Instagram is there’s a really strong community where people love sharing their homes to give others ideas, inspiration and tips - from upcycling and hacks to where to get the must-have lighting or the name of an exact shade of paint.

What’s also great about Instagram is seeing our products in real people’s homes, how they style them differently and each instagrammer has their own unique twist. Here’s a couple I’ve seen and loved.

  • @welovehomeblog with our watercolour washed table runner using it alfresco as a garden table accessory
  • @pinkhouseliving styled our rustic ceramics and pale pink glassware beautifully as a casual dining setting
  • @littlehouseinlondon captured our latest picnicware and outdoor cushions perfectly!

At M&S each designer is a product expert in their category constantly compiling in depth research and ensuring we’re on the pulse with the most inspiring innovation, but importantly we also have an in-house blog that allows all departments to share what they find with each other and there’s a constant focusing on making sure we have a synergy throughout the whole M&S home collection.

You read every day in the press that the retail market is changing fast, and that’s true. It’s why in home design innovation and inspiration remain fundamental to how we work – so we can keep sharing with our customers products that really can help make their house a home.

For more inspiration follow @marksandspencerhomepr on Instagram.