Instagram Update | A Community Reacts

23rd February 2017

We LOVE Instagram.

Checking our Instagram feed has become part of our daily routine. Catching up with all of the great content our favourite #IGers have been posting, scanning our feed for new, like-minded people and finding brilliantly curated accounts inspires us to do more with our own account.

Change is often met with scepticism so it is of little surprise that the reaction to Instagram’s rollout of a ‘slideshow feature’ has been mixed. In case you missed it, the new update allows users to post up to 10 photos and videos in a single post. Posts with multiple photos and videos will be presented inline with the primary Instagram feed as a single post that can be swiped carousel-style to reveal additional photos.

Whilst Instagram is our ‘go to’ for curated imagery, Twitter is where we go to see the public’s reaction to topical events. That’s exactly what we did this morning. Here’s what people have been saying…

Some users are “nerding out”

Is the move a step forward?

Nik Speller from Utility favourite, Buckets & Spades Blog has tweeted a battlecry of sorts. Give the people what they’ve been asking for…

Others have greeted the change with a sense of humour. Jessie is waiting to see who bites first.

For this one user, the update doesn’t even seem to work.

We caught up with PR expert and personal Instagram user Kay Brown from BlueClaw for some insight into what the new update actually means for users going forward.

Following the introduction of the Instagram algorithm there’s been a greater focus on refining personal photography on the channel to increase engagement. This, however, is just one part of the puzzle as users are increasingly seeking accounts whose images are curated in the gallery format so they know what to expect in their feeds if they tap follow.

Owing to the curation element, this has created some restrictions for Igers looking to grow their followers and while it has encouraged creativity in some ways, it has also meant that good/beautiful/interesting images haven’t been posted for the pure fact that they wouldn’t look as good in the Igers profile grid.

The introduction of the slideshow will give users and businesses an opportunity to showcase more than one part of their day/project/photoshoot without the fear of ruining their curated profiles. It will also allow users to give their followers the chance to dig deeper into their photography with close ups or skip multiple photos that they might not be as interested in (a friend of mine has already used the feature to reduce the ‘baby spam’ on her feed).

It will be interesting to see how this affects the use of Instagram Stories which has been increasingly utilised as a place within the platform to share outtakes, behind the scenes and every day images that don’t fit in with the colour palette or theme of the profile grid.

Have you got any thoughts on the new update? We’d love to hear them.

Time for more Utility? 9 Oscar Worthy Movie Sets |Interior Colour Trends for 2017 | Tips for First Time Buyers


Award Winning interiors : 9 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

22nd February 2017

Ahead of the 89th Academy Awards this Sunday, we thought we’d take a minute to dish out our own Oscars. From James Bond to the Hunger Games, here’s 9 movies that showcase Oscar-worthy interiors.

The Cullen Residence, Twilight

Whilst the same can’t be said about the plot (or even the acting), Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight boasted some pretty impressive interiors when adapted for the big screen. In fact it could be said that the best thing about the 5-part saga is the luxury Cullen residence- a sleek, contemporary home located in a secluded area of the woods in a Portland Forrest.

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

Hoke House, Oregan Via Skylabarchitecture


The house (formally known as Hoke House) is owned by Nike Director John Hoke and has an ultra-modern feel due to the natural materials used in its construction. The wooden walls, huge glass windows, concrete finishes and Knoll furniture makes this a truly Oscar-worthy interior.

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

The Cullen’s living room in Twilight Via Skylabarchitecture

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

Hocke House Via Skylabarchitecture featuring Knoll Saarinen Womb Chair & Ottoman

The Stark Mansion, Iron Man

Though an impressive feat of interior set design, Tony Stark’s Mansion in Iron Man only really made headlines when rumours started circulating that it was up for a sale a few years ago. For the lucky few who happened to have a spare $25 million lying around, this turned out to be a disappointing case of fake news- the house doesn’t actually exist and is a very clever use of CG technology.  The house is depicted on Malibu’s Point Dume- a historical land mark where building is prohibited!

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

The Stark Mansion, Iron Man via Ironman.wikia


Nevertheless we think still it’s Oscar-worthy, not least because the real home that inspired it stops nothing short of an architectural masterpiece. The Razor Residence in La Jolla, California, is an 11.000 Sqaure Foot Estate conceived by San Diego architect Wallace Cunningham. It’s composed of staggering layers of  glass and concrete floor-to-ceiling expanses that look built into the mountainside. Inside you’ll find four bedrooms, six bathrooms, a glass elevator, an underground garage and a rooftop fitness room along with SEVERAL infinity pools. If Tony Stark really did exist, we’re sure he’d reside here!

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

The Razor Residence, La Jolla, California via the pinnaclelist

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

Knoll Barcelona Chairs Inside the Razor Residence, img via thepinnaclelist

Cameron’s House, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Another glass-fronted beauty, Cameron’s House in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is almost as Oscar-worthy as the film. Though it doesn’t actually get much air time, that famous scene in which Cameron’s Dad’s 1961 Ferrari goes careering through the glass windows has turned it into something of a pop culture icon.

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

Cameron’s House via


The sleek, 4-bedroom  home is located in Highland Park, Illinois, not far from Chicago. Made from glass and steel it stayed on the market for five years before being bought for $1.3 million in 2014. Even so its Mid-century Modern style is award-worthy to us. It just goes to show that whilst life moves pretty fast.. the same can’t be said for property!

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

Camerom’s House Via

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

Cameron’s House Via

Christian Grey’s Apartment, 50 Shades Darker

Another interior that’s sufficiently better than the film, we can’t help but love Christian Grey’s Penthouse Apartment in  50 Shades Darker despite his questionable personality (no offence Grey-lovers). The apartment described in the book was inspired by the real-life 5,170-square feet Escala Penthouse in Seattle, which is now on the market for $8.8m. The same apartment inspired the set design for both movies, although the interior in the latter was given- you guessed it, a darker makeover.

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

Escala Penthouse, Seattle via Seattle.curbed


Whilst the first film featured a colour palette of blue and green jewel tones, the second saw  “a very concerted effort to get texture into this movie and to get a richer coloration so that it felt little more ominous but also more masculine” according to production designer Nelson Coates.  The result is a ultra-luxe bachelor pad with a dark, Oscar-worthy colour scheme.

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

Christian Grey’s Apartment, 50 Shades of Grey via designboom

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

Christian Grey’s Apartment, 50 Shades Darker via

William Whyte’s Mansion, James Bond: Diamonds Are Forever 

Whilst all the Bond Movies feature impressive interiors, the Oscar-worthy award has to go to the 1971 film Diamonds are Forever, which showcases the legendary Palm Springs Home Elrod House. Designed by visionary architecture John Lauder, the home was built in 1968 for interior designer Arthur Elrod and is an example of ‘free architecture’. The house is cinematically sited on a craggy ridge and incorporates huge, natural boulders as walls and room dividers, combining architecture with nature.

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

Elrod House Via


The interior is equally as impressive as the exterior. Its best known feature is the 9-petaled circular concrete canopy above the ginormous circular living room, which has a monumental diameter of 60ft. If that’s not impressive enough the house (which went on the market last year for $8million), is complete with 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, an open air patio offering panoramic views of the desert, a roof top deck, a gigantic swimming pool and a gym.

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

Elrod House via

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

Elrod House interior, via

Jackie Treehorn’s House, The Big Lebowski

The Classic Cult Film The Big Lebowski shows the highs and lows of Los Angeles Real Estate, but it’s the James Goldstein House (Treehorn’s home in the film) that makes it interior Oscar-worthy to us. The famous LA residence designed by architect John Launter is another master of modernism. It’s mostly made of glass and concrete and is built in to the side of a canyon, offering panoramic views of Los Angeles.

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

James Goldstein House, Jeff Green photography via archdaily


The inside of the home is sparse and minimal, but it’s full of surprises: the wooden ceiling opens to let down a huge TV and there’s a glass sink with no faucets — a hidden spout offers water with the wave of a hand. Meshing the outside and inside was a Launter signature, so there’s a lot of greenery and natural materials integrated into the house. For the last 30 years until Launter’s death,  both the owner and the architect worked together on renovating the house.  As well as a swimming pool it now boasts a tennis court and a night club where stars like Rihanna and Beyonce have been entertained!

Last year the Goldstein House was donated to the LACMA, with Goldstein saying “Hopefully, my gift will serve as a catalyst to encourage others to do the same to preserve and keep alive Los Angeles’ architectural gems for future generations.”

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

Goldstein House Via


Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

James Goldstein House Interior, Tom Ferguson Photography via Archdaily

Barbara Novak’s Manhattan Apartment, Down with Love

We couldn’t write a blog about Oscar-worthy interiors without featuring Down With Love. The movie is set in the 60s and the sets are full of iconic design from this time, especially Barbara Novak’s Manhattan apartment. This candy-coloured pad is kitted out in Knoll, with the Knoll Saarinen Womb Lounge chair taking centre stage in many scenes! It also boasts stunning views of the Manhattan skyline thanks to its wall to ceiling windows.

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

Barbra Novak’s Apartment, Down With love via Littlemiss Architect


The set was built for the film and digitally enhanced to give it a glossy look. Most homes in the 60s didn’t look like a Barbie Doll Dream house and the set playfully re-imagined the decade to suit modern perceptions of what it was like. Nevertheless the combination of vivid pops of colour, distinct light fixtures and wacky texture combinations gives it the thumbs up from us. Definitely an award-wining movie interior.

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

Barbra Novak’s Apartment, Down With love via Littlemiss Architect

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

Barbra Novak’s Apartment, Down With love via Littlemiss Architect

The Train to the Capitol, The Hunger Games

We’ve given a lot of awards out to Mid-century modern pieces in this blog so in the interest of diversity it’s time to take a look at something more futuristic. The Hunger Games might not instantly bring to mind great interiors what with most of the film being set in a killing field, however the inspiration behind the set design is actually really interesting, especially when you compare the design of the Capitol to the Districts.

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

Stills of Shots in the Capitol via pushing pixels


The set, props and costumes are visual cues taken from times in history when socio-economic disparity between the classes was extreme, from the French Revolution to the Great Depression.  Yet whilst scenes in the districts are period precise- designer Philip Messina took inspiration from Soviet Architecture and the 1930s Depression Era to capture the mood of deprivation,  the vision of the future in scenes from the Capitol  are much more bold and radical. The idea was to create a dystopian future of excess that was scary to an outsider, but cool to a glamour-obsessed insider. The result was some pretty cool futuristic decor that helped tell the story- making it Oscar worthy to us.

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

Train to the Capitol, Via Hungergames Wikia

Award Winning interiors : 10 Movie Set Designs Worthy of an Oscar

Train to the Capitol via filmandfurniture

Read the full interview with the Hunger Game’s Set designer Philip Messina here

Everything Everything

Last but not least we have Everything, Everything. The film isn’t actually released until later this year but the trailer was enough to prove it’ll feature an oscar-worthy interior. Based on the young-adult novel of the same title the film is about a teenager who leads a sheltered life because she’s allergic to everything. That is until she falls for the boy next door….


Most of the film is set in a house the protagonist can never leave, so naturally the set designers went all out in decorating the interior, kitting it out with design classics. Being confined to your house doesn’t sound like much fun, but having an Eames Lounge Chair & Ottoman to relax in might be some consolation!

Eames Lounge Chair featured in the trailer of Everything, Everything

Vitra Soft Pad Eames Chair featured in Trailer for Everything, Everything


What’s your favourite Movie Interior? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter 

Time for More? 2017 Colour Trend Predictions | 2017 Material Trend Predictions | How to Decorate with Brass | The Utility Look Book: 8 Trend Predictions for 2017 

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The Utility Look Book : 8 Interior Trend Predictions for 2017

11th February 2017
Interior trends for 2017

They say change is the only constant and that couldn’t be more true when it comes to interior design. Last year we saw minimalism  take centre stage but this year it looks like there’s a bolder future ahead. Following on from our 2017 colour trend & material trend report, here’s 8 interior looks we expect to dominate the design scene in 2017.

The Futuristic Home

From Mid-Century Modern to Renaissance-style furniture, many home decor trends are inspired by the past.  However it’s the designers going back to the future for their inspiration who are spear-heading the latest design movement: The Futuristic Home.

As seen in architectural projects from Craft London’s Roof Top Bar to the Infinity Tower in Dubai,  the 1950s vision of futuristic decor is finally being revised for modern-day living . The look heavily relies on architecture: fluid lines, asymmetric angles, rounded walls and rounded doorways should be considered before construction, but if your home is already built in conventional shapes then futuristic decor will have the same effect. Colour wise think cosmos-inspired tones such as purple shades, jewel tones and silver/metallic finishes.

Top tip:  Look out for designs with a  functionality and appearance that blend fantasy and reality. Anything that looks like it belongs in a sci-fi / futuristic film is perfect for creating that Space-Age Look in your home.


Escapism’s been marked as a design trend to watch this year and it’s not hard to understand why. In an era of technological domination, people are seeking havens in the home where they can retreat from the digital world and all its distractions.

Designers are focusing on spaces where Tvs, smartphones, computers and Ipads can’t get in. Instead the focus is on calm, quiet and comfortable corners, be it a reading corner, a small nook in the home or a tech free zone in your bedroom or living room.

Top Tip: Channel escapism by draping your home in tactile textiles such as sheepskin, velvet, woollen rugs, deep sofas, oversized chairs and a plethora of cushions and throws.

Cosmopolitan Calm

By the end of 2016 Hyyge pretty much dominated the interior design scene. Although it was seen as an autumn/winter design solution its cosy-living principles look set to stay. In the midst of political uncertainty City dwellers are seeking to create calm, cosy spaces in their Urban homes using the same  design rules as Hygge (e.g scented candles & textiles) but with a few Spring-updates.

The look, coined by the team at Elle Decor as “Cosmopolitan Calm”, combines pale wood, concrete finishes, and blush pink colours to create an oasis of peace amidst Urban chaos. Muted colours, pastel colours, large windows and soft, diffused lighting are also essential qualities of the calm, cosmopolitan home.

Top Tip: Blush pink made its way into the limelight when Rose Quartz & Serenity Blue were announced as Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2016. Combine with soft grey to create the ultimate calming colour palette.

Bohemian Decor

If you prefer to go bold with your interior style then we’ve  got great news: Bohemian decor is going to be huge this year. For textiles, we’ll see a greater influence from North Africa, India, Mexico and South America in terms of traditional patterns and designs, so don’t be afraid to mix and match styles if you’re a fan of eclectic, eccentric home decor. As blogger Swoonworthy advises, the idea behind boho is to create a global, well travelled look in your home- one that evokes memories of journeys past whilst giving a glimpse of the history behind the hands that made the works.

This little dude fell down a flight of stairs and is on the mend now… ❤

A photo posted by Fleamarketfab™️️ (@fleamarketfab) on

To instil this in your home, try oversized plants, woven fabrics, imperfect patterns and vintage / flea market furniture.  Comfort is key. Oversized chairs, sofas and an abundance of rugs are great for creating boho-vibes in your space.

Top Tip: Brown and green hues are great starting point for a Bohemian colour palette  but don’t be afraid to colour clash and break conventional design rules.  Bohemian decor ultimately boils down to exotic, free-spirited design!

Buenas Noches ✨#jungalowstyle #justinablakeneyhome

A photo posted by Justina Blakeney (@justinablakeney) on


With the rise in popularity of  indoor plants last year, one of the big trends for 2017 is botanical home decor. Not dissimilar from Bohemian Decor, Botanical Living is all about aquatic, forest and coastal colours as well as an abundance of indoor plants.

According to lifestyle & interiors blogger Lnd Diaries , plants, herbs, animals and lakes inspire the theme.  Printed cushions, chairs, wall art or wall paper are a great way to introduce botanical design into your home.

Top Tip: Botanical Decor is a great way to experiment with Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2017,  Greenery.

Farmhouse Style Living

One of the top 100 search terms on Pinterest last year, Farmhouse Style Living will continue to dominate home decor trends this year.  We’ve already discussed how dark, rich smoky woods have over taken pale, blonde woods in popularity, and this move towards using dark, hazelnut colour palettes in the home is part and parcel of another trend toward rustic, country-style living.

To create a country-chic look in your home, use wooden furniture and rustic finishes in abundance. Other qualities of a farmhouse style home are open plan spaces, cosy quarters, neutral colours, wicker furniture and vintage antiques.

Top Tip: If your home’s pretty modern then achieving this look might require a few changes! Here blogger Little Vintage Nest shares her tips on how to easily transition to Farmhouse Style Living.

Raw Beauty

If edgy is more your style then raw beauty might be the 2017 trend for you. This combines raw materials with refined shapes and cool  colours to create a look that is ultra modern and industrial yet luxe and glamorous at the same time.

Raw materials have been trending for some time now and ones to look out for galvanised steel, iron elements, exposed brick work, concrete surfaces and metallic accents such as brass and copper. These offer lots of versatility in terms of how minimal or edgy you want the space to look. Opt for rusty matt finishes if you want it on the more industrial side of raw beauty, and polished, shiny finishes if you want it on the luxe side of the spectrum.

Top Tip: A palette of inky, denim blues makes a chic compliment to material such as concrete and steel, whilst metallic accents and textiles add warmth and interest to an otherwise monochromatic scheme.

New Modern

2017 has already witnessed a great deal of change- not just in the political landscape but in the design landscape too! For years the crispy clean white walls of Scandinavian homes have dominated interior design magazines but this year a different movement is on the rise- one that is warm, rich and really wonderful!

‘New Modern’ is of one the biggest trends that Editor-in-Chief of Elle Decor Michelle Ogundehin thinks we should look out for this year and we couldn’t agree more. To get the look, think jewel tones, lustrous stones, warm colours, soft textures, clashing patterns and an abundance of metallics.  It’s really about a joyful celebration of the home- a moment to be bold and brave in a time of such otherwise uncertainty.

Top Tip: Bright Bazaar is a great go-to blog for colour inspiration and colour decor tips.

What’s your favourite interior trend? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter 

Time for More? 2017 Colour Trend Predictions | 2017 Material Trend Predictions | How to Decorate with Brass | The Hazelnut Colour Palette 


Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

10th February 2017

Forget bouquets of flowers or chocolate this Valentine’s Day, say you love someone with a gift that will leave a lasting impression.

We’ve rounded up our favourite Valentine’s gifts for him and for her available on our site right now. Don’t forget we have a range of fun and romantic Valentine’s cards online for you to choose from too.

For Her

Tell your other half that you hate them the least with the light-hearted mug from Gemma Correll or write a romantic Valentine’s message for them to come home to with the Jay Letter Board. If you don’t think that’s their thing, we’ve included the gift of scent with the Paddywax Urban candles (which double as a planter when used!) and the Edblad Mini Hearts Bracelet if you’re looking for something more traditional this Valentine’s Day. If none of these tickle-your-fancy we have a wide range of gifts that are perfect for her.

Valentine's Day Gifts for Her

1I Hate You The Least Mug / £11.99
2Edblad Mini Hearts Bracelet / £31
3Hay Gold Tray – Large / £16
4Jay Letter Board / £40 Tumbler – Roses / £15
6Un Deux Trois  / £35
7Paddywax Urban Candles – Sea Salt & Sage / £28

For Him

Want to get him something he’ll never put down? Look no further than the James Bond Archives which is full of behind the scenes 007 trivia. Maybe you want him to look more like James Bond? The INSTRMNT 01-c will achieve just that for you. But if you’re feeling a little cheeky, why not go for the Soft Lad Apron and he’ll have no excuse not to cook now! If he actually is a bit of a soft lad, why not go for the Koto scented candle from Skandinavisk (pssst most men actually like nice scents!). If none of these float-your-boat, check out our full range of gifts for men this Valentine’s Day.

Valentine's Day Gifts for Him

1James Bond Archives / £44.99
2Soft Lad Apron / £18
3Kaweco Brass Sport Fountain Pen / £67
4Vitra Toolbox – Mauve Grey / £22
Areaware Keyring – Bell / £18
6INSTRMNT 01-C / £180
Skandinavisk Koto Scented Candle / £28

Want to show Utility some more love? Check out our other recent blogs…

 2017 Colour Trend Predictions | 2017 Material Trend Predictions | How to Decorate with Brass | The Hazelnut Colour Palette 


Final Piece of the Puzzle – Hans J. Wegner CH23 Dining Chair is here!

9th February 2017

The beautiful city of Stockholm has played host to the Utility team for the past few days. The colourful streets of Gamla Stan and delightful ‘Fika’ have been among our highlights of Stockholm Design week. However, the standout news from our time at Stockholm Furniture Fair has been the relaunch of Hans J Wegner’s CH23 Dining Chair from Carl Hansen & Son.

2016 saw the launch of the CH22 Lounge Chair and so the relaunch of the CH23 completes the set of 4 chairs designed by Wegner for the iconic Danish brand.


A best seller in the years after it’s design,The CH23 is back in production and will be available soon from Utility Design. The simple dining chair, features a cross cover-cap detail where the back meets the frame. This detailing can also be rendered in a contrasting wood for those who feel the matching wood option is a little too understated.

For anyone familiar with the Wishbone Chair from the Wegner series will know of the great craftsmanship that goes into the woven seat. The seat of the CH23 is double woven in a process that takes trained craftsmen 1 1/2 hours to complete by hand. The result is a seat that can last as long as 50 years without further weaving.

As always, we’ll be among the first retailers in the UK to offer the Carl Hansen CH23 online. Stay tuned to our social media channels to find out when you can pick yours up!

Head over to our Instagram Story to see the latest releases from Stockholm Furniture Fair

Time for more Utility? Interior Colour Trends for 2017 | How to Decorate with Brass | Tips for First Time Buyers