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The Greatest Showman

Whether you’re a fan of musicals or not, it’s hard to deny the sweeping success of ‘The Greatest Showman’, starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, and Michelle Williams. It’s a dazzling extravaganza based on the life of P.T. Barnum and his creation of the Barnum & Bailey Circus.

The Greatest Showman

Who doesn’t love a bit of old-time razzle-dazzle? Such fun especially in the midst of a dark, cold and wet winter! I’m sure we can all agree that visually this film is gorgeous. Designers, craftsmen and tech crew have painstakingly created and captured the old world grit and glamour of 19th Century New York City and the opulence and wonder of theatre.

Inspiration comes in many forms and I have found ideas in literature, art, theatre and film to be a huge resource for styling my home. So we’re looking at the old-world glamour of ‘The Greatest Showman’ to inspire some ideas for home styling and decoration.

The Greatest Showman

Curiouser & curiouser!!

Here, we’ve pulled a fabulous wallpaper from Manuel Canovas with a bit of a ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ feel to it – bell jars of butterflies, shelves of trinkets, and botanical specimens. Alongside it sits a textured linen paper recalling the canvas of the Big-Top Circus tent. Other fun additions include the world map printed on fabric as an homage to 19th century explorers, a Persian-style velvet hinting at the Magician’s old faithful carpet-bag of tricks, exotic kilims, tribal prints and stripes of course!….we’re in a circus after all! And for a final flourish of quirkiness, we’ve thrown in a hair hide as a nod of respect to the bizarre bearded lady.

What do you think?

We think this is rich, textured, and both fun and sophisticated!


For a brighter pop of colour, we’ve pulled together another scheme inspired by big-top vintage balloons.

The Greatest Showman

We’ve featured that distinctive Hot Air Balloon wallcovering from Manuel Canovas sitting alongside a metallic and citrus yellow paper for oodles of colour and zing on the walls. Why stop there? Include a bright yellow geometric silk for a curtain and an unusual ombre linen, perfect for brightening up dreary days. To counterbalance all of the yellow we’ve included crisp black and white stripes and geometrics, with a dark green leather for a vintage hit.

Hope you enjoy these visuals. All available separately or as a complete scheme at McMillan Interiors, The Outpost, Loan Rd, Cullybackey. Phone Niel – 07970 991131 or Catherine – 07808 959212 for an appointment.

The Dark Side

Forty years ago, in May 1977, little-known director George Lucas released an epic Space Opera film called Star Wars that would set off a global movement of mania over the daring battle between the Rebel Force and the Galactic Empire.

This December sees the release of the eighth episode, ‘The Last Jedi’ and the saga shows no sign of waning in popularity. Fans, critics and movie buffs around the world have long made their claim over where their allegiances lie – with the knightly Jedi Rebels or the Sith-run Empire. I have my own convictions and I will leave you to make yours, but when it comes to interiors and home style lets consider the debate: are you Jedi or Sith? Light or Dark? Bright and fresh, or moody and muted?

For a few years now, light and fresh Scandinavian style interiors have been all the rage. They typically feature lots of white or lightly stained woods, comfortable fabrics such as linen, wool and shaggy sheepskin, and a palette of whites, greys, and muted shades of blues, greens, yellows. It’s light, airy, fresh, clean, and cosy. It’s contemporary and still very much on trend.

So, hands up…who loves this?

This is a style for those who prefer more of a minimalist look – it’s clean, pared back, unfussy. Furniture is streamlined and often raised up on legs. It features lots of nice lines and is typically tidy and compact. The Scandivanian countries are masters of this style but all do slight variations of it.

To get this style, neutral is key but that doesn’t have to mean boring – play with a range of neutral tones. Choose some natural motifs in neutral colours or some small scale prints with little pops of colour to add fun. Don’t forget to play up texture – choose a range of fabrics such as slubby linens, soft cottons, shaggy rugs and throws and some nice metallics for interest.

Here’s a couple of Scandi-inspired schemes we’ve pulled together:

But maybe you’re less Luke-Skywalker-Jedi-Light-Side and more Darth-Vader-Sith-Dark-Side (confession….I came over to the Dark Side a couple of years ago and have no regrets!)

While the light Scandinavian style interior has been popular for a few years, the dark interior has really only caught momentum much more recently. However it’s showing no signs of slowing down which is really exciting to see! A significant ambassador of the dark trend is British designer Abigail Ahern who proposes that for a really stylish, cosy and character-full space, homeowners should paint walls, ceilings, doors, woodwork and moulding in gorgeously dark, inky colours – browns, blues, ochres, greens, blacks, greys. This creates a cosy ‘cocooning’ effect in the room and actually blurs the edges and corners of the room, thereby making it feel grander and bigger. The Dark Side is the perfect canvas for all the maximalists out there – it’s an opportunity for you to fill those dark corners with lamps and clusters of candles to create cosy puddles of light and warmth around the room.

Texture and layering is key to create visual interest and really to create a bit of fun! Over the last year we’ve seen the arrival – and resurrection – of some really cool textures and finishes which are perfect in a dark room. Interesting botanicals have made a big impact on the interiors scene (e.g. exotic cacti, fabulous succulents, blousy florals, huge monstera plants, fragrant eucalyptus) and we’ve seen some really well-made faux plants appear on the market which is allowing us to create all sorts of interesting spaces and effects. In Fashion and Interiors we’ve also seen the glorious revival of sumptuous velvet in a stunning array of colours – rich chocolates, regal blues, dusky pinks, and vibrant yellows.

Have I convinced you to come to the dark side yet?… If not, here’s a delectably dark scheme we pulled together full of buttery soft velvets, cosy wools, shimmering silks, slubby linens and that fabulous mercury wallpaper. So glam and fun and super cosy.

So whether you’re Jedi -light or Sith-Dark, the key to either style is texture. Inject lots of fun and cosy fabrics into your rooms – home should be a place that is welcoming, warm, and comfortable!

Pantone Colour of the Year

The Interior Design Industry is huge and varied and brimming with gorgeous products and thoughtful designs, and each year we see the release of exciting new ranges to beautify our homes and make everyday life a little more comfortable. More people than ever before are paying attention to trends, design, and capturing a style that is right for them and it’s great to see global brands and independent businesses providing products, solutions, ideas and inspiration for every budget, requirement and style!

While we here at McMillan Interiors dislike slavishly following trends, but rather advocate creating a home that is personal, fun, and individual, there is one company that we love to watch for trend prediction: Pantone.

In December of each year Pantone predict what the forthcoming predominant ‘Colour of the Year’ will be – a prediction based on research, culture analysis, and forecasting trends. Pantone colour experts have been researching and predicting colour trends since 2000 by examining colour influences around the world in business, fashion, the arts, the entertainment industry, tourism and even current events. It’s not a science and it’s not set in stone – rather it’s a guide, a suggestion, a commentary on current cultural flow. 2017 was the year of ‘Greenery’ – a zesty shade of yellow-green that channelled ideas of Spring, freshness, energy, new beginnings, nature and the outdoors.

Certainly we saw a lot of green throughout 2017 but it remains to be seen whether Pantone actually predicted what people wanted. Bottle green, emerald green and leafy green proved popular and will likely remain so throughout the next year. But what colour has Pantone predicted to be big in 2018? Designers, makers, influencers, and consumers all waited with bated breath… and just a few days ago Pantone indulged us with a colour that is a bold and unexpected deviation from the zesty brightness of Greenery.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Pantone Colour of the Year 2018 is….

Ultra-Violet! (Did you see that coming?…)

Here’s the official line from the Colour Specialists at Pantone:

“We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination. It is this kind of creative inspiration that is indigenous to PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level. From exploring new technologies and the greater galaxy, to artistic expression and spiritual reflection, intuitive Ultra Violet light the way to what is to come.” – Leatrice Eiseman (Executive Director of the Pantone Colour Institute)

Ultra Violet echoes the artistic genius and individuality of David Bowie, Prince, Jimi Hendrix. It captures exploration and innovation in science, technology, spirituality, mindfulness. According to colour theory, purple is associated with wealth, royalty, ecclesiastical power and interestingly, purple has often been seen in significant cultural changes and shifts throughout history. Clearly the forecast of Ultra-Violet in 2018 is much more than just aesthetic – it’s a symbolic prediction and prophetic statement on what’s to come in the arts, business, culture, science, politics. As Laurie Pressman of Pantone summarises:

“The Pantone Color of the Year has come to mean so much more than ‘what’s trending’ in the world of design; it’s truly a reflection of what’s needed in our world today.”

Fascinating! We can’t wait to see how this plays out throughout 2018.

So what do you think?

Do you love Ultra Violet?

Hate it?

Are you on the fence?

Personally, when I first heard the announcement I was a little disappointed. This Autumn saw the release of some gorgeous palettes and colour-ways in the new designer collections. Matthew Williamson, Nina Campbell, Designers Guild had some stunning designs featuring sumptuous chocolates, striking blacks and fresh corals. I thought chocolate brown was going to be a thing. I thought we were going to stay moody and dark and sumptuous.

However I’ve really come round to the idea of Ultra-Violet. It’s not my favourite colour in interiors – purples can very easily go wrong and look a bit dated. But I’m really curious to see how it’ll play out over the incoming year and how designers, stylists and homemakers work with this bold and statement-making colour. Despite my initial reservations, I’m absolutely delighted that we’re staying big and bold with colour in 2018! Ditch the beige and inject colour and character and fun into your home!

If you fancy injecting your home with some Ultra-Violet glam in 2018 we’ve gathered up some ideas for some fabulous furnishings below. If this has whetted your appetite please get in touch with us.

A Day In The Life Of A Pair Of Scissors!

One item which we couldn’t be without in the McMillan Interiors workroom is scissors!

Some days are all about picking up the scissors and making bold sweeps through widths of fabric!

Great for releasing a bit of aggression but not advisable unless your head is clear enough to compute pattern matches as you go.

Every fabric handles differently and mistakes are easy to make but costly to rectify. Cotton sateen is robust and fairly dependable, wool is soft and slower cutting is advised. Silk is delicate and can move all over the place so care is required. As for sheer fabrics…..!!!

I was taught more than 25 years ago by a lady named Greta Simpson who worked with us in our workroom. She was retired from Hillmount factory in Cullybackey where she had learned her considerable skills with sewing machines and cutting out. Her advice on cutting straight –

  • “Keep your eye on the point of the scissors”
  • “Don’t look at your hand or you will swerve”
  • “Measure twice – cut once!!”  Anyone you cuts anything will concur with this!

I think of Greta every time I pick up my scissors and her simple words of advice have been invaluable.

I’ve included some photos of the finished projects from that particular Cutting Day.

If you need some interior design advice or intend to redecorate soon get in touch with us.  Make an appointment and come and see us at our McMillan Interiors studio at The Outpost, 53a Loan Road, Cullybackey, BT42 1PS. Phone 07808959212 or email  – or 

Our Design Tips 2017

Blue is here!  Green is coming! Specifically dark emeralds and bottle greens. I love these colour palettes!



I’ve also included a Steven Hanna Photography landscape which picks up on the same palette.

You’ll see a lot more of these tones in the year to come.


Geometrics are here!  But the fluid organic designs of water, mercury and randomness of paint

spatter art will be also be used in fabrics and wallcoverings in homes coming into next year.

Designers Guild and Zoffany have great examples.  And a newcomer on the scene –

homegrown in Northern Ireland!  William Clarke, Earthed, The Upperlands Collection.

So exciting and such a relief to see the industry of linen production and finishing being revived

here in the province.



Watch out for the same influences in carpets and lighting. 

Keep up to date with our design tips for 2017 as they happen. New trends, new colours, new fabrics and much more on our Facebook page here. Check out the Steven Hanna Photography website here to see more of his latest stunning landscape photography. 

If this has whetted your appetite your appetite, and you’re now thinking it’s time for some decorating, please get in touch. You can make an appointment and come and see us at our McMillan Interiors studio – The Outpost, 53a Loan Road, Cullybackey, BT42 1PS. Phone 07808959212 to make an appointment or email either of the following – or