Decorating with gold

Once a little passé, gold and warm metallics are experiencing a huge renaissance in ever more sophisticated styles

Erica Tanov's store with wall clad in oversized brass paillettes
Michael Webber

Trust a fashion designer to devise a way of making gold sequinned walls look sophisticated and contemporary. Californian designer Erica Tanov’s new ‘Shimmer’ tiles for Clé (from £76 per 90cm square; are made from oversized brass paillettes, inspired by one of her bag designs and the image of sunlight gleaming on water. At Tanov’s store, they clad one wall of the otherwise simple space. ‘You can use them minimally or on a larger scale for true decadence,’ she says.

Tanov isn’t the only name using gold in exciting new ways, though. British designer Fay McCaul’s ‘Aurora’ tiles resemble armour, but are actually made from metallic textile components, arranged in intricate layers beneath fabric netting.

Metallic patterned wall tiles
‘Aurora’ tiles, from £120 each,

Another Brit, Emma Peascod of Studio Peascod, creates modern designs using the traditional French technique verre eglomisé (gilding on the reverse of glass). And materials expert Fameed Khalique has endless golden finishes in his huge Chelsea archive, which he’s applied to every surface imaginable.

‘Gold not only brings a wonderful warm glow to an interior, but also creates depth,’ he says. ‘Non-traditional materials can look more modern than wallpaper – woven metal mesh feels almost industrial, while gold silks or velvets are calmer and softer without losing impact.’

To avoid sensory overload, he advises introducing pattern and colour contrasts rather than just blocks of solid gold. Breaking up the gilding can create a more pared-down look.

metallic textile
‘Rain’ metallic textile, £712 per metre,

If you still prefer the ease of wallpaper, opt for distressed designs that don’t shout ‘bling’. Lelievre, Anthology and Christian Lacroix all have great options – the latter’s ‘Picassiette’ mosaic-like pattern resembles the background of a Gustav Klimt painting.

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