Your home, the office you work in, the shops you visit, I could carry on creating a longer list. Design is around us everywhere. Sometimes we notice it and sometimes we walk right past, not giving it a second thought. Design is always personal since our opinions may differ on whether Retro or Antique looks good or not. However, there are certain universal trends that emerge, that are influenced by our changing attitudes and lifestyles. So, what are these trends and what’s happening in the world of interior design? We went to one of the biggest design festivals, Clerkenwell to find out and asked the experts how to keep design costs down to create looks that last a long time.
The biggest influence on design right now
It is “Back to nature” when it comes to the biggest influence on design. Whether it is a commercial or domestic trend, health and wellbeing or balancing busy lifestyles seem to be the focus. The main thought, that nature is good for us.
Natural looks like wood and stone dominate interior design in general including flooring, regardless of the material used (e.g. vinyl, wood or fibre). “There seems to be a shift towards more textured products with a rustic feel almost in an attempt to bring nature indoors” says Alex Litcan, Marketing Manager from Kahrs, one of the biggest manufacturers of real wood floors.
Our growing need for wellbeing translates into seeking a balance between work and play. Requiring offices to offer more agile work spaces with easily adjustable and homely looking furniture, with inviting soft, squidgy cushions and cheerful colours. Real wood and wood effect tend to be the most coveted type of design in a domestic setting with comfort being at the forefront.
“In terms of future trends, furniture design is moving towards comfort which is becoming an increasingly important factor when it comes to workplace environments”, notes Robert Walton Sales & Marketing Director at Knightsbridge Furniture. The concept of ‘liveable offices’ and ‘collaborative areas’ redefine the boundaries between home and work life, with the aim of creating positive spaces.
According to Becky Poole Design Manager at Tarkett, “whilst products can influence our wellbeing on a psychological level, there’s also a more physical perspective, such as reducing allergens that surround us.” She added that “there are certain floors that hold fine dust particles a lot better than other floors such as DESSO’s Airmaster (up to 8 times).” This health-conscious approach can also be seen when it comes to paint, with manufacturers developing products (for example Johnstone’s AirPure paint) that filter harmful formaldehyde which can be emitted from carpets, interior fabrics, chipboard and glue from indoor air.
Last but not least, there’s increasing emphasis on us being good to nature too by “using sustainable products that have a full-circular life-span and can be recycled into a new product” adds Becky Pool.
The most popular colours
In line with the nature theme, natural colours such as different shades of taupe, brown, green and grey dominate the colour palette. These colours evoke feelings of calm and serenity. Having said this, stronger, bolder colours like turquoise, yellow, red and orange are also in demand, although the tendency is to have these as accents (such as feature walls, individual pieces of furniture or accessories and in commercial settings, adding smaller patches of colour carpet tiles to more neutral ones) rather than using them to cover large areas. When I asked Tom Evans National Specification Manager at PPG Paint if there’s any colour that stands out above the others he said that “The colour which is really going to grab the imagination next year is the shade of dark green – called Night Watch (3rd photo below) which almost looks black when used internally but has enough colour to be used as a feature too.”
Patterns and textures
As nature is the biggest influence it is no surprise that patterns are no exception. What is interesting though – as I learned from Dave Starkey, A&D Sales Consultant at Bolon – that the current trend favours patterns that are created by textures or prints that emulate textures, rather than having motifs. For example, prints that create the illusion of pronounced textile characters and the look of strong coarse fabrics or natural fibres. Such as hemp or jute, (an example being Bolon’s Artisan or Bolon by Missoni collections) or carpets that evoke the feel of cobbled streets of ancient cities, (like Interface’s Human Connections) Still, if we wanted to find a decorative design that isn’t concerned with textures, geometric design would be the one that beats all the other patterns.
Furniture is also about texture and colour rather than patterns. Bolder brighter pieces add interesting accents while keeping the rest of the space natural and calm. Natural fabrics that speak to the senses are leading the way, which are incorporated into Scandinavian, Rustic and Retro styles.
Here now, gone tomorrow – Tips for future-proofing
This is all well one could argue. We might be inspired to follow the latest design advice, but only to have to change it when preferences change. Having said this, there are a few things that can be done to future-proof any design:
1. For floors and wall colours pick something that you truly love. All the other elements you can adapt later
2. If you choose different natural shades of flooring and combine them, it will not only work well to create a pattern but will also work with a variety of different colour furniture
3. Choose feature walls, they are easier to change than entire rooms
4. Textile panels offer a good alternative to wallpaper making the space look a lot more interesting and luxurious (Architextile by Casalis is a great example)
5. Use darker colours to make the space feel cosier and more opulent
In a nutshell
The recent design trends can perhaps be best described as going natural, being environmentally conscious, loving bold accents with homely looking and comfortable yet functional furniture.
Blog by Petra Kalnai