Trends are inspiring! They’re a great guide; whether you’re thinking about updating a space or decorating one for the first time, every year brings new ideas, technologies and influences. It’s always a thrill to see what the studios and curators think will lead the design world into the new year, but never for that, in your own home, the most important design expert you have on board your project is… you! The most timeless trend, the one that never dates, is your personal touch!
Trust yourself! Decorate your space with the things that are valuable to you, remind you of good times or are just beautiful to you; and when you have, just sit back and enjoy the space you create!
So having said that, what are the design inspirations that 2019 has brought us so far?
With Paris’s Maison&Objet behind us and Stockholm Design Week in full swing, there are some clear and interesting trends that you’ll be seeing crop up on your Instagram and the pages of Architectural Digest:
- Gallery Walls
- Blue shades
- Metallic accents
- Animal & Exotic prints
- Cultural Eclecticism
- Mid-century style
- Natural materials
- Decorative plants
- And don’t forget: Pantone Color of the Year – Living Coral 16-1546
There is a lot going on! Isn’t it great?!
But it can be a touch daunting. So, if you’re feeling the itch for a refresh, read on as we take a closer look at the professionals picks for the trends of 2019 and how you might be able to sustainably incorporate them into your home. Get ready for what could be the beginning of timeless trends that lead to sustainable living and affordable deco.
By the end of this post, you should feel ready to tackle 2019 in style.
Responsible Design was a buzzword throughout the 2018 London Design Festival, culminating in “plastic” being named as the material of the year; specifically waste plastics and re-use/recycling.
This is all great, and I hope we only ever see more designers and studios asking themselves as a matter of course in their process: “But is this sustainable? Can I make it to be?”
Sustainability isn’t just a top-down movement. We mustn’t wait for designers to provide sustainable options; as consumers, we have to ask for them. Our purchasing behaviour is a key element in the sustainable ethos. Ask yourself who you’re purchasing from and what their stance is, as well as investigating the items themselves. Unfortunately, we can’t all go and visit the factories and do our own due diligence. We have to trust the manufacturers to a degree, but if we’re at least asking the questions and basing our decisions on their answers (and whether or not we really do trust them!), then it’s possible to effect the industry with even the smallest transactions.
And don’t just go for the cheapest option! A £600 sofa is a lot to a student or first home buyer, but a cheap sofa that lasts a handful for years and is made of non-recycled and unrecyclable materials will cost you and the environment a lot more in the long run. Whenever you can, invest in designing an impeccable foundation through the use of timeless materials and high-quality workmanship.
Make sure the very bones of your space evoke pleasure whenever your step into it and the decoration will take care of itself.
What does Sustainable Design look like in 2019?
Well that’s the thing! Sustainable design now looks any way you could want it to! Gone are the days of “eco friendly” items that are bigger, chunkier and uglier than their unfriendly alternatives.
This is because so many of the world’s most creative designers are now seeking out the sustainable options.
Start with lighting, perhaps. Lighting your home makes up a considerable proportion of your power usage every day, and inefficient bulbs will burn through more power – and more bulbs! – faster than a sustainable option will. Even if you’re not redesigning a space, you’re going to need new bulbs sooner or later: enter companies like Tala and their range of bulbs. These are unapologetically on trend in the looks department, while also being made from long lasting ceramic filaments and sustainably sourced materials. And they go a step further by donating a percentage of their profits to the planting of forests to offset the environmental impact of their own production workflow and their customer’s electricity usage.
2. Biophilia & Indoor Greenery
Whether it’s the odd cactus and discrete ivy, or the bold and brassy rubber plant you need to make some space for, we love that indoor plants are being given centre stage in so many rooms in 2019.
Indoor plants are a great way to satisfy that need for more natural surroundings. They can personalise your space, while adding colour, pattern, variety and scent. They’ll even improve the air quality within your home!
Of course, it wouldn’t be a trend if it wasn’t eye-catching, and the bolder indoor gardeners will be going for bigger statement plants than just the odd cactus.
Keep an eye out for Kentia and Chamaedorea Palms bringing their tropical vibe to even the darkest of London living rooms, giving a great sense of height, light and life. Luscious, leafy ferns are good too for their greenery or the hefty shine and dramatic presence of a beautitful Banana plant.
Beyond “just plants”, we see biophilia trending in a big way in 2019. Emphasising the relationship between the man-made and natural worlds with natural and organic materials. Wood floors, exposed beams, stone and daylight as well as plants will all feature prominently as the year goes on. Look for innovative ways you can bring the outside into your space.
2. Delicate (Feminine) Tones
With the Pantone Colour of the Year leading the way, 2019 is definitely the year for Living Coral, Blush & Dusty Pink as well as Bronze.
I don’t like calling these tones “feminine”, because surely all colours are available to everyone. Nevertheless, we’re seeing a distinct shift away from the grays and earth tones of the last few years into a richer – though no less organic – palette.
3. Rich Jewel Tone Highlights
And beyond the delicate corals and blushes are some really exciting, rich highlight colours!
We’re seeing more indigo, dark teal, hunter and emerald green. All of these can be overwhelming in excess, but for layering fabrics, textures and accessories they can provide gorgeous moments of drama in a room without stealing the show.
And then it gets conflicted…
We’re very much living in a KonMarie moment. Tidy neatness is the order of the day, which for many, still means a Scandi minimalism; perfectly utilized spaces, multipurpose furniture and absolutely no clutter. But what we’re seeing in 2019 is a certain pushback against this; not for cluttered spaces, but to bring more visual interest into our living spaces.
In some ways, this is a natural development from the biophilia we’ve already talked about: nature isn’t neat. It’s all leading to some fascinating and genuinely new interior design spaces and ideas.
Let’s dive in:
4. Patterned Wallpapers
This has been coming for a few years now: bars and clubs have led the way, indulging in patterned wallpapers to highlight personality and give interest and depth where space is at a premium, so why not your home?
Patterned wallpaper can be a great way to add texture to a room and provide a stylish backdrop or an elegant feature.
Sustainability bonus points are also available: non-toxic adhesives and recycled materials (whether they’re paper or linen based) are all available.
5. Maximalist Art
And if a mere pattern on your walls isn’t quite enough, there is a movement to take the gallery wall to the next level and convert an entire wall into art?!
This trend is a combination of influences. Feature Wall + elaborate Patterned Wallpapers on the one hand, and the growing recognition for street artists such as Banksy and muralists such as Felipe Pantone and Saddo. Bringing these outdoor creatives into our homes is a fantastic way of bringing visual stimulation and interest into spaces that have been verging on ascetic and impersonal for the last few years.
6. Boho Redux
With these highly stimulating walls we’re seeing the first tentative returns of what looks a lot like Boho!
This is coming from the mix of modern and recycled furniture, as well as the layering of textures and fabrics through the room, often thanks to a complimenting inspiration from a newly more striking wall.
7. Acrylic Furniture
When done right, acrylic furniture can be a brilliant reimagining of materials in an upcycled or recycled format. It lives well with 2018’s embrace of plastics, but choose wisely: if made cheaply or under certain conditions like extended UV exposure, the material can become brittle, and in the wrong hands the designs themselves can look every bit as cheap as their materials.
8. Mixed Metal Accents
This trend is a continuation of the growing movement we’ve witnessed over the last few years. Metal accents can be a fantastic way to introduce natural colours and highlights to a room, giving structure to a spacial design while also serving a function, whether it’s lighting or furniture.
It’s important not to overdo it though. Lots of different metals in a single space can get muddled very quickly; as a rule, try to keep to no more than two accent metals in a room and make sure they complement each other – for example, bright pinging brass, silver, gold or nickel go well with the dull, richness of oil-rubbed bronze or aged iron.
As with everything in life, moderation is key.
9. Minimalist Kitchens
Minimalism may be receding from our living spaces, but its hold on our kitchens is proving much harder to shake.
And why should it?! Clever use of limited space. Clean (and easy to clean!) lines and surfaces with everything in its place. For those blessed with enough space for kitchen cupboards, armoires or a pantry, 2019 is seeing a movement against overhead storage typical in so many kitchens.
Lucky for some, of course, and indeed it can give just that much greater sense of space, but make sure it’s really practical to your home and needs before you start pulling the old cupboards off the walls.
10. Bold Patterned Splashbacks
And before you worry that the might be becoming a weirdly monastic space in an otherwise brightly coloured home, fear not! 2019 is complementing the maximalism of the living spaces with a trend in bold, patterned splashbacks.
This is a great solution for bringing life into a kitchen. Set behind hard-wearing, crystal-clear acrylic, these are easy to keep clean and bright without any loss of vibrancy over time, and yet it is one of the few furniture elements in a lot of kitchens than can be readily replaced should you ever grow tired of a look. (Not that we’d ever advocate wasteful trend-chasing, but at least this is lower impact than a lot of kitchen changes will prove to be)
11. Bold Moody Bathrooms
This is a fun trend that comes a bit from left field. Bathrooms are often the forgotten room of the house when it comes to interior design. It has a very specific purpose, we don’t while away hours at a time in there admiring the space; why bother making it “nice”?
Because spas are nice! Why wouldn’t we want some of that in our home?
And that’s where this movement is clearly coming from. That sensual hint of private luxury, treating yourself in your own, deliciously personal space, no matter how crowded with children, pets or spouses the rest of your home might be.
Sultry, indulgent and rich colours and the tones dujour.
Terrazzo has been coming back over the last few years, at first as a kitsch, retro callback to the 1950-70s, but increasingly as a sustainable surfacing alternative to stone and concrete.
Of course, in a lot of ways, terrazzo is concrete, which many consider not to be the more sustainable of materials, given its non-biodegradable nature. But concrete’s durability can be its greatest selling point, so long as you don’t want to replace it.
Which is where terrazzo has to be taken with a word of caution: a lot of the key examples we’re seeing feature strong pink and blush tones, which are very of the moment, but if you’re using terrazzo for a floor or kitchen worksurface, and you tie it to a strong colour, it better be something you’re happy to live with! Terrazzo will literally last for hundreds of years with only the most basic care. Because its colour and patterns run through the whole of the material, a very simple polish can bring it back to an “as new” finish in no time at all. But taking it out? You may as well demolish the kitchen and start over!
This too shall pass….
…the trends we think (or hope!) won’t make it:
Discover the 5th wall, they said. It’s time to pay attention to ceilings, they said.. Come on! This is clearly a fad not a trend. Worse, it smacks of a desperate push to “make” people redecorate where there is no need. Ignore the conflicting headline: “Feature Walls OUT – Patterned Ceilings IN”.
Done well, there’s certainly a place for everything, but that certainly doesn’t mean we should do that thing everywhere.
Back to biophilia, and we’re so happy with that trend, but undeniably, any living thing you bring into your home brings with it a degree of complexity and required care.
I can kill plants with the best of them, and I hate it. Watching a living thing wilt as you spend hours on forums trying to diagnose the problem is heartbreaking. It happens to even the most experienced of gardeners and it sucks.
But that will never make fake plants okay!
I’ve seen some outlets suggest that “fake plants these days are so good they’re almost indiscernible from the real thing,” which may be true, but it’s still a dead thing. If you think it through, biophilia is all about closing the gap between our manmade and natural environments; you cannot do that by supporting an industry that creates pollution to melt down and mould toxic, non-biodegradable plastics and rubbers just to take up space in your home with a lifeless dust-catcher.
If you want plants, get plants. If you don’t want plants, don’t get plants. But don’t pretend to get plants.
That does not spark joy.
The feature image for this post comes thanks to H&M Home‘s very on trend 2019 catalogue.