If you've followed me for any amount of time you probably know how I feel about trends in the Interior Design world. I find them to be, at best, a distraction from creating a meaningful, unique interior. At worst, they can hijack your home and your very soul. Ok, that might be a bit dramatic, but I take this shit seriously. And if you've seen "The Truman Show" or "Stepford Wives"...well you've glimpsed how soul-sucking conformity can be. Usually the only time I'm up for design trends is when they make things more available that I love anyway, or bring back something classic in a new, unexpected way.
However, once in a while there are some some trends that I can get on board with and there have been a lot of those lately. In fact, I think time will prove that these aren't so much trends as paradigm shifts in how we view and use our homes. Let's be honest...we've all been through a lot of changes in the past couple of years, and our homes and lifestyles need to come along for the ride.
1. Biophilic Design -
Even if you haven't heard the term biophilic design before, you're probably aware of the concept.
It's the idea that we all have an innate attraction to the natural world and need to be connected with it.
Instead our living and work spaces are becoming more and more disconnected from it. Studies have shown that interaction with the natural world contributes immensely to human health and well-being. That's why we need to integrate it into our spaces to improve our mental health, fitness and productivity. Great idea, but how do you accomplish that in YOUR home?
Start by thinking of your home as your habitat. Isolated experiences of nature (such as a single plant on your shelf) do not have enough impact. You need to create repeated and sustained interactions throughout your home. Now, I'm not suggesting you turn your living room into a jungle (unless that's your thing). Instead, try combining house plants with botanical or animal print fabrics or wallpaper, photos or artworks of nature and found natural objects. Use materials such as stone, wood, metals and natural fibers, and colors found in nature.
Maximize the natural light in your home. Natural light boosts your Vitamin D levels, improves your mood, and can help you sleep better. Keep window coverings open during the day and consider placing your work zone near a window. If you home lacks a lot of natural light, use reflective colors and mirrored or glossy surfaces to bounce the light around.
If possible, invest in creating a comfortable outdoor space where you have access to light and air such as a terrace or balcony. Add a water element or feeders to attract animals and insects. If you need an excuse to make the investment, tell yourself it will save you money in doctor bills down the line.
2. Sustainable Design
While there's nothing particularly new about the idea of sustainability, it has hit the home sector in a big way lately. From more brands dedicated exclusively to sustainable products, to existing retailers providing more eco-friendly options, you don't have to flex as much muscle to create a sustainable interior these days. Here are some tips!
Produce Less Waste - Let's be honest...the Interior Design industry has traditionally produced A LOT of waste. Why? Because if you want a refreshed home you should just scrap it all and start over, right? Ugh! No people! Of course if you're just starting out and all you have is a sofa you found on the side of the road with some weird green stains on it and a mattress from your local thrift...well, then by all means, scrap it all. But if there are things you can reuse, you should. If there are vintage items you can give a new life to, do it. If you can donate your unwanted items to people who WILL use them, brownie points for you! Your earth will thank you.
Consider Longevity - Have you heard the old saying, "If you buy quality you only cry once"? I think we should expand it to "If you buy quality you and the earth only cry once." Purchase wisely, purchase less, use it for longer. Nuff said.
Think About Total Impact - Before you do buy anything new, consider the impact of extracting, manufacturing, shipping, and distributing the materials and product. Try to opt for things that use recycled, organic, natural, quickly renewable or sustainably harvested materials. Look for manufacturing that excludes toxic chemicals and shop locally first.
3. Highly Personalized Spaces (i.e. My Personal Crusade)
Spending as much time as we have in our homes over the last year and a half has convinced us all of a few things. One of them (the most important one in my opinion) is that we should be thinking of ourselves more when designing our homes. If you're copying your Pinterest or Instagram feed, you are not designing for yourself. You're designing for the masses. You are creating something completely soul-less and forgettable. I don't know about you but I don't wake up every day and think...you know what I want my home to look like...everybody else's!
Instead of copying the images you see, analyze them instead. What particular things drew you to the picture? Is it the shapely sofa? The colorful pillows? The architectural detail? Be specific! Then incorporate only those specific elements into your design in a new way.
The next step is asking yourself, "what makes me unique from anyone else"? Figure out how can you express that in your home. Do you have a hobby or a collection? Do you have a thing for fringe or geometric lines or silk fabric? Think of your home as the story of you. Then figure out how to tell it!
4. Multi-purpose and Flexible Spaces
Another realization to come out of our extended home stays is that we desperately need our homes to function better for us. We are feeling the crunch as our homes become not just places for living and sleeping, but also for working, educating, recreating and socializing. Gone are the days of single use rooms (unless you live in a bonafide palace, in which case good for you). Our rooms have to be multifunctional and adapt to our changing needs throughout the day.
This calls for some creative design planning. The first thing you should always tackle when trying to fit all of those things in is a comprehensive floorplan to get your layout right. Create zones, or figure out what functions you can combine in which spaces and you're halfway there. Also be sure to incorporate lots of storage to keep everything tucked away and tidy. Trust me, if your office is in your living room, you'll be grateful for the ability to shut it all up come 5:00.
Modular and reconfigurable furniture can be your best friend. You don't have to look far for options anymore. Check out some of the amazing convertible furnishings at Resource Furniture to see what's possible now. Mind blowing! Also, screens and room dividers can help you divide up space, as well as provide privacy and create a nice backdrop for your inevitable Zoom calls.
5. Incorporating Comfort
With all of this time spent at home we REALLY need to find comfort in our surroundings. There has been a huge increase in people asking for spaces where they can unwind, destress and rejuvenate. Of course, what this looks like is different depending on how you like to relax. Some people just want a soothing bathroom with a soaking tub. Others want a meditation or workout room. Still others find solace in a quiet courtyard or a favorite chair in the corner of the room. However you choose to implement it, your own personal "pause pod" should always include the following:
The ability to shut out unwanted sights and sounds. Whether that means retreating to a private place or just putting on those noise cancelling headphones and closing your eyes, try to create the feeling of seclusion.
A sense of order. No one, but no one, has ever been able to truly relax in a cluttered room. Make sure your zen space stays clean, tidy and organized. Storage will be key for this.
Experiences that engage your senses. Music or other sounds, scents, tactile textures, light therapy...include things that help you focus on the present so you can get out of your own head and put your day behind you.
So that's it! Those are the 5 Interior Design trends I think are definitely worth your time and likely to become integral parts of designing in the future. Which ones are you going to try out in your own home?
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