Move Over Scandi-Homes, These Two Interior Trends Are the Ones to Try Now
Just as our favourite fashion trends come and go, interior design trends are not as fixed as we might think. Remember how hot apricot hues were in the '80s, and sponge-painted feature walls in the '90s? So while it might seem like Scandi interiors have been the top trend forever, those with a sharp eye are already looking ahead to what will break out next in the design world.
The trend changes can be swift—we may only have a matter of months before Millennial Pink starts to feel stale—so we spoke to Wendy Greenhalf, general manager of the International School of Colour and Design (iscd), to learn what's at the forefront of the experts' minds. Greenhalf started her own career at icsd as a student, and now teaches the Understanding Colour short course, perfect for those of us interested in harnessing colour for our own homes.
In our chat, Greenhalf shares some practical tips for how to implement the two new trends—"Individuality" and "Wellness"—in your own home, and the colour theory that each trend draws on. Refresh your spaces now and you'll be way ahead of the curve.
TREND #1: INDIVIDUALITY
Ryan Korban Interiors, courtesy of iscd
The origins of Individuality as an interior trend make perfect sense. As a society, we're turning away from the one-size-fits-all mentality of mass production and looking for a more niche, personal connection with what we buy. "Consumers are now rebelling, and saying, 'I actually want to be recognised for who I am'", Greenhalf says. Naturally, that extends to what we fill our homes with—it's all about putting together a curated edit of furniture, décor, textiles, and even colours that represent who we really are.
The best part about this trend is that it suits literally everyone—it's all about you, after all. Authenticity and storytelling are central to the Individuality style, according to Greenhalf. The personal stories and memories behind pieces of furniture or small trinkets are what make any space truly interesting and elevated, rather than ripping an entire look straight from a shopping catalogue. "It's about people wanting to know where that piece came from, how the owner got a hold of it, what does it mean to them? So that it's real, it's got a story, and it's something unique to that person."
GET THE LOOK
Kara Rosenlund, courtesy of iscd
If You Can, Go Bespoke
For those looking to revitalise a room by investing in a good piece of furniture, Greenhalf recommends looking into a customised piece if your budget allows. "While there are a lot of design companies out there that everyone wants to own one of their chairs or products, [you can] push it further. It's almost that 'brag-ability' if it was designed just for you. Make that unique piece."
Personalise Your Space in Small Ways
And if you can't afford to commission a custom-designed piece (yeah, us too), you can still personalise your space by putting unexpected items out on display. Anything that is attached to wonderful memories or a strong part of your identity can be reimagined as a design statement, no matter how unusual. "Whether it's clothing or items of stationery, you need to customise that space so that it doesn't look like anyone else's. That might mean getting things out of the cupboard and putting them out on display," Greenhalf says.
Mix Styles to Match Your Identity
"I've seen some very good examples of Individuality where the person is say, a minimalist, but they have certain props out or pieces on a chair [which goes against minimalist principles]," Greenhalf tells. That means you don't have to completely abandon your preference for Scandinavian clean lines, but you're allowed to be less strict with applying design codes. If you're feeling a boho artwork or some eclectic dining chairs, now's the time to bend the rules.
Kristy Reive, courtesy of iscd
It makes sense that a trend based around individual preferences has very few colour limitations. But Greenhalf points out that guiding colour principles still apply. "You still see that [the colour trends] are almost defining that authentic look. They have to be believable colours, they can't be too fake or false looking." That means Pantone's Greenery is here to stay, but mixed in with a palette of rich, earthy hues. Khaki, olive, and maroon are proving popular. And while grey remains on the list, it's the warmer tones (as opposed to cool blue-greys) that are pulling favour.
TREND #2: WELLNESS
Kawaiian Lion, courtesy iscd
The importance of mental and physical wellness are now permeating all areas of life, interiors included. We want to turn our homes and offices into sanctuaries that elicit real emotions—calm, happiness, and safety. Greenhalf explains that this means a mix of organic elements with a hit of freshness, as well as bringing in all senses. "It's creating a sanctuary, but also tapping into all the different senses; our taste, our smell, our sight, what sounds we have around us. For me, that's what defines the Wellness trend: taking that space and bringing in all the senses that you would associate with stress-free zones."
As with Individuality, the rise of the Wellness trend is a reaction to our changing lifestyles. "We all need to balance the noise and fast pace of life somehow," Greenhalf explains. "So creating a space where you can recharge and relax is key to creating a happy self and home."
GET THE LOOK
Riikka Kantinkoski, courtesy iscd
Find a Focal Point
To make a room feel welcoming and inviting, Greenhalf recommends creating one main focal point to draw people into the space. Just make sure it's something you really love. "By picking a favourite piece or an artwork that catches your eye, it's the first thing you see or notice when you enter that space. It's about creating that focal point that makes you feel good in the space, so every time you walk into that area—whether you're recharging or relaxing—it brings you back to a place of happiness and wellness."
Choose Real Plants and Natural Textures
The oft recalled phrase "bring the outdoors in" actually has real merit from a design perspective. "If it looks like something in nature, it makes us feel like we're doing good for ourselves. As long as it looks real we're okay with it, but generally the real thing is much better—real woods, twine, things like that come into play," Greenhalf says. Go for plants, natural rugs, or even small bowls of pebbles, stones, or shells.
Pick One: Recharge or Relax
The Wellness trend is not just about creating calm—interior design can be used to boost our energy levels, too. The key is deciding which rooms are for relaxing and which are for recharging, then designing them accordingly. "It depends on the purpose of the space. If it's a space that someone's wanting to chill out or read a book or take some downtime … or if it's a room you socialise in, where there's lots of conversation."
Of course, everyone still loves Greenery by Pantone—it's the hue that pioneered the trend. But surprisingly, it's not so much the colour choices that dictate the mood of a room, but the level of contrast in tones. Greenhalf explains it best: "It can be either light tones or dark tones. So if you think of a really moody room that has lots of darker colours in similar tones, it's still very soothing and relaxing. And then if you go the opposite where it's very light, with pastels and white, it feels light and airy; there's not much tonal contrast. But as soon as you put a black chair in the room it changes the energy of that space." The general rule of thumb is that high contrasting tones add energy to the room, while similar tones are soothing.