Trends may come and go but good style never goes out of fashion.
The naughties were characterised by flat-pack, going green and shabby chic. Concepts of energy saving eco-homes became a reality with many architects and interior designers putting their environmental knowledge into practice. Ikea was an indulgence for many, while the global financial crisis spawned the golden age of shabby chic; craft become trendy with the launch of Etsy in 2005. Upcycling “vintage” treasures rather than slapping new items onto credit cards became the new trend. Sponge walls were all the rage.
Jump to the 2010’s and bolder design decisions have meant greater risk-taking when it comes to interiors. From grey being the colour of the decade and a revival in mid-century design to a much greater focus on sustainability, the 2010’s have been a decade that has reinvented the old and created a space for daring design.
The early part of the decade saw a shift towards doing more with less; quality materials, expert craftsmanship and bespoke design became a trend in itself. The cheap mass-produced mega mansions were being replaced with smaller well-designed spaces. Smaller interiors meant greater exploration of outdoor spaces, as well as a reconnection with nature; a movement towards natural elements like wood and metal came naturally within design.
Green started gaining real traction; it was becoming lux and was no longer the ugly duckling. More focus on design elements like windows that encouraged ventilation, garden rooftops and green walls shaped design towards creating healthier indoor spaces and cleaner air.
As society changed, so did interior design trends with the inclusion of male design preferences. As men in the Western world spent more time at home, male preferences were emphasised when it came to internal spaces. Moderate furniture details, less flashy colours and functionality over aesthetics are some of the features of the male dominated design style. Grey was the new beige; matte and shiny grey with all sorts of unlikely colour combinations made it the colour of choice within design, tying in seamlessly with the male dominated design trends.
A desire for self-expression within the home began to rise, with home owners collaborating with interior designers rather than taking the back seat when it came to interior design. A new confidence to try daring design and mix and match opened up a wider interpretation of design styles. The boundaries of fixed design categories like “traditional”, “industrial” or “country” were being broken as individuality gained momentum.
Around the middle of the decade, a darker spin on interiors surfaced. Dramatic hues like midnight blue and army green created a sophisticated, elegant look when painted on interior walls; all shades of blue were being embraced with navy standing out as the colour of choice.
Retail store collaborations with famous designers brought haute design trends to the masses at affordable prices. Rich fabrics like luxurious velvet, suede and textured corduroy provided a sophisticated feel while being durable at the same time; they blended perfectly with the darker colour schemes. While ethnic prints and natural textiles, including animal hide, added an exotic touch to interiors.
For so many years, dark tones like mahogany and cherry had dominated the wood furniture market. Lighter coloured woods with caramel and honey tones brought a softer, lighter, fresher feel to interiors, while being extremely versatile at the same time.
Bringing texture to interiors, as well as different patterns and styles, was on trend. A a rise in patterned wallpaper with bold floral prints were a key trend. Minerals like sand, ceramic and stone also brought texture to kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and living rooms. And patterned and geometric tiles were revived with the reproduction of 19th-century Victorian style tiles; used from bathroom floors to kitchen splashbacks, these tiles brought depth to any space.
The latter part of the decade has seen a big shift towards calmness and nature; organic interiors, tech-free spaces and sustainability are now key parts of interior design. Design is focusing on longevity of design as a sustainable approach to interiors. Interior Styles that will last for years into the future, both with their quality and aesthetic, are now the new trend rather than what’s fashionable for the moment.
Sustainability is a trend that isn’t going anywhere. Advances in technology are making it easy for interior designers to incorporate innovative sustainable practices into their designs, whether it be environmentally source products (like those with FSC certification) or using recycled timbers, such as the sleeper feature wall below. Trends like off grid and tiny homes are gaining momentum globally, shifting the design process towards an eco-friendly future.
Organic/ natural materials and alternatives
A focus on creating peaceful retreats indoors, away from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life, is shaping how interiors are designed. Materials like cork, brick, bamboo and reclaimed wood are being embraced both for sustainability reasons as well as to embrace that feeling of nature, together with opening indoor spaces to bring the outside in.
Marble with its natural look and organic shapes pairs well with earthy materials. While terracotta tiles and stones that were once used as borders, now cover entire floors of rooms, as well as accent walls and fireplaces, giving spaces a warm and earthy feel.
Demand for substitute or alternative materials is on the rise when it comes to interior design. They’re often more budget-friendly and are more sustainable; they can be more durable than the authentic materials which ties into the concept of longevity in design.
Technology has now become an integral part of modern interior design and is here to stay; things like wireless charging nightstands are becoming the norm. Although the shift in recent years has been around tech-free spaces, allowing families to focus on spending quality time together or allowing individuals to escape the crazy, modern world we live in.
Interior design trends are being steered by the bigger issues that humanity faces, including the environment, technology and how family time is perceived. All of these factors are having an effect, and will continue to influence how interior designers interpret the functionality of living in a modern world.