Top Five Interior Design Trends for 2020 and beyond
As designers we often say we shouldn’t follow trends, but a new decade calls for a little predicting! Whether we like it or not, we’re subliminally influenced by trends, so here are some light-hearted forecasts for 2020 and beyond. I’ll kick-off with a new word on the block that emerged last year and has now well and truly taken hold: Maximalism.
I’m continuing to love both this word and trend, which burst onto the scene like a chorus line last year as many of us dared to add more character and personality to spaces, possibly in a backlash against the grey and Scandi minimalism that has reigned for many years. I get the feeling designers and suppliers are loving it too and using it as an opportunity to showcase their skills at ornamentation.
A favourite example was the show-stealing pop-up sitting-room by Ben Pentreath last year in the G P & J Baker showroom at London Design Week in Chelsea Harbour, which embraced the trend with a theatrical hug. Pentreath took their iconic Magnolia wallpaper as a starting point, adding bold colours and on-trend flourishes in a classic setting. The orange armchairs with botanical cushions cleverly counterpoint the antique dresser and ornate mantel mirror, lifting the room firmly out of museum piece into contemporary glamour.
The walls are smothered in Magnolia, designed by William Turner for GP & J Baker in 1913. The fabric is one of Pentreath’s favourites. “It belongs everywhere; rich and happy-making”’ he says, adding, “it’s extraordinarily contemporary…Vivid colours, bold pattern and beautiful natural shapes. It could have been designed yesterday.”
We love this trend because it’s so flexible. You can go in blazing or incorporate it into a more pared-down treatment that stays fresh for several years. A recent client opted for a flicker of Maximalism not the full furnace.
..then added armchairs in this rick rack fabric from Kit Kemp at Christopher Farr Cloth to bring the sitting room alive. http://christopherfarrcloth.com/collections/rick-rack/sage
This year heralds the return of bold colour. We’re moving away from ubiquitous darker tones and introducing bright tints that we designers call the spring colour palette. Colours we expect to feature this year are cobalt blues, hot pinks and new-hues-on-the-block: neo mints. Neo mint greens are strong, cool pastels, ranging from the puttyish tones of clinical scrubs to the intense jade of Canadian mineral lakes. Look out for them emerging onto the high street in fashion as well as interiors.
Pantone recently announced their colour of the year is Classic Blue, reminiscent of the deepening shade of sky at dusk, a hue which “anticipates what’s going to happen next” according to their Vice President, Laurie Pressman. A perfect tone for the future decade. https://store.pantone.com/uk/en/color-of-the-year-2020
Dulux chose Tranquil Dawn, again inspired by changing light in the sky. It’s a soothing grey-green, richer and more natural than the subdued, dark greys we have been used to. https://www.dulux.co.uk/en/dulux-colour-year-2020.
But these colour trends aren’t limited to paint. Below is one of my favourite examples: the sitting room of luxury knitwear designer Alex Gore Browne, which caught my eye on Instagram. I love the ingenious, sparing way she has used strong colour with individual flair. Three different interpretations of candy stripes on curtains, shades and fire surrounds. Her restrained celebration of colour is joyous. It’s of the moment but also timeless.
With Maximalism, a zeal for madly vibrant pattern was unleashed. If you’re ready to go to town, head for wallpaper specialists Cole & Son. They’ve long been the go-to designers for innovative, intelligent and theatrical flair, even more so now as they celebrate their ongoing collaboration with Fornasetti. Their virtual drinks cabinet wallpaper would make a playful backdrop to a home bar. To give zest to a dining area, look no further than their Mediterranean citrus range Arance, in ruby grapefruit, lemon and orange. The Fornasetti range is continually expanding, so keep an open mind, have fun and don’t limit it to the downstairs loo!
These exuberant trends for the new decade indicate that we’re all primed to express originality and personality through our décor. One delightful outcome of this is the gravitation towards hand-crafted wares as we seek out more individualism in our homes.The emphasis on skilled craftsmanship and new, upcoming designers is stronger than ever. Rejection of dirty fast fashion is spreading and the same principles now apply in interiors. Some wonderful names and concepts are rising in popularity and we expect to see this continue. A fine example is textile designer Molly Mahon’s block printing. https://www.mollymahon.com/. Mahon is a lover of pattern, colour and all things handmade. She’s seen a stratospheric rise to fame in the interiors world with her hand block-printed fabrics/wallpapers and wares.
Last, but not least, as you’d expect, there is now a huge focus on environment. While we all fantasise about designing and building an environmentally neutral eco house, the dream is not practical for everyone. But we can each play our part. We love the approach of Kate Watson-Smyth, the award winning interiors’ journalist who recently launched a directory of companies that are genuinely trying to Do Less Harm https://www.madaboutthehouse.com/do-less-harm/
A desire for individuality and eco-design means a resurgence of interest in “brown furniture” and antiques. Some leading lights on Instagram now regularly feature antiques in their schemes. This doesn’t mean the mid-century trend is over. We are seeing a continued mixing of old and new. Mid-century works beautifully alongside antiques, so keep experimenting. Family heirlooms can become statement pieces through careful positioning.
And so, the overall forecast for this year and the coming decade is: go bold. The Maximalist triad of colour, pattern and individuality is coupled with a renewed interest in crafts and antiques. We’ll see designers and clients getting braver, not only with colour and pattern, but with individual pieces too. These trends are super-flexible and can be modified to suit a wide range of tastes. Whether it’s a single statement piece or an entire home fit for a diva, we can all take what we will from this rich palette of ideas and make it our own. That’s the beauty of it.