Trends in the architectural and interior design world have developed greater synthesis with the fashion world. Your private world and your physical self are increasingly in tune (at least aesthetically) with your public existence and your living space. This new dynamic is changing the way we define trends'.because they are no longer isolated. People are increasingly aware that anything in their home makes a statement about them. Design is all about re-enforcing individuality now. Which means there are no strict rules, other than one ' 'Reflect your individuality'.
In this article, I shall outline the trends that are likely to define interior space. These trends are not just about interior spaces, but also on how our living spaces are increasingly reflecting our lifestyle choices. On every level. Overt and subtle.
Contemporary design features continue to hold sway, although the move away from minimalism, harsh lines and a clinical ambience is replaced with a touch of old world warmth. Modern design meets mid-century interior concepts to create spaces that give us the best of both worlds'old and new. Eclecticism is in. This is the time when that colonial/antique piece of furniture can be placed alongside your contemporary straight-line sofas, and not look out of place. Mix and match is the trend as aesthetic independence becomes more pronounced. Ornate fixtures and accessories alongside straight-line minimalist metal furniture would not be incongruous.
Colors are bold. Green is the dominant color this year. A deeply vibrant green. Followed by pumpkin orange, bright red---in tones from terracotta to cayenne. Orange, Yellow, Gold'dominating the palette. Deep cinnamon, luxurious violets, turquoise and of course the other color that is hot---Pink'bright and daring.
Metal remains an extensively used feature of design. The only difference is that it is now mixed with other mediums, from wood to leather. Metal laminates are being used on everything from walls to furniture. In tones of bronze, burnished copper, gold frosted, nickel'.and many more. There is a lot of development in this particular aspect of interiors and it's likely to get more and more creative.
Texture. A word to memorize this year. Because it touches every feature of design. On walls, in fabrics, in wood finishes, in flooring concepts'.anything and everything defined by texture. Flooring shows increased use of carpet tiles, and carpets that focus on tones and weaves rather than motifs. In tiles, ceramics are out, porcelain is in. Glass continues its reign of supremacy and is being used in a lot of creative ways. Not just for functionality but also for embellishment.
Furnishing fabrics are dominated by textures and weaves that focus on the in-built beauty of natural fibers. Fabrics with metal woven into them, tones and thread work, embroidery and quilting are all making a comeback. Prints are back in action but the motifs are eclectic and the colors very bold. Polka dots have appeared out of nowhere and stripes refuse to go out of fashion. Windows are no longer bare. Colour and embellishment complement modern styles. The emphasis is on creating a fusion between the old world style and the modern look. Roman blinds remain popular as do drapes in contemporary styles. Top treatments bring back a sense of grandeur while retaining the clean lines. Metal, leather, suede are all being used with linen, cotton and silks. Artificial fibers are no longer visible. Sheers are being used extensively. Handwork and detailing bring in the elegance to the earlier minimalist styles. Embroidery, printing and ethnic styles create their space after a long hiatus.
Wall treatments are another force to reckon with this year. Paint finishes, stenciling, the distressed look, faux treatments, color color color. Faux treatments can be used on anything from walls to wood, ceramics to metal/glass. Moldings are also back in business and ornate cornices happily co-exist with contemporary style.
Lighting'..again, clean lines, simple shapes. A new feature in the lighting market is the use of motion sensors instead of manual light switches. Along with an attempt to focus on subtle glow rather than direct light. Offices still use fluorescent light but the attempt is to soften the edges a bit and create light that is easier on the eye. In terms of the material used, metal still rules the roost. But it is metal that comes in a wide range of finishes from hand painted texture finishes to burnished and oiled tones of copper and bronze. Shiny brass is completely out, although brass may be used and finished in a metallic shade. China is totally pass'. Hand painting is welcome, but in a manner that develops tone and texture'not motifs. Glass is used in a wide variety of colors and tones, wrought iron in complemented with traditional embellishments. The biggest surprise is the re-entry of chandeliers. The central light fixture is back with a bang.
If color and wall finishes are in, could murals be all that far behind? Yes, walls are being decorated with murals. The bolder the better. But only if the room is big enough to handle that kind of drama. Sofas continue with the long silhouettes and remain low and tapered. The emphasis on beige, off-white, ecru and white continues while the color is brought in using decorative pillows. Leather makes a strong statement this year. It touches most aspects of d'cor in one way or another. But modern and traditional mingle like two enemies who have just become great friends.
If you figured that trimmings have died, think again. Beads are being used for accessories and draperies. The bullion fringe re-appears with a vengeance on window treatments and upholstery. Fireplaces are in vogue again. Doesn't matter whether they are functional or not !!! There is a whole range of styles in the market, to cater to almost any budget. The detailing varies from metal accents to texture detailing.
Decoupage is another element of design that makes its presence felt this year. Use it on furniture, or wall art. It is most definitely chic. In terms of motifs, again, contemporary and traditional synthesize to create a new style. Large motifs dominate in the larger interior schemes. The bolder the better.
Kitchens are focusing as much on exteriors as interior accessories. Hardware and fittings acquire much more prominence. Moldings are more detailed although they are kept reasonably small. Open plan dominance keeps the focus on more natural light. Glass is being used in many innovative ways in interior design. From flooring to walls. Accessories to fittings. Mirrors have rekindled their appeal.
In offices, the focus is on creating low panels, reducing the cubicle environment to incorporate more flexibility. Square foot area is being kept low, and management is contemplating the new mobility and giving up huge private offices in favor of a more open environment. In homes, with the dominance of the open plan, the trend is to remove isolated areas and boundaries and create a place where one area flows into another and there aren't that many rigid definitions. Essentially, our lifestyle choices are reflecting the way we think.
Rekha I Nambiar is an interior designer based in New Delhi, India and specializes in furniture, window treatments and home furnishings. Her work may be viewed online at http://www.idi-home.com