Keep your spirits up, enhance your well-being – by giving your home a makeover
As we spend more time at home, giving your personal spaces a new lick of paint or displaying meaningful works of art could lift your mood. Here are 10 interior inspirations to get you started.
If you’ve been putting off giving your home an update, there’s no better time than now. It could be as simple as repainting a wall (in this year’s colour of choice, blue), replacing worn-out sofa cushions (with ones sporting bold botanical prints – all the rage these days), or adding a piece of art to liven up a formerly uninviting corner. No matter the inclination, these 10 interior design trends for 2020 that industry experts have identified should stand you in good stead.
1. INSPIRATION: ARTISTIC INTENT
More homeowners are now paying attention to the use of art in their abodes, by selecting thoughtful pieces that add character and soul to each space.
“The use of contemporary art is becoming more significant – we love that design is evolving around art with recent clientele becoming more aware of its significance and many wanting to incorporate their growing collection in their new homes,” said Jennifer Murray, designer director of The I.D. Dept (IDD).
If you’re unsure of where to begin, the art consultants are happy to assist. Zak Lo, founder of Living with Art and Gallery 1819, considers the art selection process akin to matchmaking; he would typically visit the customer’s home to understand their needs and personal taste.
“Our art consultants would find out what type of art the customers are looking for and also the interior design of the spaces that they are decorating,” shared Lo. The gallery can also recommend artists to commission for works created based on feng shui advice.
Another way to integrate an artistic element into your home is through your choice of wallpaper, such as from French upholstery brand Pierre Frey, which regularly works with illustrators for its wallpaper and textile collections.
“The use of contemporary art is becoming more significant – we love that design is evolving around art.” – Jennifer Murray
2. PATTERN: ABSTRACTION
The retro-infused decor trend continues, with the ongoing clamour for mid-century modern furniture. Besides the geometric patterns typical of the era, abstract art and design can go as beautifully with these historic pieces. “We’ll see more heritage-inspired furniture such as rattan chairs and the use of abstract-print upholstery will help to contemporise such pieces,” said Terri Tan, founder and design director of Designworx Interior Consultant.
According to Winnie Heimgartner-Wong, managing director of upholstery purveyor Cetec, abstract styles can be used for both contemporary and classic designs, and can serve as transitional visuals that bridge the two styles. “Because abstract designs fire up our imagination, they provide a strong point of visual interest within a space,” she said.
“Because abstract designs fire up our imagination, they provide a strong point of visual interest within a space.” – Winnie Heimgartner-Wong
3. MATERIAL: VELVET
Sumptuous and sensual, velvet has long been used to add a touch of opulence to the home; the new velvet fabrics have also become easy to maintain. “In recent years, technological breakthroughs have led to the creation of velvet textiles that are much easier to handle,” said Heimgartner-Wong. “Zimmer + Rohde’s Infinitive Plus range, for example, allows for the easy removal of tough stains, including those from lipstick and nail polish.”
Rowena Gonzales, founder of Hong Kong-based firm Liquid Interiors, recommends using velvet panels to add blocks of colour and texture to a room. Before you purchase velvet fabric, the designer suggests getting a sample of the fabric and seeing how it looks in the place you intend to use it.
“Velvet can appear much darker or lighter in different environments and different lighting,” she said. “Place the swatch where you plan to put the upholstered furniture, and observe throughout the day to see if you still like the colour in different gradations of light.”
4. ACCESSORY: VASES
With verdant plants continuing to be a mainstay of many homes, consider picking up more beautiful vases to better showcase the thriving greenery in your home. Pinterest searches for “garden room” have gone up by 104 per cent in the past year; this is a space you can easily create in your home whether in an enclosed balcony or a cosy alcove in your bedroom.
Even if you don’t have a green thumb, minimalist vases can be livened up with an array of fresh cuts or a bouquet of dried flowers. House your petals of choice in these sculptural vessels that are also objects of beauty, such as the Split vase by Lim + Lu which was created by fusing two Ming vases, or the Ridge vase that’s crafted with fine lines by Helsinki-based practice Studio Kaksikko.
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5. PATTERN: BOLD BOTANICALS
Nature-inspired textiles will continue to be in vogue this year. “Floral and leaf prints speak to our need to connect with nature; even representations of nature can increase our sense of well-being. Biophilic designs also respond to our growing concerns about environmental degradation,” said Gonzales, who predicts bolder botanical prints replacing the smaller pastel flowers of yesteryear.
Tan concurs. “The old floral prints tended to follow country or romantic themes,” said the interior designer. “The modern versions are much bigger in terms of proportion to the furniture itself; a good example is Pianca’s Calatea armchair, which we paired with an antique telescope in one of our latest residential projects.” Heimgartner-Wong points out that these new botanical prints are lighter and show more base cloth. “The new botanicals have fewer but larger motifs within the pattern – the designs are less cluttered and have a fresher, more calming aesthetic,” she says.
“Floral and leaf prints speak to our need to connect with nature. Biophilic designs also respond to our growing concerns about environmental degradation.” – Rowena Gonzales
6. MATERIAL AND PATTERN: MARBLE AND NATURAL TEXTURES
Murray of IDD anticipates the continued popularity of marble on feature walls. “When these stones are bookmatched, they create a perfect backdrop, whether as flooring or a wall feature,” said the design director. “These natural elements are durable and stunning, be they the gorgeous stone varieties of marble from Italy or the classic white-and-black Arabascato marble from Brazil.”
Stone-effect tiles are another option; top picks include the Onyx&More collection from Casa dolce casa – Casamood. Available from Florim, this collection celebrates the beauty of onyx with patterns inspired by the organic textures of the mineral stone.
7. DEVICES: STATE OF THE ART
Enjoy a movie marathon in the comfort of your own home with top-notch audio-visual (AV) devices. Pinterest searches for audio rooms and home theatre design have risen by as much as 803 per cent and 368 per cent respectively in the past year, demonstrating that good sound and design can go hand-in-hand. Gone are the clunky AV systems of the past, with television sets getting slimmer and sleeker.
Take, for instance, the Serif 2.0 TV designed by French siblings Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Samsung, which has an I-shaped silhouette and an ambient mode that can display artworks on the screen. The Beovision Harmony OLED TV and speakers by Bang & Olufsen are as chic. Inspired by mid-century cabinets, the collection features oak veneer detailing; the TV also features blinds that partially conceal the screen when it is not in use.
8. MATERIAL: DARK WOOD
While light wood will still be popular with homeowners who desire Scandinavian and Japanese-inspired interiors, the use of dark-stained wood is gaining popularity among those who seek a more moody palette.
“Dark-stained wood such as wall panelling or in furniture adds elegance and a touch of luxury to the interiors,” said Jeremy Tay of Prestige Global Designs. Match these with metallic accents to elevate the look. “Metals such as brass, gold and silver never go out of style. These bring an added brightness and luminosity to any space.”
Pastels are still in vogue, but applied more sparingly on accent pieces. Top hues include pale pink, one of the trending shades of the 2010s. “Light pink gives a refreshing and airy feel to any space, and will continue to thrive in 2020. It also matches well with other colours,” said Tay.
This soft shade complements other light tones such as Tranquil Dawn, the pale green selected as the Colour of the Year by AkzoNobel. “We looked to the soft, fluid colours and tranquillity of the morning sky for inspiration,” said Heleen Van Gent, Head of AkzoNobel Global Aesthetic Center. “Tranquil Dawn has an air of calm and clarity that perfectly reflects our theme. Inspired by the dawn horizon, it is a delicate, fluid shade that sits somewhere between green, grey and blue.”
Van Gent recommends combining this honeydew-like colour with other pastel shades and materials such as pale wood, suede and velvet in the living room; this brings a sense of lightness to the social space.
10. COLOUR PALETTE: INTO THE BLUES
“I find it particularly interesting that three of the world’s most prominent colour experts have chosen very similar hues as their colour of the year for 2020,” observed Nikki Hunt, founder of Design Intervention.
“Pantone has chosen Classic Blue, PPG picked Chinese Porcelain and Sherwin-Williams chose Naval as their official colours for the year ahead, and the similarities are astounding. All three are strong, confident blues with great depth of colour.”
According to Hunt, the popularity of this deep blue palette indicates a desire for calm and tranquility, in uncertain times.
“These are uniform blues – all strong, faithful and dependable, and responsible. In a world where the political climate is uncertain, where technological advances are moving faster than our ability to understand them, and concerns about climate change loom large, it is perhaps only natural that we are looking for calm, clarity and stability.”
Pick accent pieces in deep blue as an easy way to incorporate this trend into your home. “If you are not ready to embrace the bold colour movement just yet, perhaps take it slow and try a statement piece of furniture like a blue sofa against a neutral background,” recommended Hunt.
A bold blue wall may seem daring at first sight, but it can also add to the sense of serenity in your home. “Just as the deep-coloured lining of a jewellery box shows off its contents to best effect, so too, a strong-coloured wall can become a fabulous canvas for art," added Hunt.
“One of my personal favourites is bright and fun kitchen cabinetry. And I will often use a dark hue on a low ceiling; if you paint your ceiling alcove a darker shade, it can give some depth to the room, and thus the illusion of height.”
“These are uniform blues – all strong, faithful and dependable, and responsible. In a world where the political climate is uncertain, where technological advances are moving faster than our ability to understand them, and concerns about climate change loom large, it is perhaps only natural that we are looking for calm, clarity and stability.” – Nikki Hunt