15 minute read
Interior design trends can be split between four different types: micro, mainstream, macro and mega trends.
–Micro trends last three months to a year.
–Mainstream trends last between one and three years.
–Macro trends last three to five years.
-Mega trends last a decade or longer.
In this post we explain how trends come about and how you can tell what type of trends you are seeing for yourself.
a) What trends are in interior design,
b) How they get started, and–
c) How long they tend to stick around.
We also discuss the impact of trends on the environment.
What is a Trend in Interior Design?
Trend = Fashion
A trend is essentially a ‘fashion’; something that is popular for a certain period of time.
A trend is also a general movement in a certain direction (think of the term ‘an upward trend’), which might take place over the course of months or years.
These days, thanks to social media, the term ‘trend’ often means a sudden emergence of interest in a particular thing, and can be shorter term.
What Aspects of Interior Design are Affected by Trends?
Interior design trends can relate to everything from color palettes to furniture styles, textures and materials, wallcoverings, lighting, and accessories.
It’s important to consider whether the design elements you choose will stand the test of time, or if they are likely to become outdated quickly. Be sure to keep reading if you’d like to learn how to measure trends for yourself and determine whether they are worth following or not.
Why You Shouldn’t Be Overly Concerned with Interior Design Trends
Trends in home furniture, furnishing, and decor can be tempting to follow, but it’s important to remember that they are just that – trends. They come and go, and what is popular today may not be popular in a few years.
Instead of constantly updating your home to follow the latest trends, it’s important to focus on creating a space that reflects your personal style and meets your needs. This can save you money in the long run and give you a home that truly feels like your own.
While it’s okay to incorporate some current trends into your home if you love them, try not to make them the driving force behind your design decisions. Instead, choose pieces that you truly love and that will stand the test of time.
It’s also worth considering the environmental impact of constantly buying new furniture and decor. Consider repurposing or upcycling items you already own, or investing in high-quality, timeless pieces that will last for years to come.
In short, don’t get too caught up in the latest trends. Focus on creating a home that is uniquely yours and meets your needs, and you’ll be much happier in the long run.
Let’s Talk About the Appeal of Trends
There’s no denying that trends in the world of interior design are fun. I know that I always look forward to discovering what Pantone’s color of the year will be (whether I would actually ever use it or not).
Example of a Yearly Trend: Pantone Color of the Year 2023
Personally speaking, I find the psychology behind ‘color of the year’ even more fascinating than the color itself.
How to Measure Trends
Trends have never been easier to measure than they are in the 2010s-20s. This is largely due to digital measuring tools and advanced analytics.
Today we can measure trends in a range from a) hours on Twitter to b) days on Tik-Tok and c) weeks on Instagram.
An easy way to check trends on the web is to use Google Trends analytics. These allow you to look at trends on the internet over the years since Google has been tracking them.
You can even set the time period yourself to suit your search needs.
Trends Have Cycles
Quick Cycles and The Media
Yearly trends in interior design are happening more quickly than before.
It is possible that trend cycles may be happening more quickly in recent years due to the increasing influence of social media and the ability for ideas and styles to spread more quickly through online platforms. These quicker trend turnaround times are especially noticeable on “instant” media streams like Instagram and Pinterest.
It is also possible that the increasing pace of life in general may be leading to a desire for more frequent updates and changes in home design.
It goes without saying, if you want to understand trends, Pinterest is a great place to start looking!
Interior vs. Fashion Design
Of course, interior design and home decor are not the only spheres where fashions dictate consumer behavior.
In the fashion world trends have much shorter cycles (seasons), and styles are ‘out’ almost as soon as they are ‘in’.
Graphic design is another fast-moving industry with strong trends.
The Trickle Down Effect
Believe it or not, the fashion and graphic design industries are highly influential to many other related industries, including interior design! Why is this?
Think of it this way: Fashion has been doing what it does as breakneck speed for a long time. As such it is responsible for the “big ideas” when it comes to concepts.
A lot of other creative industries take their cues from fashion!
When fashion filters down to the home products market it starts to show up in residential interior design and decorating.
Interior Design Industry Forecasts
Interior Design Industry Reports for 2022 and Forecasts for 2023
There’s nothing new about industry trends being forecast for the year ahead. They are a part of every industry’s yearly evaluation process and they can be both interesting and educational.
If we are smart, we learn from industry trends so that we can be better informed about where we’ve been and way more importantly, where we are going.
Here are some industry reports related to the field of interior design that I’d recommend checking out:
Trends in interior design are always evolving, but some current trends include:
- Natural materials: Using natural materials such as wood, stone, and plant life to bring a sense of the outdoors inside.
- Biophilic design: Incorporating elements of nature into design to improve well-being and create a connection with the natural world.
- Sustainable and eco-friendly design: Using environmentally-friendly and sustainable materials and practices in design, such as using recycled or upcycled materials and energy-efficient lighting and appliances.
- Mixing and layering textures: Combining different textures and materials to create depth and interest in a space.
- Warm and cozy spaces: Creating a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere with warm colors, soft lighting, and cozy textiles.
- Multifunctional spaces: Designing spaces that can be used for multiple purposes, such as a home office that can also serve as a guest room.
- Maximalism: Embracing bold patterns, bright colors, and a mix of styles and periods to create a lively, eclectic look.
- Minimalism: Striving for a clean, uncluttered look with a focus on simplicity and function.
- Black and white: Using a monochromatic color palette of black and white to create a sophisticated, modern look.
- Personalization: Incorporating personal touches and meaningful items into design to make a space feel more personalized and unique.
The Link Between Fashions, Production and Trends
There’s an interesting correlation between a) the time it takes to design and produce something and get it into the consumer’s hands and b) how quickly it goes out of style.
Some aspects of interior design, such as materials and finishes, may be less trendy than decor and accessories because they tend to be more permanent and costly to change. Materials and finishes, such as flooring, countertops, and wall coverings, are often more expensive to replace and require more time and effort to change, so people may be more hesitant to update them as frequently as they might update smaller decor items.
In contrast, decor and accessories, such as throw pillows, rugs, and wall art, are often less expensive and easier to change, so people may be more likely to update them on a more frequent basis to follow current trends.
The less time a product takes to produce, the easier it is for that item to “age”, because a new version will be out in less than six months, replacing the old version and consequently ‘dating’ it.
Why Fashion and Tech Have Fast Turnovers
Electronics and software are easily understood examples of fast turnaround times. In actual fact, the difference between tech products and purely decorative home products is huge!
Consider this: we value the smart phone we spent a thousand bucks on, even though a smart phone is only ever expected to be functional and will be out of date a year from now. If we’re honest, how the phone looks isn’t even that big of a deal anymore.
Home decorations, on the other hand, are sold cheaply to a market base that is much harder to predict. Trends in decor can be anticipated, but even then product designers in home “fast fashion” create items intended only to please our arbitrary tastes for a season. People buy cheaply and discard just as easily.
Want to know more about the original use of the term “fast fashion” outside of interior design? Check out Justine Deconte’s incredible fashion channel to hear what she has to say about the issue.
The big problem with fast fashion is that it is never intended to last.
Why Architecture is Less Trendy Than Interior Design
In the world of interior design it’s way easier for small furniture items and home decor to go out of style than for the actual architectural styles of homes. While this does happen, the process is longer and slower.
Architecture is way more costly and time consuming than decoration. Because of this it is also way more carefully considered, and as such it tends to evolve more responsibly. Anything that has been properly designed has had to pass at least a few sound checkpoints along the way.
The issue in home decor is largely with the mass overproduction of inferior quality goods. Wouldn’t it be an amazing world where we only ever manufacture and produce what we are committed to responsibly using? Hopefully, this is where we are headed in the near future.
Why Do People Care About Style Trends?
The Grass is Always Greener
As people we seem to always be looking for the next greatest, biggest and better thing. It’s obvious that this sentimentcan have negative effects on the planet when not properly harnessed.
Then again, our human-driven desire for change is also how progress works. I wonder if we’ll bever be able to solve the dissonance between our desire for greater beauty and perfection in the world and loving our actual lives.
Making Those New Year Resolutions
One nice thing about a new year is that it gives us a reason to reflect on the last twelve months and think about our direction for the next. New years herald change, and we should embrace this notion.
True, making changes in the new year might include making adjustments to (or totally doing away with) things that have not been working for us. A new year perspective should also include finding inspiration for (and making solid plans) for positive forward momentum in our lives.
Should these changes include the interior spaces we inhabit every day?
Let’s just not ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater‘.
The Difference Between Micro, Macro and Mega Trends
It’s important to understand the difference between micro and macro interior design trends. While industry professionals tend to focus on the macro trends, consumers get caught up in the micro trends.
It’s an interior designer or architects job to always be looking ahead, and not get caught up in every little tremor on the fad scale. This it is the macro and mega trends that we pay most attention to.
The less permanent your home and the more you enjoy buying inexpensive fashionable items, the more likely you are to follow micro trends.
Interior design also has its own form of ‘fast fashion’, and it, like the fashion world, is driven by retail. In this market there is high turnover of products, which in the long term results in a lot of waste.
Fast turnover also contributes to the production of inexpensive, ‘tacky’ products. When products have no ‘staying power’, ideas are cheap. Fast fashion in interior design usually affects small home decor items.
Micro trends in interior design account for up to a year of influence. Tiny micro trends are more accurately described as ‘fads’. An example of a micro trend would be the use of a specific plant in interior decorating or a popular color. Yes, even color of the year is a micro trend.
Macro trends are the trends that happen and build a little slower. Whether due to a slow, steady rise in public interest or simply due to availability, nonetheless these are ‘best sellers’.
Macro trends may last up to three years of influence.
An example of a macro trend is the popularity of a certain furniture item, like a particular style of recliner or swivel stool which has been in hot demand with the ‘work from home’ crowd during the pandemic. Really popular furniture can have macro staying power!
Interior Design Mega Trends
Mega trends are more important to watch. More often than not, these trends are the result of new technologies. These trends are informed by designers and builders using the best materials, products and methods to build new designs.
These are the trends that stick around the longest, as they are often the hardest to replace arbitrarily. They have become classics that are now a permanent part of the design landscape.
Mega trends in interior design are those that last beyond the decade mark.
How to Judge New Trends in Interior Design
You might be wondering, how do all these trends affect us? And, more importantly, how do we know whether a trend is worth following or not?
If you tend to follow trends a lot or you read a lot of popular home design media, it’s easy to get caught up in “the look of the moment”.
Try to think of these ideas as inspiration, not mandates.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Following a New Interior Trend
Here are some good questions to ask yourself before following an interior design trend:
- Do I really love this trend, or am I just following it because it is popular? It’s important to choose pieces and design elements that you truly love, rather than just following a trend because it is popular.
- How well does this trend fit with my personal style? Consider whether the trend fits with your overall design aesthetic and the look and feel that you want to create in your home.
- How long do I see this trend lasting? Trends come and go, so it’s important to consider whether the trend you are considering is likely to be short-lived or if it has staying power.
- How much will it cost to incorporate this trend into my home? Consider the cost of any new pieces or updates needed to follow the trend, as well as the potential cost of replacing those items if the trend goes out of style.
- Will this trend still be in style in a few years? Consider whether the trend is likely to still be popular in the future, or if it is likely to become dated quickly.
- Is this trend practical for my lifestyle and needs? Consider whether the trend is practical for your daily life and meets your needs, rather than just following a trend for the sake of it.
By asking yourself these questions, you can help ensure that you are making design decisions that reflect your personal style and needs, rather than just following a trend for the sake of it.
Practical Considerations When Following New Design Trends
It’s important to consider the level of commitment and cost involved when making design decisions. Here are some practical considerations to keep in mind when incorporating an interior design trend into your home:
- Consider your budget: Trends can often require new purchases or updates, so it’s important to consider your budget and whether you can afford to follow the trend.
- Think about your lifestyle: Consider whether the trend is practical for your daily life and meets your needs, rather than just following a trend for the sake of it.
- Don’t forget about function: While aesthetics are important, it’s also important to consider how a trend will function in your home. Will it be comfortable, functional, and easy to maintain?
- Don’t be afraid to mix and match: While it’s okay to incorporate a trend into your home, don’t be afraid to mix and match with other styles and elements to create a look that is uniquely yours.
- Think about the long term: Trends come and go, so it’s important to consider whether the trend you are considering is likely to be short-lived or if it has staying power.
By keeping these practical considerations in mind, you can help ensure that you are making design decisions that are both stylish and functional for your home.
Could you make a stylistic change by replacing something inexpensive, like your throw cushions, your art work, or mirrors? Consider moving items that don’t work to other rooms in the house, or give them away to charity.
How Being Thrifty Can Be a Good Design Strategy
Truth be told, if your so-called ‘disposable‘ stuff isn’t actually junk, you should really think about keeping it! Why?
Because, chances are that that style will come around again are pretty good. Only, the next time it comes around, your original piece will be worth way more than the new replicas.
That is, it will be worth way more if you bought ‘right‘ the first time around!
More about that a little further down.
What You Should Know About Building Materials and Sustainability
Understand Materials Intended for Longevity
Did you know that interior ceramic tile that is properly installed can have an expected lifespan of easily one hundred years?
Materials such as natural stone, brick, wood, ceramics, glass and composites can all last longer than most of us.
Understand Warranties and Guarantees
Similarly, many manufactured products, such as wood flooring, sofas and even carpets come with impressive warranties these days (as well as price tags!).
There are plenty of examples of products for the home that are guaranteed to last 10-25 years. Many, in fact, last way longer.
What does this tell us? We should expect to use materials for at least as long as they are guaranteed for, if we are maintaining them properly.
Tiling and Flooring Advice
While I can see that grouting might not last as long as tile, your ceramic tile choices should last you at least ten years, so choose wisely.
If you’re ripping the ceramic tile or your dark wood flooring out simply because the style is ‘so last year’, I’m sure you can see that you’re doing yourself an expensive and wasteful disservice.
Ways to Be More Sustainably Responsible
We are all responsible for the sustainability of the planet, but it’s easy to pass the buck.
For example, we have all benefited from the building industry, but at the same time, we don’t want to take the blame for their ecological failings.
Recycle Building Materials
It’s true: The building industry is one of the worst polluters on the planet. The good news is that they know it and are taking measures to change things.
What taking measures means to you and I is that the building industry is getting better at recycling. When discarding of any building materials, please do your best to see that they find a good “home”.
Buy from Sustainability-Friendly Furniture Stores
Another easier way you can be more sustainable is to buy your furniture from ethical suppliers.
What does an ethical furniture company look like?
A good furniture brand will accept their old products back for recycling, even if that is twenty years later.
An ethical furniture company will also enable repairs, re-upholstering and renewal of their products through their lifetime.
The Californian furniture manufacturer Joybird, is an example of a company like this.
Why Corporations and Consumers Should Share Responsibility
There are several reasons why manufacturing companies and end users should share the burden of being more sustainable:
- Environmental impact: Manufacturing processes and consumer behavior both contribute to the environmental impact of a product. By working together to reduce their environmental footprint, both manufacturing companies and end users can help reduce the overall impact of a product on the environment.
- Resource conservation: Sharing the burden of sustainability can help conserve natural resources, such as water and raw materials, for future generations.
- Cost savings: Sustainability practices can often lead to cost savings for both manufacturing companies and end users. For example, using eco-friendly materials or energy-efficient processes can reduce the overall cost of production and consumption.
- Increased competitiveness: Companies that prioritize sustainability can often gain a competitive advantage in the market, as there is increasing demand for environmentally-friendly products and services.
- Social responsibility: Sharing the burden of sustainability can help both manufacturing companies and end users fulfill their social responsibility to protect the environment and future generations.
By working together to prioritize sustainability, both manufacturing companies and end users can help create a more sustainable future. It would certainly demonstrate a lot of care for the environment if more brands and key players in the industry take the initiative to help consumers with recycling.
It’s nice to see that some companies in the fashion space are already doing this. After all, let’s be honest:
Nobody knows how to recycle post-use products better than the industry which made them in the first place.
How to Create an Interior Space that is “Timeless”
Think More Long Term
For big ticket items, think classics. Try to find styles that are flexible and timeless. Even if that is only ‘timeless’ to you! If you love it, by all means, keep it; but know why you love it, and then keep it awhile. Let’s popularize the concept of ‘forever furniture’ and value our pieces the same way we value the idea of ‘forever homes’.
Look for Those ‘Forever’ Finds
Looking for ‘forever’ pieces means that we take the time and effort to find pieces that are keepers. We meet need to do research to determine what this means for us personally.
Some ideas include finding items that offer us quality and functionality as well as great style. These are items that we are motivated to repair or re-upholster when they need it. When the time comes we pass them down as heirlooms to our children and grandchildren.
This idea is a lot like the idea of having a ‘capsule wardrobe’ (popular with fashionistas). We keep our basics simple and then embellish from there with the more ‘disposable’ accessories.
Even then, why not get some nice ones on Etsy and support real artists?
Careful observation of the way people really live (one of the roles of good designers) provides feedback for better ways to design and space plan. As designers and consumers we might not be able to make these macro types of changes overnight, but they will influence the industry.
Can a Trend Become Timeless?
Absolutely! Trends can certainly become long term successes. As they say, time is the best tester. The longer something has been around and the more ‘staying power’ it has, the more likely there is a good reason for that.
For example, there are many classic chairs, timeless moldings, floor plans and styles of houses that have endured through time. In a way, we could think of mega trends as being on their way to becoming ‘timeless’ (that is, considered ‘classics’ later down the road).
Decor, furniture and even design styles can evolve to the status of cult favorites within generations and beyond. Many of the styles that made it onto our Interior Design Style Mega List of 30 styles can be considered classics.
This concludes our discussion on how long interior design trends last. Are you interested in getting started creating a timeless home?
Here’s our guide to getting started with decorating from scratch.
Happy home styling!
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