Now that we’re past the mid-year mark, it’s time to cast our eyes towards the horizon, projecting into next year and conjuring the major directions that look set to influence Sydney home builders and interior designers going forward.
Trend forecasters have a wonderful way of distilling how the zeitgeist, or spirit of the times, subconsciously influences our design choices. Many are currently reflecting on a period of radical change, disruption and uncertainty, from fake news to Brexit, which has shaken our belief in authority and stirred up a quiet rebelliousness against the unseen forces controlling us. The result is a mega-trend that is experimental, creative, spontaneous and full of wonder. There is also a big interest in multi-cultural influences and multi-layered responses to the world around us – and a blurring of boundaries between traditional and radical approaches.
This last in particular sees home design become ever more flexible and changeable; will we see the best architects in Sydney fielding enquiries for bathrooms that double as living areas or libraries? Very possibly!
The recent Decor + Design Show in Melbourne included a presentation from Victoria Redshaw of trend forecasting agency Scarlet Opus, who echoed these sentiments. Among her insights were re-thinks of two home staples: the kitchen and the bathroom.
The wellness kitchen
The idea that what we put into our bodies should reflect a commitment to wellbeing and sustainability has been around for some time; any interior designer working with a Sydney residential architect can certainly attest to that. However the idea is now influencing kitchen design in specific ways. One of these is a growing focus on recycled, sustainable and ultra-hygienic materials, as well as kitchen designs and layouts that encourage social interactions and nurture positive relationships. Another takes the form of interesting design features, from glazed or ‘transparent’ storage for healthy ingredients to visually remind cooks and eaters to keep up their virtuous nutrient intake; to growing produce inside the kitchen in small scale indoor urban farming units. Such ideas may well be expressed in many Sydney homes going forward, and are a great way to re-energise a kitchen both visually and emotionally. The key look for these spaces is a minimalist style that errs on the side of warmth and welcome rather than austerity or asceticism. Natural light is key, along with warmer, mid-tone timbers and muted paint colours, from stonewashed blues, to sage greens or mist greys in chalky smooth matte or eggshell finishes.
Moving into the bathroom
The desire to create a calming haven in the bathroom will be big in 2019. Rather than a purely practical space, the bathroom is being seen as a private retreat from the outside world, digital distraction, and the rest of the family! While NSW home builders confirm spa design has influenced bathrooms for some years, interiors specialists look set to up the impact through the inclusion of living area staples such as soft, upholstered seating, feature pendant lighting (complete with dimmer switches) and soft furnishings such as rugs and cushions. In terms of the palettes for this trend, bathroom obsessives should look out for refreshing shades of mint, watermelon and greens, while unexpected pops of warm terracotta and apricot may appear in tile grouting or ceiling paint.
The above image shows another example of a major trend next year. The stylish yet earthy authenticity of traditional terrazzo flooring will be everywhere in 2019. Executed in similar style to floors in its birthplace Italy, this beautiful material doesn’t need to be restricted to kitchens or other traditionally ‘tiled / cold floor’ areas. It works brilliantly in living rooms and even bedrooms and is a classic with all round appeal. More experimental applications see it also used on walls and ceilings.
On the subject of ceilings, accent ceilings (pictured top) look set to reach the heights in 2019. Essentially, smart home decorators are transposing the uplift of that now out-dated concept, the feature wall, or the statement floor, to a hitherto neglected spot. Whether your home is a spacious flat in Sydney or a semi-rural pile, it’s all about the surprise element and a slightly decadent sense of extravagance; think Renaissance Florence with a contemporary spin. It is also a clever way of calming down our wall spaces; encouraging us to sit back and look heavenward.
Style mavens confirm black will continue to be used for impact in interior décor. Black walls have been trending for a while, adding definition and bold class to any space. Looking ahead, deep velvety matte black will be deployed, surprisingly as an ‘expander’; a well-placed black wall adds a sense of spaciousness due to black’s recessive qualities.
One of the boldest trends that began to take hold last year is the revamped Memphis style of the 1980s, otherwise known as Neo-Memphis (pictured below). True to almost everything that happened in that decade, the Memphis look, which began in Milan, was all about exaggeration, kitsch and eccentricity that bordered on trashy. Its forecast resurgence next year may well be tapping into that rebellious, anti-authoritarian streak mentioned earlier; in any case, style adherents need not be alarmed. Neo-Memphis still has strains of brash daring – think pop colours, asymmetrical patterns and tacky elements, a nod-to Art Deco and 1950’s kitsch – however in its new manifestation, designers are opting for higher quality materials like metals and marble instead of plastic and pleather. Neo-Memphis is not for the faint-hearted, but elements of it can be wittily used in Sydney homes within that bigger trend towards spontaneous eclecticism. It’s also a great choice for children’s or even teenagers’ bedrooms… Or if you think that wellness kitchen idea is a little too virtuous, you could always add a dash of Neo-Memphis seasoning… just for fun!