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Harness bold colour, biophilic design elements and a retro edge in the year ahead. Minimalism is on its way out!
Words by Laura Cherrie Beaney in Design & Architecture · Dec 21st, 2022
Dubai-based architect and founder of boutique design studio, Concept ME, Nina Parvaresh, shares her design trend predictions for the year ahead.
Nina: Interior design is, in many ways, similar to fashion, where styles wane and return periodically. Over the last two years - the pandemic and the proliferation of remote working - the ways that people interact with their interior environment have shifted significantly. There is a renewed dedication to optimising our living spaces which has led to specific changes in colour and material trends.
Confinement has motivated a pivotal shift towards marriage between indoor and outdoor living spaces. People are craving a closer connection to nature as a result of the lockdowns. These two points have contributed to the trends that I’m predicting for 2023.
I’m a lover of timeless colours like greys, earthy tones and deep blues. I'm recently noticing that people are becoming bolder and more willing to showcase pops of colour in their homes. Even though I’m not a big fan of last year’s Pantone colour of the year, Very Peri, and this year’s Viva Magenta, I think their selection highlights the continued significance of bolder colours.
This year, I'm witnessing a return of retro colours like rust, khaki green, olive, oranges and off-browns. They are bold and at the same time a reminder of the sixties and seventies, eras that are making a huge comeback in our interior design style.
Retro is a big influence on interior trends. I see people shift towards micro-luxury aesthetics - think lush fabrics, elaborate patterns and the juxtaposition of various materials like woods, metals, and marbles, as well as curved furniture and rich colours. Densely patterned wallpapers and wallcoverings are also an integral part of this exuberant aesthetic, alongside the touches of brass and gold that first lit the micro-luxury aesthetic.
At the other end of the spectrum is a dedicated following of biophilic design. People are investing in natural materials, inviting outdoor elements into their space and opting for sustainably created items.
The use of natural materials in lighting fixtures, oversized plants, and the upcycling of old vintage armchairs by reupholstering them are some quick and easy ways that you can introduce retro and biophilic trends into your space.
I am a firm believer in the fact that lighting is at least 50% of an environment. I'm very glad that we are at a stage in time when lighting fixtures are becoming bolder and increasingly important. This means that fixture designs can be innovative and change with the trends. My new favourite item is an alabaster lighting fixture, it gives a beautiful, diffused ambience through light. I always try to convince my clients that lighting is not a decorative element but instead a focal point that enhances the ambience of their environment and offers a great source of warmth in a space.
I think we should always introduce secondary sources of light to a space beyond spotlights and overhead lights. Lighting fixtures with metal finishes are really in vogue. I recommend investing in a beautiful vintage brass pendant, a bronze finish wall light or a table lamp with a touch of metal that can really bring an edge to a space. These objects end up becoming statements.
As much as I love space to breathe, I just don’t think I have the capacity to see minimalist spaces anymore! I think minimalism enjoyed a big time in style, but it is a design movement that lacks soul, heart, and character. A bold focal wall, a fabric print, a different coloured pillow, or a nice series of grey shades can really remove the molecular emptiness that minimalism brings with it.
It is my belief that a completely open space is something that you need to ‘meditate on’ before going for it. I love open spaces, but with parameters. Structure is an essential aspect to take into consideration before you jump into a full-on open space. Structure lends the residence value in a functional and aesthetic manner. The addition of walls and partitions defines the space by enclosing it but also allowing it to be open. Walls allow you to hang artwork, place beautifully meaningful bookcases, and more. An entirely open-concept living space should probably leave the conversation in 2023!
The second trend that I believe has expired is white kitchens. The time of clean, all-white, sterile looks is done. I think kitchens need to be inviting, warm, and composed of different elements that bring them to life. A marble slab or a coloured set of cabinets can really give soul to the kitchen space.
In the past couple of years, people have become more and more invested in patterns and bold prints. Seeing floral or leafy pattern fabrics on armchairs, braided leather cushions and geometric curtain patterns is very exciting to me, because there is narrative in the detail! Companies are taking up the challenge and bringing prints back. Maison Pierre Frey is, for example, producing beautiful prints based on historical stories, and hiring artists that bring an authentic story with them translated into prints and patterns. I also love seeing how natural fibres and materials such as sisal are becoming increasingly common material choices. CMO Paris is one example of a company that’s doing amazing work with natural fibres. It’s a really interesting time for experimentation and bold, meaningful statements!
My advice is to take your time to know yourself and the lifestyle you like to lead and then build and curate your space from there. Wellbeing in the home is all about curating a living experience that suits you in both aesthetic and functional modes. So, figure out what colours you like, what materials you feel good around and what feels good to the touch and then start from there.
If you're someone who feels their best while baking or cooking, invest in a functional, cool kitchen that keeps you busy and entertained. If you’re into yoga and meditation then invest in creating a calm and zen space through harmonious earthy colours, and natural materials and perhaps even add a meditation corner.
Invest in great lighting because it really sets the mood of your space and gives you the ambience you need and don’t forget candles!
For me personally, all jokes aside, the most important thing for home living is to get a pet! From my experience, they make everyone’s lives better. What are you waiting for?