A major highlight of the Decor + Design show every year is the prediction of the macro interior design trends for 2019, i.e. the directions that everyone will be talking about.

UK Trend Forecasters Scarlet Opus have become regulars at Australia’s No.1 Interiors Event in Melbourne, bringing their discerning eyes to both the Australian House & Garden International Seminar Series and the products on the exhibition floor, through their popular Trend Tours.

Futurist Victoria Redshaw’s keynote seminar on the first day of the show has become a hot ticket, with the seminar theatre at capacity again this year. The always-charming Victoria talked the rapt audience through her four key trends for 2019. Scarlet Opus also created a ‘Trends Hub’ where visitors could handle materials and immerse themselves in the new colour palettes.

We’ve recapped the four big trends for the coming year. Apply at will!

Macro Trend 1: Clarity

The clarity trend reflects a shift in approach and attitude. It is a response to an intense period of content consumption and manufactured consensus, plus an over saturation of visual information. 

Creating an environment which allows us to filter and block allows us to tune into ourselves and be honest about what’s important. It’s also about owning less and living in a more simplified comfort zone.

With a colour palette full of self-assured neutrals and calming pastels, this trend will be calm, enriching and simplified.

Key colours include apricot-tinted peach, dusky rose, hemp, pale bronze and subtle metallics. It is a colour palette that sits back, is riper and more evolved than previous Pantone pinks such as Millennial and Rose Quartz.

Materials include Vegan leathers and other alternatives. Extremely soft materials are key, plus a warm spin on traditionally hard materials, such as colour-tinted concrete.

Low-level seating creates a feeling of being grounded and establishes an emotional and psychological sense of enjoying your own company. Also integral are nurturing shapes, which can be adapted as needed. 

Trends Hub: Clarity

Create a Wellness Kitchen

A key part of the clarity trend is theWellness Kitchen’. Designed to be considerate of the environment and family-orientated, it uses soothing colours and a minimalist aesthetic. This has a therapeutic effect on eyes, brains and souls. It is visually soft, with chalky smooth surfaces.

Find Sanctuary in a Home Spa

Bathrooms are becoming a sanctuary to escape stress. The concept of the Home Spa is growing – a place to get away from stress outside the home but also within the home. Think dimmer switches, soft fabrics, cushions and throws in the bathroom.

Create a home spa. Image: Decoist.

Outdoor spaces continue to reflect the concept of an ‘Outdoor Room’, with feature walls made from tiles, sofas and standard lamps. Comfort, plumpness and a sense of wellbeing are key. Plants are integrated in an architectural way.

It’s all about creating an atmosphere of contentment, where you can find much-needed clarity.

Macro Direction 2: Bio-tech

The Bio-tech trend reflects the growing collaboration between the worlds of science and tech. With advances in health and the environment, we will be empowered through a super-connected future. It also addresses sustainability in an advanced way, with an emphasis on Closed Loop production, recycling and clean manufacturing.

The bio-tech trend is fresh, vibrant and sensorial, with a delightful strangeness to some of the products!

There’s a strong biological influence with shapes and softness, pairing unconventional materials to emphasise the contrasts of the world we live in. It is fundamentally about nature, biology and technology all working together.

The colour palette features a revitalising infusion of syrupy, fruity shades and synthetic, crisp colours that cut through.

Vitamin colours, peaches and watermelon are key – particularly the latter. Its brightness can be softened by pale pinks or it can be brightened up with mint. Mint will be huge, its crisp, fresh, unisex qualities pairing beautifully with greys. Darker colours add more mature points for contrast and gravitas.

Bio-tech materials are intriguing. Think foamy textures, neoprene, rubberised and embossed geometrics, perforations and silicon, plus membrane-like surfaces. Deeply-quilted, complex geometrics provide interest, with pleating, flutes and chunky ribbing.

Trends Hub: Bio-tech

Serious Sustainable Solutions

Bio-tech products take environmental options very seriously. This is not only positive for the environment but also the economy. Millennials are predicted to be worth US$24 trillion globally by 2020.

More and more innovative materials are popping up every day. Work surfaces made from recycled glass bottles, surfaces made from re-purposed clothing.

This trend taps into our biophilic urges to connect with nature; a need to integrate with the environment.

A Very Clever Kitchen

The kitchen takes on a new role as the tech hub of the home, especially as people gather more and more within that space. Many products have a ‘smart product’ appearance (even if they are not) so they can sit alongside tech comfortably.

We’re also seeing increasing demand for products that will allow food to be grown and harvested within the home, so there can be control of food safety and availability.

Macro Direction 3: Imperfect Beauty

The ‘Imperfect Beauty’ trend continues to connect us to nature but through wildness. It is grounded but luxurious.

With a world that has been in complete disarray, with mass social instability, people have begun to search for the beauty in disorder. In a media landscape of fakery and half-truths, it is about finding truth.

This need has seen a resurgence of the Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi. This is a world view that is centred on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. One could say that Wabi Sabi is the new Hygge! It is reflected in the art of kinsugi, repairing breakages with beautiful materials, so that the pieces have more value, not less. The breakage is part of its life, something that happened to it but it has been repaired.

A Japanese Wabi Sabi Bowl. Image: Wikicommons

As a society, we’re thankfully beginning to move away from mass production. To be unique it needs to be irregular in some way.

This trend incorporates craft, with beautiful mending and creative beading. The philosophy has a purity to it, with the emphasis on process. Product provenance is everything – you’re buying the story as well as the product. It’s an unconventional luxury.

The colour palette is thoughtful and delicate. Think mercurial silver, warm naturals, pale and honeyed gold, subtle metallic, clay and ash grey. It can also suddenly descend into darker pigments, with charred blacks. The Japanese technique of Shou Sugi Ban – or surface charred wood – has become an international sensation.

This carefully burnt wood has an unpolished, natural quality which gives the home a rough organic feel.

The rawness and handmade aesthetic of Kinsugi and Shou Sugi Ban filters into products in interesting ways. Think marbling and carpets with banding that looks like kinsugi mending, or leather with purposefully cracked leather. It balances unrestrained wildness with something that is chic and pared back. The result is comforting rather than chaotic.

A Shou Sugi Ban wall incorporated at the new Nordstrom, Vancouver

Materials like unruly wools and shearling are gritty but glamorous. Alabaster pieces in lighting, plus slates and marbles contrasted with clay make this trend brutal but beautiful.

Look out for natural materials with a slightly rugged look, minimalist looks and simpler, squarer shapes. The beauty is in the hand-tooled details which have then been roughened up. Think raw, chiselled edges on smooth work surfaces.

Charred woods will be particularly big outside, as will weathered metallics.

Macro Direction 4: RADICAL

Our final trend embraces the radical and unexpected. It is a reaction to global disorder but is the opposite response to clarity – you will veer towards one or the other, depending on your personality! 

Trends Hub: Radical

This design direction applies radicalism and questions the established order of things. As trust has been corroded and power abused, unrest has become the norm and a manipulation of populist politics.

Creatives are rising to the challenge, creating new designs, pushing forward trends and shaping the future to be the way we want it to be, instead of relying on mainstream sources of power.

This is reflected in a non-conformist attitude to interior design. It rejects cohesive notions of scheme design and dismisses the norm. This trend is multi-cultural and multi-layered, favouring bold colours like spiced orange and cocoa brown.

Yet the essence of this trend – that it is audacious and shows strength – means that when it comes to the rules of design –  there are none!

Victoria Redshaw will be returning to Decor + Design in 2019, 18th – 21st July at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. Put it in your diary now! Subscribe for updates as we’ll continue to unpack these trends and suggest practical applications.