Discover the concept of trend cycles, and how interior designers can work against the grain to create unique interior design ideas that feel totally fresh and new.
Being unique, different, out of the ordinary, and perhaps even radically individual are the goals of many designers. Now, as you can gather, there is no way to force “difference” out of anyone. Radical creativity blooms from introspection and playfulness, and no listicle can squeeze true ideas out of you. However, there is such a thing as “underused elements”...
In this article, we’ll explore the concept of trend cycles, and how interior designers can work against the grain to create designs that feel totally fresh and new. Also, we'll introduce some gorgeous unique interior design ideas for you to ponder over.
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Trend cycles 101
Trend cycles are the upward and downward trends of popularity relating to a particular product or idea. This concept first appeared in fashion circles, but is now being used to describe trends in other commercial areas like interior design, graphic design, beauty, and TV.
The idea of the trend cycle stipulates that trends come back every 20-ish years. For example, bell bottom jeans ruled the 70s, went out of fashion for most of the 80s and 90s, and then returned triumphantly for the 2000s (in a reworked and upcycled manner). This is a trend cycle.
Of course, not all elements are trends; there is such a thing as a timeless piece that never goes out of style. However, there will be tweaks throughout time that update it to the needs of the time. There are timeless pieces, but they will always need time-sensitive makeovers. One such timeless piece is bookshelves, which have been a staple in homes for centuries and continue to be a functional and stylish addition to any room.
As of right now, there is fear around the trend cycle speeding up. Because of globalisation and social media, trends rise faster and get played out faster too. This makes certain designs “fads” instead of trends. An example of this would be the “Strawberry dress” that went viral and outdated within the same month. However, with the help of interior design ideas, you can create a timeless and classic look that will never go out of style... But more on that later!
Interior design was thought to be immune to the rapid changes of the fashion industry. After all, interior design has a longer life span, and the costs and lead times of interior pieces make the industry run slower by default. However, fast furniture brands and customer market-places are allowing homes’ inhabitants to buy and sell at an unprecedented rate. This means renovation and interior design trends, including the less thought about exterior decor, are more volatile than ever before.
What the increased speed of the trend cycle may do to the interior design industry is unknown, but some speculate that personal style will be the ultimate solution and outcome of this event. With so many trends going up and down at once in different corners of the internet, it is rational to think that maybe people will have to use their own discretion to choose what they like and dislike; and that suppliers will have to accommodate a different type of sourcing. This means that unique interior design ideas will become a key component of designing.
So, how do I escape the trend cycle and find unique interior design ideas?
- Go against current trends and embrace the outdated unique interior design ideas of today!
- Broaden your inspiration circles
- Look inward and reflect on why you think certain things are ugly
Expand your interior design palate with 10 suggestions
At Portaire, we inevitably come in contact with thousands of interior design images (and we love every moment). This helps us see what is trending and what isn’t, and even what should come back for another round. In this section, we’ll be exploring some unique interior design ideas we love and aren’t seeing much of, so you too can bounce ideas off these images and think of your own takes. Think about it as a taste ping-pong, where you can riff off these visual cues.
1. Reimagine sink skirts to create visual interest
"Sink skirts" refer to a decorative covering or fabric panel that is used to conceal the area underneath a sink. These skirts are typically attached to the sink basin or countertop and hang down to the floor, covering the space beneath the sink and hiding any plumbing or storage space items. In the image below, you can see how the sink skirt has been turned into a stone focal point, which adds a contemporary touch to the room without making it feel pompous. Love!
2. Hire a local artist and reintroduce murals to your interior designs
Murals in interior design are large-scale artworks or designs painted directly on walls or ceilings. They serve to enhance the aesthetic appeal of a room, create a focal point, and set the desired atmosphere. Murals can encompass various styles and themes, from realistic depictions to abstract designs, landscapes, portraits, or historical scenes. There is something vibrantly "New York City" about this trend, and we're totally obsessed with it. Bring murals back, we say!
3. Return to the primordial roots of Ancient Greece and Rome
When we talk about being inspired by the past of interior design, many think of the Victorian and Edwardian era, or perhaps the Mid-Century modernist movement. However, we propose looking back further, and finding inspiration in the great civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome!
4. Play with iridescent materials, tiles and paint
When we think of iridescence or metallic touches, we normally think of joinery, hardware and appliances. However, we think it’s time to apply this love for all things shiny to our walls, fireplaces and mantels. At the end of the day, a modern space must ooze with creativity, and we think this is a way to do it!
5. Match tiles and wallpaper to the extreme
Bathroom pattern design rules often force designers to choose one bold pattern for a room and to then let the rest of the room breathe (plainly). We love how Emma Ainscough breaks the rules to create a fun and playful space with an overload of repeating patterns. One to look out for!
6. Tiled staircases don’t have to be boring
Tiled staircases often lean on one type of tile, in one colour alone. We think it’s time to look to the more traditional elements of Catalan design to be inspired; and this staircase does just the trick.
7. Popcorn ceilings… but updated
Popcorn ceilings, also known as acoustic ceilings or textured ceilings, are a type of ceiling treatment that gained popularity in the mid-20th century. They are characterized by a rough, bumpy texture that resembles the appearance of popcorn or cottage cheese. Today, many see popcorn ceilings as an aberration. We think we need to look at them differently. For example, in the image below, you can see how Antonio Cardino has turned the popcorn ceiling into a wabi sabi, minimalist design element. Bravo!
8. Pattern on pattern on pattern – British eclecticism is back, baby
The British tradition of mixing patterns in interior design is characterised by an eclectic and bold approach. This style embraces the combination of different patterns, colours, and textures to create visually interesting and vibrant spaces. It draws inspiration from the rich historical design movements of Britain, including Victorian, Georgian, and Arts and Crafts.
Some may see it as “Grandma’s place”, but we think it’s incredibly chic to mix and match fearlessly. Add a chandelier, a bookcase and a coffee table, and you've got yourself the perfect cozy "grandma chic" living room or dining room.
9. Oversized bobby moulding
We’re not sure if this is “in” or “out”, but it sure is unique and we’re obsessed. From what we can find, Decora Mouldings is the only supplier to call them this or make them in this way – and we can’t wait for it to catch on. It is playful, fun and a joy to look at.
10. Bas-relief sculptures are the perfect addition to a space
Murals and wallpapers too overdone for you? Well, Bas-relief sculptures are three-dimensional sculptures that are carved or moulded onto a flat surface. They have a historical significance and have been used in various cultures and periods, including ancient civilizations and Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical styles. However, you can utilise them in a myriad of ways, so get creative!
How do you know if an interior design is good or bad?
A good interior design is one that effectively combines functionality and aesthetics, creating a space that is visually appealing and serves its intended purpose. On the other hand, a bad interior design may lack harmony, have poor use of space, or fail to meet the needs and preferences of the occupants.
We hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, we think you’ll enjoy “How Gen Z approaches interior design”, “38 AI Tools And Softwares Every Interior Designer Should Know” and “Discovering The World Of Rendering And The Potential Of AI; With Luafix And Widu”.