Our homes are our “environmental autobiographies” and the treasures we fill them with tell stories about our past, our loves, and how we want to be perceived by the world. Trends in home décor are important because they represent society’s move through history. It’s a moment in time captured by an aesthetic, a colour, or a functionality.

Predicting trends involves a little crystal ball gazing but we spoke to some design professionals who study consumers’ shifting preferences. They predict that 2018 will see people making very personal statements by sidestepping cookie-cutter fads and combining elements in ways that tell their own stories.

We have become accustomed to personalization. The ads that follow us from web page to web page and the articles that show up on our social media feeds are all highly targeted to our natural preferences based on past online behaviour. We expect the world around us to reflect our unique likes, rather than catering to the hive mind.

The Doneger Group, based in New York City, identifies design trends for fashion and related industries. Kai Chow, Doneger’s creative director, spoke with Canadian Florist about what’s driving current design trends.
“Trends are moving horizontally across every classification and industry,” she said. “Consumer sentiment and sociocultural drivers have the last word in the trends that start and are eventually accepted, and this sentiment determines how long they continue.” More than ever, she said, individuality is driving home décor. “There is so much available, so many styles, and at all price points,” she said. “There is no longer a pure aesthetic and it is the eclecticism of how consumers are mixing furnishings that is truly exciting.”

While purchases may vary person by person, there are certain themes resonating that can guide you as you update your inventory, Chow said. Here are some of her suggestions.

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In Love With the Shape of You: Geometrics

All kinds of shapes are showing up in home décor—in tiles, fabric, artwork, lamps, and vases. Particularly popular accents include cut outs in the shape of hexagons, diamonds, circles, and chevron stripes. Strong lines and three-dimensional cubes all nod to this aesthetic. It’s a return to the Memphis Design Style popular in the 1980’s, Chow said. This look combined geometric shapes, different materials, and high contrast colours.

“Science, math, and a geek sensibility are cool again,” Chow said. Additionally, “Japonisme,” a French term used to describe Japanese influence on art, incorporates geometry, as does Scandinavian aesthetics (more on this soon), she added. Susan Clarke, Marketing Manager at Hofland Wholesale Florist in Mississauga, Ontario, pointed to the company’s “Leaf and Line” collection, which captures the geometric trend.

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out: Bohemian Seventies

Fringe is big as are macramé items and embellishments. Remember those avocado and gold pairings? They’re back! But now the shades are a bit more dramatic to deliver a bigger punch.

”The key is to create eclectic groupings of product,” Clarke said. Use various sizes of containers. Mix metal, glass, and ceramic. Use shiny and weathered textures together. “It’s a fine line though! The principles of design & merchandising still apply,” Clarke continued. “It’s easy to go from ‘Bohemian’ to ‘Garage Sale’ if you’re not careful.” Garden roses, clematis, ranunculus, sweet peas, lisianthus, scabiosa, dahlias, “and lots of greenery!” remain very popular to create “this trailing, loose, and flowing design style,” Clarke said.

The Doneger Group connects this trend to sustainability. “There is a return to shopping vintage, up-cycling/recycling, and the appreciation of retro craft,” Chow said. “But it is rarely the total look. It’s mixed in with modern pieces.”

Living Danishly: Scandinavian Style

Last year’s big word was “hygge” (rhymes with the opening chant from “Hooked on a Feeling”). It’s a Danish word that means “cozy and content” and captures the simplicity and peacefulness associated with Scandinavian culture.

Trend hunters have pegged this year’s Scandinavian buzzword to be “lagom,” which is Swedish for “not too little or too much.” All Goldilocks jokes aside, it’s clear we’re still excited about the Scandinavian style.

“Scandinavian design continues to be an aesthetic to strive for—modern silhouettes paired with tactile, often soft touch materials,” Chow said. Rustic, natural elements, like unfinished wooden furniture fits in here. “The idea is bringing nature indoors,” Chow explained. Another hallmark is simplicity. Ikea’s understated PS 2017 armchair recently won the prestigious Red Dot Award for Product Design.

Not Just for Girls Anymore: Millennial Pink

Pantone’s colour of 2016, Rose Quartz, has stuck around. Dubbed “millennial pink” by the press, it’s a sophisticated hue with neutral undertones that pair easily with other shades. Some credit the colour’s popularity to the gender fluidity expressed with today’s youth who reject rigid male and female stereotypes.

In September, millennial pink was all over London Fashion Week for spring 2018 and Clarke imagines it will be huge in upcoming nuptials. “It is soft, delicate, and romantic. And being neutral, it works well with other colours, making floral designs more visually appealing,” she said, adding that Hofland sells “a plethora” of pink flowers.

Desert Wanderer: Marakesh Charm

Dubbed “Nomadic Nuances” by UK trend forecasting agency Scarlet Opus, this trend features wicker and lamps in the signature “onion like” profile of the Moroccan culture. Intricate tiling along with mix and match patterns are among its trademarks. This look is all about combining elements in a personal way, incorporating artisan elements that are precious to the individual. These ancient cultures also hark back to a more primitive time in history, one less hectic.

Hofland offers items that connect to this trend in two story themes. “Calexico is our earthy, textural story. White washed or weathered wood, textiles and pottery, with an added touch of metal and colourful glass all work together to create the market feel,” Clarke said. “Elusive Dynasty showcases bold colours combined with rich textures for an opulent home.” This trend is heavy on metals, paired with clear glass and rich coloured ceramics. Neutral backgrounds provide opportunities to accent with shades of curry and paprika.

Alma Mater: Prep School Chic

People are weaving the library look into their homes with walls of books showing up in kitchens and family rooms. The style has definite preppy leanings. Blue and white stripes with punches of yellow give a “Hamptons” vibe to the trend, although the quintessential colour combination is pink and green. Monogrammed candles, picture frames, linens, and other accessories offer an exclusive country club feel. Also popular: leather boxes and holders. According to Euromonitor, a London-based market research company, fountain pen sales have grown every year for the last decade. As the digital world diminishes the amount of handwriting in day-to-day life, elegant script signage has gained new appreciation and is often put on display.

So what’s the common theme with these trends? They’re all rooted in a desire to connect with simpler, less hurried times. Whether it’s the cerebral sensibility of Japan or Scandinavia, the luxury of escaping with a good book, or writing a friendly letter with a finely crafted fountain pen, the “collective autobiography” for 2018 is about cultivating calmness. Art Deco grew from Egyptian influences sparked by the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922, while the futuristic lines of the sixties were inspired by space exploration. Life and art: it’s a yin and yang kind of relationship where each half carries a piece of the other half with it at all times.

Michelle Brisebois
Michelle Brisebois specializes in retail strategies with experience in luxury goods, restaurants, financial services, and ecommerce. She currently manages Trius Winery and Direct to Consumer for Andrew Peller Limited in Niagara on the Lake, Ontario.
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