There’s nothing like a pandemic lockdown to pull our immediate surroundings into sharp focus. But, for anyone embarking on a home “refresh”, we must first ask ourselves, where have we been? What are we doing? And where to from here?
Budget Direct Home insurance have collated the top interior designs loved by Aussies from the past five years, based on Google trends, and the results are a little surprising.
Life was different in 2016. Donald Trump had just nabbed the presidency, the #MeToo movement was growing in momentum, and the number one searched interior style was Industrial. It has remained at the top for the past five years, followed by Contemporary, which invokes neutral colours, high ceilings, bare walls and low furnishings that blend in – your basic minimalistic fantasy.
Coastal and Scandi were the next two most popular, the last of which has been firmly embraced by Victorians – it seems Melburnians love a bit of the Nordic aesthetic – it came a close second to Industrial for them. Sydneysiders, meanwhile, prefer Contemporary second and Coastal, third.
Still, Industrial is number one for every state? Really?
“The open-plan style of industrial design is timeless and versatile, which is why it is favoured amongst Aussies; it’s perfect for our lifestyle”, explains interior designer Miriam Pinkney. “Aesthetically, the style combines raw and rough with sleek and streamlined and has a high focus on the blend between old and new.
“The use of exposed brickwork, weathered timbers, mixed metals, and earthy tones allow spaces to feel larger due to the pared-back nature of this design style.”Aussies also embraced a wide variety of micro-home trends. In 2016, succulents were everywhere, but those prickly plants had been overtaken in 2019 by rattan – a trend that is yet to slow.
“Woven materials create such a timeless look,” explains Nic Holmes, home division buyer at Kmart, where rattan is king. “Our customers love to build on existing pieces within our range as they are so versatile and can go almost anywhere in your home.”
But, now that so many Aussies are in the thick of lockdown, we’re craving more green, more nooks, and more flow. “With so much time spent indoors, it’s easy to get fatigued looking around the house,” says Sydney-based interior designer and stylist, Jonathan Fleming who is spending time in his own indoor-outdoor space, replete with a conch shell-coloured outdoor lounge and bordered by potted plants.
“This is where we eat breakfast, take work calls, have an afternoon nap,” he wrote on Instagram. “This is the spot that keeps us sane at the moment.”
Like so many others in lockdown, Fleming is taking solace in greenery. “Indoor plants are here to stay, and for good reason,” he explains.
“With so much time spent indoors, plants are a great way to add a natural element to your space and help your home feel more cared for and personal,” he says. And while 2022 holds the promise of outdoor living, right now, Fleming says interiors reflect wishful thinking.
“There’s a lot of vintage Italian and Mediterranean art on the market. I think it’s our need to travel, so expect lots of these European influences to pop up into interiors in 2022.
Fleming says the check and stripe trends that are currently popping up will be with us into next year. “It adds a bit of lightness and playfulness to the home that we’re all in need of after the last couple of years”, he explains.
“Soft, sculptural objects are also really popular. From vases to lamps, these items will double as a practical piece of decor and an eye-catching object in your home.
This leaning towards statement pieces right now is something Pepa Martin and Karen Davis, co-founders and designers at boutique homewares retailer Shibori can attest to.
“We have noticed that people have become a little more daring with their purchases,” says Martin. “Our leather floor rugs have been really popular, and people also want things they have seen in hotels or venues for their own home.”
“We thought that this lockdown would put projects on hold again, but they have just ramped up”, adds Davis. “We haven’t stopped working, and although the shop isn’t physically open, we are still shipping goods everywhere. It is a shift, but people are still active, and design is still alive.”