Interface design experts listed the top interior design trends at the mid-year mark, following NeoCon 2022. The following trends centre around one theme – design is increasingly people-focused. The world-changing events of the past two years have resulted in a heightened need for spaces that adapt to us and not the other way around.

The trends

According to Interface, these are the five current trends:

Trend 1: Creating calm

After the stress of the pandemic, tranquillity in our lives is welcome – thus the need for quieter, calming spaces is reflected in design choices. The severe lines and bold, cool colours of the 2010s have been phased out and replaced with warmer hues paired with softer, curving shapes for more serenity and less anxiety. Wood tones, soft pastels and nature-influenced tones such as moss greens and saturated reds will dominate the coming seasons.

Rounded shapes from floor and wall coverings to the silhouettes of furniture are trending. Even designs with sharper edges and lines will now have a softness to them.

NeoCon trend: Quilted fabrics and padded forms with curved organic lines bring softness to spaces.

Trend 2: Biophilic design is better

With Covid-19, there was a heightened awareness of mental and physical health. Employers had to create environments that allowed for social distancing and therapists saw a steep rise in patients, as the unknown resulted in fear and anxiety for all. With this awareness, we saw more people integrating elements of biophilic design in commercial spaces.

Biophilic design is defined as connecting humans to nature by incorporating natural elements into a space, but in practice, it goes far beyond that. Studies have shown that implementing biophilic design elements, such as natural light, outdoor views, natural materials and fresh air, positively impacts mental and physical health.

Interior products bring a biophilic perspective to a space, by pattern, colour and texture – mimicking natural elements like the forest floor, granite mountains or ripples of water. There is a consistent use of biophilic designs and it is predicted that this trend will continue for years to come, as caring for our health and well-being becomes an even greater focus.

NeoCon trend: Focus on nature-inspired elements, with new knotted and woven textures such as macrame pushing the trend of organic textures further into the spotlight. The outdoors found a way in which popular designs featuring extra-large repeats and large fields of varied textures can bring nature’s randomness to interior spaces.

Trend 3: Flexible design

How we live and work is undoubtedly changed. Spaces, both at home and in the office, will continue to become more flexible and adaptable – leaning into a human-centred approach. The acoustic, textural and visual qualities of materials, furniture and lighting selections in spaces must achieve cognitive and sensory well-being. Layouts should support space-specific needs through modular and mobile furniture, colour usage and flexible flooring solutions. Office and home office spaces must be flexible to serve multiple purposes.

NeoCon trend: NeoCon showcased how residential influences can be used to transform office settings into inviting environments through richer textures and products that bring elements of the home – like comfort – into the workspace.

Trend 4: Return of retro

“What’s old is new again” is a common theme in design – from fashion to interiors and music. Our brains are wired for nostalgia, which activates the reward centre of our brains, bringing back good feelings. It is also a tool for coping with stress and navigating uncertainty.

This can be why retro design trends have made their return – from the wood-panelled excess of the 1970s to the soft pastel palettes of the 1980s and the bold, eclectic patterns of the 1990s.

NeoCon trend: Checkerboard print is an emerging fashion trend and dominant design feature as well as tonal patterns, such as warm shades of eggnog.

Trend 5: Innovating sustainability

There is a growing interest in sustainability, as the impacts of climate change become more and more visible in our world. The National Retail Federation reported that 57% of consumers are willing to change their purchasing behaviour to help reduce negative environmental impacts. The number of companies that made net-zero commitments grew from covering 16% of the global economy in 2019 to 70% by 2021.

People are expanding their scope of sustainability beyond their use of products and are looking into their origins and disposal – such as how is a material manufactured, are the resources sustainable and how often will it need to be replaced? The response to these demands has led to a wave of innovation across the design industry, as we seek to find more sustainable ways to create our spaces.

Some companies are researching the uses of mycelium, a compound derived from mushrooms, to make plastic alternatives. Other manufacturers are using recycled plastic to create sustainable versions of terrazzo, a common stone composite in design. At Interface, the amount of bio-based and recycled materials has been increased in many of their products. Last year they launched the first carbon-negative carpet tile and introduced carbon-negative area rugs through their consumer-facing brand, FLOR.

NeoCon trend: Making a positive impact on people and the planet is a priority. NeoCon brought together forward-thinking companies and organisations to showcase innovative products, initiatives and resources to help achieve sustainability goals and advance their collective effort to reverse global warming.

Full acknowledgement and thanks go to https://neocon.com for the information in this editorial.

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