When it comes to interior design, there is something aesthetically striking about combining the past with the present.
It’s a considered look that reflects both tradition and modernism and creates engaging spaces that allow for storytelling.
“It is a more personal and individual approach to decorating,” said global trend analyst Milou Ket. “People have discovered the pleasure of customising, mending and repairing their interiors. They love to show a cherished object, inherited from a beloved grandmother for instance.”
These days, instead of simply mixing the old and the new, the growing ethical marketplace has led designs to focus more on mixing the old and the "green."
Designers and consumers alike are embracing green interiors with recycled and salvaged wood furniture, LED lights, corrugated metals and repurposed carpets.
Naturally, this brings warmth to a space.
“The interior has becoming more homey and comfortable,” Ket said. “It no longer looks purely like a showroom, we’re designing spaces that remain aesthetically pleasing but are practical, ethical and personal to their inhabitants.”
Daphna Tal, sustainable interiors consultant at Australian Living, recognises this valuable market direction and believes green interior products should replace standard interior products in all scenarios.
“A showcase type space may not always be practical but it can certainly use environmentally responsible products without detracting from a showcase feel,” she said. “Green interior products should replace standard interior products in all scenarios. More and more people are becoming conscious of where products come from and what they are made of.”
“We are definitely experiencing a trend in using recycled and up-cycled products in both residential and commercial environments.”
Tal pointed to a new example, the ergonomic Aeron chair from Herman Miller.
“This chair has been designed with the consideration of our environment front of mind,” she said. "With certifications from Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute and Global GreenTag, the Aeron chair contains up to 53 per cent recycled content and is 94 per cent recyclable.”
The chair is a modern piece and its green credentials and minimalist style have earned it a coveted spot in The Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.
Anthony Lieberman, marketing manager of Australian Living, also recognises outdoor furniture company Dedon as a brand that offers new products with a conscience.
“Dedon has deep company philosophies that prides itself on treating people well and gives back to communities in which they live in e.g. the Philippines,” he said. “Production waste goes to community groups who in turn create products that they can sell within their own communities and beyond. The material Dedon uses in the production of their products is called DEDON Fiber which is polyethylene being non-toxic and fully recyclable.”
So while green is good, old products that demonstrate longevity can join their environmentally friendly counterparts in an up-cycled way.
“Products don’t have to be perfect anymore,” Ket said. “Carpets play in important role in that respect, we are recycling and up-cycling, but also we’re seeing new products with an aged and worn look.”
Embedding green products with a mixture of old textures, time periods and styles brings a warmer colour palette to spaces.
“This year, I expect colour to be combined with a neutral colour base,” Ket said.
So while trends will come and go, there is a growing global respect for environmental products aligned with the storytelling opportunity of vintage and ancient décor where the market is cherishing all that is old and all that is green.