Interior Design Trend Report 2016

Friday, January 15th, 2016
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Pantone has kicked off the official forecasting season, revealing its 2016 colour(s) of the year.

The two tranquil hues chosen were a light pink known as Rose Quartz (PANTONE 13-1520) and a soft pastel blue, Serenity (PANTONE 15-3919).

Like all trends, the two colours are designed to reflect culture/societal change, with Pantone responding to a society that reflects gender equality, compassion and respite in tough times.

And trends do count, particularly for businesses looking to anticipate consumer movement and respond accordingly with timely products and services.

In the design space, international trend forecaster Milou Ket spends her days researching and monitoring trends across the globe. She notes that in the digital age, bloggers are are the new tastemakers, encouraging people to become confident and creative with their interior spaces.

That’s not to exclude traditional mediums such as magazines and television shows, which are also contributing to the circulation and awareness of trends.

While minimalism still reigns, the term has been extended beyond the aesthetic to also reflect spaces that gather quality, pre-loved and recycled pieces in a minimalist manner, where less is more.

There is also a focus on exclusivity with the influx of decor that can be personalised with quotes, initials, images and so on being in huge demand.

However, when it comes to the primary trend elements – colour, pattern and material – Ket provides her forecast for 2016 and beyond:


Golden Glow

Ket predicts an increasing look toward metallics and luxury accents.

“Gold and copper are nice, precious accents that can be combined with almost all colours,” she explained. “They are very important as an update for almost all directions and styles.”

In Australia, gold and copper have been extremely popular, and Ket believes this is prompted by their easy combination, adding glamour, warmth and luxury to spaces.

Gold is also influencing aligning hues like mustard, butterscotch and honey which are a little softer but can also be found in nature in golden leaves, beehives, flora and so on.

Gold & Brown

Classic Neutrals

Neutrals offer a nod to the the increasing focus on minimalism.

“Neutrals, also in a Nordic style with grey, black and white, is the most popular colour direction,” said Ket. “Furthermore, we’re seeing light wood colours combined with black and white accents,” she said. “A recycled, reclaimed and industrial look is important to consumers.”

Blue Blush

Ket sees teal, or dark peacock as she calls it, as an important warm new background colour for walls, providing a dramatic effect.

“It provides immediate atmosphere,” she said. “There are also shades of blue are important and can be easily combined, especially in combination with different shades to white.”

Blue Blush

Green Shades

“Green shades are important and exude an exotic jungle feeling,” explained Ket. “They can be quite neutral in shades of green, or with more exotic images like birds. When people want nature in their homes in a less dominant way, they can use the colour throughout the space applied to furnishings or walls.”

Beyond nature-themed furniture and decor, consumers are also reaching for actual nature. Green plants and herbs, vertical gardening, and plants hanging upside down from the ceiling are becoming an important way to update the home or office according to Ket.

“There are interesting new products for growing herbs in the kitchen. I’ve even observed people who are growing and developing their own greenhouse vegetables,” she said.

Pastel Pigments

Ket has been tracking pastel colours over the last year, and she already had the pink and blue shades on her radar before Pantone announced the 2016 Colour of the Year. She said pink is an important shade as it can also be aligned to neutrals.

“It is an easy colour to update the home,” she said suggesting it for pillows or other accessories. “Other favourites are mint and shades of aqua.”


It looks like the 70s-inspired prints and paisley florals are being left behind for some more modern shapes and nature-inspired patterns.


“Geometric prints and angular shapes will be popular, including weaves in bright colours,” said Ket. “This could be applied to window coverings, rugs or be an accent for pillows.”


Dolce & Gabbana recently showcased their WINTER 2016 collection, which reflected botanical and Mediterranean prints – a trend also reflected in interiors.

“Jungle and botanical prints will be important,” said Ket. “We will welcome nature into our homes from animal artwork to pets themselves and wild animals in digital prints.

“However, we will also see photos of natural landscapes, especially from the wilderness.”

This will then translate into a rise of textured materials including velvets with a lively pile, leather or suede, real or faux fur, appealing to those looking for the touch factor.

Flora & Fauna

Watercolour and Graphics

“Graphic quotes that are framed or are used on all kinds of decorative products will continue,” said Ket. “We will see also ideas that look like aquarelles, with faded flower motifs, but also landscapes. They are often quite colourful, in combinations of bright and pastel colours.”

The Artists’ Way

There is also an increased appreciation of the creative artist, handcrafted items and non-mass production.

“People are enjoying repairing and mending, knitting and crochet and making something truly unique,” said Ket. “Old crafts and new techniques are combined, like laser cutting, or 3D printing. Often they are cooperating with scientists.”


Stone will Stay

In Australia, natural stone, particularly marble, has dominated the industry with both real materials and faux looks for those not willing to invest in the trend.

“I expect that marble will be used more in combination with other materials in 2016,” said Ket. “The material is quite cold by itself, so for decorative products, we will see the combination of marble with wood, metals, glass, etc.”

Wallpaper will Wander

Ket has observed some new possibilities with imitations of real materials for wallpapers.

“Key inspirations are coming from American lofts, brownstone buildings, with their red bricks, but also other applications such as stone strips and recycled wood are popular,” she said.

Thanks to new techniques, these real-look effects of layering and textures are now possible.

faux brick

“There are now interesting extreme thin veneer-type products made of real stone that that are available to apply on walls, cupboards and tables,” explained Ket. “There are also interesting very thin tiles that look like wood, stone and metal, but are made of ceramics. Digital printing will become very important and opens possibilities for personalisation.”

So from a trend behavioural point of view, Ket has a few overarching predictions.

“We are still interested in recycling and reusing old materials and products,” she said. “Texture and a vintage looks are also very important.

“There is more and more freedom to express yourself in interior spaces.”

“We can see how designers are researching and experimenting with familiar materials, but they’re also returning to their origins to find out how they can apply these materials in a new way.”

images: Milou Ket
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