Many things can influence trends - fashion, the economy, politics, social issues, new technology and even movies or television shows. For example, the television series "Mad Men" strongly influenced the mid-century furniture revival.

For 2018, the major influences will be socially, politically and technologically driven. We are experiencing great social unrest with many displaced people due to war, random terror attacks in commonplace areas and equality issues in relation to gender and ethnicity taking centre stage.

There is uncertainty every day due to ‘fake news’ and it is difficult to know what is truth and what is not. We are bombarded with mixed messages via our devices and it is becoming more difficult to find a balance between work and home life. There is concern for our natural resources and the effect of our current manufacturing processes on the environment.

So, how does all of this translate into colours and finishes? Some of the key trends resulting from these influences are:

Wabi Sabi

The Japanese term for appreciation of the beauty of imperfection underlies all the following key trends. There is a realization that nothing is perfect in the world, so why not appreciate and embrace the imperfection of nature? Timber finishes show knots and movement. Metals show evidence of corrosion due to the elements. Dark charred timbers and burnished metals are a strong feature of this trend, as well as the colours of fire – flame red, yellow and orange.

Safe retreat

During times of uncertainty and fear, people tend to retreat and reflect on what is important to them. They need a place where they feel safe and secure, so comfort is essential. Therefore, they will seek to surround themselves with soft, gentle pastel colours that help them to feel safe and nurtured. Finishes are smooth and textures very tactile. Furnishings are padded and wrapped. Patterns are gentle and fluid.

This type of environment allows for space to disconnect from media and retreat from stress. Nooks to escape in both open plan homes as well as commercial spaces will be a strong feature of this movement.

In contrast to FOMO (fear of missing out), we are now entering an age of JOMO – the joy of missing out. This means being disconnected from technology and enjoying the simple things in life, like family, friendship and even a simple but excellent cup of tea.

Ethical purchases

We are moving from a consumer-oriented state of accumulating ‘stuff’ to assessing what is essential and meaningful when it comes to possessions. Purchases will be more considered and chosen based on origin, whether they have been manufactured ethically, and whether they can be recycled or repurposed later in their lifespan.

There is also a need to bring the outside in and the inside out and we have seen many commercial ‘green walls’, both externally and internally, and this trend will become common in homes as well. People are doing small things (like having a small garden) to contribute to improving the environment.

Vegetal and earthy colours, including all types of greens and earthy tones like terracotta, warm greys and green-based neutrals work in this palette. Shapes are organic. Textures like raw, crosscut and recycled timber, fabrics, leather and grasses relate to this movement.

Cultural diversity

Due to the shifting of large groups of people from ancient countries, there is an appreciation of the culture and history of their origins. Colours are rich, but faded or muted and there is often a slow revealing of colour. Antique-looking woven textiles and rustic metals feature in this trend, reflecting the weaving of traditions and culture into a modern society.


Advances in space travel, medical research and new technology feed our desire to escape the stress of our lives as well as the mundane. People are seeking the magic in everyday life. Jewel-like hues feature in this trend as well as special effects and all kinds of metals. There is a refined and minimalist quality to this trend, but it also exudes glamour and luxury.

It will be exciting to see these trends transforming our residential and commercial spaces.