Interiors Forecast: 8 luxury design trends to look out for in 2018

Karen Howes of Knightsbridge-based practice Taylor Howes furnishes us with her top themes for the year ahead…

Having spent the last 25 years designing the interiors of some of the world’s best addresses, Karen Howes is a very good person to ask about the new and recurring themes to look out for next year.

The Taylor Howes founder, who counts commissions at The Phillimores, The Knightsbridge Apartments – and “the largest private residence in London” – amongst her portfolio, says we can “glean an enormous amount about a society” from what becomes popular in design.

Take the last year for example: the overarching economic and political turbulence has been one of the biggest factors influencing what owners now want from their homes, she says, and interiors are increasingly being crafted as a “safe space” from all the turmoil of the outside world. That doesn’t necessarily mean panic rooms and shutters; it’s about brands, fabrics and furniture that hark back to simpler times, and evoke that certain sense of security that’s so hard to put a finger on. “Homes are often an extension of our personalities,” Howe adds.

Here’s some detail on what 2018 looks likely to hold.

1. Seeking solace in interiors

During uncertain and unsettled times, there becomes a desire to seek definition, positivity and surety in interior design; it is a direct response to global uncertainties. With the turbulence of 2017 behind and the continued state of insecurity which lies ahead, we anticipate a huge charge towards fabrics, colours, materials and furniture brands that bring a sense of security and evoke a sense of those halcyon yesteryears.

There is a comfort in knowing the providence of pieces, and heritage brands will see a renaissance with clients increasingly asking us to seek out the old masters, turning to traditional names and working with reclaimed original materials such as the Murano pieces commonly introduced by the artisans at Charles Burnand, and the fabulously talented marquetry and inlay work as seen by Tim Gosling.

We will be frequenting the likes of Alfie’s market and browsing 1st Dibs on a daily basis

Antiques will once again be integrated into our design briefs and concepts and we will be frequenting the likes of Alfie’s market and browsing 1st Dibs on a daily basis to source the most unique items available on the market. Additionally, colour pallets will shift and choices will become increasingly directly linked to the feelings they evoke over the style impact they have.

Project: Lowndes Square

2. The reinvention of Monochrome

Forever in style, monochrome is the king of reinvention and we could not be happier. Black and white give interiors a bold and empowering contrast and energy, especially when paired with a daring shot of colour.

Monochrome adds precision and focus to a room, which is particularly favoured in contemporary design but also works in a more traditional aesthetic with the chequerboard flooring patterns making a reappearance in old and new properties alike. We see the rise of this trend, which started to become prevalent during the end of 2016, only set on an upward curve. Working in tandem with the fashion catwalks, monochrome will become a mainstream interior trend in 2018 and will manifest itself via materials and looks in various forms – herringbone, stripes, checks and spots. Interiors will continue to be fashion conscious, taking leads from the likes of Prada and Chanel.

Monochrome adds precision and focus to a room

We continue to look to the latest fashion store openings across the world for great sources of inspiration through use of materials, feature installations and pairing the sumptuous materials in the clothing with the architectural backdrop of the environment in which they are being presented.

3. Colours & colour blocking

There is a somewhat childlike and playful spirit in the air when it comes to colours in 2018 and how we integrate them in both residential and commercial interiors. Increasingly we will see the use of different blue, plum and yellow shades, with special attention to naturally occurring palettes as found within the living environment. We’re not just talking about paints as these colours will be prevalent in the raw materials too and we will see greater significance placed on the use of natural stones and semi-precious materials in our designs, particularly those with jewel-like and rich connotations.

Blue, the colour of the sea and sky is perhaps one of the shades most associated with escapism and contemplation. A rich, azure blue will be prevalent in interiors in 2018 and furthermore, this will carry through to into the materials used. Blue agate and other sapphire-like semiprecious stones will increasingly be used to usher a new and alternative splash of colour.

Move over millennial pink, or rather our sheer love it, as we make way for a new hue, plum. This doesn’t mean the complete eradication of millennial pink, as its luscious undertone will be seen again in our love of natural materials in 2018, such as pink onyx, but plum in its many hues and shades will appear throughout our concepts and designs.

On dark days, nothing makes us happier than the sun and its yellow beams. To this end, we anticipate the increasing move for a rich, majestic yellow to be used within our homes. This is not the overly bright glaring yellow, but deeper golden and warming.

Project: Relton Mews

4. Ombré

Ombré, a trend identified early by Taylor Howes and one integrated into its furniture collection with the ombré console table, will be a key style. A colour blending technique first seen on the catwalk and latterly in hair salons, Ombré, although around already in our homes and in interior design will take on an entirely new importance in 2018. Literally translating from the French word for ‘shaded’, Ombré creates a seamless sense of calmness and in its simplicity the possibilities to design and style around it are endless.

5. Nature as a source of inspiration

Perhaps due to connotations of peace and serenity, tying in with the trend for colours and effects that hark back to yesteryear and reminding clients of their youths spent in the great outdoors. Part of this will be bringing more natural tones into living areas and bedrooms; a key trend will be curating ‘patchworks’ of natural materials such as wool, leather and suede across soft furnishings and sofas. Sometimes, this might even include an unfinished edge, for an artisanal look.

Nature will be further brought inside through flower-tones. Warm botanical pinks, evocative of a late summers evening will pervade, with tones such as dusty rose, frangipani and rosewood being popular.

This marries up well with the trend for hand-made pieces, especially those made by small British brands and artisans

The eco-chic look is also gaining traction, with rattan becoming a key material teamed with more bleached woods, rather than high-gloss finishes. This marries up well with the trend for hand-made pieces, especially those made by small British brands and artisans.

Finally, more adventurous clients may opt for glass walls, partitions and bi-folding doors throughout their homes to really ‘let nature in’. In terms of accessories, think reclaimed wood and imperfections as design features.

6. Social Influence

Social media influencers are, in general, blending being fashion influencers with interior design influencers. The oft-maligned trend for tropical fruit motifs in 2017 was driven almost entirely by social media influencers and crossed over from designer fashion. This will continue in 2018, with other public figures style being distilled into interiors.

The pared-back design that is envisaged to be popular in 2018 has its roots in classical Scandinavian designers, made popular through Instagram accounts such as @myscandinavianhome- who often posts austere seeming rooms with pops of bright and playful colour. The heritage look, using hand-made materials and pieces, has been popularised by accounts like @mad_about_the_house, whose images of cosseting rooms are often liked thousands of times.

Finally, one of our key trends for 2018, of nature-inspired interiors and bringing the outside in is exemplified by the hugely popular account @plantsindecor, who have amassed nearly 20,000 followers by showing the best ways of bringing natural greenery into the home.

7. Lighting

2018 will see a continuation of the trend towards concealed lighting and a softer layered diffused effect. Freestanding lighting – desk lamps and floor lamps – will remain focal points and a feature/statement. Fashion will still continue to favour the more retro, industrial style. The natural inspired Lindsey Adelman branch/glass globe style of lighting is still very popular but we envisage that next year this trend will evolve into a more abstracted, natural style with a softer form and silhouette. More flexible and mobile in design, Calder will become a source of inspiration.

8. Modern Family

The kitchen is the heart of the home and is the area that the most time and thought are put into designing. It needs to be a versatile space, where children can do homework in the late afternoons before adults entertain with elegant drinks in the evening. In 2018, we expect an even further bringing together of generational needs in interiors, with families pulling ever-tighter together and less of a focus on formal spaces such as dining rooms. We expect 2018 to be the year of the ‘study space’, possibly included within a multi-functional dining room or entertaining space.

The key piece of 2018 amongst British families is the bar

The key piece of 2018 amongst British families is the bar. Whether a commentary on our changing entertaining habits, or harking back to 1970’s design influences, bars are becoming central features of entertaining spaces and the furniture piece du jour for any singletons pad! Most popular are bars that have some pizzazz; looking like a normal piece of furniture or sideboard before opening to reveal spectacular insides when guests arrive.

Project: Trevor Square