Want to spruce up your living space? Home design experts reveal the top eight home trends to keep an eye out for this year:
This year, bulky sofas will be just for traditionalists. Interior design platform Qanvast expects to see more interior designers furnish living rooms with smaller, movable seating options such as ottomans, bean bags or armchairs (such as the Ling Armchair from Space Furniture, pictured).
Also, while Scandinavian or industrial themes might remain popular, decking your entire home in each theme may not be as desirable anymore. Instead, pick furniture and decor pieces that have Scandinavian or industrial-looking features and use them as accent pieces.
Red, earthy-coloured pots and plastic watering cans do not cut it anymore, says Ms Cynthea Lam, founder of Super Farmers, an urban-gardening company.
When it comes to pruning, trimming and turning the soil in an old planter next year, there are now gardening tools that are functional and stylish. Water your plants with a fancy brass mister or prune leaves with a pair of vintage scissors, for instance.
As for popular plants, Ms Lam says as more home owners “simplify and live minimally”, they will opt for plants with a minimalist aesthetic such as moss. She says: “Traditionally, moss is used to complement other plants, but I envision it being used as the lead plant now. We’ll celebrate how simple it looks and its low maintenance.”
There is nothing quiet about the shades for next year. The Pantone Color Institute chose Greenery, a yellow-green hue that “speaks to our need to explore, experiment and reinvent”. It was named one of the most prevalent colours on fashion shows featuring spring trends. Young Lim, editor of Home & Decor Singapore magazine, says interior designers are inspired to use it as an accent on backsplashes, countertops and feature walls.
Meanwhile, paint and coating company AkzoNobel’s Global Aesthetics Centre gathered a group of international experts and trend watchers from various disciplines such as architecture and textiles who picked Denim Drift, a blue-grey tone, for next year.
If you’re nervous about using such a bold shade on all the walls, Mr Jeremy Rowe, managing director of AkzoNobel’s Decorative Paints in South East Asia, South Asia and the Middle East, says Denim Drift can be used on a feature wall. He adds: “It also works as a backdrop for different styles of wood furniture. Accenting the space with cold whites gives this look a crisper, more modern appearance.”
Online lifestyle retailer HipVan predicts that the hottest materials next year will be rattan and wood. Similarly, Ms Jill St John Jeremiah, merchandising manager at Crate & Barrel, says if you want to get that natural, down-to-earth look, choose furnishings with knots, grains and fissures.
Also taking a leaf from the fashion world’s book, botanical prints (pictured) are hot, especially in upholstery. Young Lim, editor of Home & Decor Singapore magazine, says: “Botanical prints that will trend in 2017 will feature intricate detail and a play on proportions, from small dainty blooms to huge leafy fronds.”
Get cosy. The Danish concept of hygge (pronounced HOO-ga), which helps the Danes get through long, dark winters, is now catching on with the rest of the world. Collins Dictionary declared it one of the top 10 words of this year and more than 20 books were published about it.
Young Lim, editor of Home & Decor Singapore magazine, says: “Evoking a sense of hygge means adding personal items and lots of natural texture to create an intimate and comforting space.”
Expect to see more furniture in natural, live edge wood placed in communal spaces, and soft, fuzzy rugs with a slight Nordic feel, he says.
There are simple ways to get started on the hygge journey. Holly Becker, an author and stylist who started decor8, a lifestyle and decor blog, suggests saving up for a favourite design piece instead of buying things on sale; confining clutter; and curating looks instead of copying a magazine spread. Oh, and light some candles and invite friends over.
Using laminates for floors, walls and countertops has taken off in the last few years and has become a better option as technology improves.
They are cheaper than most other materials and getting more natural-looking, says Mr Jansen Tan, director of product design and development at home-grown surfaces company Lamitak. Laminates can replicate the look and feel of certain materials such as weathered or corroded objects.
Ms Daphne Lim, director of EDL, a specialist in high-pressure laminates, says the quality of laminates has also improved and it is more than just a surfacing product. The company has launched Fenix NTM (pictured, as kitchen countertop), a super opaque nanotech matt material that has the ability to heal micro-scratches on its surface.
In terms of style, she sees more home owners opting for matt finishes – a trend not just limited to interior design, but also popular in the beauty and car industries.
Balconies are commonplace in newer properties these days. But while there has been a push to use the space as an extension of the living room or to create an outdoor garden, most home owners do not use it well, says Mr Josh Theoh, a landscape architect.
Mr Theoh, founder of design and consultancy firm Passionscape, says: “Look at balconies in most buildings and you are more likely to find clothes drying in the sun than a beautiful garden.”
Sometimes, due to layout configurations, balconies can also face neighbouring units. He says home owners can use plants to create a “green curtain” or put in a screen. The balcony space need not be wasted and can be furnished with outdoor furniture. Penthouse owners can even be bold and add a washing machine to the balcony area. Conceal it within a built-in cupboard and they will have a balcony space that is not just for chilling.
Product designers are working “underrated materials” such as saddle leather and cement into furniture, says Ms Ivee Zeng, assistant marketing manager of furniture retailer Proof Living. Furniture manufacturers, she adds, have also launched more accent pieces featuring brass or gold, such as the Iolite lamp by French interior designer Jean-Louis Deniot for Baker Furniture.
Furniture that can be used both indoors and outdoors are also trending, says Ms Eileen Tan, marketing manager of Space Furniture, which carries high-end brands such as B&B Italia and Moooi. The retailer recently launched SP01 Outdoor, a versatile series that can be used outside and inside the home. The pieces, which include the Parisi Table (pictured), are painted in soothing colours such as salmon and light greige, and the designs feature bent metal wires – a common, waterproof material in outdoor furnishings.
But others have white Carrara marble from Italy and black Marquina marble from Spain worked into the design – luxe materials not usually used in outdoor furniture.
Made with a faux marble top and cast iron leg with black coating, this table can add a touch of elegance to both your living room and outdoor balcony area.
Text: Natasha Ann Zachariah, The Straits Times / Additional Reporting: Elizabeth Liew