Home decor: a look at the key design trends making their way in 2018

With jewel tones, circular motifs, gold accents and velvety materials making their way into our homes, interiors will be all about understated luxury next year

Plants and botanical prints are going to be big decor trends in 2018. Courtesy Debbie McKeegan
Plants and botanical prints are going to be big decor trends in 2018. Courtesy Debbie McKeegan

In recent years, we’ve all been embracing a more personalised approach to home interiors. Decorating has stopped being about style guides and following rules. But that doesn’t mean we’ve abandoned trends altogether. There will always be certain core looks that capture our imaginations and sweep into homes around the world in waves, before retreating slowly and making way for the next batch.

So what will the next year bring to our shores? The overall mood for the year looks to be one of understated luxury. There’s a richness to the designs we’re seeing, one that is less about splashing the cash, and more about investing wisely and treasuring our possessions. The Japanese concept of wabi-sabi – beauty in imperfection – means we’re looking for materials that improve with age. It’s about cherishing, nesting and creating a space that feeds the soul.

Colour and print

The colour palette for 2018 will reflect this sense of richness and luxury with sensuous jewel tones. Ruby reds, emerald greens and sapphire blues all feature heavily, and of course there’s Pantone’s colour of the year: ultraviolet. Use these against a moody backdrop of deeper matte blues, smoky grey and even natural blacks like coal or granite, for a dramatic look. Using colours tone-on-tone is a great way to add visual texture without making things too busy. Or, if that feels too heavy for you, soften the look of these powerful shades with muted hues like lavender and lilac, which are taking over from blush and millennial pink in 2018.

Colours such as smoke grey will be another big decor trend next year. Courtesy Garden Trading
Colours such as smoke grey will be another big decor trend next year. Courtesy Garden Trading

Another way to soften your look is to use circles, which are making a play to be the new triangles for 2018. Monochrome graphics are also going to continue to dominate, but that doesn’t have to mean hard lines and angles (although they work, too). Florals are making a comeback, but they’re stylised and oversized, ideally in high-contrast colours.


Metallics are another great way to add a bit of light to your palette. These are always popular in one form or another, but for next year we’re seeing gold and, to a lesser degree, brass taking over, as copper’s run of popularity starts drawing to a close. The key to making metallics “of the now” is to use them in unexpected places. Think multidimensional brass wallpaper and gleaming gold table legs.

Speaking of multi-dimensional, velvet is the fabric of choice for creating even more drama, especially if you can use it boldly – on a sofa, for example, rather than just the odd scatter cushion. It’s such a lovely, sensual fabric, and has definitely shaken off its old-fashioned image. On the other side of the scale is tough, utilitarian concrete, which is being used much more decoratively now, and reflects that wabi-sabi concept mentioned earlier. Concrete can be used widely on large expanses such as walls and floors, but it is also gaining popularity as a material for making things such as sinks and plant pots.

Velvet for furniture is another trend to be on the lookout for. Courtesy Essential Home
Velvet for furniture is another trend to be on the lookout for. Courtesy Essential Home

And because no home is complete without natural materials, don’t forget wood. For 2018, we’re going dark and sculpted, to complement that cosy refined look – sun-bleached driftwood is definitely out. In another rather unusual step back in time, we’re seeing a lot of terrazzo coming back in. A major player in the 1970s, terrazzo is a type of composite marble that offers a lot of flexibility because of the variety of colours that can be included. Go all out by using it as flooring or on kitchen worktops, or just dip your toe in the water with a terrazzo pot or chopping board. It is being used as inspiration for print, too, so it can work as anything from wallpaper to fabric.


There’s more of a man-made feel to interiors as we head into next year, with an emphasis on the artisan and the expert craftsman. But one area where nature is holding strong is in the house plant domain. Patterned plants are especially popular – Pinterest reported a 533 per cent increase in searches for patterned plants this year.

Use plants liberally to inject life into your home, but don’t just stick them anywhere. Create large groupings to turn them into a feature, or even max out with a living wall. Alternatively, think of unusual ways to display your plants – hang them from the ceiling or choose unexpected decorative pots. You can also mirror live plants with touches of botanical prints.

Elsewhere, big wall art is taking over from gallery walls, which are starting to feel a bit too cluttered for current tastes. Invest in original artwork, choose framed posters or oversized photographic prints – smoky black and whites are particularly effective. Just avoid word art stencilled directly onto the wall, which will stick you back in 2010.

Finally, don’t forget to look up. Statement ceilings are going to feature in this year’s homes for those who want to create a really show-stopping space. Let your imagination run wild with wallpaper, contrasting paint or texture. If you don’t want to go as far as that, make do with a statement ceiling light. We’re seeing a lot of vintage lights coming in, as well as beautifully crafted artisanal lights, which are pieces of art in their own right – a worthwhile investment that can really transform a room.


If there’s one room that is fully embracing the luxe feel, it’s the bathroom. You can go one of two ways in this space. The first continues the darkly sophisticated theme, with plenty of granite and marble, gleaming metallics, monochrome, and contrast and clean lines, like something out of a boutique hotel. The second is a more resort-inspired feel. You’ll still want a base of granite, marble and metallics, but in lighter shades, with fluffy towels, fresh flowers and touches of rattan to soften the effect.


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We find a completely different story in the kitchen. All-white is out and we’re going to be embracing more colour, letting our imagination lead the way. That doesn’t have to mean garish – deep marine blues are already hugely popular in the kitchen, a sophisticated colour story that shows no sign of stopping. Again, elements of dark wood, gold and concrete will all bring your kitchen right up to date, and create an eclectic, personalised feel. And don’t forget about the sink – we’re eschewing boring stainless steel for granite, copper and, of course, concrete in 2018.

Finally, at the end of the day, when we retire to the bedroom, what we’re looking for is peace and quiet, which is why bedrooms are going to be ultra-calm and even minimalist next year. Go for a restrained colour palette – a couple of core colours and a lot of tone-on-tone – and avoid too much pattern. Do use lots of contrasting texture to maintain a level of interest, and invest in good storage so you can hide the clutter away.

Published: December 30, 2017 09:00 AM


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