Jane Austen once wrote: "There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort." And if you're looking for a word to sum up interior design trends for 2019 then comfort is probably it.
Our homes are getting more technological, with smart speakers, robotic vacuum cleaners and apps to control everything from the lighting and heating to our security systems. However, when it comes to decor, we're heading in quite the opposite direction, creating warm, luxurious nests where we can hunker down and feel safe with our loved ones, no matter what's happening in the world around us.
While January doesn't mark a mass throwing out of one set of influences to embrace another, it does give us a chance to see what's on the rise and what is slowly going out of vogue. It's more of an evolution than a dramatic switch, but these are the trends you will start to see more of in shops and showrooms as the year progresses.
We're moving away from the straight lines of the industrial and mid-century modern trends that have been popular in recent years, and are embracing something altogether softer and more feminine this year. Curves are big news, especially in furniture, where we're seeing an increasing number of curved sofas and round or oval dining tables after years of more practical squares and rectangles.
There's a hint of art deco going on, but also a build on the 1970s trend which has been gaining momentum over the last 12 months or so. One new element to this retro vibe is passementerie – in other words fringing, trims, tassels and tie-backs. This shouldn't come as any surprise to fashion fans, who will know that tassels have been huge recently, especially in the form of colourful, oversized earrings.
Nature is another big player for 2019, and not just leaves and flowers. Designers have been looking to outer space, with stars featuring more and more as a motif in everything from fabrics to tiles. And they've also taken inspiration from the ocean where we're seeing those curves again in the form of waves, scallops and mermaid-scale patterns, the latter being big news for tiles, especially in the bathroom.
And, finally, if it's not obvious already, we're moving away from minimalism to what some designers are calling "maximalism". How that looks will depend on you – it might be boho, it might be nomadic, or it could be something entirely different. It's all part of this richer, more lush home we're trying to create, where we can indulge in a bit of Danish hygge, surrounded by our treasures, and our nearest and dearest.
We’re moving away from cool colours and embracing much warmer tones for 2019 as part of that bid to create a more comforting feel in our homes. Pantone’s Colour of the Year is Living Coral, a “life-affirming” shade that the colour experts say will “enable connection and intimacy”.
Dulux has chosen Spiced Honey, a more subdued shade, but one that still has a raw, natural quality. Marianne Shillingford, creative director for Dulux in the United Kingdom, says: “It’s perfect for creating a relaxed cosy atmosphere in places where we like to think, dream and love.”
Spiced Honey can act as a useful neutral, but we're also seeing beige and taupe coming back on to the scene after years in the style wastelands. They are warmer than the so-called "new neutrals" of five or six years ago – cooler shades such as slate, stone and chalk. Designers are even choosing slightly warmer shades of white, just enough to make a room look like it's full of sunlight.
Speaking of white, it’s an important colour in itself right now. All designers know that white space is important, and we’re seeing more of this in the home to highlight whatever other colours are being used. A 90:10 split between white and other colours really lets those shades pop and allows you to use some very dominant colour choices without overwhelming the eye.
Technology is giving designers more opportunity to be inventive in the home, with everything from electrochromic glass (which switches between clear and opaque through the use of an electric current) to 3D printing opening up all sorts of possibilities.
But, when it comes to materials for styling, we're once again going to favour the softer touch. Velvet is still huge – Google searches for velvet have increased by 400 per cent over the past six months, making it the most searched for fabric. We're seeing it in all sorts of places, too, from sofas, chairs and throw cushions to curtains, headboards and throws.
And, finally, sustainable materials are only going to get bigger as even the most dedicated sceptics have to acknowledge that our climate is changing, landfills are growing, ice caps are melting and the sea is crying out for us to stop polluting it. Look out for jute, rice paper and clay, more bamboo, organic fabrics and anything else that has the planet's best interests at heart.
The natural inspiration mentioned earlier is probably most obvious in the surprising floral comeback due this year. After years of pared-back styling, this could feel like a regressive move, but designers are keeping things fresh with exaggerated proportions and interesting colour palettes for a more contemporary feel.
Floral wallpapers are going to be particularly popular and don't be afraid to go with bold, contrasting colours. If you fancy updating your walls, why not try an option that includes Pantone's Living Coral in a vibrant jungle print, or create a real sense of drama with brightly coloured florals against a dark navy background.
Before we stop talking about pattern, it's also worth mentioning texture. Where we've seen a lot of high shine, mirror surfaces and metals in recent years, it's time to embrace a new matte look. Matte surfaces are going to be everywhere, particularly as bathroom sinks, tiles and paints for both interiors and exteriors.
Kitchens and bathrooms
To finish, let's talk about two rooms that will buck the cosy-nest vibe of 2019 slightly. The functional kitchen and the bathroom spaces are going for an altogether bolder, more exciting look this year.
In the kitchen it's all about colour. Dark shades such as navy, Farrow & Ball's Hague and even black are going to be huge, but some forward-thinking homemakers will be ready for a makeover in shades such as Living Coral, which has a spicy, playful vibe that will work brilliantly in the kitchen. Against these strong colours comes a fun new trend: boldly patterned splashbacks. If you're not sure whether your kitchen can handle it, try some tile stickers first to see what you think before going for something permanent.
Bathrooms are also getting darker in an opulent sort of a way, inspired by luxury hotels. Think rich mossy greens, deep sea blues and the ultimate ebony black. Combined with those oceanic-inspired curves and mermaid tiles, you can imagine how easy it's going to be to create a space you'll want to spend a lot more time in.