Forget crystal balls and psychics. Trend forecasters are pinning their predictions on data and consumer research to reveal what’s hot and what’s not for the year ahead.
Visual, image-driven home decor and design websites like Houzz and Pinterest identify trend direction through consumer interaction and keep track of our evolving interests with every click, upload and search word. Along the same lines, a new wave of decorating apps can also foresee the future thanks to information gleaned through online projects. Traditional forecasts by trained trend spotters, retailers and economists also remain on point and continue to clue us in to what’s new and next.
So what’s on tap for 2018?
According to the experts we spoke with, overarching themes of maximalism, flexibility, self-care, 1970s and ’80s redux and educated consumerism will shape our homes and influence our daily lives in the months to come.
The following are 18 inspiring trends to watch in 2018:
“The biggest trend is the overall need for flexibility within interiors,” said Allyson Rees, senior retail lifestyle editor at the World’s Global Style Network. “Styles are changing a lot now, people are renting more … there’s a need for furniture and decor to be more flexible.” Look for items designed for portability, decor that doubles as storage and decorative objects that serve a purpose.
Already a hit on Instagram, popular grain, acai and breakfast bowls are making casual, portable dining easier than ever. “The bowl has become the go-to piece for meals,” Rees said.
Tricked-out adventure vans are trending on Pinterest, with user saves for “camper remodel” up 933% over last year. “It’s about getting the best of both worlds,” said Larkin Brown, user researcher at Pinterest, “feeling wild and free — but still comfortable in our amazing van.”
More texture, color, pattern, embellishment, comfort and eclectic style. “I very much see this as a backlash to the Marie Kondo trend of having nothing in your home but things that bring you joy,” said Rees, who also attributed the direction to a zeitgeist of global angst and an evolution of the hygge theme of coziness. “The world is a very scary place right now,” said the forecaster, “it’s a very uncertain place … I think people want to wrap themselves up in a blanket and feel safe.”
“We’re seeing a need for really plush fabrics,” said Rees, “a need for comfort and things to be very tactile. We see velvet as being a key fabric across all interiors in the home.”
Tables, dressers, cabinets and even floors designed with ornately patterned inlaid bone tile add dimension and texture to a room.
“It’s got dimension, it’s fun,” said Brown of terrazzo, the multi-colored, speckled composite material that last enjoyed popularity across all surfaces in the 1970s. “We’re seeing it as an evolution of the interest in marble.”
Things are looking up. Boldly painted or wallpapered ceilings are making the most of what designers are calling the “fifth wall.”
Playing with marbles
Alessandra Wood, director of style for online design app Modsy, said to keep an eye out for 1970s and ’80s-inspired glam. “We’re starting to see black and even gray marble, which is a little more dramatic than white.”
Home sweet cruelty-free home
“2018 [will see] the rise of the vegan home,” said Rees, “not just things in the refrigerator … but everything in the house. It’s something we are seeing emerge, especially in the L.A. area.”
Creating resort- or spa-like interiors is an extension of the self-care theme. Look for: meditative colors, rattan, warm materials like wood, natural fibers.
Are house plants the new kids?
Greenhouse-inspired interiors remain hot. Most popular: colorful, hard-to-kill plants with ornately patterned leaves. Planters and stands are also enjoying a creative revival. “It’s not just about the plant, but the vessel,” Wood said. “It’s not your grandma’s plant stand.”
Gender-neutral nurseries with a grown-up vibe don’t talk down to Baby. “[Nurseries] are becoming less childlike and more reflecting of the decor choices of the parents,” Brown said.
Move over play room tepees; in 2018, lofted beds make the best forts. Cool kids also like: pom-pom details and playful wall decals.
Rustic country styling is going urban. “People embraced the farmhouse style,” said Sheila Schmitz, editor of Houzz. “But now they’re choosing one, two or three elements versus the whole ball of wax in one space … to me it feels like refined farmhouse style.” Look for: warm wood details with white, gold tones, vintage lighting, trough sinks, cement elements and Shaker cabinets with modern pulls.
Mixing metal finishes is directional for the year ahead, especially in the kitchen. For 2018, Schmitz said everything goes — together. Warm-toned fixtures live harmoniously with stainless appliances. It’s all good.
Cooking with color
Colorful, wallpaper-inspired back splashes, an ocean of blue palettes, graphic contrasts (think black and white), creative tile and the continued influence of white and gray are key ingredients for kitchens in 2018.
Knowledge is power, and with an abundance of resources, consumers are more educated about home design than ever. “They know what they are looking at,” Schmitz said, “and they’re not just wildly following trends.”
“I think the trend [for 2018] is really about discerning buyers,” said Wood, “people who are really starting to think about design and the products they are bringing into their home.”
Bonnie McCarthy contributes to the Los Angeles Times as a home and lifestyle design writer. She enjoys scouting for directional trends and reporting on what’s new and next. Follow her on Twitter @ThsAmericanHome