Lifestyle Guides

Interior design trends: what to look out for

If you’re thinking of redecorating a room – whether that’s completely starting from scratch or just refreshing existing décor with new accessories – it can be tricky to know where to start.


There are lots of places you can turn to for inspiration:

  1. Social media (Instagram and Pinterest in particular)
  2. Blogs
  3. Magazines
  4. TV 

To give you a head start when carrying out home improvements, here are the 15 interior design trends I think you should be looking out for. 

1. Room dividers 

We’ve spent the last 20 years extending our houses with basements, conservatories and the recent favourite, side return fillers, creating impressive but slightly soulless spaces. 

Today with the focus on wellness there is a need for intimate spaces to retreat to. I can see room dividers that were made popular in the sixties making a comeback to give back a sense of scale and intimacy. Screens can be pierced or slatted to let in light and give a suggestion of what is beyond. 

Self-supporting shelving systems such as Vitsoe, which were designed in the 60s, work well as room dividers and offer a chance to personalise a room with displays of books, the ever-popular house plants and trinkets.

2. Sliding doors  

As houses are getting more sustainable and consequently smaller, we’ll be looking at ways of making rooms more flexible in use and size as well as space saving. The Japanese are masters of dealing with such a task by using sliding doors and screens to create flexible space. 

3. Separate WC 

Rooms may be getting smaller, but the bathroom is growing in size, with large walk-in showers and freestanding baths. As the bathroom becomes more integrated with the bedroom as a place of relaxation, the loo will retreat into a separate room linked to the bathroom. 

On the topic of loos, there’s such a buzz about the TOTO bidet WC from Japan and rightly so – not only are they convenient but they also rate highly for sustainability by making cleansing wipes redundant and not needing chemicals for cleaning. 

4. Kitchen islands 

Kitchens have now become the centre of family life, taking over from the living room and kitchen units are more prized than a new Audi on the drive. 

The ultimate is to have an island ideal for preparing food, sipping wine and even dining. As the central hub of a home they’re getting special attention, with waterfall sides and chandeliers hanging over them. 

Although white marble work tops are on the wish list, they’re massively impractical. However progress in printing technology means porcelain can now masquerade convincingly as marble.

5. Home automation 

Home automation has been around for a while but was previously complex to install. Now there are fewer wires, devices can be retrofitted. Virtually everything can be controlled from tablets or phone, which is more discreet than Alexa.

6. Cinema 

Sadly, fewer families watch TV together these days, but don’t despair just yet. While the TV may no longer feature in the main family room it’ll soon have its own space in redundant sitting rooms at the front of houses, where families will convene to watch a specific series together. 

TV rooms will be comfortable, cosy spaces with a personality of their own almost like a private cinema – and of course the screens will be enormous. 

7. Colour 

With a softer, less themed approach to interior design we’re going to see paints in natural pigment tones especially earthy forest greens, turmeric and rust with neutrals in soft/grey greens and warming skin tones.

8. Wallpaper 

Wallpaper is definitely here to stay, but rather than regular pattern repeats we’ll see the return of natural finishes such as cork and hessian. 

No longer is there the risk of having the same wallpaper as the neighbour as unique wall finishes can now be made in Photoshop. Artwork can be licensed from an artist, tailored to fit a wall, printed and installed like a wallpaper – it’s the modern take on the mural. 

We’re going to see bold wallpaper statements on ceilings or on panels raised off the wall and back lit with LED lighting.

9. Fabrics 

There’s a move to more comfortable interiors. Consequently upholstery fabrics will be tactile rather than just an expression of pattern. 

Velvet will continue to be popular as it’s so lovely to touch and will be joined by bouclé as a favourite. We may even see shearling in luxury interiors. 

Those passionate about textiles will be using unique, textured fabrics woven on manual looms using wool, leather, linen and metallic thread.

10. Bedroom 

As families are now spending more time at home for both work and play, the bedroom is going to become an inner sanctum, a retreat away from the mayhem of family life. 

Beds will be giant sofas with large, padded headboards and wide, deep bedside tables ready for holding court in bed.

11. Living room 

Most family activity today happens in one large extended space and yet with the advent of social media and YouTube, entertainment is much more self-focused, with headphones on. Consequently, there’s a desire to cocoon away from others. 

There will be a demand for higher backed chairs which can swivel away to hide from others or deeper, wider seating that can be sat in rather than on and can accommodate the various gadgets required for an evening’s entertainment.  

12. Furniture 

Smaller, more efficient homes are inevitable and how we use furniture will change. Bespoke wardrobes that maximise storage – although expensive – will be essential. 

Furnishing will also be lighter and more flexible while retaining a craftsman aesthetic. Consequently, I can see cane and rattan furniture making a comeback. 

13. Pre-used 

Modern Italian furniture brands became very popular twenty years ago as they were well made and last well. There will be a market for older, good quality second-hand pieces bought via eBay. 

Finding a bargain will be a proud moment and something to show off about. A whole industry will follow for high standard renovations rather than upcycling. 

14. Feature lighting 

One beautiful overscale ceiling light can uplift even the plainest of interiors. Regarded as an investment piece – spend as much as you dare – it will pay off and can move home with you. 

Located in the most viewed place in a home, they can often be seen hung low over the kitchen island to add a touch of glamour. 

15. Fragrance 

A beautiful home needs to appeal to all senses including smell. Candles have been massively successful in the last decade and will be joined by the return of incense sticks. These give out a more intense, immediate hit of fragrance, but this time that fragrance will be more upmarket. 

Look out for uplifting herbal notes of verbena and rosemary warmed with peaty, earthy undertones.

A graduate of architecture, I’m a former president of the British Institute of Interior Design but probably best known for my work with the BBC on the series “The Great Interior Design Challenge”. I’ve also had my own interior design practice for 27 years. I’m well known for my individualist designs and I work both in the UK and around the world.