Living spaces are becoming playgrounds of expressive colour and form, as consumers allow their personal style to shine through. This direction serves as a form of lighthearted escapism to counterbalance the seriousness of the world.
Ranging from loud and daring maximalism to smaller doses of quirkiness, consumers are looking to spark joy through interiors. Here are the key directions emerging within this trend:
Our homes should bring us comfort and happiness, while reflecting our personalities. Consumers are creating lighthearted escapist interiors through this playful and mood-boosting direction.
After prolonged periods of confinement, consumers are looking to reinvigorate interiors through stimulating, expressive design. London-based interior designer Beata Heuman believes our homes and interiors should be a reflection of our personalities, so we apply our design choices with the same confidence by which we express ourselves through fashion.
Consumers are finding comfort in surrounding themselves with mood-boosting colours, tactile fabrics and artworks that have sentimental value. They are embracing the freedom to express personal preferences at home, regardless of whether it is trending or conventionally 'good' taste.
Writer David Perell states in an essay on After Minimalism: "I imagine a world where creators can express their style as confidently as people express their personality in the company of loved ones. I imagine a world lit up by shapes and colours that glitter with rhythm and sing with significance. And I imagine an aesthetic that abolishes the homogeneity of contemporary design and injects the world with visions of a better tomorrow."
The pandemic has also affected what creatives are making. The lack of physical fairs and exhibition deadlines has allowed for greater freedom and space to design, resulting in blurred boundaries between art and design and what is conventionally thought of as a product.
We have been tracking the rise of joyful, expressive and 'ugly' design as this long-term trend evolves over several seasons, as well as how it accelerated as a result of the pandemic.
Confirming our A/W 19/20 Free Style trend, creatively eclectic, playfully expressive and imaginative designs emerged, focusing on joy and pleasure.
For S/S 21, our HomeSpun trend explores how a home-made approach to design will resonate with consumers wanting to create unique and meaningful spaces.
Surreal, eerie and pastiche designs are forecasted to gain momentum in the A/W 21/22 trend, Phantasmagoria, as a means of finding escapism and uncommon beauty in dark times.
For S/S 22, the Euphoric trend explores how exuberant aesthetics are challenging traditional concepts of 'good' and 'bad' taste, and are encouraging a free approach to personal style.
Curious, creative, joyful and optimistic accents will remain important into AW 22/23, as forecast in the Supercharged Simplicity trend. Bringing even small doses of quirkiness and silliness into spaces will be key for consumers looking to refresh the look of a room and spark joy without too much commitment.
What does this means for you? Many of these trends were forecasted pre-pandemic, and being confined to our homes has accelerated these directions and cemented their importance as consumers look to create joyful, pleasurable and escapist living spaces.
Energising the mind, body and soul through the power of design and the creation of unique spaces will be key as we emerge from the pandemic. Exuberant styles bring joy to the everyday and tap into consumers’ need for optimism.
The Instagram hashtag #styleithappy has garnered over 600k posts and Pinterest has reported that searches for "positivity" were up 64% in 2020, proving an appetite for happy interiors.
Kusheda Mensah, founder of east London-based brand Modular by Mensah, creates playful designs that encourage conversation and connection, which will take on added relevance post-pandemic. She speaks of the importance of surrounding ourselves with things we love and creating living spaces we can escape to, as well as live in.
London-based designer Martin Brudnizki’s calls his new feel-good furniture and accessories line "a serious piece of fun". He creates designs with the aim to have a positive impact on the mind. “There’s nothing nicer than walking into a room that makes you smile. We need to surround ourselves with beauty now more than ever."
US brand CB2 calls out a move to playful, optimistic design in its 2021 trend report. "We're seeing a lot of nontraditional uses of scale in recent design work. A large pendant light over a nightstand or a tiny cafe table. It's a fun way to play,” said Andrea Erman, lead product development.
What does this mean for you? Happiness-themed merchandising is key. Online retailer Faire Plaisir sells "happy things and homeware", choosing its curated vintage finds and colourful objects for their uniqueness and ability to bring joy.
Kusheda Mensah, founder of Modular by Mensah, speaks of the importance of surrounding ourselves with things we love
Cheerful maximalism is played out through mismatching textures, tones and patterns, and a mixture of rare crafts in Martin Brudnizki’s new feel-good furniture and accessories line
Online retailer Faire Plaisir sells "happy things and homeware", choosing its curated vintage finds and colourful objects for their uniqueness and ability to bring joy
Consumers are ready to have some fun and are transforming homes into playgrounds for escapism. This is giving rise to a new aesthetic of fluid curves, wavy lines, and freeform blobs, popularised by social media.
Humans are naturally more drawn to rounded, organic shapes since they mirror nature, with scientific studies showing that soft curves create a feeling of safety, while circular shapes correspond with happiness. Consumers are in need of both comfort and playfulness more than ever, which is accelerating the trend for an expressive play on form.
Pieces of furniture that loosely resemble our own forms and characteristics subconsciously comfort the user. New York-based Eny Lee Parker's work perfectly embodies this, by surrounding the user with things that are warm, textural, curvy and imperfect. She always ensures there is always a sense of fun in her designs to mirror her outlook in life, which is to not take things too seriously.
Although wavy decor has been emerging for a few years, the trend has accelerated in line with the shift in how we’re using our homes. Paris and Buenos Aires-based brand Bougie Woogie designs made-to-order wavy objects to make people smile. Shontelle Hyslop, the creative behind the Insta-famous London-based Lotta Blobs mirrors said “The world is too serious and our generation relies on playfulness as a form of escapism. I definitely believe colour and unconventional shapes in this generation's space is an extension of this.”
Based in both Paris and Buenos Aires, Bougie Woogie designs made-to-order “ultra-fun slow design goods” with a wavy aesthetic that makes people smile
Aiming to add some fun and colour into reflections, the Insta-famous brand Lotta Blobs creates sculpted wavy mirrors – all of which are handmade in London
New York-based Eny Lee Parker creates work that loosely resembles our own forms and characteristics to subconsciously comfort the user, as well as ensuring there is always a sense of fun
Thank you for reading this sample report.
By providing global trend insights, expertly curated data and trend forecasting expertise,
WGSN Lifestyle & Interiors empowers you to develop today the products and experiences
that people will need to live, work and play in tomorrow’s world