WGSN | Lifestyle Trend: The Rise of Personal Expression
Consumers are embracing personal style and expressing themselves through interiors, bringing joy and positivity into living spaces
Claire Dickinson
03.22.21 · 6 minutes
Gustaf Westman
Executive summary

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:

  • The evolution of expressive design: joyful, expressive and 'ugly' design has evolved over several seasons and accelerated as a result of the pandemic
  • Designing for happiness: energising the mind, body and soul through the power of design and the creation of unique, expressive spaces will be key post-pandemic
  • The new wavy aesthetic: consumers are ready to have fun and are transforming homes into playgrounds for escapism
  • Challenging notions of taste: people are gaining confidence in expressing personal style, regardless of whether it is conventionally seen as good taste
  • Elevating the everyday: small moments of happiness are provided through upbeat basics and joyful updates to everyday items, which serves as an easy and accessible way to embrace the trend, even for minimalists
  • The accessibility of art: Millennials are the driving force behind the recent boom in online art sales, as they look to invest in future heirlooms that make their spaces more unique
Cool Machine

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.


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