I feel that industry trends undoubtedly are in line with the socio-political and economic circumstances at certain times; some materials that might have been considered at one point a source of calm, unwinding and positive endorsement may not have the same relevance in another period.

What better time then, than now to crave for security, warmth, the calm, the familiar, the healing and the intimate; where the world (plagued by global health, food and financial crisis in the recent past) is now embarked onto the road of recovery.

An ever progressing world with global warming and climatic change sparing no one – combating the battle of increasing demand and insufficient supply through technological and innovative breakthroughs along with sustainable, eco-friendly, green and smart-living options – where people once turned to “closing their doors to retreat and regroup” (Marianne Shillingford – Creative Director, Dulux) in the face of recession, it is now an era of personalizing, memorabilia, of positive energy, storytelling, belonging, the cozy and personable, antiquing, handcrafted and art in general.

With 2019 already unfolding before us, I feel the trends to follow will certainly echo these emotions for the future:


The years following 2011 have seen a major shift away from minimalism and towards relaxed / restrained maximalism marked by textures and patterns, passementerie, light layering and vibrant / expressive colours, eclecticism and ornate accessories, and combined / smart / communal living for example.

For many years, these two trends continued in parallel but now consumers and the market seem to be embracing this shift towards more sensual and visually rich designs.

Many brands such as West-Elm, Herman Miller and even IKEA seem to have moved on from the stark minimalistic interiors, embracing floral patterns / colours and promoting ‘home’ as a place of personal sanctuary uniquely reflecting the inhabitants’ personality.

Image Source: West Elm

They are also endorsing bright paint colours and tricks to transform raw utilitarian pieces. A further subcategory of antiquarian minimalism seems to be enveloping the design world as a preferred choice of future direction; a fusion of maximalism and minimalism in a restrained / elegant way with particularly museum type settings, furniture and décor. 

A few designers who showcase this trend include Axel Vervoodt, Alberto Pinto, Spencer-Churchill Designs, and John Minshaw.

Image Source: Sapphire Pakistan

Image Source: Axel Vervoodt

Image Source: Alberto Pinto

Image Source: John Minshaw


Self-cleaning anti-bacterial tiles, transparent solar panels, smart herb gardens, LED lighting with dimmers, anti-polluting light fixtures, and 3D printing are all examples of how technology is set to revolutionize the interior design industry in the future.

Bettair House, concept created by Super Future Design draws upon the principles of sustainability and materiality. It utilizes eco-friendly, anti-polluting light fixtures which work even when switched off.

Such smart living projects showcasing energy conservation as well as an attempt to combat global phenomena such as climatic change and global warming, are most definitely on their way to set the trend!

Image Source: Bettair House by Super Future Design

There are many reasons why 3D Printing will revolutionize the interior design industry trends; here are a few:

  • The choice of materials that can be used for making 3D printed furniture, decorations etc is quite vast including plastics, wood and organic matter.
  • Due to computer aided design techniques employed by designers, a variety of shapes and designs are made possible while reducing material wastage and cutting down costs all at once. Good news for sustainable and green design enthusiasts!
  • This technique can enable a greater amount of customer interaction where they can be part of the design process! It leads to greater level of comfort, client involvement, personalization, co-creation, flexibility for the company itself and in turn, customer trust with the designer – all of which ultimately also lead to an increase in profits.
  • The wide variety of materials available for printing also incorporate recyclable and environmentally friendly materials.
  • Some patent expired 3D printing techniques such as Fuse Deposition (FDM) , being amongst the lowest cost techniques, have made the adaptation of this trend even more convenient across industries.
  • The advent of techniques such as Direct Metal Laser Sintering have made it possible to print real-sized parts (instead of mere prototypes, as in the past) that can be utilized in the final product.


Image Source: Keystone, by Studio Minale-Maeda, 2014

Image Source: 3D printed Villa in Beijing Resort, by Rael Sanfratello, 2013


People are now increasingly well informed about health / well-being benefits and how life-like features of the non-human environment are instrumental in improving their human, physical, emotional and intellectual fitness.

Biophilic design will be a long lasting trend in interior design where biophilia is defined as human beings’ innate emotional affinity for nature such as natural materials, visible wood grains in furniture, a healing choice of colours borrowed from the outside and natural ventilation.

Besides just ‘green plants’, natural design will now grow to become a recognized part of the ‘design process’ as well, where objects are increasingly grown rather than made and bacteria emerges in a new and positive light; this infatuation is bound to grow stronger especially as a source of exotic escapism.

Image Source: Bettair House by Super Future Design

As our world is on its way to become increasingly tech-centric, people are feeling more and more alienated from their natural surroundings and the desire for a personal sanctuary to switch off occasionally is the reason for the emergence of ‘biophiic design’.

The ‘Bettair Housing’ scheme is also a perfect example of biophilic design. There is an attempt to affiliate with the nature and outdoors by creating a similar environment indoors.

Many materials and fabrics are now being modelled around various different natural phenomena such as the ‘lotus effect’; where water spilled on a lotus leaf simply rolls off without making its surface wet. 

Mimicry of the same has enabled researchers to come up with water repellent and self-cleaning materials – for instance ‘self-drying raincoats and swim suits’ as well as ‘stain repellent clothing’.

Image Source: Bettair House by Super Future Design


Where biophilia does not only aim to increase the aesthetic appeal of the interiors, but also (and more importantly) build a long term relationship between humankind and nature; where mutual respect, faithfulness and an enriching relation exists at all levels emerging as a ‘norm’ rather than an ‘exception’; automatically pointing towards sustainable and green design methodologies and components aimed at reducing environmental footprint.

A combination of biophilia and eco-conscious choices is often termed as restorative environmental design – ‘repeated’ and ‘sustained’ engagement with nature. Examples include biodegradable fabrics / materials, and low / zero VOC paints.

There has been considerable progress in terms of coming up with sustainable materials as well; for instance the ‘Climatex Lifecycle Biodegradable Fabric’ produced by Rohner Textile AG. The team decided to design (compostable material) a fabric that “would be safe enough to eat”!

Image Source: Climatex Lifecycle Biodegradable Fabric by Rohner Textile AG

Not only has it led to reduction in waste disposal costs for the company, but has also provided the opportunity to sell the scrap of the all-natural product (in the form of felt-like material) to local farmers / gardeners – to be used as mulch or ground-cover. What’s more?

Regulators reputedly claim that the water discharged in the aftermath of the factory operations is as clean (or even cleaner!) than the local drinking water supply. Currently, it’s being used extensively for office furniture.

Just recently at INDEX Design Talks, Duncan Denley (Managing Director, Desert INK UAE – specializing in landscape solutions for a variety of sectors including residential, hospitality, leisure, and institutional) explained how “sustainability today is about being local” and that their efforts are always directed towards sourcing local materials – “things closer to our doorstep” – as these always prove to be sustainable in the long run. 

Image Source: THE BLOCK by Desert INK

He also asserted how such choices greatly reduced carbon footprint. He further elaborated how their focus is to design local by harvesting seeds from native plants in the desert which utilize much less water and minimize water resource wastage (green space design). “It also aids cultural sustainability as the people relate to these designs greatly”.

So with the world getting interconnected and globalization on the rise, there is a need to preserve self-identity and self-expression (on the part of individuals and nations as well) and this approach fulfills exactly that. desert INK is currently working on their upcoming Sustainability Pavilion for EXPO 2020 together with Grimshaw.

Duncan also mentioned their recently completed project, THE BLOCK, a park at Dubai Design District where they used 800 30-ton concrete blocks (left over from canal construction) for the design of this park along with recycled materials – featuring a multitude of play areas, an outdoor gym, sports facilities as well as food outlets.


Trend research by Dulux this year has shown that people around the world are experiencing a renewed sense of energy, optimism and purpose.

There’s a desire to engage with others, to make things better and ‘be the change’. Paul Bishop (Founder, Bishop Design) also recently pointed out a similar trend pertaining to a move towards the design for the expression era and that it is then all the psychological and subliminal mental recollections that you really need to tap into; “it is the tactile, the sound element and the impeccably comfortable and personable experience that makes people come back…” where he is talking about the retail and hospitality sector.

Hence it is the experiences, the bespoke, handcrafted and the artisanal and the consequent rarity, exclusiveness and uniqueness that would now matter, far more than just ‘brands per se’; subsequently personalized spaces would demonstrate a sense of belonging and storytelling, not only aesthetics but also the impact of the design related to the human senses - sight, sound, touch, taste, smell and intuition.


Storage-decorative overlapping, repurposing, up cycling and re-envisioning; where the idea of ‘ageing gracefully’ will be more readily embraced than ever before.

These radioactive ming vases have been made out of toxic smartphone waste. They are a result of a collaboration between the “London Studio” and Ceramicist “Kevin Callaghan”.

Image Source: ScrapLab

Image Source: London Studio and Kevin Callaghan

Image Source: Storage trunk re-envisioned as seating

Image Source: Furniture made from industrial scrap by Inhabitat


The shift towards the warm / cosy colour palettes is most definitely here to stay. Representing all of the above including nature-inspired, animating, life-affirming, energizing and enlivening, Pantone has declared living coral as the colour of the year.

Dulux also upheld the same trend and chose the extremely warm and versatile colour palettes centered around spiced-honey for 2019. Trend Bible too has declared a “shift away from the cool blues and greys” and towards the “warmer palettes of apricot, coral and peachy pinks, rich burgundy, the warm mint green, deep teal and earthier tones of green, brown and yellow”.

Last, but not the least, in terms of colours, textures and patterns, coming years will most definitely be marked by agender styling as well as lack of any seasonal borders.


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