Last weekend Toronto’s 2019 Interior Design Show brought big and small names from Canada and abroad to showcase what’s leading the design world this year.
I picked up some tips on what to expect from designers and companies, and how to incorporate these ideas in your own home. Here are the design trends to watch in 2019.
You know those moss-covered walls you find so often in yoga and meditation studios? I’ve always wondered how you’re supposed to take care of them. How much water do they need? Where does the water even go?
There’s no doubt that bringing copious amounts of greenery back into our living spaces is a big trend in 2019. But I’ve not got a great track record with keeping my houseplants vital. What chance could I have with a whole wall of them?
Then I discovered not all greenery needs watering, and I’m not talking about plastic plants.
Canadian company ByNature specializes in these kinds of lush displays. The greenery used is real, it just isn’t still living. It’s coated in glycerin, an eco-friendly preserver, which freezes the plant’s very much alive-looking appearance. This organic-chemistry-meets-design trend is one of the most innovative new concepts I expect will gain serious traction this year. A real moss wall you don’t have to water. Perfect.
This trend comes as no surprise. Homes have been getting steadily smarter over the years. But we’re starting to reach an adoption tipping point where smart technology integrated into everyday objects is becoming commonplace enough to seriously contemplate for the average homeowner.
Samsung’s smart fridge and smart oven are two of the newest appliances to join the fray in the footsteps of TVs and thermostats. Their goal is to offer a totally integrated home “hub” of things that all speak to each other. Imagine a fridge that can take a photo of your food inside while you’re at the grocery store to remind you whether you’ve run out of eggs yet. Or one that’ll turn on your oven if you ask politely, because why not?
Or, less fear-inducing for those who’d rather not feel surrounded by technology is a simpler concept: a wall-mounted TV that transforms itself into a painting when turned off.
If you’re like me you’re thinking I’d never want a smart fridge. But I’m willing to bet, like me, you’ve already got a smart TV sitting in your living room. That’s how it starts.
More mid-century modern
The mid-century modern craze is still going strong in 2019. I’ll be honest, I personally don’t get the obsession here, but designers are still making use of curvy teak chairs and skinny-legged credenzas. If you’re a fan, rest assured you’ll find plentiful examples of this throwback furniture everywhere you look for your living room re-designs.
Just make sure you don’t go too crazy with a singular theme. Another trend that’s clear is the juxtaposition of unexpected elements to create lively tension and a healthy dose of personal style. So use those mid-century modern accents sparingly.
Timelessness, simplicity, and natural textures
In a world of overwhelming visual inspiration from places like Instagram and Pinterest, design ideas that are timeless are increasingly favourable to short-lived fads.
One favourite of beloved Canadian designer Nam Dang-Mitchell (House & Home’s Designer of the Year in 2018) is black window framing. She takes much of her inspiration from travel, including classical features of cities like New York and London. Black window framing may not seem exciting, but it’s often that graphic, architectural, industrial-inspired backdrop that carries the weight of a space.
Similarly, the bare elegance of natural textures and materials like wood and stone will be a welcome respite from digital aesthetic overload in 2019.
There’s almost nothing we can’t recreate artificially these days. It’s a great way to get the look of something while bringing costs way down (think laminate “wood” flooring). But it also leads to a kind of soulless flawlessness.
We’re starting to miss the humanity in our spaces. The chips of living history on our kitchen tiles and the well-worn shape of an old leather chair. Hence the rise of hand-finished salvaged and recycled things. Things with imperfections.
That means opting for local emerging designers over big names and perusing antique shops and salvage stores for quirky conversation pieces.
Increasingly we don’t just want spaces that look good for Instagram (though there’s that). We also want spaces that feel real and lived in. We want spaces that tell stories.
Designing for 2019
The biggest takeaway I got from Toronto’s Interior Design Show this year was not to be too precious with the concept of design. After all, one of the most important goals is how you want to feel in your space, whether it’s your office or your bedroom. So in addition to thinking of aesthetics, work with the space you’ve got and the things you love to make it a nurturing environment.