Predicting the future isn’t easy, experts are struggling to determine what the world will look like in 50 years, yet no one can certainly claim what the future holds. Still, some current trends give us a glimpse of technological advances and their evolution in the years to come. Interior design is not an exception - one of the most creative and exciting industries today has many innovative and interesting trends that await us in the next decade. Let’s learn something about them.
Smart homes are already popping up all around us. Google Home has already gained widespread popularity, as a smart home control centre that acts as a personal assistant, security alarm, and speaker. It supports voice commands you can use to turn up the heating, turn off the TV, or get a reminder of upcoming appointments. In the future, smart interiors will be incorporated into the home structure.
There are already prototypes of smart kitchen worktops that include pop-up sinks, built-in weighing scales, all seamlessly integrated into the structure. In the bathroom, there are voice-controlled shower settings or window outlook that changes with a press of the button. Designers are only starting to grasp the possibilities of smart home technologies, while the interiors have come a long way from motion- activated lighting and smart thermostats.
Originating in the US, the movement has virally spread across the continent, partly due to rising property prices, but also thanks to greater environmental awareness and the necessity to reduce our carbon footprint. The movement advocates are people who have mastered living in micro-planned and efficient living spaces. One of their arguments is that downsizing to such an extent allows us to value experiences before possessions, which in return simplifies our lives and spending habits.
However, as the Tiny Home movement continues to grow, so will the need for smartly-designed and well-integrated interiors. For example, instead of incorporating HVAC systems that see only occasional use, they often rely on portable air conditioner rental units which can be hired only in summer months, when there's an increased need for cooling. In tiny homes, it’s not enough that everything has its use – everything should have many uses. Think stairs that double as storage units, or a kitchen table designed to that acts as a TV stand.
The reaches of 3D printing in shaping the interior design features have already prompted some to think we’re on the verge of another industrial revolution. Processes that were once considered costly and cumbersome now are efficient and exciting, thanks to 3D printing. Interior designers now can quickly demonstrate their design to clients, allowing them to touch and feel their ideas in miniature forms.
Thanks to 3D printing, the time between idea conception and its implementation is dramatically reduced, which results in faster interior design processes and reduced costs for the client, nothing short of a win-win scenario. 3D printing is only one of many exciting technological advancements here, so it is no wonder that an this innovative master’s degree in interior design for commercial spaces underlines that the field of design is increasingly calling for multidisciplinary professionals with rock-solid management skills and a full understanding of the fundamentals, graphic tools and methodologies involved in the process.
Virtual reality or VR has been a buzzword for some time now. From the next generation of video games to healthcare benefits, VR has taken a centre stage in many industries today, not excluding interior design. Today, an interior designer can walk the client through rooms they have created, or explaining the architectural features by actually standing beside them. Changing and testing hundreds of wall treatment schemes, furniture pieces, and flooring types is possible at the click of a button.
On the other hand, VR technology that allows this is still fabulously expensive and requires powerful computers to run it. What is more accessible, though, is called Augmented Reality or AR. While VR simulates total immersion into a virtual world created by its software, AR melds the virtual and the real world, often overlaying virtual features on top of actual ones. As a result, AR requires much more affordable technology than VR, even offering apps anyone can download on a smartphone or tablet.
With more and more consumers becoming aware of the environmental and social footprint they leave on the world, the interest for sustainable design increases. Sustainable design has become a concept that influences a range of industries. From beauty products to landscaping practices, the future is both eco-friendly and bright. While for interiors until recently sustainable equalled shabby chic, nowadays it’s a trend in full swing. Upcycled furniture, buying locally sourced materials, and actively seeking energy-efficient products are becoming mainstream.
The shift of family dynamics and modern homeowners’ lifestyles, has put the kitchen into the heart of the home after more than a century, creating a new concept of open-floor space that allows seamless motion between different functional zones. Some projects, for instance, feature a hub-like construction of a "living kitchen" with a comfy sitting zone and a smartly integrated dining area that can become a counter, as needed. Projects like these display two important tendencies – kitchens are taking the centre stage of the home, allowing people to combine food preparation and dining with other family-time activities, and kitchens are increasingly adopting agile, moveable, and clear-lined furniture elements.
Although fortune telling is reserved for a gifted few, we can make assumptions based on budding trends that promise to become mainstream in the future. It’s interesting to note that technological advances are evolving hand to hand with rising environmental trends.
By Lillian Connors