Interior design is one of the most underrated art forms. It takes a keen eye and special gift for visualisation to create outstanding living or work spaces. The combination of elements such as colour and space takes time and experience to perfect. And like any other industry, interior design is subject to changing trends and developments. At any given time, certain elements and aspects are in vogue, while others are shunned in favour of alternatives. What’s popular today may not be in five years, but like all things cyclical, its popularity will rise and fall over the years. Similarly, some of the design elements that are in fashion now were not necessarily so in the recent past. These are the interior design trends of 2015 for residential living spaces.
Niroop Nallari, principal architect at NA Architects, believes that interior design trends depend on the architect and client. “Current trends for commercial and housing spaces design are the use of natural and organic materials, and utilisation of daylight. This is known as ‘sustainable interiors’. Trends in residential spaces include green pockets and a new sense of space with concrete, a versatile material, having a strong influence. For office spaces, open designs with more interactive spaces in neutral palettes feature accent colours and strong graphic walls and floors.”
Brinda Goswami, founder of Infinite Ideas Interiors and designer for Foyr, had this to say: “There has been an increasing trend in fusion-style interiors. I have been noticing that multi-material items are becoming really popular. It’s almost like the house is being turned into a collage of coordinated furniture and artefacts. Mixing new and vintage furniture, gently distressed textures with warm-coloured rugs, wood, and gold wall paintings in a thoughtful way creates a cool style, and opens up a lot of creativity. I even believe that shelving arrangements can be part of this as they are adjustable and have a modern look as well.”’ Renu Hasan, one of the most experienced industry professionals in India, says, "The current trend is centred more on handmade embellishments and earthy textures. Indigo will be a major trend, as will be wallpapers. People are opting more and more for local ethnic art."
And according to Sona Chatwani, chairperson of the Hyderabad chapter of the Institute of Indian Interior Designers, “It's refreshing to see more people becoming conscious of the way they design their living spaces. Among the popular design styles are industrial modern, the Bohemian look, modern minimalist styles, traditional and rustic looks, Neoclassical, and the eclectic look."
Buy local, think global When it comes to residential interior design, one of the current trends prevalent across India is the philosophy of ‘local in make, global in design’. In other words, you want to buy products that are manufactured in India by Indian artisans and creators, but those who develop products with global or international appeal.
Perhaps you might choose to buy curtains with a traditional Rajasthani form of embroidery, but you’d pick up a set that looks like it could fit in any home around the world. Of course, it’s manufactured by a domestic designer who patronises her local karigar community, but the design itself doesn’t have a distinctly Indian look or feel to it.
The idea here is that such a design element can fit in with most types of decor themes, ranging from Neoclassical and Baroque to British colonial and rustic Portuguese. This one is all about picking and using indigenous elements without going over the top, allowing them to blend into the rest of your home without drawing any undue attention or sticking out like a sore thumb, but also about ensuring that an Indian home contributes to Indian industry.
Brass is class Another current trend that’s enjoying resurgence in popularity is brass. Quintessentially Indian, this element has been a part of traditional Indian home decor for centuries. An alloy made from copper and zinc, brass has formed an integral part of the nation’s design sensibilities since the time of the princely states. Antiques range from tea sets to platters, while more current products tend to be sculptures and installations.
Though the working class and rural India have maintained ties to brass without interruption, it disappeared from most upper-class and several middle-class homes some time ago in favour of minimalist decor. After all, something that needs regular and rigorous polishing doesn’t fit in with a low-maintenance household.
But brass is making splashes across the board once again – light and bathroom fixtures, drawer handles, taps and faucets, and even sculptures of people and deities. It’s something everyone will want to consider bec Fabause polished brass, while difficult to deal with in terms of upkeep, adds an indisputable touch of sophistication to any home.
Reduce, reuse, recycle If you haven’t heard about up-cycling, you’re behind the pack. The term refers to the process of refurbishing or reusing discarded products to create something new that is of greater value and worth than the original. Examples include using an old saree to reupholster a vintage chair and putting plastic bottles to use housing potted plants.
Far from a passing fashion trend or hippie movement offshoot, up-cycled products currently form a vital part of the present interior design scene. Considering the greater awareness among the middle and upper classes to cut down on wastage, these are the households that tend to gravitate towards such products. And they need not be remotely garish or difficult to look at.
Some designers and artisans who are doing great things in up-cycling include The Retyrement Plane by Anu Tandon Vieira, who make furniture out of old tyres; Fab Habitat, who retail decor made from old plastics through Amazon; and My Sunny Balcony, who specialise in decor for balconies and gardens, all with a natural twist.
Through time Decor from previous eras is coming back with force. Colonial designs from imperial European nations like England, Portugal and France are increasing in popularity with each passing day. Elements such as vintage rocking chairs, lantern light fixtures and window shutters are among the more popular design cues being integrated into both new and existing residences. There’s also great demand for artwork from the era, while artefacts and antiques continue to enjoy a place of prominence.
Baroque and Neoclassical decor both offer stark contrast to the minimal craze of the last few years, and though they’re considerably less opulent than full-on Indian ethnic themes, it offers a grandeur and elegance that surpasses anything modern and functional. For this reason, with the greater demand of maintenance and upkeep holding little sway, both styles of decor are coming back into vogue around the world.
The Baroque era’s interiors were characterised by opulent chandeliers, elegant mosaic-patterned tiles, considerably use of gold and silver in furnishings and structure, and a generally regal look that created an ambience of luxury and grandeur. Neoclassical designs are not as in-your-face. They combine elements of Greco-Roman architecture with relatively simple furniture, cosiness not unlike that found in the most traditional British homes, and a similar look and feel to the best hotel rooms.
And space Open areas are wildly popular at the moment. In a country as densely populated as India, space is at a premium. So when you have a home with plenty of it, it doesn’t make sense for everything to be segregated by walls and doors. Creating a residence with open areas is a job that begins with the architect, making it a comprehensive design element because it combines form with function.
One of the ways this is being implemented is with the simple absence of walls, whether complete or partial. Whereas the dining room is often in close proximity to the kitchen, it’s often barricaded from the rest of the house by a partial wall with a small entranceway. Many modern homes are doing away with this wall, allowing you to sit in the living room and see the table from several feet away.
Air and natural light, whether they comes through large windows or fixtures such as a skylight, also help make an interior space feel a lot larger than it actually is. A number of multi-storey houses these days don’t have complete segregation between floors, meaning it’s possible to stand on the ground floor and speak easily to someone on the third, generally through a vertical corridor of space that lets in ample light and air.
In nature’s lap Greenery is one of the most important parts of interior design; it always has been. Homes rich in art and artefacts but lacking in plants have a museum-like feel to them, detracting from the residential ambience. Thanks to a general increase in environmental awareness over the past decade or so, many people these days have potted plants and flowers growing indoors. And with a few simple precautions, insects aren’t even an issue.
Gardens are also gaining importance when it comes to designing a home, especially an independent house. Though technically not an interior space, gardens still fall under the interior designer’s domain, especially if the residents want it to be an extension of the home instead of supplementary space. Some of the design cues that are being incorporated here with growing popularity are Zen gardens, Buddha-themed decor, waterfalls and manmade lakes, and natural furniture made from cane or bamboo.
P-art of the home Artwork has always been one of the cornerstones of interior design, while installations as decor are also nothing new. But including artistic elements as an actual part of the home is a relatively recent trend that’s only gaining in popularity. One fantastic example is a wall featuring a painting done on it, rather than done on a canvas and hung. Installations built into the structure of a house – such as a sculpture supporting a staircase – are not quite common just yet, but they can be found in certain homes, especially those of artists themselves.
Water, water everywhere Indoor pools might be one of the more grandiose and ultra-luxurious elements of interior design, but they are growing in popularity. Outdoor pools without temperature controls are subject to the weather, and they’re also tougher to maintain because of pollutants such as debris and insects. An indoor pool doesn’t require as many things to be looked after, and it also provides a greater level of privacy. Most people who have these considerably coveted luxuries place them in or around fitness centres (if the primary purpose is for exercise) or bars (if the primary purpose is entertainment or design).