When it comes to interior design trends in 2023, it would seem the reverberations of the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting effects have a strong resonance in how we envision our living space and homes.
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The lockdowns and increase of time spent at home may have sowed an increasing sense of boredom with the understated, neutral tones that have dominated past years; or perhaps as the world emerges from the shadow of the last three years, with it comes a desire to shed its skin for a fresh new start.
This sparks a shift in trends in 2023 that affect colour, materials and even lighting, says experts.
Bold, Bright and Expressive
Out goes boring and in comes personal expression and splashes of maximalism. In terms of colour, natural palettes are making way for a return of vibrant colours – even just as accents and highlights. In its trend report, Architectural Digest notes buzz words like ‘lived-in colour’ and ‘warmth’ as key to the psyche behind the shift.
Thai-based studio Waranz Design envisioned a cosy yet vibrant ambience for the show unit of KHUN by YOO in Bangkok (Photo: Waranz Design)
And it goes beyond just cheerful shades. When it comes to materials, things are getting “wilder and weirder”. Darker, richer options of wood such as walnut, cherry, and teak will be seen more again, while natural stone finishes remain popular, though people would be willing to opt for more textural and unique styles, from marble to granite, limestone and more.
That is not to say the elegant, clean contemporary style is out. But monochromatic spaces can be embraced with a refreshing, bold play with textures, such as in soft furnishings and fabrics from curtains to rugs and beddings, to elevate timeless elegance with warm but urban refinement.
On a quirky note, designers around the world have observed that this year will see the explosion of mushroom-related designs, especially the mushroom lamp, in all its iterations.
Rich colours and personal touches will be the direction for home designs this year, as seen in Steve Leung’s wood concept theme for YOO8 serviced by Kempinski, Kuala Lumpur
Wellbeing and Craftsmanship
It has been said that at the heart of the evolution in home interiors is the craving for a richer, more tangible and tactile living experience.
Dezeen quoted Danish design firm Norm Architects’ Frederik Werner, who said that the isolation of the past few years means that in terms of interior design, humans seek more “tactility, sensibility and natural materials in the constant pursuit of wellbeing”.
Hong Kong celebrity designer Steve Leung, the creative star behind Tower A of YOO8 serviced by Kempinski here in Kuala Lumpur, would call it a human-centered design approach – an ethos that balances the aesthetic with functionality.
With wellbeing being the trend du jour, and as we search for more customisation in our living spaces, Leung often draws inspiration from a somewhat Asian-rooted perspective – the harmony between human and nature, or 天人合一. He exemplifies this in the Wood and Water theme designs for YOO8.
An enduring key trend is the popularity of natural stone materials such as marble, as in here in a YOO8 bathroom design.
In 2023, wellbeing also translates across to the materiality of our interiors. British rising design star Tola Ojuolape hits the nail on the head: “In the post-pandemic space, the wellbeing of the end user is considered more than ever.
“Humble materials and finishes that give rise to a relaxed sophistication will continue to dominate the interiors landscape. Lime plaster walls and finish, brick, natural wool will be visible,” she told Dezeen.
Designer Naoko Takenouchi tells Vogue Singapore that this would also mean people are becoming more conscious about the “origins” of their furniture and objects, be it from a sustainability point of view, or craftsmanship and quality. There will be a drive towards one-off, artisanal pieces, and a support of local makers.
Incorporation of Technology and Multi-functionality
Another development that will see a leap forward for interior design trends in 2023 would be the in-roads in technology. Smart homes and smart furniture are a natural progression for interior design, and will continue to grow in 2023. The inclusion of “Hey, Siri” and “Alexa” into the everyday lexicon is only the first step in our digitally-integrated lifestyles.
From switching on our lights at a voice command, we’re now also boiling water for that cup of coffee with smart kettles, or as we will have here at YOO8, to call for the lift at a touch of a button before you even leave your home.
Combining aesthetics and functionality, every furniture and fixture we have at home is being re-thought. Another famed British name, Kelly Hoppen predicted last year, “I think multi-functionality and modularity are the big trends that we’ll see emerge as the world starts to return to some sort of normality.”
Hoppen partnered with Samsung to design a customisable refrigerator range (Photo: Samsung Bespoke)
But if 2023’s trends are any indication, the home and its design is a reflection of our increasingly complex human needs, though no matter what they underscore is a timeless albeit clichéd truth, that “home is where the heart is”.
And a good home starts with a good foundation. Another famed British designer, Hoppen, puts it this way, “I always start with a neutral base, and build on that,” she says of her design work.
With that, may we all find the splashes of expression that best suit us, trendy or otherwise. The best trend is one that is timeless, after all.
If you’re looking to invest in one of the last freehold properties in the heart of Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 8 Conlay is set to house the first YOO-designed twin branded residence in Malaysia, YOO8 serviced by Kempinski, with interiors designed by Kelly Hoppen and Steve Leung. To find out more, contact us here.