There’s no denying that the year of 2020 has wrought several changes in our lifestyle and general outlook. While some of these changes have limited our movement and freedom to a certain extent, let’s look on the bright side: they’ve also forced us to focus on the things that really matter.
Even as we move forward into a new era, many designers are looking to the past for inspiration. Nostalgic elements like terrazzo and Peranakan tiles are making a comeback as features in otherwise modern homes, and we’re also seeing tributes to our local heritage in designs like the NDP 55 collection by Grafunkt and Onlewo, which features two ottomans that resemble the benches you see in public housing estates.
Fabrics made from natural materials like cotton, linen, and silk have been steadily gaining popularity in the home over the last few years, and they’re set to take the stage this year. These have a lighter ecological footprint compared to synthetics and are easier to recycle too. Not only that, natural fabrics tend to be more breathable and kinder on the skin – so the next time you’re choosing bedlinen or a cushion cover, plump for natural over synthetic.
Gatherings at home are a trend that’s set to stay for a while: your home is clean, you don’t have to wear masks, and your friends can stay for as long as they want. Make your home more comfortable for gatherings by investing in furniture that’s designed for groups of people, like an extendable dining table or flexible seating options. If you’re about to do some renovation, consider opening up the space more so that people can move around more freely.
Plenty of kitchen appliances with an emphasis on hygiene popped up in 2020, and we see them becoming the norm for homeowners in 2021. Water filtration systems, in particular, are a great investment, since they can perform several functions like removing contaminants and providing hot water at precisely the right temperature for sterilisation.
These days, water filtration systems also come in compact sizes that don’t take up much space on the kitchen countertop and are often easier to maintain due to tankless systems (which prevents buildup of bacteria) and self-cleaning functions. AOX Compac O2+ above provides clean drinking water and cleans fruit and veggie with its Active Oxygen Steriliser. It retails for $2,780 at Tangs Orchard and Vivocity.
All eyes are on indoor gardens and growing your own produce this year, thanks to increased awareness of food security issues in 2020. Luckily, it’s easy enough to get started growing your own veggies indoors with systems like Click and Grow Smart Gardens. For those with small spaces, how about a vertical garden? These walls of greenery don’t take up much room but inject plenty of verdant life into the space.
Clunky, utilitarian ceiling lamps are out, and minimalist lighting in the form of smaller, energy-saving fixtures is in. Smaller units like Sol Luminaire’s Mini series help to set the stage for a clean, streamlined look, drawing the attention to other design elements like statement furniture instead. Opt for LED bulbs, which are energy efficient and give off less heat.
Marie Kondo who? Let’s face it: our homes have never quite been the same again after spending so much time there during the pandemic. Achieving extreme levels of organisation has become a tad overrated, and frankly quite impossible to maintain. Enter Zakka-style living: the Japanese concept of embracing a mishmash of things that spark joy, but in a relaxed and lived-in manner as opposed to minimalist, pristine order.
The concept of Zakka manifests itself differently according to each individual – whether it’s displaying your beloved art collection or having a jumble of plants all around your living space – but its defining factor is that the items you surround yourself with are things that truly resonate with you.
Safe palettes are on their way out, and vibrant hues are in. You don’t have to go all out, though. Add splashes of colour to your home by giving a feature wall a fresh coat of paint, or bring in personality with colourful throws and cushions. These touches help to introduce colour into the home without having to undergo major renovations.
Also called engineered stone, composite stone countertops look very much like their natural counterparts, but are in fact compressed slabs. These usually stand up well to the test of time, since their non-porosity makes them stain- and mould-resistant (read: easier cleanups). We like the Black Tempal collection by Caesarstone, whose complex layers were inspired by the night sky and the ocean tides.
This article was first published in Home and Decor.