Décor trends for a new decade


Anita Bloom, Creative Director for Decorex Africa, unpacks some of the trends of 2020 and reveals how we can transform our living spaces this year.

Get back to nature

A major trend this year is the Contemporary Organic style, which uses natural materials alongside contemporary lines.  Go for cosy, tactile spaces that reference natural elements – think wooden floors, burnt timber cladding, textured stone, feathers, indoor plants, even dried branches. “We’re moving away from sleek materials and sharp architectural lines as ultra-modern design adopts softer, more texturally rich touches: furniture with sensual forms or timber with an irregular grain.”

Get the look: Furniture made of unrefined natural materials will be popular – think rustic stools and seating sculptures – along with handcrafted rugs and fabrics. Fireplaces are back and they bring flickering light and undeniable cosiness to living rooms, as do table lamps, candles and lanterns.”

Multifunctional furniture

Many of us are living, working and playing in the cosy space in our homes where we feel safest. Homes are starting to reflect this new, fluid lifestyle, where repurposed rooms mean a whole new approach to furnishings. An open-floor living arrangement between kitchen and lounge means we can socialise where we cook, as well as work or study at the kitchen table. Along with this trend comes multifunctional furniture design, which also suits if you’re considering downsizing your home.

Get the look: Look for furniture items that provide you with options in a variety of spaces – like sofas with several accessories as part of their structure, which you can configure according to whether you want to work, relax, study, store objects or recharge electronic devices.”

It’s all about texture and tactility

We loved Scandi design, but we’re ready to embrace a softer, more homely look. Celebrate form and texture in abundance, along with luxuriant forms of self-expression. When it comes to furniture, this means chubby, elephantine pieces that evoke a sense of comfort.

Get the look: Opt for rounder, organic shapes with a slightly retro look, like velvet armchairs or ottomans. Maximalist statements are in, along with charmingly awkward shapes, so don’t be afraid of bold statement items that express your personality.”

Eastern inspiration

A mash-up of Scandinavian and Asian trends will be huge this year, like Japandi (a blend of Scandi and traditional Japanese details) and Wabi Sabi (the Japanese notion that imperfection is beautiful and life is impermanent). This hybrid design trend allows us to create uncluttered, function-driven spaces that are elegant and beautifully patterned, with rich tones adding warmth to a more neutral palette. Chinoiserie (a Western interpretation of Chinese motifs and techniques) is also making a comeback.

Get the look: Look out for lacquered cabinets, oversized paper lamps and Chinoiserie wallpaper, along with items that celebrate good craftsmanship, a hallmark of the Japandi style and an antidote to throwaway culture.

All things handmade

Handcrafted items and textile arts are making a comeback – in part as a reaction against the ubiquity of technology, but also because they’re so homely and charming. Accompanying this trend is the move towards artisanal design – look out for bold abstracts and linear art on fabric, ceramics and stationery, as well as artworks featuring hand-painted lines, visible brushstrokes and energetic doodles.

Get the look: Opt for pieces that show evidence of traditional woodworking methods, Vienna straw – a classic pattern for woven furniture that’s re-emerging this year – and handcrafted ceramics. Textile arts are likely to loom large in 2020. Look out for big, beautiful, tactile statement pieces for walls – they’ll make our living spaces that much warmer and more welcoming.”

Lighting to switch you on

With the strict minimalism of Scandinavian design behind us, this year’s lighting is all softer, more nature-inspired interiors and gentle illumination. Think a multitude of hanging lights, floor lamps, table lamps, candles and lanterns to add a more sensual touch to your home.  There’s a move towards more natural light and a less-is-more approach to lighting solutions.

Another growing trend is the use of paper lamps – Asian-inspired light fixtures that add an eclectic touch to any décor. Japadi Style (a blend of Scandi and traditional Japanese details), along with Wabi Sabi (the idea that imperfection is beautiful and life is impermanent) permeate lighting design, with cylinders, ovals and globes in white or neutral colours illuminating softened interiors. Whether oversized, used singly or in bunches, these lights are sure to magically transform rooms.

Rounded and organic shapes will dominate when it comes to lighting – and the circle will be the most important (but by no means only) geometric shape that will influence designers in 2020. The most significant trend, however, is towards creating essential shapes that can adapt to any space, lasting as different styles come and go.

Another trend to watch is the resurgence of neon – think names, phrases and slogans up in lights or strategic blocks of colour. Done well, neon features read like modern art installations. You can opt for a subtle glow or the full ‘shock and awe’ effect.