‘Hygge’ might have been the buzzword of 2017, but this year it’s all about Wabi-Sabi, the ancient Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection. Think homemade objects, hand-painted decorative items and worn-in furniture - basically anything that looks like it has an interesting backstory, or a ‘lived-in’ look. Kat Rattray, of Kat & Fox bed linen, stocked through The Block Shop, is a big fan of the concept. “I love it when something looks like it has a history, or a story,” she explains. “I love that idea of everything having a meaning. “You can do wonderful things in new spaces that still tell stories - even if you have a relatively new house, you can still add that sense of age, or sense of story.”
Get the look - Linen bedlinen gives your bedroom a beautiful relaxed, homely feel. Through the house, decorator items with a homemade aesthetic, paired in uneven numbers, also provides a point of interest.
Once relegated to threadbare old 1950s tea towels at your Nan’s, in the past 12 months, ‘Australiana’ and local flora and fauna themes have made a triumphant return to the design fore.
A celebration of our land, our animals, and our unique cultural heritage, these design motifs are popping up everywhere from artwork, to homewares and bed linen.
Cate Broadbent’s prints, showcased on The Block last year, via Sarah and Jason’s hallway, are a prime example of this genre done well.
“I had this thing in my head, that was like, ‘Why is Australiana so dull?’” Cat explains. “I feel like Australian iconography should be really bold, and bright - like the energy of Australia. So I started designing [my range].”
Get the look - Pair bright, bold Australiana artwork with earthy-toned painted walls - a real design trend this year - to create a space reminiscent of the vast expanse that is the Aussie outback.
Yes, you heard right - BROhemian. To those not in the know, this is a fun term used to describe boho chic, with a masculine edge. Think muted tones, leather accents, tribal motifs and textured layers - nothing frilly or froufrou in these interiors!
For inspiration, look to Josh and Elyse’s fun ‘kid’s room’ from last season. Styled for a teenage boy or girl, the room showcased a leather bedhead, muted tones, surf photography from fellow contestant Sticks, and wooden accents via the room’s balustrade and shelving.
Get the look - Starting with an all white interior, add bespoke pieces to create the look. Timber accents and dark wood, or dark grey/petrol blue paint accentuate the feel. Offset this with bold, geometric prints and patterns, and African or Moroccan art and sculpture.
All these dark, moody interiors not your thing? That’s OK. Soft, calming colour palettes are still going strong this year, with blush pinks, pale blues and gorgeous soft lavender tones still popular with interior designers.This trend works particularly well in bedrooms, and can be used to provide a lovely, calming counterpoint to the rest of your home.
Get the look - Clean lines and light wood tones are the order of the day, while window dressings are often diaphanous and white, letting in light and air.
With interiors moving away from the blonde-wood and minimalism of the Scandinavian design aesthetic, interior designs are beginning to work again with bold, bright colours. Watermelon red is making a big comeback - particularly in furnishings - as is the use of the Pantone Colour of the Year, Ultraviolet.
Get the look - make a statement with a bold, bright occasional chair. Couches in bright, emerald-toned velvets are also still big this year, and a great way to introduce colour back into your home.
We’ve all got so used to seeing clean, white kitchens, white subway tiles and marble benchtops that it seems jarring to see an all black kitchen. And yet, this was a big design trend for 2018 at the Milan Furniture Fair last year. Think black benchtops and sinks, black cabinetry and even black painted walls, all adding to a luxe, high-end look.
Julia and Sasha were clearly ahead of the trend when they presented their gorgeous high-end challenge kitchen. Expect to see more of that this year.
Get the look - Brown marble benchtops look fantastic. But if that’s beyond your price range, try a plain, black bench, set with a shark-nosed profile, to give the surface a sensation of hovering above the cabinetry.
Overstuffed couches, curved velvet lounges and plump upholstery are all set to make a grand comeback this year, as we hark back to those gorgeous velour sofas of our youth. Textured, cushiony and deliciously snuggly, couches are also moving away from that modular look, with curved backs and fringed details.
Get the look - Lots of high-end retailers are beginning to produce super deluxe, comfy couches. But if that’s still out of reach, just head to your local Vinnies - you never know what you might dig up in an op shop. There are plenty of great upholsters, like Martini furniture, now selling through The Block Shop, who would be only too happy to give your freshly purchased treasure a new lease on life.
Fiddle Figs - be gone! This year it’s all about the cacti, or statement succulent. Think enormous Yuccas, or prickly cactuses in bulbous mounds, positioned throughout the house.
Neale Whitaker, who recently moved into a new apartment, has rediscovered a love for the cactus, and has several large statement plants now positioned around his new home.
“I don’t have any plants actually indoors, but I do have a very large, covered deck which is absolutely stuffed full of succulents and cycads, and agaves,” he says.
“To be honest, I would be very happy to have any one of those inside.
“I am a big fan now of a big statement plant. A great huge floor-to-ceiling cactus if you are in an apartment, or a big oversized cycad look fantastic”
Get the look - Keep an eye out for cactuses and Yuccas online - Gumtree and local Facebook trading sites frequently have them listed, thanks to people pulling them up ahead of house demolition and renovation.