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3 Key design trends 2017/18

By March 25, 2017August 8th, 2017Events and News

During the fabulous Surface Design Show in Feb 2017, we attended a talk by Phil Pond of Scarlet Opus. They are a trend forecasting agency and presented the 2017 three key trends being predicted

  • Homeland
  • Winter Desert
  • Digital Artisan

1- Homeland *APM favourite

Inspiration– This year will mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war; as such there will be international commemorations. This along with the current political and economic climates- people are inclined to be drawn to designs entrenched in history which satisfy a deep need for comfort, reassurance and community. This trend also encompasses the modern desire to return to hand made/ crafted products as a kick back from mass production.

Key ideas

  • ‘Sober but Poetic’– mixing the utilitarian designs from wartime with the beauty of natural materials and bespoke quality.
  • Items with ‘Heirloom’ quality– so well made/ beautiful that they will be passed down within families- again making the strong connection to the past which this trend embodies.
  • Perfectly Imperfect– Using aged materials and rugged finishes to get a ‘perfectly imperfect’ finish.
  • Utilitarian simplicity– keeping neat forms which follow the function of the object/ finish.


  • Nature/ army green- invoking images of deep/ dense forest. Think green marble or army hues.
  • Foggy pastels- icy cold greys and frosty blue’s with deep dark blues mixed in.
  • Antique brass to invoke traditional imagery and contrast well with the key colour schemes above.


  • Soft furnishings- Natural thick fibres with texture and heaviness
  • Accessories and general homewares- antique brass details
  • Dark green marble finishes; could have metallic detailing.
  • Natural textures/ patterns used such as natural wood, stone, slate etc. Materials must be ‘authentic’.

2- Winter Desert

Inspiration– the ‘Old Silk Road’ opens again! The ancient trade route ran from China through India, Mesopotamia, Egypt, the African continent, Greece, Rome and Britain. According to historians, this ancient trading route was used regularly from 130BCE and imported silks, paper and gunpowder to the west. The modern route by rail opens in January 2017 and will bring new trade and an opportunity to trade in small commodities keeping the train full of unbranded/ cultural/ traditional items for sale. This trend encapsulates the harmonious blending of cultures, design, history and celebrates the revitalised connection between the countries on the route.

Key Ideas-

  • Blending of cultures, design and history- mixing patterns colours and styles- to create a whole new theme. Making a positive harmonious whole from the instability of travelling and merging cultures.
  • Exotic warm finishes to furnishings/ textiles to invoke sense of travel and exploration..
  • Treasured curiosities– finding and displaying beautiful and unusual items or patterns.
  • Sanctuary– creating a warm space with precious items which are inviting, useful and homely.
  • Patterns colours and layers– building upon the sense of travelling and collecting from far away places.


  • Rich- Burgundy/ Garnet to mimic precious stones and deep coloured silks and textiles which would have been traded.
  • Desert Neutrals- lighter warm shades invoking sense of travelling through the dessert.


  • Metals, rocks and golden metal finishes.
  • Baskets, wicker textiles and furnishings.
  • Parched textures- dried plant materials, buffalo leather.
  • Layered- tiles, herringbone, stone, marbled rock- Onyx.

Carpets and textiles- patterned and textured. See Adriana Kundart’s Ripening Rugs-

3- Digital Artisan

Inspiration– Designers are seeking to bring together the opposing forces of technical advances alongside the returning trend towards handmade crafted objects. Whilst more people crave unique fashion, homewares and architecture which have been skilfully constructed, we also understand the need for mass production and business growth. Marrying the best parts of these two opposed methods of production and design- we can create new products which have the benefits of original design and craftsmanship, alongside the technological ability to manufacture quickly with precision. We can also cut down on waste caused by error or not working efficiently- creating clean and beautiful items.

Key Ideas-

  • Combining traditional skills with the digital realm- building upon the knowledge of craftsmen/ women and adding modern technologies to improve or complement the traditional methods.
  • Living seamlessly with technology- embracing the benefits of technology and incorporating it into our lives and homes.
  • Visionary/ Expressive- creating new crafts and giving people to opportunity to easily customise their items.
  • Geometry- embracing the simple geometry which forms all life whilst mimicking/ embracing geometry with the precision of a computer.
  • Harmonising- perfection and imperfection together.


  • Pastel colours
  • Vibrant/ dark pigmented colours
  • Ombre- using colour diffusion and modern printing to create wonderful transitions between colours.
  • Trans- seasonal pallets


  • Natural materials finished with precision; for example, polished wooden finish with metallic geometric detail etched into the surface.
  • Mixing traditional materials around, for example using textile textures in cabinetry and 3D effect walls. Pushing materials to the limits of their capability.
  • Warm materials with an unexpected finish.

For more ideas check out our Pinterest Board for ideas, images and furnishings to work with these three styles.

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