Where do design trends come from? Every year, interior-design enthusiasts everywhere are eager to see what the next year brings. There is a lot of research and psychology that go into design trends. “On a very, very basic level,” says design researcher, Casey Harper, “design trends are acknowledging how people are currently feeling, then helping them find ways to seek the feelings and emotions they’re trying to achieve.”

Since emotions are all-encompassing, there are several things that influence design forecasts. For instance:

What’s going on in the world?

Believe it or not, design is heavily influenced by current events. When designers (be it interior designers or fashion designers) are predicting trends, the first thing they look for are the state of the public psyche. During the recession, for instance, people were feeling gloomy because of financial stress, so gray hues were predominant. Other influences may include feelings of patriotism, recent natural disasters, or even the influence of major world figures. Current and upcoming world events play a big role in design prediction since these events change our fears, concerns, and desires.

Spending trends

How are people choosing to live? Are they spending more money on modern comforts or on adventure? Are they interested in beautiful collections or minimalism? Is wealth and income currently overstated or understated? These questions help determine interior design trends. For instance, there’s been a recent influx in “decluttering” and multi-purposing, which leads to interior design trends that are cleaner and simpler, with decor being as much about usefulness as beauty, and with decorating trending toward fewer select statement pieces as opposed to previous trends which included showing off collections.


How do people spend their days? Trend predictions look at people’s current lifestyles to get a feeling for what people feel are missing in their lives, then use those feelings to help drive their designs. For instance, since people are spending a lot of time on and around electronics, there’s a growing feeling that technology is taking over. That’s why there’s been a recent trend toward bringing more feelings of nature, such as natural textures and hues of green, indoors.

Popular vacation spots

What countries are most desired as a vacation spot? Chances are you’ll see design trends hailing from natural and iconic influences from places that people most desire to visit (or have visited and want to bring back with them). French-country, Asian-influence, or Brazilian modern, these global design trends eek in and out of fashion based on current foreign interest.

Interest in current landscape

Almost every designer you speak to will tell you that they are inspired by nature. Nature first and foremost serves and a checks and balances system for designers, helping them pair colors and textures that naturally look appealing together. However, secondarily, current landscape trends (succulents, for example) can help to inspire interior design as well.

Mood boards

When designers come together to establish trends such as color forecasts, they usually bring with them a series of mood boards. Mood boards are a collection of colors, images, textures, products, words, and thoughts that help to portray a certain “feeling.” Since interior design is all about how a space feels, these mood boards are integral to predicting how to best serve their audience. Mood boards also draw from current affairs, but rather than being representative, designers may create mood boards for how they see people want to feel. For instance, if current events are feeling tumultuous, trends will probably start embodying feelings of calmness, safety, or comfort.

Past trends

Any good design forecaster is also going to have a working knowledge of past trends and what has been killed off by its own success. Once a trend is in overabundance, people begin to get tired of it and are looking for something new and fresh to liven things up.