Where is interior design moving in 2023?

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Warm earthy tones with a vintage aesthetic.

Warm earthy tones with a vintage aesthetic.

Arts, culture and nature-inspired living, Lai says.

By Yanika Liew

New trends tend to crop up as the season changes, with designs drawing from a fresh new perspective, as well as exploring the long-lasting allure of old trends brought into the new year. Usher in the new year with the expert opinion from the discerning eye of Malaysian Institute of Interior Designers (MIID) immediate past president Lai Siew Hong.

As the year continues, Lai notes that there will be new importance placed on craftsmanship in furniture and design. 

The celebration of craftsmanship means to focus on the arts and culture and infuse it into the details of a product or interior design with traditional crafts influence, Lai said.

He pointed to furniture by Stellar Works, which draws from Asian aesthetics, particularly focusing on Japanese designs and motifs as a blueprint to create new, contemporary pieces. Another example is the &Traditions collection by SMUK Living, which reworks designs from the traditional past into a classic, modern feel.

Heritage-inspired furniture is not just utilised for its function, but also as an art piece rich with identity and culture. Providing the home with a unique composition that speaks to the personality and lifestyle of its occupants, these traditional designs beg the question; will Malaysian-based interior design firms market themselves with a similar celebration of craftsmanship in 2023?

With many quality furniture pieces and aesthetics based around a Western sense of style and living, an emphasis on craftsmanship is hard to come by, making it all the more valuable.

Furthermore, as the economy recovers, there will be more of an emphasis on lifestyle living and sustainable design. With the emphasis on sustainability on the docket as climate change continues to cause havoc on the day-to-day, Lai notes that organic materials will be increasingly popular in this year.

These are nature-based matters that include stone, wood and leaves, as designers have also seen an increase in the industrial aesthetic. 

“Earth tones especially wood and colours inspired by nature, such as sage greens, orange, pink and peaceful blues in connecting to nature,” said Lai, who is also Blu Water Studio chief executive designer.

With the pandemic in the not-so-distant past, homeowners may instinctively reprioritise their work and living space, especially when it comes to maximising their interior space usage.

“Open floor plans or open spaces allow flexibility in work and living lifestyle. The open kitchen will be ideal to create more reconnection with family members, especially with young children,” he said.

Without walls between different rooms, such as living and kitchen spaces, a direct line of sight will increase the ease of interaction among family families. When it comes to open spaces, there is also the option of an outdoor terrace or deck. This would increase exposure to fresh air and greenery. 

IKEA’s Starkvind is an air purifier integrated into a side table.

IKEA’s Starkvind is an air purifier integrated into a side table.

Sleek appliances in 2023

The need for clean and hygienic living spaces make way for appliances such as air purifier, which has only become more popular in 2023. These include portable ones such as the LG Electronics Aerotower.

Lai also pointed to the integration of air purifiers into pieces of furniture, making them functional in more ways than one. An example of this would be LG Electronics’ Puricare Aero Furniture, which acts as a side table with a wireless charger, allowing the air purifier to be stylish and multi-use. IKEA’s Starkvind is similarly an air purifier integrated into a side table.

As the needs of the population change, innovation into new ways of living will continue to shift and grow, keeping in mind the values of the market such as sustainability.

In line with the trending styles of the past and tradition, Lai notes that the vintage aesthetic is making a comeback, especially when it comes to retro appliances. In previous years, sleek modernity was the goal of many interior design concepts, however, the return to nature seems to have similarly brought a resurgence in vintage furniture and appliances. Harkening back to the good old days, chic and retro appliances put their owners in the mindset of a time long past. 

These designs are popular in kitchenware, such as air fryers, refrigerators and ovens. For example, Lai points to the SMEG tabletop coffee machine, particularly its ECF01 model.

“It’s a beautiful manual coffee machine with a retro-futuristic design. Slim, elegant with round edges and chrome accents. It's a piece of art in the kitchen,” he said.

These trends in interior design come from the changes in the living environment of the population it serves. As the year continues, look forward to seeing a gradual return to our roots, and how that inspires innovation in different and unique ways. 

Earth tones especially wood and colours inspired by nature, Lai said.

Earth tones especially wood and colours inspired by nature, Lai said.


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