For a nation of outdoors-lovers, Australia is pretty wild about interior design. But no two territories in the land quite have the same idea of what is hot and what is not in interiors. Neither do interior design trends remain static – which means that wherever you are in Australia, a distinct local décor culture has evolved over time.
But what does that mean in concrete terms? We decided to find out. Working with interior designer Miriam Pinkney, we identified the top design styles and trends in Australia over the past 5 years. We then ran these styles and trends through Google Trends to identify the most-searched-for design styles in each of Australia’s territories.
It turns out that the industrial style got big, wherever you are in Australia! But other styles such as the coastal look or Scandi chic showed more regional variation. Victoria, in particular, has embraced Nordic style interiors – perhaps to make it cosier when it’s raining outside!
We created a series of maps and graphs to illustrate how design trends have changed in Australia’s regions over the past five years, plus a special image gallery to demonstrate the style that featured at the top of every territory’s interiors hit-list: industrial.
What is Industrial design?
What does the industrial style mean? And why does everyone want their home to look like the inside of an abandoned factory?
“The Industrial design soared to popularity in the 2000s and still remains popular today,” says designer Pinkney. “The open plan style is timeless and versatile, which is why it is favored amongst the Aussie lifestyle. Aesthetically the style combines raw and rough with sleek and streamlined, and has a high focus on the blend between old and new.”
In a factory or warehouse setting, industrial design is a solution to practical needs: sturdy, functional fixtures and fittings made with no-nonsense materials, to save eating into the factory owner’s profits. Historically, industrial designers needed to come up with economic, elegant solutions to the practical problems of heating, lighting, and working. Designs like this survive the tests of time.
But big industry faltered in the mid-twentieth century, and more old warehouses and former power stations were converted into affordable homes. Architects and interior designers noticed that the ‘no frills’ look actually chimed with their fundamental principles – most pertinently, that form should follow function.
In this sense, industrial design is the ultimate expression of techniques used by other art and design movements over the years, such as constructivism, Brutalism, minimalism, and Scandi-chic. As the communication age dawned, clunky industrial materials such as concrete, wood, brick, iron, and steel began to acquire a certain retro aura, too, but without tying home decorators to a particular era. In other words, industrial is stylish without being shouty. These materials also make spaces feel larger, according to Pinkney.
Industrial design is the number one searched interior style in Australia over the past five years – and the nations (un)Official Look for 2020.
How times have changed… interior design trends.
Interior trends aren’t just about an overall look – the devil is in the details. There are two particular details that Australians have developed a passion for over the past five years. One of them is rattan: a hard palm vine material commonly woven together to create wicker furniture. The look is synonymous with 1970s cosmopolitan décor. Rattan is cultured, versatile, yet sustainable – so perhaps it’s no wonder the material is at the crest of a big comeback in 2020.
“Rattan is now an ultimate home must-have,” says Pinkney, “due to its incredible strength and the ability for manipulation across designs. Natural rattan aesthetically provides warmth to any interior, and is desirable due to its ability to remain visually appealing, without any excessive cleaning regime.
“This timeless trend originated in the bohemian 70’s and provides a myriad of styles and optional finishes, meaning it is perfect for numerous design styles.”
The other big interiors trend might also owe its success to the battle against the climate crisis. Succulents are the juicy, drought-resistant plants you previously have only encountered in the desert or your gran’s bathroom. These plants may not have the power to save the planet by themselves, but learning to love a houseplant is a great way to start reconnecting with nature.
Succulent plants are both low maintenance and, generally, small and ornamental – making them perfect for today’s time- and space-strapped professional. Plus, the Australian climate means you can leave them out all year round if you buy them for your garden rather than your interiors.
Australia’s favourite room to decorate
“The kitchen is the heart of the home,” for Pinkney. “It is the social hub and core to family or communal living. Kitchen design is integral to the overall aesthetic of a home’s interior, not only tying together all rooms of the house but tying people together as well.
“It has evolved to be an impressive statement and representation of residents who live there. The diversity of kitchen design allows us to create beautiful and unique spaces for us to socialize, eat and cook together.”
Kitchens and bathrooms are our favourite rooms to redecorate. Well, it’s more fun than cleaning them, isn’t it? Wherever you are in Australia, your neighbours are thinking about redecorating the kitchen.
Those on the balmy west coast of Australia also like to search out backyard renovation ideas on Google. In fact, the backyard is the perfect place to set out a nice vintage rattan chair among a carefully-curated selection of succulents and shrubs.
Home interior design is a delicate business. It isn’t easy to be fashionable and yet timeless, to embrace Australian trends yet create your own style. Thankfully, we have the internet to hand, with an infinity of ideas, just a search query away. Which room will you decorate first?
About our research
To create this piece, we worked with interior designer Miriam Pinkney to develop a list of popular interior design styles and interior design trends. We narrowed this list to 10 search terms for both styles and trends. Next, we trawled Google Trends for each search term, continuing only with those search terms that returned data. We searched within Australia, over a 5-year period, and in the Homes & Gardens category. To compare all of our trends and styles, we placed them in 2 to 3 groups; each group contained one common search term. You can only compare five search terms at once on Google Trends, so we downloaded the pertinent data, calculated the average interest over time for the time period, and then equalised the data so that we could compare multiple search terms at the same time. This gave us a dataset containing Australia’s favourite interior design styles and trends of the last 5 years.
This post was brought to you by Budget Direct Home Insurance