The start of 2019 means an abundance of exciting new interior trends. For the year ahead, we are focusing on exoticism – the exotic trends from around the globe that will be at the forefront of interior design in 2019.
Moving forward from the Scandinavian takeover that we have seen in recent years, exoticism provides a refreshing and somewhat playful update. Introducing colour, culturally inspired prints and patterns, and a whole new range of textures and finishes, exoticism is the perfect way to add vibrancy, character and personality to your interiors.
From Morocco and Japan to Mexico and South Africa, there is great inspiration to be drawn from each unique culture’s approach to design. While Morocco is laid back, Mexican décor is bold, and vibrant and Japan’s approach is stripped back and influenced by spirituality.
Exoticism presents the perfect opportunity to be playful and experimental with your interiors, by introducing prints, colours and textures you might not have considered before.
Read on to discover the global interior design trends that will lead in 2019, and how to introduce them to your home...
Image Credit: Pinterest
Mexican design explained…
As the home of iconic artist Frida Khalo and the Day of the Dead festival, Mexico is well known for it’s bold approach to art and design, and it’s unique celebration of life.
When we think of Mexican design, we think of Aztec prints, floral garlands, bright primary colours and an electric finish. Mexican design is much more than this though – what you see today has been crafted from the myriad of cultures that have inhabited the country over the centuries. Big influences come from the primitive Mayan tribes and the colonial Spanish conquistadors, making Mexican style eclectic and iconic.
Updating your interiors with Mexican design…
Whether you already embrace bold colours and are looking for new design inspiration, or you want to step outside of your comfort zone and introduce bold colours and prints, Mexican design can be fully embraced, or paired back to suit your style.
The secret to getting this look right is to be purposeful – don’t add bright and bold pieces just for the sake of it, create a look at suits your style and is practical too. It can be all too easy to introduce every design element that Mexican style represents, but this is likely to create a staged look, rather than the laid back and slightly worn finish that Mexico is famous for.
Try adding a few key pieces – paint a feature wall a bright colour, invest in a textured and woven rug, find clashing handcrafted cushions and add textured blankets. If you prefer a paired back, look, simply skip the bold painted feature wall, instead keeping walls white.
In addition to soft furnishings and bright colours, Mexican design also heavily features dark wood and wrought iron embellishments. Think a dark wood armchair, or wood flooring, and add wrought iron door handles and draw pulls to add a Mexican twist to your existing furniture.
Colours, prints and textures…
Colours are bold and punchy in Mexican interiors. Orange, green, red and blue are often featured heavily. When it comes to colour, think about the balance you want to create.
If you plan on painting your walls a bright pink or a bold blue, pair back your design elsewhere, opting for a simple dark wood floor and neutral furniture, adding personality and additional colour with soft furnishings and accessories.
For those that prefer neutral walls, add that Mexican flair through your furniture and accessories. Consider a velvet sofa in a rich green or blue, a woven rug and cushions in bright colours and eclectic prints, sheepskins and gold accessories.
Patterns are a must for Mexican inspired interiors. Geometrics, stripes and primitive prints all feature heavily. In addition, patterned tiles are used throughout the home – not just in the kitchen and bathroom. Try introducing a Mexican inspired tile to your fireplace, or on table-tops and mirror frames.
When it comes to textures think sturdy and handcrafted. Wicker and wood are important textures in Mexican interiors and textures should have a rustic appeal. Include colourful ceramics, thick woven rugs on tiled or wooden floors, terracotta pots, tall cacti, macrame wall hangings, patterned blankets and cushions.
Top tip: Consider the ambience you wish to create. Mexican design is all about celebration of life, bringing the sunshine in and embracing the culture and history of the country. Mexican design is perfect for rooms when you want to feel energized, happy and positive, yet cosy and comfortable.
Image credit: Pinterest
Japanese design explained...
Japanese design is all about Zen. With the two main pillars of Zen being nature and harmony, these elements within Japanese interiors are instantly recognizable. This style is perfect for you if you prefer a paired back, minimal style in interiors. Japanese design is simple, featuring lots of natural materials and neutral and light colours to create an airy feel.
The idea behind Japanese design is to create a feeling of balance and calmness. The flow of a room is important too, with furniture being carefully positioned to allow freedom of movement.
During the 19th century, Japan began to form a relationship with Euro-American nations, which has influenced Japanese design over the years, introducing dark wood and the idea of providing additional seating in the home.
Updating your interiors with Japanese design...
When it comes to creating your own Japanese interiors, nature should be at the forefront of your source of inspiration. Colours, textures and finishes can all be influenced by nature. Bamboo, paper and wood are all frequently used in this style of design, to create a calming aesthetic and an elegant finish.
Less is certainly more in Japanese design. In recent years, this style has merged slightly with the minimal Scandinavian décor, both of which are simplistic and understated. To create your own Japanese inspired home, you’ll need to start from scratch and strip everything back. Colour should be used infrequently, instead replaced with dark timbers offset against light oak tones and plenty of natural materials.
Japanese design can’t really be mixed with other schemes or altered too heavily. This type of design will work well for those that love a minimal approach to interiors, and will quickly become underpinned with the introduction of fussy prints and too much clutter.
Try starting with one room to get a feel for how Japanese design might work in your home. The master bedroom is a great place to start as you will greatly benefit from a calming and minimal space to sleep in. Try stripping floors back to dark wood floorboards, invest in a simple bed made from light wood that’s low to the ground, complete with matching low bedside tables.
Colours, prints and textures…
Image credit: Pinterest
In any Japanese inspired interior, your base palette should be made up of neutrals. Walls should be kept white, soft pale greys or creams and furniture in wood. A great way to add a little colour to your interiors is through greenery. Try introducing a few carefully placed bonsai trees or bamboo plants.
Colour isn’t completely banned for Japanese style. Bright and bold reds and greens can be used, and darker neutrals such as black. These should be used in moderation to add personality and vibrancy to the room.
Believe it or not, patterns are also welcome in Japanese interiors, but again they must be used with purpose and in moderation. Traditional patterns are inspired by nature, and feature elements such as flowers, waves and fish. The wave of the sea was first used in this design in the 6th century, and symbolises strength, resilience and power.
Cherry blossom is also commonly used in Japanese design, which symbolises renewal. Add colour and patterns through wall art and furniture with oriental designs. Shobori fabrics on cushions and a colourful rug are also a great way to complete this look.
Texture can be added to your scheme in the form of stone, wood and houseplants. You will find that little in the way of wools and woven materials are used in these schemes. Instead texture can be added with natural materials, such as bamboo blinds, or paper lanterns.
Zen Top tip: Meditation is an important part of Japanese culture, and interiors should reflect this. Consider this when creating your design, and think about whether you’re creating a space fit for meditation, or if there might be possible distractions and elements that are taking away from the Zen.
Image credit: Pinterest
Indian design explained...
Intricate, elegant and opulent, Indian design has a rich heritage and longstanding history. When we think of Indian design, we think of marble, gold, vibrant jewel tones and beautifully detailed woven fabrics.
Entwined deep within the design is spirituality and religion. Indian interiors are heavily influenced by the likes of Buddha, Vishnu and Ganesh. In addition, the landscapes and wildlife of India inspire the exotic styles, including tigers, elephants, lions and brightly coloured birds.
At the heart of Indian design is meaning. Heavily influenced by spirituality, Indian design is well considered, purposeful and enhances wellbeing and happiness. Warm and energising colours, precious materials and culturally inspired elements are all key to Indian interior design.
Updating your interiors with Indian design…
The first thing to become aware of when it comes to Indian interiors is the rule of more is more, and the idea that everything should have meaning. Meaning doesn’t necessarily have to suggest that every item you introduce should have a deep connection, more that everything should either be beautiful, or practical, or even better, both!
When it comes to creating Indian inspired décor at home, start with the base elements such as wall colours and floor coverings and work your way through to the finer details. White walls don’t really work for this scheme, be bold and consider painting walls in rich jewel tones. If bold colours on the walls aren’t really your thing, opt for a mid to light grey instead of white, and add the colour and richness through furniture and soft furnishings.
Dark wood works well on the floor, dressed with intricate traditional style rugs. When it comes to furniture and dressing the room, try to choose furnishings and décor that has a story to tell. Opt for antiques over new pieces, and always consider the idea of opulence when choosing pieces for your Indian scheme.
Choose heavily embellished soft furnishings with gold beads and in thick yet silk like textures. Hang vibrant and lively artwork on the walls in gold frames and choose furniture with carved details and velvet upholstery.
Colours, prints and textures…
Indian colours are bright and bold, but with many dyes being made from natural substances, they often have a slight earthy feel to them too. Colours are full of energy and often symbolise something, such as red which is linked to the Hindu goddess, Durga and means purity.
Look to Indian spices for ideas for colours, such as ginger, pepper, cinnamon, chilli and cumin. In addition, jewel colours that provide a richness and a lavish feel can be incorporated into Indian design.
Patterns are very important in this type of design. The patterns used often have a deep meaning and are greatly influenced by religion and history. Sacred designs such as Sri Yantra and Shiva Nataraia are often used in Indian fabrics. Shiva Nataraia is considered to be a symbol of ‘Holy Geometry’ and features a design of interlocking triangles. Decorative florals are also used often, as well as other nature inspired designs such as birds and exotic animals.
While textures should always focus on the luxury and lavish, contrast is important in Indian décor. Textures to include in your scheme should include dark wood, silk, metals and cotton. Wooden furniture is often carved and finished in a dark stain to give a rich and polished look, while silk cushions, beaded accessories and gold adds the finishing touches.
Top tip: In Indian décor making a statement is important, so consider investing in a statement piece such as a velvet sofa in a deep jewel tone. Finish the look with hand-stitched cushions, free flowing silk curtains, religiously influenced accessories and artwork, a tapestry style rug and a colourful patchwork throw
Image credit: Pinterest
Moroccan design explained…
Moroccan interiors have a relaxed and Mediterranean feel. Influenced by the diverse culture of Morocco, the heritage of North Africa shines through the design. Additional influences include modern French and Spanish styles, as well as design from Islamic and Berber eras.
At the crossroads between Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the variety of cultures that influence Morocco have blended to create a completely unique and iconic style. In addition, the landscape of Morocco is also a source of inspiration. With the blues of the coastlines, the lush green foliage and the yellow of the desert sands all playing a role in the interior style.
Intricate carvings, stark white walls, colourful fabrics and patterned tiles are all synonymous with Moroccan interiors. This style is perfect for creating an airy and laid-back style in your home.
Updating your interiors with Moroccan design...
Moroccan décor is extremely versatile, which makes it pretty easy to introduce to your home. The look is generally pretty relaxed, while the style is inviting and warm, making it great for the everyday family home.
Create a free-spirited Moroccan style home with relaxed soft furnishings and an unpretentious colour palette. Introduce energy with bold patterns, eclectic textures and flashes of vibrant colours.
This style is perfect for the social areas of the home, such as the kitchen, living room and dining room. Think stark white walls, tiled floors in iconic Moroccan designs, flashes of vibrant blue and beautiful carved details. Furniture should be low fuss and minimal, with details added through soft furnishings, tiles and wall hangings.
Colours, prints and textures…
Moroccan design is best suited to those that prefer minimal design with an eclectic flair. If your style is more eclectic than minimal though, you can layer prints and colours further to achieve a busier look.
White walls are a must. Add warmth to the look to avoid it looking too stark – introduce earthy tones with dark wood and terracotta. Peachy tones also work well to add a softer feel.
Moroccan interiors are all about accent colours. Blues and jewel tones are a must. Introduce turquoise, emerald, jade and amethyst through soft furnishings, tiles and accessories.
When it comes to prints and patterns, think bohemian influenced designs. Handwoven tapestries, geometric patterns and bold colours all play a strong role in Moroccan design. Introduce patterns through tiles, Moroccan rugs, wall hangings, cushions and pouffes.
More is more when it comes to fabrics for this scheme. Don’t be afraid to clash prints and colours, and mix and match cushions, throws and curtains. Lots of cushions and throws add a cosy feel. When it comes to curtains, opt for fine lightweight materials to let the light flood in.
Top tip: Metallics also play a strong role in completing this look. Lanterns and side tables in brass and copper will pull your scheme together.
Image credit: Pinterest
South African design explained…
South African design is a style that is less frequently written or spoken about, but is becoming increasingly popular among other cultures. It’s clear to see why – influenced by nature and local materials, South African design is refreshing, unique and eye-catching.
Accessible to all and easy to translate into any style of home, the scheme is centered first and foremost on the African people. Traditional African patterns origially designed in the 18th century are at the forefront, while dyed cottons are the fabric used most in soft furnishings.
The local wildlife features heavily in this design. From subtle influences to bolder statements such as animal ides, leather and skulls in furnishings and accessories. South African design is generally quite understated, with the addition of a few standout fabrics and pieces, making this the perfect option if you prefer fuss free interiors with just the right measure of personality and quirks.
Updating your interiors with South African design…
When it comes to translating this style into your own home, the South African design works in almost any room, and could even influence the design in your entire home. Diverse and powerful, yet understated, this look is all about adding interest with colours and natural materials.
To introduce South African style into your interiors, keep walls white and simple, and build the look using furnishings, fabrics and accessories. Choose furniture in dark wood with subtle and slightly worn tribal details. Generally colours should be kept muted, but this doesn’t mean that you have to avoid colour all together. For the living room, consider creating a focal point with a bold painted coffee table in rust, finished with a statement pendant light above in brass.
Accessories can include a skin or hide as a rug, tribal inspired wall art and woven cushions in neutral shades.
Colours, prints and textures...
The colours within this scheme tend to be earthy and mostly neutral, but can include pops of colour inspired by the landscapes of South Africa. For your base shades, choose white, taupe, brown and black, and add personality with red and gold details. Or alternatively, play on the tribal theme and introduce burnt orange and a bold green.
Tribal prints are the obvious choice when it comes to prints and patterns. Think zig zag patterns in monochrome as well as traditional African designs in deep earthy shades when it comes to soft furnishings and the finer details. In additional, animal prints can also be used too. Try a skin or hide rug on the floor, and zebra or tiger print cushions.
Wicker and raffia add additional texture to this look. Try adding a collection of wicker baskets in bare wood, or painted in black and white tribal designs.
Top tip: Hammered metal is an important element in this design too, which reflects the region’s mining industry. Copper, gold and brass are all great options. Introduce a few clay vases and accessories to finish, to introduce a handmade element.
With so many wonderful design schemes from around the world in 2019 to feel inspired by, it can be tricky to pick just one. When thinking about adding a global influence to your home, consider which scheme resonates the most with your own unique sense of style, your values and how you wish your home to feel.