Key interior decor practices going big in 2021

Wong Li Za

THE STAR – Next year’s interior trends may also be characterised by increasing do-it-yourself (DIY) efforts, houseplants and a growing awareness of sustainability issues.

“Yes, people are more conscious about what they’re getting and you see an increasing number of local furniture designers that appeal to this demand.

“However, it all boils down to dollars and cents. Sustainable products tend to cost more (as it is currently still a niche). While one can start their interior with sustainability in mind, they may often end up with offerings (materials and products) that are common, massively produced and readily available. What we do need is a drive for local producers and manufacturers to fill the void, ” said Director of Seshandesign Azlan Syarawi Mokhtar Bajunid.

Director of Essential Design Integrated Wong Pei San said sustainability when it comes to houses use that which is free and readily available, that is natural daylighting, fresh air from cross ventilation, courtyard to allow hot air to rise and discharge.

“A good design allows the sunlight to brighten up the interior without needing to turn on the light during the day. Good cross ventilation and wind reduces the need for air-conditioning. Recycled materials are often seen as a sustainable choice. However, the cost of removing them carefully from the old property, assessing their usability and transporting them to a new site is often more than the cost of new materials, ” she said.

Not only do plants add to the aesthetic quality of interior spaces, they also have a tendency to reduce stress and anxiety of the occupants. PHOTOS: THE STAR
Open door to balcony with many fresh plants, lights, material pouf and view on urban jungle
ABOVE & BELOW: Self-made bench is set to grow in popularity next year; and plants are unique within the interior spaces. Be careful not to clutter a particular area but use the plants as interesting visual exclamations that will brighten and enliven a room

Managing Director of Ident3Nik Ida Juliana Nik Mohamed has always believed that “sustainability is an attitude that one applies to one’s own life and way of living”.

“In simpler times, not so long ago, kampung life embraced sustainability as human life and nature being significantly intertwined. With so many facets of sustainability to consider, we may start with simple elements such as using locally sourced natural and artistic materials to decorate and embellish our interiors. Then maybe move on towards creating a healthier environment through appropriate cross ventilation strategies as well as increasing direct sunlight penetration,” she explained.

Is the DIY trend going to be even more popular in 2021?

“The DIY movement is growing stronger each day, particularly due to COVID-19, and this ties back to affordability and frugality of homeowners in uncertain times. With a little bit more time at hand, the elbow grease works wonders. Having said that, it may be just one or two pièce de résistance, as building plenty of your own stuff requires lots more hardware than you can imagine,” said Azlan.

Nik Ida Juliana also agrees that the trend will continue to be well-received.

“With more people staying home for extended periods of time and paying more attention to the design of their interiors, homeowners may find that they need to upgrade their residential spaces. Malaysian homeowners are quite sophisticated in their taste and, with the wide availability of design ideas on the Internet, I am sure that their home projects will be quite tasteful and interesting.

“Most importantly is that their design will reflect the way they define themselves aesthetically as proud homeowners. The availability of finishing materials on various online retail platforms will also allow the homeowner/designer to be more adventurous and creative with their design solutions,” she added.

Houseplants are also believed to continue being a key feature in homes next year.

“Gardens are always a good complement to homes as they soften the hardness of the architecture and bring interest to the owner; similarly with art pieces.

“With some designs introducing skylights and large balconies, plants already form part of the interior design. And with the growing awareness of farm-to-table and no-pesticide crop benefits, and the availability of home farming systems, it is more likely that home living will be extended to include more of the outdoors for people to enjoy fresh air, with people looking to open the living room door to enjoy the garden, ” said Wong.

Nik Ida Juliana shared that adding houseplants as part of an interior decor setting has always proven to be a good strategy in not only enlivening the space but also promoting healthy living.

“Not only do these plants add to the aesthetic quality of interior spaces, they also have a tendency to reduce stress and anxiety of the occupants, thus increasing productivity while filtering the air of the interior spaces.

“To incorporate houseplants into your home, you must first analyse the space and identify areas that will be able to most benefit from the incorporation of plants both aesthetically and functionally.

“View the plants as interesting functional accents of the space and then decide on the scale of the plants from freestanding “trees” to table decorative accents to succulents and mini cacti. As plants are very unique within the interior spaces, be careful not to clutter a particular area but use the plants as interesting visual exclamations that will brighten and enliven a room,” she advised.