Modern Living

Mindful and engaged interiors for the new decade

ART DE VIVRE - Ricky Toledo, Chito Vijandre - The Philippine Star
Mindful and engaged interiors for the new decade
Classic blue, Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2020 instills calm, confidence and connection. Photo from elledecor.com

If any one person made a significant impact during the past year, it has to be 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, the Swedishvironmental activist whose campaign for immediate action on climate change has gained international recognition for herself as well as for her advocacy. 

She has also intensified the focus on her generation and their aspirations, inspiring individuals and organizations worldwide. No surprise then that trends for 2020 and beyond are zeroing in on generations Y and Z. At the recent Maison & Objet design and lifestyle show in Paris, the theme was “(Re)Generation,” deciphering the desires and expectations of this engaged generation.

“Faced with multiple global crises, today’s twenty and thirty somethings are keen to pull together to change the world. They are deeply concerned about making a meaningful difference which is in itself injecting new values into everyone’s way of living,” according to Vincent Grégoire, trend forecaster for Maison & Objet. This optimism is also evident in the Pantone color of the year, Classic Blue, which “highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.”

Mindfulness is definitely a pervading theme as seen in the various directions for home interiors and design, from biophilic design to multi-use spaces, with authenticity and sustainability as prerequisites for choosing objects and processes in constructing and decorating the home.


to our primeval roots, biophilic design connects us to the natural environment which promotes our physical and spiritual well-being as opposed to designs that degrade the environment and alienate us from nature. Vertical gardens and plantscaped terraces are part of this trend, as are potted plants for smaller spaces.  More indirect ways of adopting this are the use of natural materials and organic shapes that bring nature into the home. Rattan and wicker furniture and accessories are making a comeback, bringing back memories of childhood and a more connected, idyllic past.



Multi-use spaces

With the predilection for open floor plans, multi-use spaces appear to be the way to go.  There is less formality and more functionality which can be seen in home offices that double as guest rooms or even a closet combined with a home work space or reading nook. Idle basements can be both media room and home gym. Evaluating your present surroundings, you may realize how much space is unused or wasted. With living spaces becoming more open and fluid, you can be more efficient and make room for other priorities in your life.



Mix the old with the new

You really don’t need another knick-knack or tourist tat to gather dust in the home. Go for quality antiques — it may be a forgotten heirloom that can have a new life or add character to a contemporary setting. In any case, a single theme with matchy-matchy interiors and accessories is so over. Fussing to get a single-themed look by buying all the pieces to match will just look so contrived if not downright tacky. Besides, there’s nothing like the comfort and look of a lived-in home with a history instead of one that was just put together yesterday.



Authentic Vs. Faux

You really want more quality over quantity in your life so instead of going for the mass-produced, opt for authentic craft that require the care and creation by artisans — from handwoven fabrics to handcrafted objet d’art. Go for the real thing instead of the faux. With fi nishes, however, the faux is acceptable when you particularly want that faux look for aesthetic purposes but not when it’s pretending to be what it’s not.



Classics are forever

With tough, chaotic times, the classics are always grounding and reassuring. We grew up with them, so why not age gracefully with them? You can always give a twist, like mixing modern art with the clean lines of classic furniture. Roman busts and Grecian details come alive in contemporary vignettes or set against bold-colored walls. The key is not taking them too seriously and having a more playful attitude with them. 



Bring out the inner child with Neotinics

Chunky, organic-shaped pieces and child-like designs bring an unexpected playfulness to interiors. Neotonic furniture, lighting and accessories include the more obvious teddy bear chairs and those fuzzy Lalanne sheep stools but also pieces with anatomical associations and exaggerated proportions like big faces, thick legs and rounded feet. All this cuteness seems right for the times, with their soft and round appearance eliciting positive emotional responses.

Neotonic stools bring an unexpected playfulness to a space. Photo from elledecor.com

Play with colors

Deep and rich colors abound — dark, jewel tones inspired by mindful living, according to Sue Wadden of Sherwin Williams. These “Alive” hues like rich blues, ripe olives and vibrant fruit and vegetables are about “being thoughtful, being with family, getting together and nurturing home life.” Channeling Japanese minimalism and Scandinavian design as well as natural materials, “Mantra” has cool and warm tones that are very soft and soothing. To step back from stress and have a good time, go for the bold colors of “Play,” from bright pink and aqua to gold hues that add joy and warmth. On the biophilic radar is “Haven” with rich yet subtle shades of sea, sand, forest and sky. “Heart” has silky neutral tones like clove and soft coral which are all about meditation and comfort. 



* * *

Follow the authors on Instagram @rickytchitov; Twitter @RickyToledo23; Facebook - Ricky Toledo Chito Vijandre.



  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with