Does Individuality Still Exist In Interior Design?
With the rise of the mass market and explosion of trend-based decorating, you can be forgiven for feeling a little jaded about the state of individuality in interior design. But are our spaces becoming more homogenous or does it just seem that way?
The mass market
Most people point to Ikea when talking about the advent of mass market homewares, so you might be surprised to discover the Swedish giant first came to our shores back in 1975, when the bulk of Australian homes were still furnished with family heirlooms and handcrafted creations.
Its ethos of affordable, democratic design has since been replicated by other brands on the market, with notable players including Kmart (loved far and wide for their $20 side tables and affordable trinkets) and Zara Home, which first brought its fast fashion ethos onto Australia’s homewares scene in 2015.
The rise of online shopping has also played a role in the growth of the mass market, allowing us to buy all sorts of things from the comfort of our own homes. Perhaps more importantly, the ability to browse and buy online has increased our perception of available goods and our ability to see and compare a multitude of similar items at the same time. Given a lot of retailers produce items on the back of trends, this means cookie cutter homewares can seem like the norm.
Another factor influencing our perception of interior design is the media. The plethora of renovation shows, design magazines, and social media accounts devoted to all things interiors can - together - be a little overwhelming in the similarities of the styles and trends they’re promoting. The incredibly tight timelines of some renovation shows can also increase the sense of ready-made design, with contestants buying everything straight off sponsors’ shelves.
In short, the process of interior design is much more accessible than it was 20 years ago. Peoples’ homes are also more public, through ‘Me in My Place’ type profiles, Instagram accounts, and home sharing platforms like Airbnb.
When applied as-bought, trend pieces are the antithesis to individual design. Thanks to those things we’ve discussed above - mass-production and media exposure - near-identical items wind their way into thousands of homes across the country. If you’ve fallen victim to the fate of discovering your second cousin once removed has the same statement coffee table as you, you’ll know the sense of deflation this can bring.
How to harness individuality in your home
It’s important to point out that, despite all these factors, individuality and personality in interior design still exist: in many cases, they’re the trademark of a beautiful home. So, how do you master them?
While purchasing the odd mass-produced trend piece is by all means ok, try and source small-batch, handcrafted wares most of the time. While you’ll have to dig a little deeper in your search - and perhaps spend a little more – these pieces will last, thanks to what should be a superior construction and a style that will earn itself a more permanent place in your home, thanks to the fact it speaks more to you as an individual than existing as a response to some sort of trend.
Regardless of what you buy, you should always be looking to add your own touch, twist, or taste, considering how you can incorporate it into your existing space. For example, if you’re buying a new sofa (and if you are, have a look at our beautiful new sofa collection ), think about how you’ll style it so it sits nicely in your living room. What kind of throw or cushions might you add to it? How will it sit next to your coffee table? Will it bring out the colours in your artwork?
If you need to be pointed in the right direction to find such creations, start by having a good look around our site. Our focus is on unique style and the quality of the product ( you can read more about our anti-mass-market ethos here ) and all our items are designed in a more neutral palette so you can truly make them your own.
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