Design Trends: Be Brave and Bold!


By Nicola Walker

833D51B2-0DD9-4B99-980D-9BD32671CDD7Living in a postmodern society means that we now rarely see anything totally new in interior design, unless it is technology related. We now see a pastiche of different elements, eras, material and textures, and 2024 looks set to be all about that. Interior Design Magazine recently said, “By breaking away from traditional norms and embracing individualistic design trends, the industry will place a higher value on distinctive experiences that will go beyond simple preferences for colour and style in 2024.”

So, does this more adventurous approach mean the trend will actually be going off trend? Jim Hamilton from Graven explains, “The days before the internet you never had trends as such. Some of the best bars are the ones which don’t follow trends and go against the things in vogue. When you have a starting point and play around with things, you create the most interesting places. Colours and trends are dictated to us – someone decides, and people follow that. Being brave and bold is now the key. “

It’s important to appeal to everyone though. Summer is easier, but you need to consider the design more in the darker months. The warmth doesn’t just come from heat. The layering of colour, texture and accessorised design is like giving people a little wrap. Small details, like the style and height of a seat, are also important as people will really notice when you get this wrong. Customers want to experience a warm, friendly environment and comfort is the most important thing.”

Jeff Taylor from Select Contract Furnishing agrees. He says, “People are being more adventurous colour wise. They used to go for neutrals or a splash of colour but now anything goes. People want impact and to stand out from the crowd – the sky is the limit. Comfort is also a big thing; it’s got to be right for the masses. It’s only after this that the aesthetic kicks in. People still love marble effects for table tops as it gives a bit of opulence and vibrancy. We are also seeing a mix of shapes of tables as they want it to look softer and less regimented.”

361CE1D9-6F91-48E6-9DB1-30B283F97129Luxurious, soft and textured fabrics through upholstery, scatter cushions and even drapes and curtains are looking increasingly popular. Perhaps this is because following Covid these things were frowned upon as we were faced with only using fabrics that could be sanitised efficiently. Or perhaps the customer is just looking for a little bit more comfort and luxury in their experience.

According to British Vogue this rich and tactile approach will continue as a major trend for 2024. They also highlight a trend towards things like reclaimed pieces, local makers and one of kind pieces and collectables.

Suzy Kingswood from 3 Design Scotland says, “Most of our clients come to us for interiors that will stand the test of time, not trend driven – more unusual and quirkier. We create our schemes based on material and product inspiration and although it’s difficult to see an end to the trend for green walls and neon, we feel that a focus on bold statement furniture, and unique details incorporating logo and branding will be a strength moving forward.”

There are many ways to create individuality, but some options are to source collectables, use local artists, or create one of kind pieces which fit your brand. Auction houses and flea markets are now the fashionable place to shop with venues such as the new Henry’s in Shawlands, and even bigger chains such as Flight Club, putting great effort into selecting exactly the right pieces that align with their brand.


There has also been personalised artwork used in the likes of Max’s Bar and Topolabamba’s latest West offering. The latter even has a room inspired by art galleries with more than 20 specifically selected framed paintings downlit by gold picture lights. These choices allow a venues décor to be personalised, gives it character and allows the customer to connect to an individual brand.

Jim Hamilton also says, “A good reason for buying artwork or one-off pieces is that it is easier to change than the bigger aspects of the design and creates impact. Proper art will grow in value, so it’s also an investment. People are still talking about upcycling and recycling and the bigger players can even move furniture around their different venues to keep it fresh.”

This idea aligns with the concept of sustainability being increasingly important. Over recent years we are seeing growth in reclaimed materials such as wood, salvaged metal and lighting. Are brands trying to promote a sustainable message through their look because they feel customers are more conscious of environmental impact and attracted to venues seen to be prioritising sustainability?

86B01C4D-79F3-4BBC-B5BD-E9FB3CAED066Or is much of this upcycling down to cost and how much does the average customer actually research a venues sustainability message before visiting?

Scott Togher from the Benholm Group says, “Sustainability has become another pivotal consideration for many hospitality businesses, and the choice of living or preserved plants aligns seamlessly with this ethos. This commitment to environmental responsibility is mirrored in the continued popularity of green walls, however, we’re witnessing a new trend emerging – a shift of focus upwards to green ceilings, and shelves/ledges adorned with trailing plants.”

Another reason for the growth of this ‘urban oasis’ trend has been the massive power of social media when used as a marketing tool. The internet has made youngsters even more discerning, and their habits are heavily driven by what they see online. Therefore, considering the décor, lighting and mirroring in every corner of your venue is more important than ever to get people talking and taking photos.

The customer has higher expectations than ever when it comes to an experience and creating an emotional connection is key.

Michael Dunn of MD Hospitality believes, “Truly great design manifests when the customers emotions are heightened and triggered; they won’t necessarily remember the colours, lighting or furnishings, but they will remember how the space makes them feel.

“In recent times the two best examples of this are the Paesano Pizza restaurants and the pasta restaurant SUGO. When customers are asked about their experience when visiting the first thing they say is how the restaurant makes them feel, and that creates a memory which then creates the bond of a lasting relationship – just as you might not remember what someone says but you will remember how they made you feel. This speaks to the first principles of human nature and that is the “Holy Grail” of Outstanding Design.”

In today’s economic climate owners must make financially viable choices to ensure their venues continued attractiveness to the customer in a world of increasingly changing habits. The key is to find the balance and create a look that will have longevity as well as creating fresh instragrammable moments.