The world of interior design is in constant evolution. As soon as one trend dies, another surfaces, reflecting the latest and greatest consumer tastes, cultural shifts, and lifestyle preferences. In recent years, social platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok have become mediums for ideating, sharing, and replicating design aesthetics, with a few trendy styles garnering millions and even billions of clicks, likes, and shares from users all around the globe.
From cross-cultural styles that combine popular characteristics in different continents to quirky, modern twists on maximalism, these are a few of the hottest interior design trends that have originated on social media:
Cottagecore, with its quaint and rustic charm, originated from the desire to reconnect with nature and simpler times. This nostalgic design movement blossomed more recently in 2020, becoming a popular trend on TikTok, where videos with the hashtag #cottagecore have amassed 15.6 billion views.
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The trend, which embraces lived-in spaces outfitted with natural materials, florals, and vintage furnishings, hearkens back to rural living, traditional craftsmanship, and the countryside lifestyle. Cottagecore interiors often incorporate elements of the outdoors, including an abundance of potted plants and botanical prints.
Think charming cottages and whimsical gardens, or as The New York Times described it, “small animals, calico tea cozies, and not a lot of men.”
Coined by TikTok user Lex Nicoleta, the Coastal Grandma design trend celebrates the comfort and nostalgic feel of Cape Cod-style beach houses. Both cozy and classy, the Coastal Grandma style combines the warmth of a grandma’s home with the breeziness of coastal living. That means a mixture of vintage wicker furniture, flowy curtains, and seashell decor, all in a pastel color palette.
Like Cottagecore, the Coastal Grandma style brings the outdoors in, but it injects an air of sophistication into its decor. According to CNN, it includes “thoughtful details like ginger jars, soft throws, chic lamps, and seating galore in muted tones and various textures. Mainly though, you’re going to want to invest in fresh flowers galore—ideally hydrangeas, which are a coastal grandmother favorite—for your kitchen, your living room, your office and anywhere else your eyes might linger.”
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Dark Academia is a subculture and design aesthetic inspired by literature, particularly classic novels and academic environments known for their gothic architecture, like Oxford and Cambridge. Perhaps most popular on TikTok, where videos with the hashtag #darkacademia have a total of 5.3 billion views, according to recent searches on the platform, the trend draws from the atmosphere of old libraries, scholarly pursuits, and a penchant for the macabre.
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Interiors with a Dark Academia style embrace moody and sophisticated palettes, including rich burgundies, forest greens, and inky blacks. Furniture and decor derived from Dark Academia feature a lot of dark wood, vintage leather-bound books, antique globes, and classical art.
The overall effect is an ambiance of intellectualism and romanticism, combined with a touch of gloom. In other words, Harry Potter.
Moody Maximalism is a dramatic response to and a complete rejection of the dominance of minimalist design in recent years. It seeks to captivate through the use of rich textures, bold patterns, and an unapologetic abundance of decor. With a total of 35.1 million views, TikTok videos tagged #moodymaximalism rebel against the sterile aesthetic of minimalism and instead celebrate personal style with a focus on contrast and extravagance.
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Dark and opulent colors such as deep purples, emeralds, and maroons take center stage, and Moody Maximalism also incorporates eclectic furnishings, mix-and-match decor, and an array of fabrics, including velvet, silk, and brocade. Overall, the trend revels in the idea that more is indeed more.
Japandi is a hybrid design trend that combines Japanese minimalism with Scandinavian functionality. It fuses two established aesthetics: the Zen-like simplicity of Japanese design and the practical, comfortable approach of Scandinavian interiors. This trend began to emerge in the early 2010s and has recently taken off on TikTok with 215 million views on #japandi videos.
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Japandi design is characterized by clean lines, neutral color palettes, and a focus on natural materials like wood and stone. It values simplicity, functionality, and the elimination of excess clutter for a look that CNN describes as “a mix of cozy details, natural materials and clean lines, all ingrained in a minimalist, earthy color palette.”