Millennials could mean the end of Trends for Interiors

Towards the end of last year Catherine Burgess, who completed a years Work Placement with Scarlet Opus, asked if she could interview me for her degree dissertation research. The title of her paper was ‘How will a consumer led society affect trends and trend forecasting?’.  Now that the paper has been completed and submitted Catherine has given permission for me to share the interview with you.  Go ahead and share the interview yourself via twitter and facebook.  Catherine asked some really thought-provoking questions.  Questions that all manufacturers and retailers of products for interiors need to be asking themselves:

js1600_cb_and_vrCB: How do you think the increasing accessibility and affordability of new technologies (e.g. 3D printing) – that are allowing people to design and make their own products – will affect the trend forecasting industry?

VR: In many ways it has the potential to be positive for the trend forecasting industry because it gives everybody the potential to be a Designer/Maker, and therefore everybody is a potential trend forecasting intelligence client.  Of course it could be argued that this new digital industrial revolution will not be driven by, or observant of, trends… but at its simplest, it means that a huge new wave of Creatives will exist who will, to varying degrees, be interested in design, colour, shape etc…  But it’s crucial that the trend forecasting industry adapts to changing needs and attitudes i.e. it must encourage, promote, connect, inform and debate more… and dictate less!

CB: Do you think that increasing global connectivity and the rapid speed in which we are exposed to new projects, ideas and innovations will affect the pace in which trends move through interiors?

VR: I actually feel that the fast pace and vastness of all this information could slow trends, because eventually it all becomes overwhelming and that is when people often take a step back and begin to make much more personal decisions regarding their interior décor, or invest in looks they believe will have greater longevity and effectively transcend trends.  Ultimately it is the potential for a move towards greater simplicity to counteract the complexity of everyday life and the huge amount of input we deal with.  Simplicity delivers clarity.  It is also worth considering that, unlike micro Fashion trends, the trends/styles/products for Interiors often need to have a greater longevity because of the greater financial investment, and consumers will only be willing to be pushed to change at a certain pace before they feel they cannot and do not want to change any faster.

CB: Have you adapted the way in which you forecast trends for the Millennial generation?

VR: We are most certainly incorporating more and more information gathered from citizen journalism e.g. blogs, tweets, instagram into our forecasting decision making.  This now forms a key part of our research and consideration prior to making our forecasts.  And we are taking an increasing interest in the common denominators gaining people’s interest, attention, admiration and even affection on Pinterest… effectively what is trending visually across people’s boards around the world is providing us with valuable insights.

CB: Have you adapted the way in which you present trends for the Millennial generation? 

VR: Yes we have made it easier to digest – not necessarily bite sized but less wordy, and much more visual.  Up until our last forecast we included audio commentary for our trend reports and it transpired that members of our client teams who were in their 20s were not listening to the audio… they simply looked at the visuals in order to take on the information they needed.  It is essentially much more of a Pinterest type of approach that we have adopted but with the guiding text and that clients find reassuring.

CB: How do you feel that the Millennial consumer is responding to trends compared to the previous Generation X consumer?

VR: At this stage they do not seem to be quite as materialistic as Gen X, partly because their ‘ownership’ does not necessarily need to be physical, it can be digital e.g. music, films etc… But they are still mega consumers and they have a huge appetite for ‘celebrity’, which means celebrity connected products can be marketed to them very effectively and manufactured trends are then created based on a pseudo desire.  But overall we see greater degrees of individual style among the younger spectrum of Millennials in comparison to Gen-Xers; a greater desire to be out of step.  They set trends rather than follow trends.  And this really relates to their strong sense of self and great confidence generally as a generation.  Ultimately they do not need or want to be told what is In, Out, Hot, Not etc…  because they are making up their own rules.

CB: How do you anticipate that the upcoming Generation Z (iGen/Digital Natives) consumer will respond to trends compared to the current Millennial consumer?

VR: We are expecting them to have even less interest in responding to and following trends.  Obviously this generation is still very young and has yet to form broad, measurable characteristics (rather than characteristics they will grow out of as they mature into their teens, 20s and 30s) but in general it is already possible to identify their high levels of online connectivity, community awareness, compassion, and accepting value system  (I recently took part in judging the business proposals of groups of children across Yorkshire aged 7-16 as part of a competition.  I was amazed by how many of these young entrepreneurs had set up twitter and facebook accounts for their businesses; how many planned to give a percentage of their profits to charities & local causes, which was not stipulated in the competition rules; how many were conscientiously using recycled, repurposed or eco packaging, ingredients and materials for their products).

CB: You have recently changed your job title from Trend Forecaster to Futurist – what are the main factors that influenced this decision?

VR: It was a carefully considered decision I took in anticipation of a time (during the reign of iGen) when I predict the role of the Trend Forecaster in its current form (predicting shades of colours, key textures and what styles will be ‘In’ etc…) will become redundant. I feel it is crucial to preemptively adapt to the new world view they will create.  Their rebellious attitude, mass acceptance of 3D Printing, ecological awareness, and perhaps even a move towards a less consumerist society generally, will mean that the following of trends, and purchasing in line with trends, could end.  I believe a new role will emerge and it is with my eye on the future of society that I recently changed my job title and have changed the marketing emphasis of the depth and breadth of the intelligence we provide at Scarlet Opus.

So what are the takeaways from this interview?  Well we’re asking ourselves how we need to change our services, product offer, marketing and attitudes with Millennial customers in mind and you should too!  What to ask yourself:

  1. Does our company culture help, attract & retain Millennials?
  2. Is our marketing visible in the places Millennials go?
  3. Does our product satisfy the wants & needs of Millennials?
  4. Do we need to call on the expertise of Scarlet Opus?

Our thanks to Catherine Burgess for granting permission for this interview to be shared.

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The Surface Design Show London 2015

The Surface Design Show is held at the Business Design Center in London, it is home to the most innovative surfaces for designers and architects. A variety of exhibitors showcase their latest designs in materials, textures and pattern. Here are a selection of the latest surface trends that we enjoyed at the show.

1. Key Pattern – Geometric


2. Key Materials – Metallic Mix

metallic mix

3. Key Texture – Natural Elements

natural texture

4. Surface Material Pattern Design


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How to Grow Sales … Using Design, Color & Texture

It’s a little known fact that Texture is crucial to the well-being of a human being. You may be one of the few who know this to be true; you may be a person who is suffering, without realising it, from anxiety due to not coming into contact with texture often enough for your subconscious to allow you to feel satisfied, comfortable and natural.

One of today’s major contributory factors to this lack of texture in our lives is that there are so many technology companies achieving great things to make our lives more interesting, easy and convenient; but in doing so are making our interface with their products smooth. Literally smooth. Smartphones, tablets, touchscreens, contactless payment etc, etc are all developments that have removed Texture from so many everyday activities that it is now possible to ‘feel’ texture getting dressed in the morning and then not again until …..

So if you’re a product designer think hard about how and why you might put texture back into the lives of your clients – they will be so grateful. And perhaps without knowing why, they’ll love the work you do for them!

If you’re in hospitality, a restaurant, hotel or bar, have tables (in natural woods), bar tops chair arms (with fabric) that are textured in some way. Use cutlery that isn’t completely smooth handled, provide glasses that are cut-glass for example. Then stand back and watch your customers, running their hands and fingers over these things and look at the delight they take from it. All of these things, however, few you can provide, will enhance the Customer Experience your business provides to your consumers and add to your efforts to build customer loyalty.

If you keep an eye on current color palettes (watch the fashion shops, our blog!, TV sets) then you’ll have a good idea of what colors are at the front of people’s minds. Which colors are contemporary, on-trend and will add to the appeal of your product, service, hotel, shop. We see that many retailers dress their windows in scarlet for Valentines, or yellow for Easter, but with the exception of Fashion retailers, don’t seem to put as much thought into the colours in which they merchandise windows when there isn’t a ‘special occasion’ to inspire them. Perhaps, even dress windows, displays and products in colors that reflect the times not simply ‘Easter’ – is there a law saying it has to be done in Yellow?

The Opus team has lots of ideas so feel free to get in touch; but in the meantime we thought we’d share a key consumer color and a very important texture in 2015/16 for you to consider alongside your Brand, product, service development.

The Week

Have fun and don’t be shy get in touch we’d love to hear from you / / or call us on +44 1482 870 360



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Trend Tour at TISE West Vegas

At The International Surface Event (TISE West) in Vegas both Phil and Victoria led Retail and Designer trend tours of the show, this included a selection of companies we felt had particularly interesting products in terms of current or future trends. Prior to the show we visited every single exhibitors website, we viewed all of their product ranges and selected 12 or so exhibitors whose product caught our eye. We would like to share with you the products we identified as being the top current and future trend related products of 2015.

1. Boen

Amazingly there have been saw mills manufacturing timber at the Boen waterfall in Norway since the 1600’s. They are Europe’s leading provider in the premium segment and the second largest participant in the wood flooring market. Their selection of grey-toned and blonde woods relate perfectly to the industrial style.

Another reason we were impressed by Boen was because of their website – after looking through the hundreds of sites, as we do every year for the trend tour, we’ve established the flooring industry is notorious for its dated, ugly (to be honest), difficult to navigate websites. Boen however was a delight to visit, their online style matches their real world style, its contemporary and fresh and that is something that is often over looked. The page layouts have a magazine or blog look to them which is familiar to end consumers. They are inspiring, clean and easy to navigate around. They work with a Trend Expert to achieve this, she identifies which of Boen’s products match current trends and then groups them together into stories along with colour, material, product and styling suggestions.


2. Mannington Mills

This is one of the giant exhibitors at the show, we were particularly drawn to the US made Luxury Vinyl. Wood flooring is a key part of achieving the historical glamour look and can also be an effective way of establishing the base canvas for industrial style too. But real hardwood flooring isn’t always within everyone’s budget, certainly not reclaimed wood.

The luxury vinyl is ink-jet printed using the latest technology and more than that, they got the haptics right, it is subtly but beautifully textured and so all the messages your eyes and hands are getting say its real.


The desirable characteristics for wood for an industrial look include aged, distressed or signs of wear, dark heritage-look wood tones, a ‘hyper-natural’ appearance, reclaimed aesthetic, displaying signs of artisanal or hand crafted techniques and the use of grey tones for the industrial/urban trend.

Another great feature of the Mannington Booth is their Trend Wall Display, a little like the Boen website, it identifies the key current trends; key desirable flooring characteristics; and links this to their product range.


3. Preverco

Preverco Hardwood Flooring were established in the late 80’s, they create products with a keen eye on the trends, saying that:

“We’re like the  wood itself: a living material that evolves and adapts over time”.

They have a clear and concise website, a blog and good pinterest boards that prove they follow trends, keep up-to-date on emerging styles and colours, as well as working closely with experts to translate this information into achieving the right colour tones and finishes for their product. On their website they divide their products into trend styles, which is really helpful for Interior Designers and end consumers to look through to find a floor that suits their personal (or client’s) style and the look they are trying to achieve in a room.

We were also impressed with Preverco’s new Ipad App which allows you to visualise your floor selection, giving you a better idea of the exact look.

IMG_3443 IMG_34444. Henan Prosper

This company started 15 years ago and is now the world’s largest ‘wool-on’ lamb and sheep skin supplier. Some of their key customers include huge brands like UGG, Prada, Timberland & Nike. The products had many qualities that fit perfectly with our Nature Luxe trend (DIScovered) including elements of texture, tactile experiences, natural materials, luxury, comfort, cocooning and Wellbeing.


5. White Oak Carpet Mills

Here we found beautiful plush and luxurious carpets and rugs.

The carpets and rugs are created in their own manufacturing facility in North Carolina with a brilliant in-house design team. A remarkable feature of White Oak Carpet Mills manufacturing ability is that there is no maximum pattern scale – so they can create huge single repeat patterns.


6. Ascend Rugs

Ascend make handmade custom wool rugs from the finest renewable New Zealand wool, and their rugs are actually produced in Christchurch, New Zealand. The ‘Textures of Nature’ collection uses NZ mountain wool, merino, alpaca, mohair, natural silk and bamboo. There is a distinct mix of nature, craft and luxury which aligns perfectly with current and future trends.

Long pile rugs, large loop pile, tightly curled or crimped long haired wools certainly deliver these qualities whilst the lustrous and noble yarns add a touch of luxury.


7. Louis De Poortere

We love their ‘Fading World’ Collection of rugs as it relates so well to the historical glamour trend. Distressed, time worn and with a sense of erosion or wear… even erased patches of pattern and colour are an important trend for rugs. A sense of heritage is woven into rugs via these qualities and they seem to have an interesting story to tell.IMG_3460

8.  Foshan Yueshan

Foshan Yueshan specialises in providing a vast range of mosaic tiles for wall applications to worldwide customers. They have a strong design and trend-led approach in selecting their collections, and this is what attracted us most to this product range. It is a little bit different and special, in particular the mixing of materials really appealed to us as well as the fantastic metallic looks. Products with features including tarnished metallics, armoured undertones, cracked surface effects or distressed effects really relate to current trends.


9. Olde Wood

Olde wood is owned by husband and wife team Tommy and Mandy. They started the company in the late 90’s, and from modest beginnings grew it into one of the largest reclaimed manufacturing facilities in America. Recycling, reusing and renewing beautiful old wood from old structures is what Olde Wood is all about, essentially giving old wood a new life and purpose as flooring.

Usually the structures the wood comes from is over a century old and taken from old barns and industrial factory buildings. So your wood flooring could have once been a beam in a farmers barn, or a stable, or a roof joist in a warehouse.

And this is the reason why we love this product so much, apart from its beautiful, authentic aesthetics… it has a story. These are literally antique woods that have had a previous life and use, and remember they were originally harvested for that purpose decades and decades ago from slow grown virgin timber. There is a romance to this wood flooring, where no two pieces are exactly alike, you are getting something truly unique and over the years of use, the natural patina from weathering from the elements of wind and rain, sun and snow create a proudly displayed array of historical scars, marks and patina that has developed over decades… It has HISTORY!


Other than the historical qualities that link it to current trends it also has an industrial and Wild Urbanism look because of the use of mixed tones of wood.

10. Onyx Tile and Mosaic Distributors 

Onyx Tile is based in New Jersey, its a family owned company that was started in the early 2000’s and they distribute to more that 3000 dealers across America. The product that we loved the most is a hi-definition printed porcelain plank with a distressed finish. It’s so unusual to see pattern and texture used in this way and a great fit for an Industrial/Urban look, as well as for a Historical Glam’ look.


11. Bedrosians

Bedrosians have been in business for over 65 years are a leading source of porcelain and stone tiles in the US. The products connect beautifully with our trend forecast for the creation of calm, soothing, serene minimalist spaces, as well as warm grey tones with soothing neutrals and a carrara marble look. Texture is a hugely important feature for 2015 as is the tonality of colour mixes, subtle Eastern influences of interlocking tile shapes, and mixed qualities of texture, shape, tonality, opacity and transparency all adding to the contemporary feel of the  Bedrosian product.


We also love Bedrosians display of sample boards which are small montages of their products, (we mentioned these in our TISE East posting.) They not only invite people to be be more tactile with the product but they are a great way of showing how different products work together in terms of colour, textures and materials and are well worth creating in your own store!

IMG_3417We look forward to seeing what next years exhibitors bring to the show!

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LIVE from The International Surface Event Vegas

This week we have been at The International Surface Event in Vegas hanging out in our luxury chalet…

Lots of hard work went into the design and curation of the trend hub, first we had to come up with the creative ideas and inspiration mood boards before beginning to draw and design the specifics of the hub. We worked with a very talented team of builders to bring the whole idea to life!

image image


Welcome to the Trend Hub… A space to be inspired, gather information on colour, textures and materials. Be interactive with our wool colour palette and play around creating your very own surface mood board, designing your own style and theme with our interesting and unusual surface textures and materials, a source of inspiration and design style trends. We have wallpaper, fabric, wood, tiles, leather and resin samples from Alex Turco, ARTO Brick, Campioni, KAZA Concrete, Carina Sohl, BedrosiansTownsend Leathers as well as fish skin leathers from Decorum Est along with many more interesting samples.


The chalet is a beautiful mix of natural elements; drift wood, shells, agate, faux fur and antlers alongside details of style and glamour, gold and glitter. It allows time and space to appreciate both the rawness and the refinement. With key interior features from Michael Aram and fantastic moose and deer heads from WallCharmers. Thank you to Quickstep for supplying our Dark Tudor Oak Brown floor from their Reclaime Collection.


The tree table of surface samples attracted lots of people, inviting people to be tactile and hands on with the products added an interactive element, you could also create your own wool colour palette to take home with you for your own reference, one from each of our 4 key trends. Thank you to Camira for supplying the wool it was a fantastic feature that everyone enjoyed.


Our international knitting project went down well with many people, mostly women, adding more and more rows. The special opal yarn creates a self stripe pattern, it’s fantastic!


Oh and here’s me giving one of many trend talks on the Hub…


Next week we will take you on our Trend Tour with images and information about the top ten exhibitors we spotted at the show.

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