9 Top (and Stubborn) Design Trends

Originally posted by Archiscene on March 2, 2020

Being confined to my home for the last two months has led me to think deeply about subway tile. It neatly covers my kitchen backsplash, and very possibly yours, but do its origins really lie in the subways? Why would that environment be anyone’s inspiration? And why is it so crazily popular now?

Which leads me to kitchen islands. All of the Zillow listings I read for personal and professional reasons point them out, but when did they become a thing? And why does the director Nancy Meyers have two?

Macramé? Moroccan carpets? Fiddle-leaf figs? Why have they popped up everywhere?

Having some extra time on my hands, I decided to look a little closer at these and other interior décor trends. After combing through magazines and blogs that make a habit of spotting them, I compiled a list of nine — the number was arbitrary — and confirmed their relevance with Google Trends data compiled over the last five years. To make absolutely sure my choices weren’t fluky, I checked the number of hashtag mentions each received on Instagram. (After all that, I realized I could have just deconstructed a Pottery Barn catalog and had much the same results.)

Below is my list, with some historical perspective.


A decade ago, macramé, the ancient art of knotting threads into textiles, was still a punchline for jokes about the Age of Aquarius. The misplaced energies of amateur makers seeking authenticity with handiwork made for an easy laugh.

No one is laughing now that there has been an explosive craft revival, and a reawakening of respect for honest, unrefined — OK, hairy — textures and materials. Instagram currently has about 3.4 million macramé-related posts. Of those, 592,000 concern wall hangings, and 237,000 plant hangers.

Maeve Pacheco, a fiber artist in Brooklyn, learned macramé from her mother, an architect who square-knotted plant hangers on weekends while Ms. Pacheco’s father threw pots. After working as a carpenter, painter and sculptor on retail displays, Ms. Pacheco discovered that customers kept asking to buy the big macramé wall pieces, so about eight years ago, she began focusing on that.

She continues working at a large scale, using chunky 1- and 2-inch cords she doubts were readily available in her mother’s time. “It’s not all owls anymore, right?” she said. “The technique itself has been modernized, and I think people can appreciate it.”

Ms. Pacheco was not alone in pointing out that macramé offers a textural respite from the slickness of computer screens, and has a wholesome, organic nature. 

The colors have shifted from the browns, greens and saturated oranges of the 1960s and ’70s. “Now there’s a much more neutral palette and a lot less dye in the process,” she said.

Read the full article here.