7 Trends That Caught My Eye at Milan's Salone del Mobile 2019

Considering that my feet have only just recovered from this year's epic Salone del Mobile — part of Milan Design Week — it's no wonder that it has also taken a week to digest everything that I experienced, sought out, and stumbled upon. Over 100,000 steps walked and many arancini consumed along the way — sustenance in deep-fried, rice ball form is always something I can get on board with.

The Milan-based fair is held every April, along with the biennial Euroluce exhibition and SaloneSatellite, the launchpad for young designers under 35. Stretching over 251,000 square yards overall and visited by over 370,000 professionals, the event has expanded over the years onto the streets of Milan. The surrounding Fuorisalone was brimming with pioneering projects, revolutionary product launches, and trends waiting to be unearthed. I scoured the halls and the surrounding vicinity for all things "on trend," just for you, and here's what caught my eye.

1. Earthy Tones With Primary Colors

teracotta and blue room set from fendi casa
credit: Fendi

Terra-cotta has been slowly moving its way to the forefront since last year's Italian soiree, and this year it was back with an even brighter bang. From peachy perfection to full-on rich reds and browns, this earthy hue is reminiscent of Mediterranean landscapes and Moroccan architecture — note Fendi Casa's cool and collected take on the trend — the perfect inspiration for warmer-toned interiors.

For a 2019 update, the color palette has moved toward being used as a neutral and brands paired the shade with bright pops of primary colors, specifically versions of Yves Saint Laurent's signature Bleu Majorelle.

2. Smoked Glass

smoked glass bowls by nude glass at milan design week
credit: Nude Glass

Throwing back to the '70s in a contemporary way, smoked glass is poised to be a big hitter in the interiors world this year and it's probably the easiest trend to integrate into your home right now. Brands chose to incorporate it via sculptural vases (see Nude Glass), spherical lighting, and textured glass panels. Sophisticated and on just the right side of seedy, smoked glass can add a subtle air of nostalgia to any design scheme and is the perfect way to get a designer look on a budget. Seeing it in amber hues is everything, and I particularly loved Studio Kalff's take, using vintage glassware as the basis to create sculptural pendant lighting.

3. Ridged Textures

ridged natural stone vanity and wall panelling in contemporary bathroom
credit: Salvatori

Flat surfaces are clearly a thing of the past, as fluted, batten, and plissé textures were at every turn of my Milanese adventures. Wood panelling with batten detailing was a popular backdrop, which I expect to see move more into commercial design, while brands such as Salvatori upped the stakes in the bathroom by adding it to natural stone sink surrounds, vanities, and wall surfaces. Don't fret if neither material is for you, textured glass is also making a comeback with inspiration coming from Glas Italia and Nude Glass (yes, they were ticking all the boxes!).

4. Neon Accents

neon interiors with pink bed at Versace Home
credit: Versace Home

Forget the 2000s, the '80s, and '90s are well and truly back with vibrant pops of neon and rich jewel tones seeding through in a contemporary way. From the fully on-board vibes at Versace (all praise to designer Sasha Bikoff) to the more subtle approach at Studio Pepe's "Les Arcanistes," there was an abundance of neon accents and use of iridescent materials. Integrate the trend into your own home with minimal accessories, such as storage containers and neon piped plates — bodacious or what?

5. Zodiac-Inspired Interiors and Mystic Mentality

This concept of mysticism has slowly been creeping its way into interiors since last year's unique Horoscope collection by Missoni Home. This year, I spotted spiritual vibes everywhere. Materials and symbolism were at the forefront for Bohinc Studio's exploration of cosmic forms while Constance Guisset's ethereal "Francis" mirror for Petite Friture was launched as a table. Mesmerizing and celestial, the design has been hand-painted by the French designer before the misty layers were produced via digital techniques. Forever creating a dramatic presentation, Dimore Studio took a literal approach with stars and constellations adorning rugs, light fixtures, and credenzas.

6. Sustainability and Circular Design

green tiles by kohler made from ceramic waste
credit: Kohler

Certainly not a fad or trend, in our opinion, was the ideology of no waste and a circular design economy. Eileen Fisher's "Waste No More" installation popped up at Rossana Orlandi demonstrating its zero-waste initiative, but it was the plumbing brand Kohler's WasteLAB that particularly caught my attention with an innovative tile series titled "The Crackle Collection." Employing Kohler's unfired pottery leftovers as its medium, the potential waste has been handcrafted into gorgeous bathroom tile.

7. A Geometric Take on Midcentury

We all love a little bit of midcentury modern, but we especially love when designers take on the classics and add their own take to the everlasting designs. Danish furniture brand Fritz Hansen commissioned Jaime Hayon to create "JH97," a sculptural lounge chair with a low-slung wooden form, while fellow Danes at Montana Furniture revived a 1970s design icon by Verner Panton by creating the modular and playfully retro Pantonova seating system. Material-wise, walnut was a popular choice thanks to its rich texture and flawless pattern. Supaform Studio artfully used the material in sculptural forms paired with pops of bright orange and hot pink velvet — swoon!

Don't forget, you can also shop some of my favorite brands from Milan Design Week, too.


Emma Jane Palin

Emma Jane Palin

Emma Jane Palin is a multi-award-winning blogger and freelance writer with a penchant for design and interiors.