Insta-friendly gallery walls are a quick way to update your home

Home Front: Arrange smaller pieces of art and photographs together to make an impact. Then think about ditching the drinks trolley

If painting walls feels like a faff, and DIY isn't your domain, home accessories are a quick, easy and inexpensive shortcut to an interiors refresh. In the last month alone, there have been 13,000 Google searches for "home accessories", as people appear to be using the summer of 2020 to focus on their spaces.

Research carried out by MyJobQuote has yielded some interesting insight into the trends that are hitting Instagram in a big way. With 1,256,808 Instagram posts in 2020 so far, gallery walls are by far the most popular trend on the photo-sharing platform. Gallery walls are often comprised of an arrangement of different sized artworks or photos, often encompassing different types of frame and picture style.

Lisa Marconi, one half of interior design duo Dust, observes that this is also one trend that Irish people are particularly taken with.

“When we go consultations with people, we often spend an hour-and-a-half just working on gallery walls for people,” she reveals. “It’s quite an accessible one – instead of spending a fortune on a big piece of art, some smaller ones can make a similar impact. It’s part of the whole eclectic trend, with people wanting different looks all in one place.”

Other trends that are writ large across Instagram, admits Marconi, have yet to fully land in Ireland. Second to gallery walls in MyJobQuote's research is hoop art (embroidery displayed in a circular frame), with 603,305 Instagram posts in 2020 so far. A hobby that has risen in popularity with relatively speed, hoop art also has a huge presence on social media site TikTok. Irish interiors enthusiasts, notes Marconi, have yet to fully realise its charms.

“It’s not something I’ve seen – this feels like an American trend,” she observes. “The way I’ve seen it done in Ireland or the UK is in a quite sardonic way, taking the mick with rude versions.”

In Ireland, we are certainly much more enthusiastic about plants, a trend which comes third in this new research with 289,901 posts on Instagram.

“I think they’re becoming more popular as people are seeing them in lovely settings and they’re becoming more ‘accepted’ in people’s minds,” notes Marconi. “It also speaks to a trend right now of people wanting to bring the outdoors inside – wanting to connect to the world around them and having that in their house.”

Marconi also says that the increasing popularity of trends like rattan (with 51,773 posts), wicker furniture (43,907 posts) and dried flowers (53,757 posts) speaks to a growing fondness for natural materials.

Other accessory trends on MyJobQuotes’ top 20 list may be growing on Instagram, but have yet to translate into real life in Irish homes.

“I was really surprised by some of the findings, to be honest,” admits Marconi. “Farmhouse furniture (5th most popular, with 86,203 posts) was a surprise, as I’m not seeing too much of that within Irish interiors. If anything, people don’t want farmhouse furniture.

“I was also really surprised to see how commonplace wall tapestries (6th most popular, with 60,450 posts) and Macramé (7th most popular, with 57,517 posts) are on Instagram. Marcramé is definitely a very American thing.

Waning trends

The drinks cart, an interiors must-do a few years ago, appears to be waning in favour, appearing in just 3,697 posts in 2020 so far.

“Everyone still has them but they’re definitely much less popular than before,” explains Marconi. “That said, I’ve seen them used in interesting ways recently. One client used one in the bathroom and it was gorgeous. I think that’s a great way of reviving the trend, when you see them in a place you might not expect.”

Curved sofas, meanwhile, may look Insta-friendly (with 5,190 posts in 2020), but rarely translate to reality as well as people might like.

“I love a curved sofa, but they don’t work in many people’s rooms,” observes Marconi. “If you have the traditional living-room setup, which is a rectangular shaped room, and your sofa is pointing at your TV, a curved sofa takes up to much space to be used efficiently. They’re really beautiful but often it’s about getting as much seating into a space as possible.”

At the end of the list, two intriguing trends, loved by younger interiors enthusiasts, look set to rise. On TikTok (the online platform beloved of Gen-Z), cloud-shaped mirrors and body-shaped candles, often a symbol of body positivity, are slowly building a presence on Instagram.

Marconi points to some other accessory trends that have held firm this year with Irish clients: “People are looking for brass accents in bathrooms and on mirrors. It’s all about the brass right now,” she explains. “The good news is that, because it’s burnished or brushed brass, it’s not all that hard to clean.”

For more information on Dust, see dust.ie

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