Heritage prints, decorative borders, and bursts of bright color; just a few of the motifs that epitomize the folksy interior trend that's taking over our homes. The trick to bringing this traditional aesthetic into 2023? Knowing where to find stylish decor buys that give this retro style a contemporary twist, which is where we're on hand to help.
As a charming, traditional take on decorating, folk-inspired interiors have been on the periphery of the design world for some time. Now though, the style is firmly rooting itself as an interior design trend for the year ahead, with some of our favorite brands cottoning on to the whimsical aesthetic.
'Folk-inspired design style is a great combination of vintage, colorful, and cozy vibes,' explains Isfira Jensen, NYC-based interior designer and owner of Nufacet Interiors. 'Since it largely draws inspiration from traditional patterns and has strong cultural elements from around the globe, the style is not really about creating a cohesive look, but more about combining items you love to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere.'
We all know that IKEA is ahead of the game when it comes to embracing the latest design trends at affordable prices but, with the folk style having originated from traditional Scandinavian crafts and art practices, it's no surprise that the Swedish homeware brand has some of the best folksy decor items to buy right now. Here, we've selected nine of our favorite products from IKEA and beyond perfect for bringing a contemporary folksy feel into your home.
How should you embrace the folk interior trend?
In many ways, the emerging trend toward busy and bold folk-inspired style can be seen as a direct response to the minimalistic, ultra-modern designs that have dominated recent years. 'People are growing bored of picture-perfect, bland, unlivable interiors,' explains Isfira Jensen of Nufacet Interiors. 'They realize that it’s all about coming home to a warm and joyful atmosphere, adorned with objects which hold personal meaning, and this style beautifully captures these sentiments.'
So how should you embrace the idea in your home, especially if you've bought into the more pared-back look and neutral color schemes of the contemporary Scandi decor style? According to Isfira, the trick is to choose a few spaces to center the theme around, with an emphasis on textiles.
'Find a few meaningful patterned textiles, wall coverings, and furnishings and use them in key areas in which to decorate around,' she says. 'Make these pieces colorful, artistic, and cultural, using fabrics as throws or pillows, curtains, or even as bedding. Installing a vintage artsy wall covering in a main living or dining area is also the perfect way to create an inviting, happy space with minimal effort.'
Our pick of the best buys to embrace the folksy trend
Layered patterns are a mainstay of the folksy vibe, and a patterned wallpaper is a great way to add some whimsy motifs to your walls. This playful blue and cream bird design from Spoonflower at Walmart is peel-and-stick and easily removable - the perfect update to a kid's bedroom.
Part of the Nytillverkad collection that gives IKEA's classics a contemporary look, this retro stool was available to buy in 1976. Its rich red legs are a subtle way to add color to an otherwise neutral space for a modern folksy theme, or go bold with other bright primary hues for a more traditional take.
Elegantly whimsical and full of tiny details, this painting by Janet Hill evokes a sense of nostalgia, mystery, and homey comfort. The frame's gold beaded border makes for a truly folksy feel, and the picture itself presents a folk-themed bathroom, perfect for a meta effect above your own bathroom sink.
Folk interiors are quirky and fun, but also full of cozy comfort. A must-have item for achieving this effect? Soft throws. This choice from IKEA is jacquard woven with a decorative pattern that's visible on both sides, the cotton weave and fringed edges offering a rustic feel that's quintessentially 'folk'.
Would it be a folk theme without some William Morris thrown in? This pillow cover is printed with his iconic 'Strawberry Thief' design and is a classic way to add some heritage prints to your space. Style on a floral patterned sofa or a deep green velvet chair to lean into a truly folk-themed style.
Designed by Matilda Goad & Co for Anthropologie, this playful area rug features a pale yellow and blue plaid pattern for a bright and modern folk-inspired floor. We especially love the green scalloped border, a 21st-century twist on the decorative folky edges of hand-painted furniture.
Pairing rugged metal with timeless design, the SKURUP lamp is a great modern take on a folksy scheme. The light teal color is the perfect burst of brightness in a darker kitchen or dining room and makes the perfect contrast to wood, plus the length of the pendant is fully adjustable.
Brighten your space with this sunburst mirror from Target which has a woven rattan design that offers the natural, artisanal feel that's key to the folksy trend. Hang this round mirror on the wall and add a colorful table lamp along with decorative sculptures or tapered candles for a whimsical feel.
Just when you think you've used enough pattern, add some more if you truly want to embrace the folksy trend. Crafted from a blend of linen and viscose, this striped curtain features
a raw-edge trim that delivers a natural look, perfect for a more pared-back approach to the folk vibe.
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Lilith Hudson is the News Editor at Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.
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