What if silence were the new interior design trend?

in Design Trends

How does something like silence relate to the concept of interior design trend? Let's start from the beginning...

If we think about it, silence is one of the most uncommon things in our times. Technology is beeping at us all the time, cities are noisy, our minds are filled with a never ending flow of words and images …in short words, there is just no space for silence in our days. Even at home, the diffusion of open spaces has made silence harder to achieve, with less doors to be shut behind us. Interestingly enough, we’re so not used to silence as a society that many people even need to have some background noise to concentrate, because pure silence just sounds weird.

A feather floating on water.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Andraz Lazic via Unsplash

Putting the interior design trend status aside for a moment, the effects of silence on our minds and bodies are pretty impressive:
 

  • Increased production of brain cells
  • Improved memory
  • Stress reduction
  • Better sleep
     

* Sources at the bottom of the post

Also, it is common sense to associate silence to peaceful and relaxing situations: a spa treatment, meditation, just to name a couple.

SILENCE AT HOME

If there is one place where we can control noises and achieve a moment of silence is home. This also comes back to what biophilic design would call a sense of refuge.
Home becomes an alcove, a place to regenerate after busy to-do-lists, meetings, errands, news. Ultimately a place to unplug our minds from the many noises of our days.

In this sense there are few areas at home that can become an oasis of wellbeing and provide us with relaxation and silence.

A SPA BATHROOM

When the rest of the home is full of people and noises, the time spent in the bathroom becomes even more precious. Besides being a self-care moment for our body, it becomes a regenerating time for our mind as well.
 

Check out the 6 steps to create a bathroom for wellbeing.

A relaxing bathroom full of sunlight, natural materials and full-height windows looking into nature.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Studio McGee (opened in a new window/tab)

A RELAXING CORNER

Creating a relaxing corner somewhere at home is an effective way to enjoy some silence. And it doesn’t have to be big (think for instance at an armchair and ottoman situation). In fact, the very idea of dedicating a space to silence and relaxation will already create a sense of calm in our mind.
 

See how to create an effective relaxing corner at home.

A relaxing minimal living room design, perfect place to enjoy a moment of calm and silence.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Carole Whiting (opened in a new window/tab)

SILENCE AS CONCENTRATION

But silence can also be useful when we need to concentrate, say when working.

Contemporary home office full of sunlight and with minimal furniture.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Bryant Alsop Architects (opened in a new window/tab) (via Houzz) (opened in a new window/tab)

SILENCE AS AN INTERIOR DESIGN TREND

And now to the big question: how did silence become a legit trend?

An interior design trend comes out of a study of the current society and the challenges it is facing. Over-information is with no doubt a challenge in our times, which reflects in the growing popularity of concepts like disconnect to reconnect and digital-detox.

Silence has also been the title and the theme of Maison et Objet's spring edition 2017 (opened in a new window/tab). The Silence exhibition showed mute videos, paintings and sculptural design pieces, while guiding visitors to a moment of contemplation and – indeed – silence.

A blue foggy landscape artwork and two sculptural vases exposed at the Maison et Objet's exhibition on silence.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Designboom (opened in a new window/tab) (Photo by Fillioux&Fillioux)

The curators of the exhibition also linked the rise of minimalism as a trend with the idea of silence. Simplifying and decluttering (other buzzwords these days) are indeed a way to eliminate the noise, the unnecessary, and allow us to concentrate on what is essential, both in our spaces and in our mind.

A minimal seating area: white daybed, gold side table and a minimal watercolor art in the background. Perfect setup to enjoy a silent moment.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Co-Direction Design (opened in a new window/tab) (via Leibal) (opened in a new window/tab)

Silence is so scarse, precious and desired these days that it is even referred to as a luxury! And the amount of products that are coming on the market to help "create silence" are there to witness how silence is indeed becoming an interior design trend.

Acoustic panels

Have you noticed that acoustic panels have now become decorative?

A colourful acoustic panel decorates and adds texture to a wall:

An acoustic panel used as a decorative wall finish. With its teal colour and striped texture it substitutes a wallpaper perfectly.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: EchoPanel® Longitude by The Collective (opened in a new window/tab)

Acoustic panels used in place of a large artwork:

A minimal room with acoustic panels used in place of a big artwork, a proof that silence is becoming an interior design trend.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Acoustic Pulp by Baux (opened in a new window/tab) (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)

Acoustic panels with integrated backlight:

Contemporary room with round colorful acoustic panels with integrated backlight used as art.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Melodia by LvB Acoustics (opened in a new window/tab)

Enveloping chairs

Armchairs with a very high back (or enveloping chairs as I like to call them) are also becoming more and more popular as a solution to bring silence in open spaces.

Acoustic pink chairs with a high and enveloping back.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Plenum by Fritz Hansen (opened in a new window/tab) via DesignMilk (opened in a new window/tab)

See more examples of this type of chairs in the post where we talked about the refuge pattern in biophilic design.

Pendant lights

Pendant lights are also often enriched with soudproofing qualities. A further evidence of how much silence is a requested feature!

Customizable pendant lamps with sound-absorbing top:

Dining room with soudproofing pendant lights above the table.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: BuzziHAT by Buzzi Space (opened in a new window/tab)

Recycled felt pendant lamp:

Minimal dining room with huge soudproofing pendant lights above the table.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Under the Bell by Muuto (opened in a new window/tab)

 
To sum up, it's fair to say that silence is indeed an interior design trend. Which actually fits perfectly in the overall trend of home as an alcove, a sanctuary of peace and wellbeing...a trend I actually like a lot!

* Sources:

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Comments

Don't be shy, let me know what you think!

On Juan Sandiego said:
It's interesting how silence can be perceived as a luxury. Thanks for looking into this topic.
On Silvia - DforDesign said:
Hi Juan! Thanks for your comment! :)

Indeed, silence is such a rarity these days! Even for me that I work from home alone (and I live in a rather quiet area), it feels special when I put my phone aside and try to just listen to the silence! It makes me feel so good!

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