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 fewer doors to be shut behind us. Interestingly enough, we’re so not used to silence as a society that many people need to have some sort of background noise to concentrate, because pure silence just feels weird.

But the effects of silence on our minds and bodies are pretty impressive *:

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

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

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

Silence at home

If there is one place where we can control noises and achieve a moment of silence is home. This also goes 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.

There are some areas at home that are a particularly good fit to become a silent oasis…

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.

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 a big area (an armchair & ottoman would be enough).
In fact, the very idea of dedicating a space to silence and relaxation will already create a sense of calm in the mind.

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 is not just relaxation. Noises are mainly distracting and silence is very useful to concentrate, say when working or studying.

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 onto the big question: how did silence become a trend?

An interior design trend comes out of a study of the current society and the challenges it is facing. Over-information and noise are with no doubt among the challenges of our times, reflecting in the growing popularity of concepts like disconnect to reconnect and digital-detox. So, it makes perfect sense for more and more people to long for silence – to the point of turning it into a legitimate trend.

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

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

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)
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)

Creating silence in interiors

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

Acoustic panels

Acoustic panels are becoming more decorative, to make it easier to fit them in the context of domestic design.

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)
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)
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)

Pendant lights

These days, pendant lights are also often enriched with soundproofing qualities. Further evidence of how much silence is a requested feature!

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)
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 has become an interior design trend. In contrast with our loud society, this highlights the importance of silence for our wellbeing and invites us to transform our homes into alcoves, sanctuaries of peace and comfort.

* Sources:

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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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