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How nostalgia impacts how we feel and behave in a space

Our spaces have the power to take us from places of anxiety and fear to places of hope and happiness. This happens through our associations with colour, texture, scent and light that are linked to networks of emotional memory within us. Simply put we are deeply sentimental creatures so it is no wonder that adding a sense of nostalgia within our interiors has become such a growing trend in 2021.

Nostalgia in interior design is using elements from various histories as a way to include cherished memories in our spaces and includes incorporating heirlooms, sentimental objects and art. 

Kim Williams, a creative behavioral strategist focused on designing interior spaces, knows better than anyone the power nostalgia has to influence emotion and behaviour, and is here to give her top insights into what we can expect from this trend moving into 2022. 

In with the old 

Not being able to travel, see family, exercise and create new memories in our communities in the lockdown period has led people to search for elements that trigger old memories from a pre-pandemic world. Be it a culture that we loved visiting or memorabilia from an era where ‘the good old days’ reigned supreme, the use of retro items is an eco-trend that fits perfectly with the uprising of repurposing. Repurposing itself is fantastic for incorporating self-expression into a space in a sustainable way, and as a trend is now so embraced that we have seen the emergence of it into the mainstream in Europe in the form of second-hand malls.  

The last year saw a massive uprising in playful living and quirky spaces, and although we had always used classic carriers of memory like photographs, the use of decade specific memorabilia is a trend set to grow into 2022.

A room is not just a room but rather a place where we can find comfort which is especially important for younger generations to navigate the disconnected social spaces in which they are growing up. Having spaces that offer them the chance to embrace the new-age vintage of the ’80s and ’90s in playful ways that encourage the creation of new memories is important in creating the basis for them to be nostalgic around us adults.

More and more I see us wanting to create sanctuaries in our homes. The key to any great sanctuary is how you layer it. Textures, fabrics and colours. However, equally important is how you layer in old and new furniture, and all the memorabilia you have collected over the years, to create spaces in which we feel psychologically safe. 

In with the new 

The value that a designer brings to a nostalgic space has changed. More than simply weaving artistic concepts through space, designers collaborate with homeowners to weave their nostalgic feelings seamlessly with new technological developments to future proof the spaces they design. 

Going into 2022, we need our spaces to be more adaptable, especially as the influence of the work from home model is here to stay. I predict that in response to this need for adaptability we will continue to ditch bustling open spaces in favour of modular micro-environments that can provide connection and solitude as they are required for different tasks. 

Excellent spaces serve the people in them to the highest level possible. I have used Nostalgia as a conscious part of my design signatures for many years now so I have witnessed first-hand the power of emotionally charged elements in a space to change how people connect with their environment. By creating an experience with nostalgic items, you induce emotion, enhance productivity, and imbue a sense of relaxation.  

Well into the pandemic, we are not letting go of our nostalgia and continue to fill our spaces with emotive meaningful objects. These objects are laden with the significance that allows us to connect with them in a way that embraces playfulness, colour and fun. 

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