The platform has turned around how designers communicate with their potential clients and the way businesses approach design. It has affected the way interior design is taught, the way trends rise and fall and how they are understood anew by consumers and designers alike.
The photograph-focused platform now has about 800 million active users, who not only share glimpses of their lifestyles, but also continually shape and reshape the idea of a socially desirable experience over and over again. As the platform interweaves the world of interior design with the users’ feeds containing photos of friends, celebrities, and other interests, interior design has become not only more approachable to the public, but also more appreciated as a part of one’s personal image.
The current chapter in interior design history is being written not mainly by household name designers like before, but also designers who have risen to success precisely because of Instagram. Instagram-savvy professionals, as well as amateurs, have flourished and inspired countless people to rethink the design of their environment. With great communication between the creator and their audience and work presented in a more straightforward and personal way, the spaces on Instagram become far more approachable in the eyes of the user.
Designers who understand this dynamic well and who pay attention to how people respond to certain designs have, along with design influencers, risen to the top of the conversation about interior design. This has brought changes to the industry and alongside the benefits of exposure, there have been some harmful consequences as well. As people are more concerned with visuals than the issues of authorship, some influencers have capitalized on sharing the work of others without referencing them. The new way of sharing work has posed a question of authenticity and originality of work and of where the boundaries between mere inspiration and appropriation lie.
That response from a large audience and its consequences are what makes this new chapter of interior design so fascinating. A photo of the place that goes viral can mean a breakthrough for the business, whether it is a restaurant or a hotel. This has urged business to reimagine the design of their establishment so that they are more Instagrammable. When it comes to the design itself, it means more emphasis on lighting, as well as on elements that make the photo of the place stand out in a sea of other photos. In the race to be noticed, designers have had to do a new take on everything, from details to arrangements of furniture, even floor designs. This has sparked a conversation among designers about priorities in design, on keeping the balance between having the space look dazzling in photos and actually having a design that is thought through beyond just appearances.
Also, the tempo of this current chapter is wild and fast. When we look at the progression of interior design styles of the last couple of decades, we can see that each had its own esthetic and that they gradually shifted in response to one another. From the space-age inspired sixties to the more nature-oriented seventies, or from bold floral-printed nineties to the minimalistic new millennium. But in the current decade, we have seen the accelerated version of this. We have already seen styles progress from minimalist pastels to eighties-infused maximalism, but also the co-existence and overlap of so many styles at once. As people see more and more images of different trends on Instagram, their ideas and attitudes about the trends change and evolve more quickly than before, causing the trends to rise and fall in a relatively short time.
As the world of interior design expands and becomes global, it is harder to come across solutions that are genuinely fresh and feel exclusive. It has always been a game of understanding how esthetics change, however, that understanding has never been so relevant as it is now. This means that designers now have to incorporate social media skills into their skill set to remain a crucial part of this global conversation on what is considered desirable and beautiful. This raises the question of authenticity in the modern industry, as ideas quickly shift from quirky and fresh to omnipresent and outdated.
A successful designer in this new environment needs to thread the fine line between appeasing the business owners who seek Instagrammable designs and maintain their functionality beyond just that appeal. Creating a design that is trend-aware, but which also won’t die with the fad is a challenge of its own. Luckily, design schools have caught up. Young designers are encouraged to incorporate different design accounts into their personal feeds and understand this interaction with trends from a personal perspective. As they engage with the trends and images, they learn to understand the distinction between a design that looks good in one photo, and a design solution that can outlive its Instagram success. Spaces designed with this understanding will hopefully advance the conversation on good design, which is now gaining appreciation from an unimaginably large number of people.
Our living spaces have always played an important part in presenting our personal image, in telling stories and responding to larger cultural ideas and processes. With Instagram, each of these stories is now told to a much wider audience, while still maintaining some feeling of intimacy. Interior design has become a crucial element in how they tell these stories. The feeling that one can also learn from this social media interaction and relate to one’s living space has, in a way, democratized interior design. As people become more conscious of the value of well-designed interiors, their reaction in the coming years may reshape the industry and push it in unexpected directions. This communication between consumers and designers is key to setting up foundations for the next chapter of design. As all those participating learn from this wildly dynamic process, the relation towards trends might evolve and outgrow the shell of the short-lived image and step into the territory of artistic design that never ceases to amaze.