Life Instyle Melbourne 2017: Trends & Review

One of my favourite trade shows of the year finished up last month in Melbourne and here’s my wrap-up review! Life Instyle Melbourne 2017, brought the usual lovely styling, beautiful products and unique trading experience it always does. What was different this year? Who stood out with new product development and trends? What were the biggest trends? Read my review and opinion below on the latest that Melbourne creatives had to offer at Australia’s biggest Lifestyle and Homewares product trade show.

Photo: Inside Life Instyle, Royal Exhibition Building Melbourne

My Top 5 – The Biggest Homewares Trends at Life Instyle:


From Cushions to wall hangings, table runners and DIY Kits, the bohemian luxe trend is back to stay. Nostalgic 1970’s crafts such as macrame and knotting are presented with a modern twist in fresher colours like blush pink, natural white and tones of cool greys.


Coloured stoneware has been relatively new to the tableware scene over the last year and there’s plenty more to come! We all love the pink dinnerware trend right now, but just wait until you see the new wave of luscious earthy tones making their way to the market.


Metallics continue to be strong in decorator items and as highlight details on everything from gold PU details on beauty accessories, brushed metallic finishes on lighting, foiling on every piece of stationery and metallic even in ceramics. The main metallic hue coming through was tones of gold, from light to brass. Rose Gold was still around, but there’s definatley a shift in the favourite metallic.


When I say all wooden everything, I mean it! Wood has been trending due to an increased interest in natural materials, a greater connection to the earth, sustainability practices against using plastic and a love for the wooden aesthetic. Wood will be seen coming into the beauty and cleaning markets with wooden handle brushes, scrubbers and loofers. Wooden items will continue to be big across dining and home categories, and there were many retailers exhibiting wooden toys which have grown in huge popularity.


Amber glass probably has a connection to the Bohemian styling making a resurgence, as it was popular back in the 1970’s. It continues in the home market, now entering into bathroom accessories, cleaning bottles, vases and also into drinking glassware. Many retailers paired the amber glass back with matte black lids and accents. The amber glass was only used on minimal and modern shapes, giving it more of a cleaner look rather than retro.


Photo: Products and Artwork by Olivia Henry for Pixel & Thread

Apart from drooling at all the new products I show, I was also fortunate enough to talk to a number of talented exhibitors about their creative practice and business. Each interview will feature shortly on my youtube channel and be transcribed here on the blog.

The designers and artists includes Erin Lightfoot from Erin Lightfoot Ceramics Studio , Tory Burke from Studio Elwood, Kaitlin from Koa, Ada from Sprout & Sparrow, Adam and Bec from Hammered Leatherworks, Mint & Me Baby Blankets, Liz from Little Designers & Co and Olivia Henry from Pixel & Thread.

Photo: One my friends and fellow Business Chicks, Kaitlin from Koa Ceramics

Photo: Gorgeous abstract display from the Studio Elwood stand

Prints, prints and more gorgeous prints! I can’t write a trend post without mentioning my favourite topic, print and pattern. Just like products, homewares and fashion, prints revolve around trends, colours and themes. Print trends often stick around for 12-24mths and evolve, morph and change as the fashion industry does.

so, what were the biggest print and pattern trends from Life Instyle 2017?

Photo: Hanging Tea Towels from Pixel & Thread by Olivia Henry

My Top 5 – The biggest Print and Pattern Trends at Life Instyle


Watercolour floral prints remain big, but become brighter and more intense. As this tradeshow was aimed at the Spring/Summer market, it did have more prints appropriate for this buying time. Photographic and digital florals are making a come back on loungewear and decorative textiles. The colours were dark though, either on a black background or the flowers themselves were dark indigo and purple hues. This also showed through in the Life instyle styling campaign for the year.

Photo: Cushions and Robes from Studio Sanctuary


Chalky tones like blush pink, mustard, dusty blues and dusty greens were worked into minimal prints that had an abstract feel about them. Simple shapes like circles and squares were colour blocked in these tones, creating large scale prints that resembled cut and paste. These prints were mostly used across hard-goods such as wall-art and ceramics but also found on fashion accessories, stationery and beauty packaging.

Photo: Some beautiful examples of Tory’s work for Studio Elwood


Small geometric repeats, again reference back to the 1960’s and 70’s. Used in conjuction with white backgrounds or negative space, they are used minimally and with purpose. The small repeats make a bold statement on otherwise simple designs such as ceramics, fashion accessories, cushions, stationery and toys.

Photo: Ceramics & Jewellery by Erin Lightfoot, Life Instyle Mlebourne


Children’s prints on apparel, decor and toys were further simplified to reflect the Scandinavian style we have been seeing emerge over the last four years. Cute foods, playful typography and fantasy characters take on even more of a whimsical style but are displayed simple and sweet.

Photo: Cute original designs by Sprout and Sparrow


Love it or hate it (how can you hate unicorns?!), the unicorn icon is here to stay and in an even bigger more magical way! The unicorn is as big as the pineapple, it has saturated every market, every age group, every product type. We see the unicorn move on into a Pegasus style with large wings and also other animals are treated to unicorn horns (caticorn, pugacorn), rainbow manes and cheeky unicorn slogans.

Overall Life Instyle brought confirmed most of trends already happening in the market or starting in the season and it also captured some new directions forming. I did feel that most brands were continuing on with trends rather than setting them this year, as there are many over arching trends in the middle of their cycles. In saying that, the products and stall set-ups were beautifully displayed as always with many featuring greenery, custom made banners and fresh minimalism looks.

So.. that’s my wrap up of the latest Life Instyle Melbourne trade show trends!

I also interviewed some amazing designers, creatives and artisans, just check out the video below for all the inspo!