Neale Whitaker

The Urban Aunt Trend Explained




Neale Whitaker 

Wattyl Brand Ambassador and Interior Design Expert

Unusually perhaps for a former magazine editor, I have a healthy cynicism about trends especially when it comes to our homes. I’d much rather encourage people to fill their home with things they love – items that bring joy – than follow the latest fad that will inevitably change again in a few months’ time. Because that’s the nature of trends. But even I have to admit this year’s interior decor trends are kind of intriguing. I mean, when a trend dictates ‘green’ or ‘curved edges’, it’s fairly easy to understand, but when that trend says ‘urban aunt’ it’s not only ambiguous, it’s downright confusing. And ‘urban aunt’ is just one of several obscure decor trends on the 2024 horizon.


So what’s the premise? Well, imagine a favourite aunt who lives in the city in an ultra-cool apartment stuffed full of equally cool things. Said aunt is obviously fun to hang out with and brave in her decor choices. Apparently she’s a near-relative of last year’s ‘coastal grandma’. You guessed it – a favourite grandma living near the ocean with a home brimful of covetable pieces just waiting to be begged for, stolen, borrowed or generally bequeathed. I don’t know about you, but none of my aunts and neither of my grandmothers – adorable as they all were – had a single thing between them I ever came close to coveting.


And let’s not forget the dubiously-named ‘Mob Wife’, another decor trend kick-started in the US, which I can only imagine is like ‘urban aunt’ with bling and attitude. Serious attitude. In future columns I will also discuss mood-lifting ‘Dopamine decor’ (lots of colour), ‘kitschen’ (kitsch kitchens, almost self-explanatory) and – my particular favourite – ‘slow decor’ which actually makes a lot of sense, to me at least. Watch this space.


But back to our favourite aunt, the one who lives in the city. What does she actually mean in trend terms? How do we translate her? I believe she stands for individuality, which is surely a good thing. At the core of these obscure-sounding trends is a move away from the cookie-cutter styling we have seen so much of in recent years, our herd-like obsession with good taste. The desire to fit in has been replaced with its stylistic polar opposite: a need to stand out from the crowd, to relax the rules and celebrate difference over conformity. And I for one say bring it on.


If you’re looking to bring a seasonal change to your interiors this Autumn/Winter you can sample the paint colours from Neale’s new collection in 500ml colour sample pots , which are available for purchase at your local Wattyl Paint Centre or Wattyl Paint Stockist.

Locate your nearest store here 


For more information on the Neale Whitaker colour collection click here

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