These Will Be the Top Design Trends of 2022, Experts Say
The forecasts are in -- from indoor trees to earthy, curving designs, here's what to expect for the year ahead
Mikki Brammer | Architectural Digest
A new year, by its very nature, usually brims with optimism and the promise of fresh starts. But as a weary world continues to ponder what the future might look like, after having collectively endured almost two years of tumult, it seems we’re clinging to familiarity more than ever.
Many of the top interior trends of 2022 are iterations of those we saw in the previous two years, but, thankfully, it’s not because we’re resigned to the fact that every day feels much like the one before. Instead, we’re being more true to ourselves and what feels good.
Much like the evolution of fashion in recent years, interiors are increasingly becoming less about what’s trendy and more about personal expression. “Rather than specific trends declining, we are seeing the lines between different styles blurring,” says Gemma Riberti, head of interiors at WGSN. “A key example of this is minimalism and maximalism. As the line blurs between these two approaches, this has empowered consumers to find their own take on either. This is leading to a highly personal and more nuanced approach to interiors.”
Still, several recurrent threads are on the horizon for interiors in 2022. Read on for predictions from Riberti, along with fellow trend forecasters Michelle Lamb, Roberto Ramos, and Lisa White.
Consumers’ love affair with soothing greens and blues and earthy tones continues, but it’s not necessarily simply a case of aesthetic preferences.
“Research shows that natural color schemes and organic forms like those found in nature reduce stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate, increase productivity and creativity, and make us happier,” says Michelle Lamb, who is the editorial director at The Trend Curve. “Perhaps because humanity has never needed the healing powers of nature more than we do at this moment, there is a quest to take this approach even deeper.” Lamb predicts more jungle-inspired hues—as well as olive and moss—used in tandem with natural wood tones, stone with prominent graining, bamboo, rattan, dried grasses, and flower blossom and leaf motifs.
It seems we’re also looking to the sky for inspiration. “We believe in the growing importance of a luminous mid-tone that calls to mind the luminosity of clear skies and is therefore cool and optimistic, not cold,” Riberti says. “It’s a great color to instill positivity without being overwhelming, and it works well both with the naturals and with the other mid-tones, bringing to spaces and products a lightness and a reassuring, yet optimistic simplicity that will certainly resonate with consumers and their shifted lifestyles in 2022 and beyond.”
According to Riberti’s colleague Lisa White, creative director and director of interiors at WGSN, terra-cotta will continue its starring role in a year when “color is about being both grounded and hopeful.” White continues, “The appeal of terra-cotta tones translates to interiors products across the board, from hard materials like natural stone, oxidized metals, wood, and clay, as well as soft materials like linen, leather, suede, and brushed pile fabrics.” Finally, she adds, “We are even seeing products being beautifully upcycled by being dipped in terra-cotta paint.”
Our collective yen for biophilia is here to stay, but in 2022 it’s likely to become more sophisticated, White says.
“People have wanted to bring their living rooms and spaces outdoors, and they will increasingly want to bring the outdoors in, taking plant parenting and biophilic design to new heights,” she says. “We will see the rise of the indoor tree—especially lemon trees and olive trees—taking center stage in large pots.”
As cottagecore and grandmillennial trends ebb, a slightly more mondaine interpretation is taking its place: the contemporary conservatory. “Homegrown plant propagation is becoming more popular, and manufacturers are capitalizing on this by introducing new devices that enable different plant species to flourish inside, like miniature greenhouses modeled on classical designs,” White says. “The contemporary conservatory is a look that will be trending, whether creating an all-over garden-inspired room with patterned wallpaper and wicker furniture, or simply styling a conservatory corner in a sunny location in the home.”
One thing’s clear about the future of interiors: They need to feel as good as they look. All of our experts agree that consumers are paying much more attention to the sensory experiences of their homes.
“Scent has taken center stage during the pandemic, and people are scenting specific areas of their home with different scents as a way of inhabiting space with all of their senses,” White says. “Perhaps the home office will be scented with sage to promote mental acuity, while the bedroom will be scented with orange blossom to promote calm and sleep, and the living room with something cozy and festive like the fragrance of a crackling fire.”
Ramos, CEO of the cultural forecasting agency The Ideatelier, says that tactility, composition, and sensory stimulation are influencing people’s choices for interior products. “The sensorial experience is dynamic and individually unique, yet desirous on many levels,” he says. “[This includes] visually stimulating vibrant color combinations, high-tech performance designs such as voice-activated kitchen faucets, and bamboo as the most important fiber to emerge in furniture and lighting design, which is natural, sustainable, and organic.”
Maybe we’re all just feeling a little fragile, but many of us are still not ready for sharp edges in our interiors. “Femininity will have an impact on form in 2022, conveyed through rounded details ranging from circular structural elements to gentle curves,” Lamb says. “Think: radiused corners or curved backs on sofas and flared arms on chairs or bumpers on sectionals. Waterfall corners on desks and consoles will reinforce the trend, as will drum tables and scalloped shapes on accent items from area rugs to ottomans.”
Riberti adds that curves needn’t always be dramatic. “Comfy, curvilinear, welcoming forms will be paramount,” she says. “Not necessarily plump and over-the-top exaggerated, but soft to the eye and the hand to create an overall relaxed and comfortable feel within the space.”