Hint: Expect pattern-on-pattern across the house and further elevation of WFH spaces.
2021 has looked a bit more similar to 2020 than we hoped, but that has meant we’ve continued to lean into our homes for creative inspiration this year. While we are crossing our fingers for more cocktail parties and jet-setting come 2022, appreciation for our homes as sanctuaries is here to stay. Whether it’s upgrading your makeshift WFH space into a permanent structure for more flexible work arrangements or creating the ultimate entertaining space for parties of the future, we can’t wait to see how the home will continue to evolve and become a better reflection of our design personalities in the coming year.
“Clients are going to up their game in 2022—they’ve been improving their nests and the ways they entertain at home over the past two years, and we will see demand for finer, more compelling designs and finishes,” says Jeffry Weisman of Fisher Weisman. “Everyone has learned to love their home and they will want to make it more special and unique.”
We asked 18 industry experts from across the country about the design concepts they anticipate will make a splash in 2022, and they’ve shared a plethora of design inspiration for enthusiasts of all kinds. Happy decorating!
1 Color and Pattern Everywhere!
“Over the last few months, I’ve been noticing that our high-end clients are starting to embrace color,” says Tom Stringer of Tom Stringer Design Partners in Chicago. “Traditionally, we’ve seen home design trends shift based on the economy; when things are looking bad, homeowners are more conservative, using gray and brown tones because it has staying power; but when things are optimistic, people use color and pattern because it’s something that can easily be changed.”
Dallas-based designer Jean Liu of Jean Liu Design also remarks that “saffron is the new black,” and moody-hued rooms across the house will have their day after dark and dramatic kitchens reigned supreme in 2021. Vibrant colors are also having a moment too.
“Everyone’s going bold these days with strong yellows and burgundies, hunter greens, and bright blues combined as stripes, plaids, and checks all in a playful sort of folk art feel.” says Connecticut-based designer Chauncey Boothby of Chauncey Boothby Interiors.
When it comes to pattern, Boothby says mini print florals akin to the Laura Ashley textiles many of us grew up with will continue to see a resurgence in popularity while mixing retro-inspired colors and prints will also be a top trend.
“As a textile lover, I’ve really been enjoying the appreciation for pattern that we’re seeing now, both among our clients and throughout the design industry,” says Lilse McKenna of Lilse McKenna Inc. in New York. “I can remember a time when a floral print was a tough sell for some clients because it was too ‘old -fashioned’—and now we’re getting to layer different florals on the same piece of furniture. I’m hoping we will only see more appreciation for beautifully crafted textiles in 2022.”
2 Formality Reimagined
“We are using our houses more than we ever have, resulting in an increased sense of practicality across the design spectrum,” says Tammy Connor of Tammy Connor Interior Design in Birmingham and Charleston. “Clients are selecting fabrics and furniture based on durability, making sure items in their home can resist the wear and tear that comes with a more casual ‘lived in’ lifestyle. Rooms that may have previously been used two-three times a year are now being used two-three times a week, resulting in a reimagined and utilitarian approach to designing formal spaces.”
Our editors noticed this emerging trend firsthand at this year’s Kips Bay Decorator Show House Dallas. Corey Damen Jenkins transformed a tired formal dining space into an inviting, vibrant place to dine, entertain, study, and play. Having two tables ensures intimate conversation can be had or the day’s studies can be left on one table when dinnertime comes while cozy table lamps create an ambient glow that can keep the party going all night long. And while this space is certainly formal, pops of modern art, a vibrant color palette, and plenty of texture prevents any notion of stuffiness.
3 Inviting and Inspiring WFH Spaces
The makeshift “office” we created on the kitchen island or dining table no longer cuts it. In a new age of hybrid work schedules and, in some cases, permanent remote work, our experts anticipate the coming months to be focused on evolving our workspaces into more inspiring areas.
“With the advent of Zoom and more work being done at home, [clients] are asking for two fully functioning offices—one for each spouse or partner—where they can work and not be disrupted, or be disruptive to others in the family,” says Randy Correll of Robert A.M. Stern Architects in New York. “These rooms are like small libraries with and abundance of cabinetry, paneling and if possible, a view or a porch on which to take a break or power nap.”
Whether your space is a cozy nook or a room of its own, as shown here from one of Correll’s projects in Los Angeles, a successful WFH area begins with the right seating and desk. Charlotte-based designer Gray Walker of Gray Walker Interiors says she loves hunting for beautiful writing desks that deserve a spot in any cozy corner of the home and offer just the right amount of space for all your needs while being able to fit practically anywhere. She especially loves finding a workspace in front of a window. From there, it’s important to surround your workspace with things you love, colors that energize, and textures that comfort.
“We are seeing creative uses of existing spaces in homes—closets for instance—that can be transformed into a functional office with new cabinetry,” says San Francisco-based designer Allison Caccoma of Allison Caccoma Interiors. “Other less used rooms in homes are also increasingly needed as a beautiful office. The trick is to make it pretty. Paint the cabinetry blue or green, decorate with special fabrics like it’s a proper room and enjoy your time working from home.”
4 Putting Antiques and Heirlooms Front-and-Center
“Our younger clients are more interested in buying antiques than ever before and based on the supply-chain predictions we’re seeing now, I’m guessing this will only continue in 2022,” says Lilse McKenna. “I think one silver lining to the wild lead times we’re all seeing now is that we’re afforded a little more time to dig for those special pieces. Clients might also be a little more open to imperfections in their antiques, since ‘in stock and ready to ship (with a few scratches)’ is so much more appealing than ’26-week lead time (with the potential for another 26).'”
The early pandemic days reminded us of the simple (and sustainable) activity of shopping our own homes to refresh a space in need of a little love. Whether that’s pulling grandma’s china out of storage to create a gorgeous wall decoration or swapping a few pieces of art to bring pops of color in the right places, using old pieces can in fact make a space look entirely new. And even before cargo ships were piling up on the Pacific Coast, antique sites like Chairish and 1st Dibs were showing record numbers as the younger generation eschews fast fashion for more sustainable shopping methods and one-of-a-kind pieces.
“Antiques and vintage will be celebrated as the ultimate ‘green’ resource available in the furniture sector and younger clients will become more fascinated with learning about collectable masters like Jean Prouve, Jacques Adnet, and Gio Ponti,” says Michael Cox, of Foley & Cox in New York. “Investing both time and money in the objects that transform a house to a home of pride and comfort will be priority. ”
Cox says that overall, he predicts the concepts of choosing quality over quantity will inspire design enthusiasts to educate themselves and be more willing to wait patiently for those pieces that they can surround themselves with for decades to come. Cox and Susan Spath of Kern & Co. also expect the “less is more” approach to find a place in the midst of a maximalism resurgence. Spath says that she expects a shift towards simpler design that allows the most spectacular architectural and interior elements to do the talking—like those beautiful antiques and thoughtful heirlooms that individualize your home.
“We’ve seen a lot of stripped and bleached antiques for the past few seasons, especially at antiques fairs and industry shows, says Austin-based designer Liz MacPhail of Liz MacPhail Interiors. “English and French antiques have a fresh look without that high varnish. I’d love to see a resurgence among our younger clients for some of these more classic antiques. Maybe buying an English dresser and mixing it in with contemporary pieces? But also, saying ‘yes’ to your great-grandmother’s sideboard or buffet—it doesn’t have to go in the stayed and designated room with a standard, slick finish. A stripped, French, marble-top buffet in the main bedroom? Why not?”
5 Giving the Kitchen a Much-Needed Glow Up
We recently pooled a group of designers to share which design concepts they anticipate will be big in the kitchen come 2022. We’re thrilled to report that gone are the all-white kitchens of our pre-pandemic days: warm, moody, and vibrant kitchens will all usher in a more colorful and personality-driven era of cook space design.
“I’m ready for kitchens in full-color, but I think if you have a white kitchen, it’s possibly a classic and you don’t need to rush out to the paint store,” says Liz MacPhail. “And if you have one you love, then absolutely stay the course. But if you’re building now or in the process of renovating and thinking about your options, push beyond white. As designers, we are more than ready and we think people are also ready for something with more depth and personality.”
A few notable design trends we kept hearing about from these creatives include: using statement-making stone to bring some drama to your countertops or backsplash, bringing color back to the cabinetry and walls, as well as making the kitchen its own closed-off space instead of part of one giant living area—one that’s still deserving of designer touches.
“In general, I see 2022 to be about expression, mixing metals, and bolder use of color, pattern and materials,” says Tom Stringer. “For kitchens, people are moving toward residential living spaces, incorporating performance velvets, and furniture and finishes that you would normally associate with a living room.”
6 Harnessing the Power of One’s Design Personality
“After spending so much time scrolling through Instagram over the past two years, I think we are all tired of spaces that are void of personality or look like copies of spaces we’ve seen before,” says Lilse McKenna. “Highly personal spaces that reflect the lives and interests of the homeowners are the antidote to that kind of cookie-cutter design.”
McKenna notes that the most interesting part of designing home is understanding her clients and getting to interpret both their history and ideal future in a design-oriented way. This not only makes the home more comfortable, but it can grow with the family more easily than trying to fit a particular style top-to-bottom.
Enthusiasts are no longer afraid to swathe their walls in color, their furniture in wild upholstered fabrics, and their rooms with an abundance of patterns—if that suits their style. Kim Armstrong of Kim Armstrong Interior Design in Texas says she’s predicting red to become a popular choice for design enthusiasts this year as people are more confident in their design personality.
“Red is a color that we haven’t really seen used since the nineties, so I think it will be so great to see how this color is re-interpreted for this generation,” says Armstrong. “It will be a brighter and cheerier version. The reds I see trending are anything from a bright cherry red to a red-orange. They are happy reds.”
Chicago-based designer Jessica LaGrange of Jessica LaGrange Interiors says her firm is seeing a resurgence of very colorful, patterned wallcoverings in all areas of the home and are no longer being used in those “jewel box” spaces that can easily be hidden from the rest of the home. She says white ceilings are going away as clients are looking for bold colors, high-gloss paint, and beautiful wallpapers that add an unexpected yet welcome pop.
7 Homes That Tell a Global Story
“I think we’re all also going to be influenced by a resurgence of travel in 2022,” says Tom McManus of Ferguson & Shamamian Architects. “We’ve stayed relatively local for the last 18 months and those of us who have started to travel abroad have described how liberating it feels. I think, therefore, we’re going to start to see more exotic influences in design.”
Kelley Carter, Bloomingdales’s home fashion director, has honed in a particular region that is a source for all kinds of home inspiration: the Italian Riviera. She says the timeless design and joyful expression of this enchanting destination is sure to influence designers and clients in the coming year.
“The trend will focus on outdoor living spaces and its design aesthetic will transport guests to the resort of their dreams,” says Carter. “Resort stripes will be the print of the season, complimented by tabletop finds in euphoric colors. This trend will also be expressed through furniture in natural materials, formal dinnerware in durable melamine and acrylic, and outdoor textiles in higher end materials to create more of an elevated outdoor experience.”
Caroline Gidiere of Caroline Gidiere Design in Birmingham is also finding a surge of far-off inspiration, but her is coming from Asian influences. She anticipates coolie lampshades, which are reminiscent of conical hats primarily worn throughout the continent, becoming heavily requested in 2022 and believes scenic wallcoverings that feature images from ancient Asian history and Southeast Asian geography will begin to replace the classic botanical designs that have reigned supreme for the last few years.
8 Soothing Spaces Driven By Nature
“Being locked up indoors for a long period of time made people go out and enjoy being in the nature more than ever,” says Mia Jung of Ike Kligerman Barkley in New York. “And that also reflects inside pursuing organic forms in design and choosing more natural materials.”
Sarah Trumbore of ST Studio Inc. in Massachusetts says her clients have been especially drawn to neutrals, greens, browns, natural grass cloth, unlacquered brass, and flora and fauna patterns since the onset of the pandemic and she strives to bring the outdoors in when possible. Gray Walker notes her latest projects connect the homeowners more to nature than ever before by utilizing floor-to-ceiling windows more liberally, indoor garden areas, and a mix of natural materials to bring the notion of outdoor living and organic elegance to every room in the house.
Rozit Arditi of Arditi Design in New York says this inspiration from nature is not just the case in colors and shapes but also in terms of sourcing and clients being more in-tune with brands that embrace sustainable practices. There appears to be a greater responsibility on the side of the designer and client to educate themselves on ways to create a home that honors nature as best they can instead of burdening it.
9 Leaning Into Fantastical Elements for Bold Design
“I believe that in 2022 we will see elements in design incorporating surrealism and fantasy,” says Houston-based designer Dennis Brackeen of Dennis Brackeen Design Group. “Wallpapers have never been more on trend and with today’s technology in digital printing, I’m seeing some incredibly innovative products. Watch for new collections that will reference motifs from classical to the surreal.”
This year’s Kips Bay Decorator Show House Dallas also offered an early look at this emerging trend. Many rooms, like Brackeen’s morning room (shown here), incorporate fantastical prints, shapes, and home accents to create a one-of-a-kind room. Ken Fulk also notably brought endless elements of fantasy to the Show House’s den, blending neoclassical, astrological, and Art Deco elements for a jaw-dropping place to spend the afternoon studying or getting lost in one’s own thoughts.
10 Greater Investment in Outdoor Rooms
“It used to be that outdoor living areas were one of the last topics to be discussed on our projects and by that time, clients had often run out of money and/or suffered from a serious case of decision fatigue,” says Jean Liu. “However, the pandemic has changed the priority this part of the house takes. Serious dollars are now being allocated to outdoor living at the onset of every new residential project, and we do not see this waning in 2022.”
Liu notes backyards and patios are now being treated like indoor spaces and she is regularly purchasing whole sets of acrylic or unbreakable glass- and tableware to elevate drinking and dining poolside. And with further investment and innovation in performance fabrics that can be used indoors or out, outdoor furniture is more beautiful and luxurious than ever before.
“Clients are asking for outdoor rooms to be designed with the flexibility to function as a traditional interior space and act as a center point for family gathering and relaxation,” says Tammy Connor. “Recently, we’ve been sourcing from our library of indoor-outdoor fabrics as much—if not more—as we source from our library of traditional interior upholstery fabrics.”
Randy Correll also notes that our outdoor spaces are no longer equipped with a lone grill or minuscule bar space anymore. As outdoor parties became all the rage in 2020, he’s been installing pizza ovens, full kitchens, and more on the porches and patios of his clients’ exterior spaces and predicts that desire will grow in the new year.
11 Everybody’s Going Green
If you’ve been following the always highly anticipated Color of the Year announcements from major paint companies, you have likely noticed a stark trend: every company is touting shades of green. This is no surprise, as designers mentioned previously just how much we are all being inspired by nature right now, but we’re also loving those more eclectic hues, like chartreuse and emerald green, to bring the outdoors in right now.
Also in line with inspiration from the great outdoors, more and more designers are getting certifications in green and sustainable design practices to best equip their clients with healthy, happy homes. Michael Cox says this also speaks to a continued interest in major home projects that began taking place last spring.
“As clients feel safer and more confident in the pandemic recovery, their focus will shift from short-term ‘fixer upper’ solutions to lifelong dreams and aspirations,” Cox says. “They will be happy to invest the design development time required to build homes for generations. This will manifest in a new appreciation of history, quality, and manufacturing integrity. B Corp certification will become a standard barometer to guide customers toward companies that value craft, employee well-being, and environment.”
Jean Liu also notes this gravitation towards green practices will continue focus on “incorporating healthy building materials into the home, such as using sealants on floors instead of stains; such as opting for tiled walls in heavily used bathrooms instead of wallpaper; such as adding reverse osmosis systems in the faucet to improve the water quality.” Any traction sustainable design was gaining pre-pandemic has only amplified as we all began to worry more about air quality and circulation, environmental toxins, and our health in the spring of 2020.
12 Embracing Those Curves
“Although it’s been popular for a while, I think we’ll see even more curvature pieces of furniture throughout 2022,” says Dennis Brackeen. “Also look for curved lines to be implemented into architecture. A freedom from the feel of limitations within a rigorously structured space.”
Curvy furniture is better than ever these days, just with an upgrade for the modern age. Celebrity-adored designer Brigette Romanek recently released her first furniture collection as part of a collaboration with MGBW Home, and it’s filled with sculptural seating that feels both trendy and timeless. Plus, we’re seeing more sculptural pieces trending everywhere, from vintage resale sites to major collections from Gen Z’s next great designers. Caroline Gidiere also predicts that pieces from Charles Zana’s collaboration with The Invisible Collection will serve as major inspiration for design enthusiasts everywhere.
“This trend of rounded edges will continue to be an important part of the design vocabulary next year as we have seen rounded kitchen islands, arched or pill shaped mirrors used on projects, and even more reeded design details on cabinetry and millwork,” says Jean Liu.
Armstrong notes the holistic spectrum of curvature in design will be found in architecture such as in cabinet designs and doorways, in furniture that “wraps around you like a comforting cuddle,” and in patterns that span from fabrics to tile designs. She says these soft, comforting lines in design are a welcoming change after the difficult year and a half we all have experienced.
(As published on Veranda)