The new year is always a time to take stock of where we’ve been—and where we’re headed—and that holds true for how we approach our interiors. As we enter another year on somewhat uncertain footing, the state of the world is still influencing how we decorate and designate our rooms, and the effects are by turns bold, comforting, and energizing. To help inform our approach to interior style over the coming months, we checked in with four interior designers across the country about the top trends they see emerging in 2022. Here, they discuss the ones they’re most excited about, from an inclination toward pattern and powerful color to a whole new approach to how we utilize our spaces.
Brown furniture and antiques make a comeback. The Scandinavian look of bleached wood has reigned supreme for quite some time now, but over the past year, says Tula Summerford, interior designer of Design by Tula in Raleigh, North Carolina, more and more clients—particularly younger ones—have become increasingly interested in buying antiques than ever before. This could be partly attributed to supply chain issues, or simply the desire to warm up a house, as brown furniture, in general, seems to be enjoying a resurgence. To incorporate this trend, Summerford recommends creating dining rooms mixed with contemporary seating, or antique chairs outfitted with funky seat fabrics. Across the board, desks, secretaries, antique corner chairs, and end tables are making their way into more rooms, which look particularly chic mixed in with brand new upholstered pieces. As Janie Molster, interior designer and owner of Janie Molster Designs in Richmond, Virginia, notes, antiques with a weathered patina bring old-world credibility to any space.
Wallpaper takes up residence. Wallpaper has been increasing in popularity for the past few years, and Tori Rubinson, owner and principal designer at Tori Rubinson Interiors in Fort Worth, Texas, confirms it is definitely here to stay. And for good reason, as now it seems like there are practically endless options ready to unlock plenty of design potential. “The use of wallpaper enables a home to truly feel unique and special, with endless patterns to play with,” she says. Lori Clarke, founder, and CEO of Lori Clarke Design in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona, reports that while at first her clients only felt safe using wallpaper in small spaces like a powder room, now it’s adorning statement walls in kitchens and adding an unexpected bit of whimsy and drama on ceilings. “It adds character and impact just about anywhere,” she notes.
A multi-functional approach to rooms and areas. For many people, the past couple of years have significantly changed the way personal spaces are viewed and used. Out of necessity, many people have had to become more flexible with how they approach their rooms, Clarke explains, and gone are the days of using a space for one purpose. Accordingly, an important part of Clarke’s design process with clients is space planning and visualizing the lifestyle that will be happening in her clients’ homes, which often entails envisioning multiple uses for various rooms. “The goal is to make every room a place we could work from and use every day, and utilizing every nook and cranny,” she says.
A love of layering. Once the province of maximalists and the bohemian set, Rubinson explains that people are getting more comfortable with the concept of layering colors, textures, and patterns. This trend includes layering upholstered fabrics, soft furnishings, artwork, wall coverings, and decor to create eclectic, sophisticated, and expertly curated looks. “As designers, we are so happy to bid farewell to the days of all white, or gray and white,” she says. “We are so excited about all of the patterns, fabric, and color!”
Welcoming wellness. The concept of wellness has left the private spaces of the home and spilled over into all areas, Clarke says, noting that more and more, clients are designing interiors with the intention to nourish the family and optimize their quality of life. Some whole-house wellness options include vitamin-infused showers, natural ventilation systems with options for essential oils, maximizing indoor/outdoor living, and one of the simplest: growing indoor plants that remove toxins from the air.
More moody hues. While bright and vibrant colors are certainly making their way into homes at the moment, moody colors are also being incorporated into rooms with dramatic effect, setting elegant and sophisticated tones in specifically chosen spaces. “We are loving a deep burgundy or deep hunter green for a study, library, or parlor,” Rubinson says. The bedroom is another favorite location for a darker hue that can impart a cocoon-like coziness.
Flower power. According to Molster, 2022 is a prime time to bid adieu to restrained fabrics and say hello to fabulous florals. She is embracing florals not only in fabrics but also in wallpapers that transform rooms with happy colors. Manufacturers are filling their libraries with gorgeous new floral patterned options, she says, and all of her clients are saying “Yes, yes, yes!”
Being bold with color and pattern. While soothing, monochromatic spaces will always have their place, color and pattern will be prevalent in 2022, shares Summerford. She reports that all of her clients are starting to embrace more color—even those that are a little commitment-shy are open to incorporating accessories like bright and cheerful pillows to brighten a space up. Meanwhile, patterns are coming into play in pillows, ottomans, and window coverings, which are all wonderful ways to update your spaces as these items can easily be exchanged out when you tire of them, Summerford notes.
Realism returns. For quite a while, the design world has embraced bold, abstract art, and even the most traditional homes began to color outside the lines and mix in more modern artwork while realism and more figurative art took a backseat, says Molster. But the designer finds her clients are now ready for a change and are developing art collections with a broader mix, and she is increasingly shopping for figurative paintings and sculpture, as well as traditional landscapes and portraiture.
Design by Tula is featured in The Scout Guide Raleigh, Durham & Chapel Hill. Janie Molster Designs is featured in The Scout Guide Richmond. Tori Rubinson Interiors is featured in The Scout Guide Fort Worth. Lori Clarke Design is featured in The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale.