From vibrant color palettes to eye-catching patterns and textures, each new year brings innovative and exciting interior design trends to inspire our creative juices and take our personal spaces to the next level. With the help of some of our favorite Southern design experts, we’re ready to make a few predictions on what might be trending in 2022. Whether you’re launching a large-scale renovation or simply assembling your mood board, here are five trends to look forward to this year!
5 Interior Design Trends to Watch for 2022
The concept of biophilia takes having a green thumb to the next level. A plant and nature-forward concept, the term “biophilic design” is a fancy way of saying “bringing nature indoors.” From maximizing natural light sources to creating living plant or floral walls, our connection with nature has extended to our living spaces in a big way.
“Nature is calling in 2022,” says Jessica Davis, owner and principal designer at JL Design in Nashville. “Green walls, large trees with structures built around them, green cabinets, jute and sisal rugs, grasscloth wall coverings, and burlap draperies with rope tiebacks are all examples of what we’ll see trending.”
“We have spent a lot more time in our homes these last two years,” adds Memphis-based interior designer Elizabeth Malmo, “and that has made us reevaluate our living spaces. I think it totally makes sense for a trend toward biophilic design. We’ve spent a few years feeling safe and comfortable being outdoors, so why not make our interiors feel similar? While I am more of a traditionalist, I love blues and greens and wallpapers with vegetation and leaves. Also, floral fabrics can do no wrong, so I’m all on board with this new trend.”
When it comes to biophilic design, it isn’t just about the visible, tangible elements; it’s about all the senses. “Rosemary, mint, and basil herb gardens are easy to grow in the home,” says Libby Patrick of Sims Patrick Studio in Atlanta, “and they create wonderful aromas when used in home-cooked meals. You can bring the outside ‘in’ by juxtaposing rough-cut stone, natural wood accessories, and garden ornaments with more polished interior finishes. Using rocks or shell collections in shadow boxes or clear glass containers as artwork is also a simple yet beautiful way to bring preserved nature into your interior spaces.”
Talk about “curve appeal” — 2022 is renewing our enthusiasm for furniture with soft, rounded edges. From sofas to kitchen counters, arced furniture and elements are about to be all the rage. “I’m not sure that the introduction of curved furniture should have ever not trended,” says Davis. “As a designer, I’m a ‘maximalist’ and a ‘mixer.’ I must mix lots of different styles, shapes, colors, and textures in any space for it to feel truly successful. The balance created when structured or geometric pieces are paired with feminine or curved pieces is an absolute necessity. As a rule, I encourage everyone to have at least two strong curves in each room.”
Additionally, the curvy influence appears to tie in with biophilia. “I think curved furniture has an organic, natural quality, so it ties in well with biophilia,” explains Marcelle Guilbeau, owner and lead designer at Marcelle Guilbeau Interior Design. “It also creates space and luxury in an increasingly urban environment.”
As eclectic as it is eye-catching, one of 2022’s up-and-coming design trends is a narrative-driven blend of heirlooms and contemporary collections that some are referring to as “Grandma Chic.”
“We’re seeing a lot of new textiles and wallpapers that feel like something out of the 1940s and 1950s — but with a twist,” says Elizabeth Malmo. “Many textile designers are rethinking older patterns and updating them by using bolder colors. We’re incorporating chintz, small prints, and passementerie (ornamental trimming) on a much greater level than before.”
Think old school charm meets new school kitsch, and you’re grasping the idea, which we might have the pandemic to thank. “The Grand Millennial style that popped up last year gains more traction as individuals realize the importance of family heirlooms and stories of their heritage,” says Jessica Davis. “These heirlooms, paired with modern and updated pieces, then honored with vintage patterns, accessories, and art, create warm, interesting, and inviting spaces for years to come. This style is flexible, interesting, and tells your story, which is the most important part of creating any space.”
Color, Texture, and Bold Wall Coverings
The saying “go big or go home” takes on new meaning when you’re adding bold colors and patterns to your living space. “As the ’90s reign in fashion, I believe we will be celebrating lots of geometric patterns in bold neon and pastel tones,” offers Jessica Davis. “You’ll see these patterns and colors in everything from fabric to wallpaper.”
And while each year provides a new series of trending Pantone® colors to brighten our interiors (this year’s official color is Veri Peri, a blue hue with violet-red undertones), infusing color of any kind is a breath of fresh air. It seems 2022 may be embracing that idea with open arms. “Color is making a huge comeback, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some warmer color palettes making a push,” Elizabeth Malmo tells us. “Think corals, pinks, and yellows!”
But color isn’t the only way to create a standout space. “Bold wall coverings — whether used in a large or small space — not only add interest but also showcase personality,” says Jonathan Savage of Savage Interior Design. “It is a wonderful opportunity to experiment with color or texture or even both!”
Savage isn’t the only designer who touts the merits of bold wallpaper. “I would wallpaper every room in a house if I could,” exclaims Malmo, adding, “I think it is here to stay!”
RELATED: Say Goodbye to the White Kitchen
As we’ve endured the ebb and flow of the ongoing pandemic, we’ve found ourselves searching for new and improved sources of peace and solitude. More recently, this is taking the form of thoughtfully curated nooks — or even entire rooms — devoted to personal interests and self-care. For some, it’s a reading bench or recording booth; for others, it’s a sauna, or spot in which to meditate. “There’s an emphasis on wellness,” says Libby Patrick, “and providing beautiful spaces with natural light and a focus on great sleep, hydration, exercise, and mindfulness. This ranges from home gym spaces to kitchens, bathrooms, or even bedroom updates.”
Whatever your hobby or passion, one thing is certain: We’re all giving a little more thought to how we nurture our mental health, and that includes how our living spaces support it. “It can be a more traditional prayer corner tucked under a stair or a cozy nook in a girl’s bedroom behind a whimsical tree-shaped barn door,” says Marcelle Guilbeau. “I think in these times of quarantine and virtual work, having spaces to retreat and recharge has added meaning.”
That isn’t to exclude the importance of tailoring our exterior spaces to reflect our need for rest, too. Screened-in porches and outdoor patios are also seeing a rise in popularity. “Any time you can make an exterior space feel more like an interior space, you’ve been successful,” says Jonathan Savage. “Whether you add molding, decorative ceilings, lush fabrics, or a combination of them, it improves the exterior. Introducing lamps and rugs outdoors works just as well as in an interior space, too. It can make a space feel homey and lived in.” In other words, find a dedicated space that speaks to you (wherever it may be), and go the extra mile to make it your own!
Check out other inspiring spaces in our “Homes” archive.