Leanne Ford and 6 Other Pros Predict the Next Big Decorating Trends
And not a blob candle or checkered rug mentioned.
Published Dec 2, 2021 1:20 AM
What does 2022 have in store? Our community of editors, experts, and tastemakers predict the trends coming soon to a house near you.
In 2021 we lost track of the number of stone sinks, checkered rugs, blob-like candles, and arched mirrors we saw. These playful decorating ideas, which offered us respite during hard times, reigned supreme, but as our home lives continue to drastically change, we can’t help but wonder, what’s next? We asked seven interior designers, from former Domino cover star Leanne Ford to Australia’s rising phenom Yasmine Ghoniem, this very question, and based on their responses, we’re expecting to see a sense of calm sweep homes. Think: cool stone flooring that can transition seamlessly into outdoor zones, tonal green bathrooms, and lots of houseplants.
A Surge in Expressionism
“I said it once and I’ll say it forever: It’s all about a free-for-all,” says Ford. When the designer and her family moved back to her home state of Pennsylvania once the pandemic hit, she spruced her new worn-down guesthouse by rubbing old coffee grounds on the walls, giving them a chic patina, and using leftover tile from the henhouse for the kitchenette backsplash. “There’s going to be more interesting ideas that come out when people feel free to make mistakes and try new things,” she adds. Thinking outside of the (tool) box is encouraged.
Walls You Want to Touch
New York City–based pro Rayman Boozer says we’ll be seeing a whole lot more of grasscloth in 2022. “The wallpaper gives an extra layer of texture to any space, while being subtle enough to allow you to go crazy with the pattern and color,” he shares. Psst: It tends to be pricier than typical wallpaper because it’s made from handwoven strands of natural fibers on an unpasted rice-paper backing, so save it for a special room.
Terracotta and travertine paving will advance inside with gusto, according to Ghoniem, the founder of YSG Studio. “The added kicker is their ease of maintenance. They’ll give wood flooring a run for its money as a hard surface,” says the Sydney-based designer. Her tip? Play around with exaggerated grout lines to create a unique look.
Bathroom vanity ledges, plastered bookcase crevices—we love nooks of all shapes and sizes. But instead of just filling them with stuff and walking away, cover the inside with a pattern. “Wallpapering little alcoves offers a great display-opportunity background rather than just plain drywall,” says SoCal-based designer Raili Clasen.
Gone are the days of a singular accent wall. According to Clasen, you can still create a high-contrast moment while using color everywhere—just stick with hues within the same family. “We are looking at varying tones, such as applying dark with light in the same color story and applying a similar paint color as the tile in a space,” she notes.
Using Color as a Neutral
“There was this notion that in order for our spaces to feel like a calming sanctuary, they had to be neutral (whites, beiges, grays),” says San Francisco–based designer Michael Hilal. But soon we all got sick of staring at boring blank walls. “Post-pandemic, the request for color has been resounding. Clients still want that calming sanctuary, but they also crave vibrancy,” he adds. Take note of the dreamy moss-hued room he created for this year’s Kips Bay Decorator Show House in Dallas—suddenly wall-to-wall carpeting is cool when it’s paired with a coordinating modular sofa.
A Return to California Design
Hilal also predicts we’ll be immersing ourselves in bold, natural materials, like wood beams and paneling, rocks, and plant life in 2022. “People want that call back to nature as we are home more,” he says. There’s nothing cabin-y about this rock-filled living room.
Stylish Utility Spaces
Over the past year, NYC-based designer Kathleen Walsh has seen a spike in requests for laundry rooms, kids’ lounges, and pantries, and she doesn’t see them slowing down. “These are some of the spaces in our homes where we spend most of our time, after all,” she explains. The laundry room she designed for the Dallas Show House features Fromental hand-painted wallpaper, a charcoal farmhouse sink that’s “both practical and a bit edgy,” and floor-to-ceiling built-ins to disguise drying racks.
Tell a story with your furniture in 2022 by buying more vintage pieces. “It’s cool to repurpose,” South Carolina–based pro Cortney Bishop points out. An old dresser can be used as a bathroom vanity with a little bit of plumbing know-how, and the pages of a secondhand coffee-table book can double as wall art. “As we look forward, we find ourselves looking back,” says Bishop. “More and more, I am drawn to the quirk.”