It’s been a wild year for design lovers. We kicked off 2022 with news of a postponed Maison&Objet and Paris Déco Off, but by spring we were back in the full swing of market season at High Point and Salone.
Much like the ups and downs of 2022, the year’s trends were equally all over the place. While some designers started thinking creatively about making healthier—and more sustainable—homes, others relied on the nostalgic motifs of decades past to infuse their projects with familiar comforts.
In some respects, things are finally starting to look (and feel) slightly more normal than the past couple of years, but 2022’s most inspiring designs also hint at an inherent uncertainty about what lies ahead. From raw materials to fluorescent hues, Business of Home revisits 10 looks that reigned supreme the past 12 months
Furnishings crafted from sustainable, organic materials were all the rage this year, supplying designers with a toolbox of touchable textures, amorphous shapes and rich earth tones as seen in projects by Kelly Wearstler, 212box and Alder & Tweed. “I’ve always been inspired by the Earth,” says Wearstler, whose recent collaboration with Arca features an assortment of sculptural solid marble designs. “Its sustainable raw materials bring a level of interconnectedness and inherent beauty to a final form.”
Whether a calming neutral palette a la Gala Magriñá or a meditation nook courtesy of Oliver Heath, holistic-driven designs and practices took center stage in 2022. “Beyond the increase of dedicated wellness spaces such as spas, relaxation and meditation rooms, designers were creating sensory and mood-enhancing experiences in every part of the home to induce tranquility, improve focus and more,” says designer Caleb Anderson of Well-Designed. “In what can often feel like a chaotic world, the home has become an increasingly important sanctuary—which is why the focus is shifting to creating spaces that nourish the soul.”
After two years of playing it safe, designers such as Keia McSwain, Megan Hopp and Hattie Sparks were eager to incorporate bold colors, splashy patterns and unruly shapes into their creations. “Maximalist vibes are in and always have been in my opinion,” says McSwain. “Rich patterns and hues enable you to immerse yourself in the full story that the space conveys.”
Interiors that embody the Japanese principle of wabi-sabi—which loosely translates as “flawed beauty”—made major waves in 2022, with designers including Emily Del Bello, Hema Persad and Lauren Piscione of LP Creative embracing thoughtful imbalance over rigid symmetry. “People are living more and more chaotic lives, and they are looking for their homes to be a safe haven and a respite,” says Piscione. “Wabi-sabi is about creating spaces that feel grounded, calm and not overly designed or precious.”
The turn-of-the-century aesthetic made a triumphant return this year, with spaces designed by the likes of Isabel Ladd, Benjamin Johnston and Gray Walker showcasing re-imagined smiley-face patterns and playful animal prints. “All you need is a touch of 1990s and Y2K-inspired decor to keep the nostalgia alive and fun in a home,” says Ladd. “Using elements from this era is a cheeky, subtle way of sharing a moment from our youth.”
Though art-deco-inspired designs have been trending since the pandemic, in 2022, designers including Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Lucinda Loya and Young Huh were all about reviving the exuberant motifs of the 1920s and ’30s in fresh ways. “Art deco vibes have the timeless appeal of old Hollywood and will eternally signal glamour,” says Bullard. “The patterns and shapes spark joy, and in a time where everyone realizes that we all need a bit more of that in our lives, this iconic style has [been] heralded back into fashion.”
Brutalism made a big comeback this year, thanks to designers such as Amy Lau, Mary Lambrakos and Axel Vervoordt. The movement emerged in the 1950s in response to the postwar need for low-cost, utilitarian housing, and favored bare materials and simple constructions over lavish ornamentation. “Brutalism embraces its unpolished appearance and expresses it,” says Lau. “Instead of trying to look meticulously perfect, it captures the essence of raw imperfection.”
Some of the year’s loveliest interiors paid homage to the motifs that defined turn-of-the-19th-century France’s Neoclassical period. Designers including Timothy Corrigan, Elizabeth Krueger and Courtnay Tartt Elias of Creative Tonic employed a symphony of frilly ruffles, pretty pastels and romantic florals. “The comeback of Neoclassicism is a natural progression after the midcentury modern furniture trend,” says Corrigan. “The decor blends easily with other periods and styles, and focuses on elegance and sophistication—it’s the ‘little black dress’ of interior design.”
Day-Glo–charged colors—including fluorescent yellow, neon green and electric blue—were everywhere in 2022, from the fashion runways to projects by Zoë Feldman, Ghislaine Viñas and Emily Spanos of Emily June Designs. No surprise, then, that Pantone named Viva Magenta its 2023 Color of the Year. “After the past couple of years, we’re all looking to weave something bright and vibrant into our homes,” says Spanos. “Clients have been getting more comfortable with the use of bold color, and a touch of neon creates a fun, unexpected focal point.”
Equal parts artful and nostalgic, old-school colored and stained glass designs took a markedly modern turn in contemporary interiors by designers such as Jean Lin, Jessica Davis of Atelier Davis and Eddie Maestri. “Colored glass unexpectedly skates the line between traditional and contemporary as the colors reinvent the medium itself,” says Lin. “For example, Colony’s Phila Terra series [pictured below] combines earthy tones with unorthodox forms, creating an inviting, postmodern accent in a room.”
Homepage photo: A maximalist room design by Becky Shea | Sean Litchfield