The past two years have ushered in big changes for homeowners, from a global pandemic that kept millions across the globe isolated inside their homes to an economy in the throes of a major transition. But despite hard changes that came swiftly and without warning, many adapted. From Zoom rooms, home offices, and antimicrobial appliances to major remodels and small DIY projects geared toward increased comfort and wellness, interior design trends have kept pace with a world in lockdown and, subsequently, in recovery.
As interior designers now look ahead to 2023, some must-have home features of years past are once again topping home improvement lists, while a few new design amenities are making their debut.
A Year of Color
Homeowners are ditching minimalism and all-white interiors in favor of brighter and bolder design elements in 2023. After years of remote work and quarantine restrictions, homeowners are personalizing their interior spaces to make them more fun and inviting, and according to Ebony Stephenson, president of Virginia-based Designs by Ebony, that begins with adding color.
“What I am seeing here in coastal Virginia is clients feeling confident using pops of color in their home,” says Stephenson. “It may be an accent color on the island in the kitchen, a bold colored rug in the living room, or even mixed metals in the bathroom. Biophilia will continue to be part of design considerations. Natural elements provide a sense of peace and comfort in any room.”
Similarly, designer Leigh Spicher and Jay Kallos, Senior Vice President of Architecture for Ashton Woods, say that moody colors are making an appearance in the year ahead as homeowners look to create warmer and cozier interiors.
“For years, white interiors have reigned, and we love the crisp, clean vibe an all-white kitchen has delivered for the last decade. However, dark and moody palettes have recently emerged and are here to stay,” says Spicher. “Though designers gravitate toward neutral palettes to bring serenity and calmness to a space, dark hues can have just as cozy of an effect. Particularly in spaces dedicated to lounging or living, moody colors can give a room a cocoon-like feeling.”
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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, wellness has topped the list of design considerations for health-conscious homeowners, and while hygienic improvements still reign supreme, consumers are investing in their wellbeing in more ways than one in 2023.
According to John Burns Real Estate Consulting, hobby rooms are on the rise as homeowners increasingly prioritize their mental health. For interior designers, that means a rise in, music rooms, reading nooks, and other spaces that promote health and relaxation.
“Mental health remains in the spotlight, perhaps eclipsing physical fitness,” the John Burns team revealed in a recent 2023 Design Trends Webinar. “78% of Americans agree that mental/emotional wellbeing is the number one reason for exercising, slightly ahead of physical wellbeing (76%).”
Work From Home Is Here to Stay
More professionals than ever before are conducting their day-to-day business from the confines of their homes, which is why Ebony Stephenson and Leigh Spicher anticipate more home office upgrades in the year ahead.
“Even if homeowners are gradually returning to the office, the work-from-home movement is still driving demand for home offices or Zoom rooms,” Stephenson says. “One lesson to take from this pandemic is that people can work from home and still be productive. It is important to note that this pandemic is not over, especially for those individuals that are at risk with health issues. Working from home has allowed this vulnerable population of people to still be able to work and support themselves while not putting their health at risk from being around the general population.”
With an increased focus on productivity also comes a need for greater functionality, leading to smaller and quieter work areas that have all the amenities of commercial office spaces without sacrificing residential square footage.
According to Spicher, traditional trophy “studies” in conventional suburban homes have been replaced by “true offices that have moved to quieter corners of the house. The best of these spaces can be modified further to accommodate two work-from-home residents—not by sharing a partner’s desk, but by bisecting the room with a wall,” she says. “With more people working from home than ever, homeowners are requiring a dedicated workspace in their home.”
For the past year, soaring mortgage rates, rampant inflation, and elevated home prices have forced consumers to slow their spending on home purchases and remodels, and as a market correction accelerates nationwide, that trend is expected to grow in 2023. As a result, John Burns Real Estate Consulting anticipates that home renovations and new-construction projects will include more generic or store brands as well as synthetic materials for cost-savings.
As interior designers find innovative ways to maximize square footage, “snug rooms,” or small flex living areas, are rising in popularity, allowing homeowners to take full advantage of all livable space within the home while still maintaining privacy.
A more budget-conscious consumer base is also popularizing multigenerational living, whether that includes recent college graduates moving back into their childhood homes or aging adults moving in with their children. As household formation expands, Stephenson says home floor plans must also evolve to meet the changing needs of everyone within the home.
“With the current economic conditions, more consumers are putting ‘Living In Place’ and multigenerational living as a priority.” According to Stephenson, “This may mean purchasing a home with a first floor primary suite or even a home with an in-law suite. Having more than one primary suite is also on trend as more generations of families are starting to live together to save money. Clients now require more division of rooms so that everyone can have their own private space.”
When designing on a tighter budget, Spicher agrees that functionality should be the most important consideration, and as designers find new ways to cut costs while delivering their client must-haves, home interiors are taking on a new look while serving a broader purpose.
“In designing any space, the more work it can do, the less square footage is needed in the home,” says Spicher. “A hall lined with bookcases becomes a library for the owner that has yet to download their books electronically. Mudrooms can include laundries, dog washes, workspaces and more—all freeing up space in the home to make it live larger while reducing square footage and the related costs. Taking lessons from boat designers or architects that design jewel box apartments in cities like New York City can help us economize any home, even the suburban house that is quintessentially America.”