The way we think about our homes has changed in ways we couldn’t have predicted a few years ago.
Blame it on the time we spent at home during the height of COVID. (Being cooped up in your house can really bring to the forefront just how much you hate that tired gray couch you’re sitting on!) A burning desire to freshen up our homes has continued into 2022, and across America, kitchens, offices, and outdoor spaces are being remodeled and updated.
This Time, It’s Personal
Michelle Harper of Right Next Door Designs says that as the pandemic heated up, her phone began to ring. People were stuck at home, looking at their spaces with fresh eyes, and they didn’t like what they were seeing. No longer satisfied with a generic look that’s appealing in a “Do Not Touch” sort of way, she says clients are looking for a lived in and lovely aesthetic that’s comforting, practical, and reflects who they are. “Now more than ever, people have learned to appreciate their home as their sanctuary,” says Alicia Nicholas of Alicia Nicholas Design. Never has home décor been more personal. But there are a few overarching themes:
Bringing the Outdoors In
Just as the words “natural” and “organic” are meaningful to us when selecting what we eat, they've entered our vocabulary for home décor. Michelle says that some of the elements clients are loving right now include birch branches, driftwood wall art and primitive wooden bowls, as well as colorful, thick agate slices and other geodes.
She’s also incorporating animal décor into the mix—a pair of exotic horns mounted as a sculpture, and a cowhide area rug paired with a live edge teak coffee table were used in recent projects. And there’s a renewed interest in live plants. “What do God and nature provide to us? What’s healing and beautiful to look at? These are the things that clients are selecting," explains Michelle.
The Rise of “Cottagecore”
Picture the beauty of nature, combined with the easygoing, pastoral charm of a home in the country, and you’ll have an idea of the aesthetic behind the trending “Cottagecore” look. Think soft, billowy throws, deeply cushioned chairs, and graceful florals on fabrics, wall paper, and even lampshades. Along with this is a new emphasis on low profile furniture, rounded comfortable pieces that are less bulky, allowing windows and the outdoors to play a prominent role in a room, says Alicia.
Most designers agree that gray is going away. And though the clean look of white is still a fan favorite, says Alicia, interest in wood tones and nature-inspired colors is really picking up. In particular, serene shades of green are everywhere, with names like Evergreen Fog, from Sherwin Williams, and October Mist, from Benjamin Moore. More people are asking for greens and blues for their kitchen cabinets, says Michelle. Also trending are darker, moodier colors--cognac, terra cotta, and soft browns--while blush pink and coral are popping up as accent colors.
You may have noticed that gold finishes have made a comeback. Should you take the leap? For kitchen and bath fixtures, choose finishes that are classics, such as brushed nickel, chrome, or even bronze, advises Michelle. If you love the glam look of gold, use it for cabinet hardware, which is easier and less expensive to change out as trends evolve.
Making Sense of Your Spaces
Open floor plans are still popular, says Alicia, but now clients want multi-purpose areas within these large, flowing spaces that can serve different roles throughout the day--a kitchen prep zone that doubles as a study area for the kids, a dining room that doubles as a home office. Clients are asking for help in adding seating to existing wine rooms or carving out an area to serve cocktails for small gatherings.
Just because a builder intended a room for a certain use doesn't mean you have to stick to their conception, says Michelle. Do what makes sense for the way you live. Convert your dining room to a sitting room or a game room, if that's what you need. “We converted the office at my house to my daughter’s craft room. I'm never home to use an office!” says Michelle.
Everything in Its Place
A clutter-free, organized environment has become a top priority for those spending more of their waking hours together at home, says Alicia. Michelle has been offering a popular “white glove service,” putting together entire apartments and homes, from furniture to décor to closet organization, for busy executives and their families who have relocated to The Woodlands area over the last few years. Everything connects back to ease and to simpler living.
“The last few years have opened people’s eyes to how they want to live,” says Michelle. “They want a home where they can hang out and not want to leave. That’s where people are right now.”
Alicia agrees. “My advice regarding any trend is to design and decorate your home with what makes you happy. If there’s clutter, get rid of it. If you love it, it will work. There’s a way to make it blend regardless of the current trends.”