We Asked Designers Around the U.S. for the Biggest Home Trends for 2023, and Here’s What They Said
Another year is coming to an end, and what a year it’s been. The United States economy headed toward probable recession, and the world continued to face political conflicts and environmental challenges. While pandemic restrictions have loosened, people everywhere continue to adjust to elements of “the new normal.” Work, play, exercise, rest, and other activities that shifted to the home in 2020 and 2021 have continued to stay there throughout 2022 — at least to some extent — and there’s reason to believe that, considering the state of the economy, this will continue into 2023 in some capacity.
Many people are feeling more connected to their homes than ever because of all the time they’ve spent in them, both increasing their functionality and sprinkling personal touches throughout their rooms. Even if home offices, Zoom backgrounds, and comfy furnishings aren’t going anywhere, that doesn’t mean design choices, values, and attitudes toward the home haven’t evolved at all over the past 365 days.
So, for a third time, Apartment Therapy decided to survey a group of designers to take stock of where the home is headed next year, with the hopes that these insights can help you make the most informed decisions for you and your home.
In polling those 78 interior pros, it was clear that some findings didn’t stray far from what was reported last year. That said, comfort will look a little different in 2023 than it has over the past few years.
Designers are noticing a resurgence in nostalgia and retro design elements, which is potentially fueled by the unpredictability of the world. People are doubling down on their likes and unique preferences, leading to highly personal interiors that don’t necessary chase every design trend. Silhouettes are becoming a little more refined, as many open their homes back up to entertaining, while colors and even building materials are getting bolder and brighter. The design world is shaping up to be all about individuality for 2023, but certain furniture shapes, hues, furnishings, and more will certainly rise to the forefront on our way there. Those trends are precisely what our results have revealed — and now, it’s up to you to put your own spin on them in your own home!
Comfort Is Still King
As noted above, there are a lot of similarities between this year’s survey results and last year’s, and one chief area of overlap is in the popularity of certain interior styles. Designers expect the following aesthetics to stick around: warm minimalism (78 percent), maximalism (62 percent), mid-century modern (60 percent), and Scandinavian (50 percent).
Also the case last year, comfort continues to dominate design. Curved and rounded pieces will remain super popular: A resounding 86 percent of designers surveyed said we’ll be seeing these types of silhouettes everywhere, followed by wavy pieces, which came in at 59 percent. Those findings are only fitting, considering 72 percent of designers believe classic Parisian style will also be increasingly prominent in 2023. Picture a plush, curvy-backed sofa perched elegantly in front of a marble fireplace surrounded by beautifully carved wall moldings, and try not to swoon.
That’s the thing about the state of comfort in 2023: it’s all a little more refined. The squiggle is giving way to the scallop, and curves are showing up in fancier fabrics like mohair and faux mohair versus velvets and bouclés, which gives these pieces a high luster and even finer feel.
In fact, if you’re looking to upgrade your sofa in 2023, designers are once again giving you the go-ahead. “A high-quality sofa is always one of the most important furniture pieces you can buy,” says designer Maggie Stephens of Bainbridge Island, Washington. “Buy it right the first time, and you’ll have it for 20-plus years.” When picking a fabric, you may want to go the performance-based route, as designers believe fabrics that stand up to wear and tear will gain additional traction in 2023. You’ll also notice that vegan leather is still in the mix, while mohair fabric, mentioned above, has cracked the top three for the first time. Durability unites all of these materials, and they all offer a touch of luxury, too.
Like last year, designers are advocates of splurging on quality lighting and rugs. “Artisan-made rugs, in particular, can double as a work of art, either creating a statement piece and focal point in the room or serving as a natural backdrop to tie a space together,” explains designer Sarah Barnard of Santa Monica, California. In terms of lighting, why not use fixtures to make a statement, particularly in the entryway or dining room? “Lighting in both spaces is such a focal point, and you tend to zoom in on the details and finishes of a fixture here more than other spaces,” notes designer Michelle Tremont Boyd of Virginia Beach, Virginia.
If you’re not looking to make any major purchases in the new year, there are plenty of ways to spruce up your space — even without spending more than $50. For one, you can tackle your lighting, just on a more subtle but still impactful level. “Simply changing your bulbs’ temperatures can make a huge difference in the look and feel of your space,” says designer Djalna McSween in Newark, New Jersey. If you feel like adding some new life into your home, why not purchase a green friend or two — or as designer Nicole Cole of vestige HOME in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, puts it: “Buy the largest and weirdest plant that you can for your space.”
Blank walls starting to bother you? You don’t have to spend a fortune on art. “Frame postcards or a collection of inexpensive prints to make a gallery wall,” suggests CAROLYNLEONA’s Liz Goldberg, a designer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Seemingly small updates like the above don’t require much cash but can truly impact your everyday life and atmosphere at home.
Personal Style Is Going to Surge
While time at home has led many to embrace comfortable furnishings and familiar shapes, designers have also noticed another striking phenomenon happening. With a stronger sense of what they do and do not want to be surrounded by, renters and homeowners alike are embracing individuality — the pandemic has truly prompted ample self reflection in many areas of life, and design is no exception.
“In 2023, I think personal style will be much more prevalent than it has been in the last decade,” says Lindsey Gregg of LSG Interiors in Wilmington, North Carolina. “People have had time to sit at home and think about their likes and dislikes. They’re more confident in their decisions now because they’ve been forced to experience home more than before in most cases.”
According to Gregg, these undercurrents have also heralded an influx of one-of-a-kind vintage pieces making their way into homes. At first, many turned to thrift stores, flea markets, and Instagram secondhand shopping in the wake of pandemic supply chain delays. Now, home decor consumers are hooked on the history of storied pieces. That’s not to say that new furnishings aren’t going to be sought after either, especially ones that look and feel special. “I expect a shift away from sets, mass-produced items, and rooms that look straight out of a catalog,” she says. “People [will] embrace more of a mix of antiques or unique pieces that work well with new items they were able to select for their current lifestyles.”
Expect Experimentation with New Materials
Get ready for a new crop of furniture materials and decorative accents to take center stage in 2023. Last year, designers predicted that burl wood would reign supreme in terms of materials, but come January, the pros expect to see cerused wood (60 percent), red and pink marbles (54 percent), and onyx (51 percent) making gains in new home decor purveyors’ collections.
When taken as a whole, these materials suggest a little bit of a duality. On the one hand, maximalism is at work in the boldness of these stones and cerused wood’s pronounced grain. But on the other hand, these materials can also be the one exclamation point on an otherwise minimalist space, and it’s totally possible to find subtle, tone-on-tone variations of each, too. The fact that red and pink finishes are having a major moment in particular is only fitting. In October 2021, after Kirsten Dunst’s burgundy and russet kitchen went viral, it’s no surprise that designers and brands are getting around to seeing red, too; Benjamin Moore’s recently declared 2023 the year of “Raspberry Blush,” and Pantone just announced their own 2023 Color of the Year as “Viva Magenta.”
Say Goodbye to Clutter and All White (and Gray) Everything
Go ahead and start that home organizing project today if you’re ready for it. Yes, just like last year, designers want you to ditch the clutter as soon as you can.
“If it doesn’t serve a purpose, it’s not needed,” says designer Charli Hantman of New York City-based August Black Interiors. “Simplicity is key!” designer Elizabeth Kannan of Bethesda, Maryland, agrees. “Edit and purge your home of things that bother you,” she instructs. “They only serve to clutter your head and your home.”
That said, designers don’t want you to go too simple. Designer Amanda Dease of Studio Dease in Nashville, Tennessee, is tired of seeing so much white and gray. “I feel like I’m trapped in an old-timey movie,” she says. “Also, it’s completely unrealistic to keep clean.” While all-white schemes and neutral spaces will never go out of style, 2023 is definitely going to be a year in which stronger, more saturated hues take centerstage.
Personality Will Shine Through the Use of Bold Color and Unique Touches
Fortunately, for people like Dease, it seems as though renters and homeowners alike are feeling ready to go bold at home. “I’ve been seeing more requests for color,” says Tampa, Florida-based designer Timala Stewart of Decurated Interiors. “People want liveliness and culture back in their homes, so adding color through various deign elements can fulfill that need.”
The kitchen marks one area in particular where people are going to really embrace more color than before, at least according to our designers polled. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said bold color was poised to make a big comeback in cook spaces, which traditionally has included everything from cabinetry and wall color to backsplash tile, flooring, and even decorative accessories and lighting.
Perhaps the most interesting finding is that more than half of our designers polled (55 percent) said colorful kitchen appliances were emerging as a popular building choice. After all, why let tile and cabinetry have all the fun?
You can experiment with a super-colorful, almost Memphis-style look that features vibrant appliances, as shown in the cobalt fridge, green backsplash, and red striped area carpet combination below, or you can amp up a classic, all-white or black scheme by punctuating your stainless or matte appliances with, say, a technicolor range. This kind of mixing-and-matching in appliance finishes seems to be happening more and more in kitchens today, too. Where the concept of “mixed metals” once referred to the faucets and hardware one might choose to be different than the appliance package’s finish in a given space, designers are starting to see metal insets in island countertops and statement appliances that might differ from the bulk of the finishes elsewhere in the room.
Another interesting development here is that all of these bold accents hang well with natural wood-finished cabinetry, too, as shown below. This creates an interesting, old-meets-new mix that feels especially funky and fresh.
Some designers are seeing a slightly different shift taking place, where saturation is still part of the conversation, but the hues themselves aren’t quite so loud. “My clients have gravitated to a darker, moodier, warmer color palette since the onset of the pandemic, away from the pre-pandemic grays and bright colors,” shares Barbara Brosnan, an interior designer based in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Elaine Thompson of New York City’s Pistachio Designs says that her clients are loving “fun, punchy colors.” So really, when it comes to hue, pick what resonates with you, in the kitchen and beyond
Finally, some designers believe certain clients will always prefer more calming palettes no matter what is “trending,” and ironically, this can become a trend itself. Riverside, California,-based Chrissy Jones of Twenty-Eighth Design Studio uses many natural tones in her work. “Our clients’ requests continually remain on designs that reflect an oasis or place of relaxation, warmth, and coziness,” says Jones. “The color palettes that translate reflect a sense of calm and tranquility, which can include outdoor-inspired hues such as greens, blues, and browns.”
Of course, this wouldn’t be a true 2023 design survey without asking our pros to narrow down the colors of the rainbow to their true top pick. From the findings of that question, you can expect to see these shades everywhere in 2023: Sage green (64 percent, and the top hue last year, too), plum/aubergine (62 percent), and terracotta (62 percent).
Travel and Social Media Will Inspire Interiors Again
Now that COVID travel restrictions have loosened, and COVID vaccines and boosters are widespread, designers are enjoying taking inspiration from faraway places once again.
“Travel inspires me always, from the architecture and fashion to the color palette,” notes designer Jocelyn Polce of August Oliver Interiors in New Haven, Connecticut. “European cities are always where I look for inspiration,” she adds. “It’s the perfect mix of classic but with a touch of edge.” San Francisco, California-based designer Kate DeWitt expresses similar sentiments. “Exposing myself to a brand new city, state, or even country takes me out of my head and helps my ideas to flow,” she says.” You don’t necessarily need to travel far to gain new perspective, even a day trip to a neighboring state or town may bring about important design discoveries. So if you’re ready to reboot, consider venturing a little bit outside of your neighborhood or city.
That said, designers are just like design enthusiasts and DIYers: They use social networks such as Instagram TikTok, and Pinterest to gather new ideas from the comfort of their living rooms, bedrooms, and offices. So if travel isn’t in your near future, you can still take advantage of a whole world of possibility by exploring these apps. “If I can’t physically go to a new place, I seek out Instagram pages that give a small taste of a new culture,” DeWitt says. Designer Whitney Durham in Atlanta, Georgia, is also an Instagram aficionado. “It’s my online magazine that is available to scroll 24/7,” she says.
One more source of inspiration you can expect for 2023? The past, specifically the ’70s. From groovy floral patterns to glam disco ball motifs, this decade will be apparent in design, so keep your eyes out for these types of references to surge.
Home Offices Remain Key, but Entertainment Spaces Are Surging
While many folks may be more on the go and venturing out of town, working from home still remains commonplace, at least for a few days out of the week. For that reason, designers believe home offices — from dedicated work rooms to multitasking nooks and corners — are here to stay, even when the pandemic ultimately wanes.
“The whole working world has changed in a way that home offices offer a level of function with work that is not possible without one,” Hantman comments. So don’t be shy about purchasing that special desk or office chair that you’ve had your eye on; it will most definitely come in handy. Adds designer Tara McCauley, who operates an eponymous firm in New York City: “Clients want home offices which are comfortable, reflect their personal style, and feature a good Zoom background.”
Over the past few years, so much attention has been put on work rooms and outdoor spaces that Apartment Therapy wanted to know where designers could see that decorative focus and energy moving to next. Entertaining appears to be what’s going to move the needle in 2023, from dining rooms to specialty rooms that hit on gathering and fueling creative hobbies, whether it’s a game room, home bar, or a music room.
On a somewhat related note, designers expect the pandemic-induced desire for closed floor plans that feature division between rooms and doors that you can close to remain relevant, too. “Design always ebbs and flows, and while there are practical elements to the open floor plan that’s been trending for the last decade or two, people are starting to remember the benefits of walls,” Stephens says.
If you can’t close off your open doorways or rebuild walls you took down, not to worry. Designers think clients will continue solving any privacy issues with quicker fixes, like room dividers, large shelving units, privacy screens, and even fabric curtains. Rugs and strategic furniture positioning can also help create a visual sense of separation in studio apartments and larger open plan homes alike.
Where do designers see their customers shopping for these types of items and making the rest of their home decor purchases? Both in-store and online. Customer continue to love seeing, feeling, and testing out home decor items in person, but they love the convenience of online shopping and feel more confident ordering larger pieces sight-unseen.
Getting the Lowdown: This or That
As before, it wouldn’t be Apartment Therapy’s annual Designer Survey without closing with a rapid fire round of “this or that” trend predictions. Designers were given choices between two decorative items or trends (for example, “antique mirrors versus new mirrors”), and they were asked to weigh in on which is more popular. (In case you’re wondering, antique mirrors won by a landslide, being the favorite of 81 percent of designers surveyed).
Other findings to note: Designers continue to prefer light woods over dark woods, as was the case last year. And just like in 2022, the pros also prefer a minimalist look over a maximalist one. That said, they’re feeling more drawn to saturated shades versus subtle ones — again, by no means does your pared-down space need to lack color!
Textured tiles also edged out patterned ones, and one piece of statement art topped the gallery wall trend. If you’re looking to tackle a DIY project in early 2023, opt for wallpaper with painted accents; a staggering 91 percent of designers voted for wallpaper as their choice wall finish. Finally, a closed layout versus an open floor plan is still the way to go; designers have voted in favor of this for the previous two years, too.
After polling our panel of designers, new colors, textures, and trends are certainly beginning to emerge, but above all, the happiest homes are reflections of the people who live in them.
Design for 2023 is in the eye of the beholder, but on the whole, you can expect a return to bolder, brighter interiors, a bit of a refinement of surfaces and materials, and highly personalized pieces and finishes, whether vintage or new.
The coming year will be all about the pursuit of comfort, whether that means soothing shapes, familiar finishes, a return to retro styles, or something entirely different to you. Pick and choose the trends that resonate best with your aesthetic, and you do you!