One takeaway we’ve gotten from the past few years is to never underestimate the power of a good space. The difference between a good day and a mediocre day can be as small as the endorphins you get from a fanciful rug or a vivid coat of paint. But what makes a space truly sing? Of course, that answer relies partly on personal taste, but it also helps to look into the sea of interior trends for some guidance.
If you have opened any social media app over the past two years, you’ve probably scrolled past enough abstract mirrors and checkered rugs to last a lifetime, but as of the last few months, the tides are changing. While interior trends don’t circulate at such a rapid-fire pace as the fashion showing on the runways, the two worlds inform each other in unexpected ways—take Barbiecore and the resurgence of pink walls. But the popularity of pink is only a drop in the proverbial bucket of ideas gaining traction among the design community right now. For a glimpse into what’s next, we turned to four figures well-versed in both interior design and fashion to tell us the home décor themes, concepts, and objects primed for a big moment in 2023.
Whether the intent was to be noncommittal to one paint color or to avoid the nightmarish scenario of wallpaper application, white became the wall “color” of choice for many renters and homeowners. But according to Tiffany Howell, founder and principal designer of L.A.-based interior design studio Night Palm, the white-wall era is reaching its expiration date. “A lot of people really want jewel tones. Almost every client that we’re working with right now wants beautiful colors, like rust and green—colors that are very soothing but not like how it used to be where you immediately defaulted to white,” she says. One of the most popular ways to interpret this trend has been two-toned cabinets—painting the upper and lower rows of cabinets in contrasting colors to create a striking visual effect. For those unafraid to go a more drastic route, interior designer and content creator Madelynn Furlong Hudson anticipates a lot more monochromatic coordination, where one room is entirely in one color. Although baby pink wall paint seems to have the internet buzzing (LPA founder Pia Baroncini recently painted most of her Los Angeles home in the color), the general consensus is that it doesn’t seem to matter which shade you choose. However, if you need some suggestions, Furlong Hudson stands behind pale watery blue, while interior designer Athena Calderone, like Howell, cites green and terra-cotta as two standout tones.
Cancel the flight, and let the vacation come to you—at least, that’s the sentiment behind one interior concept that’s been catching on among particularly stylish people. Instead of traveling abroad for a dose of escapism, it’s as easy as walking into a room. “All my clients that just bought homes are buying old Italian and European-looking villas here in Los Angeles. They’re like, ‘Ooh, I want my house to look like that villa in Italy I used to go to but haven’t been to because of COVID.’ So we’re all very much leaning into this right now, like Call Me by Your Name and Chateau Marmont—everyone wants those references,” explains Howell.
After nearly two years of travel being off the table, it’s understandable that a sense of wanderlust has entered the chat. Naturally, bright light, warm wood tones, and airy linen furniture help sell the vision of resort life, but Howell also notes that it’s just as important to capture the overall emotion within the design process. “I like to start with an emotional landscape and then lean into it,” she says. While it helps to have the good bones of a Spanish-style villa, buying a house isn’t necessary to achieve a personal worldly oasis—it can be as simple as swapping out heavy drapes for breezy linen curtains or decorating shelves with objects from abroad, like this stunning candelabra Furlong Hudson recently picked up Mexico City.
From travertine sinks to marble backsplashes, stone has proven itself as a hot commodity. Howell, Furlong Hudson, and Calderone all predict it’ll be a recurring theme into next year, with extra emphasis on using the raw material in unexpected tones and in unexpected ways. Instead of opting for beige travertine, Hudson notes that red variations are popping up as an accent color. “It’s about artful marble. But now we’re finding tones of beautiful pinks and deep blues and, again, kind of going back to the jewel tones too, like deep-green marble,” says Howell. Calderone’s most recent venture—a collaboration with Crate and Barrel—is an accessible way to embrace the trend, with objects like coral-colored marble serving platters and a deep-red plinth that can be used as a side table or nightstand. Another side to the statement stone trend is the use of exotic slabs of marble, granite, and soapstone to create commanding pieces that serve as the centerpiece of a room. Think a huge marble accent wall or soapstone countertops that extend into a visually stunning backsplash. These interior moments are an opportunity to let the full glory of the stone shine through. As Howell points out, “We’re doing baths in it. We’re fabricating tables in it. It’s a luxury well spent. It can stand alone and be its own art piece. If you have a beautiful marble table in a room, everyone’s just gonna focus on that and be obsessed with that.”
Nostalgia always has a commanding presence in design—at any given moment, a particular decade has a firm grasp over the industry. A few years ago, it was mid-century modern, and until last year, postmodernism’s ’80s pop-art influence triggered renewed interest in Ettore Sottsass Ultrafragola mirrors and Kartell stools. Next up? The warm-toned, low-slung aesthetic of the ’70s. The online marketplace 1stDibs, which carries luxury and vintage furniture, reported that vintage pieces from the ’70s experienced the highest growth year over year within the furniture market. Rare finds from the decade represent the pieces Night Palm clients request most. “Definitely a hundred percent would be ’70s, European-style vintage furniture,” says Howell. Kellie Brown, a purveyor of vintage furniture who’s also a full-time content creator, knows to thrift one-of-a-kind pieces most people would think impossible. She’s been able to source coveted finds from the depths of Facebook Marketplace and Instagram, but two design icons from the ’70s are at the top of her vintage wish list. “The pieces I NEED to own with my entire soul are a leather convertible sleeper sofa by De Sede or an Alessandro Becchi sofa bed,” Brown says. She also finds a lot of her current inspiration from old design books from the era.
Along with the pendulum swing toward vibrant colors are rich and sensory textures that are delightfully over-the-top. “A lot of people are really wanting jewel tones and very rich, luscious color,” Howell explains. “People really want romantic paint colors, textures, and shapes, for instance, curves rather than angular and straight lines.” There’s a reason sumptuous jewel tones and velvet flash across our brains when we think of nobility—they’ve historically signified material wealth and status. According to 1stDibs’ annual survey, which polled 750 interior designers from around the world, emerald green was the number one color of choice for designers this year, with cobalt also trending as a popular shade. As Howell explains, minimalist fatigue is partly to blame for a collective demand for unabashedly extravagant things that are the antithesis of quiet luxury. The key mood, she says, is glamour. “It’s a really big word right now. I think people almost feel guilty about using the word glamour in this day and time, but I would say there is an excitement about glamorizing people’s houses.”
It takes one bad iPhone photo to realize how impactful bad lighting can be. And before lamps and light fixtures are relegated as a finishing touch to a space, experts like Calderone and Howell argue that lighting should be at the forefront. “It sets the mood in more ways than one—both functional and decorative, it calibrates the vibe. A beautiful glow from a sculptural light can really make a space,” says Calderone. Like that expensive couch that centers a room, a statuesque lamp can equally ground a space and provide nuance. “Good lighting is the beautiful earrings of the home. You don’t need much—vintage light fixtures or sconces can immediately elevate a room. You might not even realize it, but lighting can truly affect your disposition,” Howell explains. And the options on the market are seemingly endless: From contemporary brutalist chandeliers to Danish-inspired wood lamps, they’ve all been favorites within design circles as of late, but soft, emotive lighting à la Noguchi’s famed paper lamps is most noticeable. “I went to Mexico City for the first time in December last year and visited several of Luis Barragán’s projects. There was a space or table in every room of his private home that was draped in fabric and doubled as an altar. A couple of months later I noticed the same draping of fabric on the altar in so many of the ancient churches in Venice, and ever since then, I’ve been drawn to lighting, especially vintage, that is made from fabric or has that soft drapery that I was seeing in Barragán’s home and the ancient chapel in Venice,” Calderone recalls. “At Salone [the Milan Furniture Fair], Ladies & Gentlemen Studio showcased a pendant with layers of draped linen. There is something so moving about seeing glass elements that are cold and slick counterbalanced by this soft lighting draped in fabric, silk, or paper.”
While the home has always been a place of intimacy, Brown and Calderone say the New Year is about displaying off-beat touches that showcase our inner selves. “I’m excited about individuality. Cookie cutter is never interesting,” says Brown. “Creating a space you’re happy with is all that matters.” What individuality looks like in a space is up to interpretation, but an unconventional wall treatment is one way to do it. “I’ve noticed a lot of people draping fabric on the walls and actually using it as a decorative treatment, accentuating the drapiness and softness. People are starting to embrace something that feels whimsical and softer,” says Calderone.