More space, less stuff and other trends for homes in 2022

Our priorities have changed in the past two years. Here are some key trends to watch

Creamy off-whites, soft mineral blues and delicate biscuit shades will all be big in interior wall colours

Creamy off-whites, soft mineral blues and delicate biscuit shades will all be big in interior wall colours

 

It is fair to say the past two years have been somewhat defining for home design. We’ve experienced a shake-up of our needs, expectations, plans and priorities, from working and exercising at home to staying in and making our homes more comfortable.

As we move into what is hopefully a more “normal” year, how will the past 24 months influence design this year? Here are some of the key trends to watch in 2022.

A race for space

Everyone spending more time at home has resulted in a demand for more space in our homes. Extension projects such as converting a garage or attic to make space for working from home, and building a garden room as a multipurpose space for exercising and for teenagers to hang out, were popular in 2021.

The need for more space has also put pressure on the housing market. People looking to trade up to gain space are fuelling increases in house prices. However, the cost of renovating means that it’s often more cost effective to extend the home you have than to renovate a newly purchased home from scratch, so the extending trend is set to continue.

Casual comfort

The world of fashion and interior trends become more closely aligned every year. With fashion we’ve seen a huge move away from formal attire. The tie, high heels and the suit have been passed over for a more comfortable and effortless, yet no less chic look. Interiors are following suit (pardon the pun).

Formal decor is being replaced by more comfortable, relaxed styles. From oversized sofas in plush fabrics to tactile floor finishes like cork, our choices for furniture and finishes will be driven by comfort. Formal rooms will continue to be sacrificed to make space in homes, and sumptuous accessories such as deep-pile rugs and textured cushions will be big this year.

Energy efficiency

Making our homes more comfortable also means ensuring they are warm and free from draughts. Projects like replacing windows and upgrading insulation and heating systems were popular in 2021. Government incentives for retrofitting homes make this more attractive. Improving energy efficiency is another trend that will continue in 2022.

Stuff audit

For 2022 less will definitely be more. I’m not suggesting that we embrace a minimalist lifestyle but there is a firm move away from filling our homes with stuff. Many of us embarked on a clearout over the last 24 months and were shocked to discover the number of things we had that we didn’t need, want or use. This has led to a more considered approach to shopping.

Stuff is also the enemy of space. By owning and purchasing less, we will have more room in our homes. And being more mindful about what we’re buying, where it comes from and whether or not it will ultimately contribute to waste.

There is also a desire to make more sustainable choices when it comes to furnishing and decorating. There was a renewed interest in second-hand or preloved and antique furniture last year. This trend is tipped for growth this year. 

Replacing windows and upgrading insulation and heating systems were popular in 2021
Replacing windows and upgrading insulation and heating systems were popular in 2021

Multipurpose

A need for more flexibility is a trend that will continue into this year. From reclaiming unused space to choosing furniture that can multitask, flexibility is the key to both future-proofing your home and making it work more efficiently.

The marketplace is responding to this trend and there are now more products available that enable this kind of flexibility. From cordless portable lamps to furniture that is suitable for inside and outside, expect to see lots more options for multitasking pieces in the shops this year.

Colour

Earthy tones will be the foundation of colour palettes for 2022, from rich terracottas to mellow murky greens. This year’s colour trends are both warm and inviting. Creamy off-whites, soft mineral blues and delicate biscuit shades will all be big in interior wall colours. 

Stuff is the enemy of space. By owning and purchasing less, we will have more room in our homes
Stuff is the enemy of space. By owning and purchasing less, we will have more room in our homes

Healthy homes

Many of us have begun to pay more attention to our health and wellbeing in the past 24 months, whether it’s making time to exercise regularly, cooking and eating more healthily, or improving our sleep.

Whether it’s creating a space to exercise or work from home that is easy to use, or connecting with nature to reduce stress, encouraging these good habits will be a focus for home design this year.

Building space in the garden to work out or work from home, adding a window seat to a living space, or introducing a few house plants will be on the agenda this year. 

Denise O’Connor is an architect and design consultant @optimisedesign

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