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20+ Trends That Will Bring New Life Into Your Home

Andrea helps people design their homes and gardens. She likes to use Western Astrology and the Chinese Zodiac to help build templates.

With a bit of creativity and free time, you can refresh any part of your home.

With a bit of creativity and free time, you can refresh any part of your home.

20+ Ways to Liven Up Your Home

With more people working from home, people are realizing their interior spaces need improvement. Drab walls, standard light fixtures, and beige carpets don't spark creativity. It becomes unpleasant when you have to spend hours in the same old dull space.

The Big Takeaway: People's impressions of what a room should look like are changing to better suit individual needs. This is a reaction to the gray-beige movement where every room in every house on every street looks the same.

Variety Is the Spice of Life

Not everyone is opting for flamingo wallpaper and giant neon signs, others are opting for simplicity and minimalism. Some millennials are nostalgic for the trends of their grandparents or great-grandparents; in fact, I know a young couple in Springfield, MO who bought a Victorian house. They're painstakingly restoring it and learning about the house's forgotten past.

In the post-2020 world, people are turning to interior design as a form of therapy. Flipping through pictures of living rooms, bathrooms, and kitchens is an excellent reprieve from political scandals and general doom and gloom. Gorgeous photos of living room arrangements look clean, organized, and artistic. Tidiness is good for the soul, and it's okay every once in a while to take a break from the conflict-oriented world to dream a little.

What to Expect on This Page

The following article highlights trends that interior designers are seeing in homes. The list is written in no particular order. For expert insights, I spoke with Devin Shaffer, the Lead Interior Designer at Decorilla. He has helped thousands of clients with custom designs for residential, commercial, industrial, and hospitality spaces.

I was surprised by some of the trends he mentioned, such as people wanting outdoor showers or the revival of crown molding. I've listed more information about Devin and Decorilla in the resource section at the bottom of this page.

An office with vivid paint color. The room is outfitted with furniture in different yet complementary styles.

An office with vivid paint color. The room is outfitted with furniture in different yet complementary styles.

1. Vivid Paint Colors

I'm excited that people are finally embracing color in their homes. I grew up during the trend when people painted their walls beige and gray to be safe. I remember my dad painting our living room beige around the 2008 recession. There was comfort in generic colors at that time, but now people don't want to blend in with everyone else. Homeowners want to rebel a little (or a lot).

Beautiful paint colors can transform a room into something far more personal and interesting. It will, however, take more understanding of how colors work together when you pick something vivid, like turquoise.

I don't recommend painting every room in your house the same bright color. For instance, red should be limited to a room or two. Red paint is one of the more challenging paints to work with (for scientific reasons, the red paint pigments don't spread as well. . . it takes several coats to get it to work right). Red isn’t the easiest color to change out if you decide you want something else.

I recommend playing with paint swatches and samples in different colors and shades. You can get swatches for free at home improvement stores.

Suggestion: Pick vivid colors for the side of your house that faces the west. Pick lighter, pastel colors for the side of your house that faces the east. Why? The west side gets light from sunset, and the east side gets light from sunrise. Sunset and sunrise have completely different lighting effects on color.

There Is a Time and Place to Use Neutrals

Don't get me wrong, there are times to use gray and beige, but I don't think it should be used for all occasions and seasons. Neutrals are best in areas where you want to give your eyes a break, or in between spaces like nooks and halls.

What I've noticed recently is that people are picking more stunning colors for their homes, particularly emerald or teal greens. Current TV shows are replicating this trend, guaranteeing that you will be drawn to eye candy one way or another.

Admittedly, I was pretty distracted while watching an episode of The Crown where a scene takes place in a gorgeous green room outfitted with purple accessories. The actual dialogue in the scene isn’t that interesting; it’s the colors of the room that enchant the audience.

An eclectic mix of art can be unified into one overall look or vibe.

An eclectic mix of art can be unified into one overall look or vibe.

2. French Doors

A friend of mine just bought a house in Kansas City. One of the selling points for him was the French doors that opened up to their deck. He immediately started thinking about the magical parties he would host in the future.

Homeowners are rethinking their doors. Some people want something more creative and elegant than the typical door with a doorknob. My husband and I installed a barn door upstairs where there was no door for the master bathroom. It's one of the more original, beautiful things in the house that makes us feel like we've made our mark.

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What's the appeal of French doors? They're classy, and possibly more important, they're great for grand entrances (think George Costanza and his obsession with making a grand entrance to a party with someone in a backless dress). French doors with lots of glass panels can give the illusion of more space whereas solid doors suppress how much depth the eyes can travel down.

I'm a sucker for French doors with fun colors. Stain it a deep red or blue to add allure. White works for elegance. Purple will come off quirky. I'm all for French doors that open out to a lush backyard. Keep in mind, the backdoor is the gateway to a home's outdoor space, so it's better to build intrigue before your guests go out the door to meander among the daffodils and dahlias.

You can play with a neutral palette and still have pops of color.

You can play with a neutral palette and still have pops of color.

3. The New Neutral Color: Dusty Pink

Gray, beige, and white have a new neutral color friend: dusty pink. You could also refer to it as distilled pink, subdued pink, or a hint of pink. I've noticed this trend for a while now. Some people opt for a pink accent wall rather than a whole pink room. It's an unobtrusive color, but it adds just a little more warmth to a room than other more common neutrals.

I almost selected this color for an office, but I decided to go with a bolder pink. I wanted the room to promote energy, so a more saturated pink was necessary.

When it comes to dusty pink, like in the photo above with the sofa, you can blend the color easily with other neutrals. The color looks dignified and mature. It's not a cutesy pink found in child bedrooms or candy shops. Subdued pink is perfect for living room accents, bath towels, and office furniture.

A mix of accents in black, gray, and white can make for a serious and mature design.

A mix of accents in black, gray, and white can make for a serious and mature design.

4. Monochromatic Restraint

Instead of playing wistfully with colors, some people would prefer the seriousness of a monochromatic color scheme or a black-and-white palette. This style is suited for those who want a room that looks important and distinguished. The monochromatic look is perfect for a study or library where you want to focus, think, and complete tasks.

You don't necessarily have to use black, white, and/or gray to pull this look off. You could select any color and use different shades, tones, and tints of it. Monochromatic color schemes are supposed to be subdued. It makes a room feel contained rather than expansive. It limits the amount of chaos that can enter a space.

Some people might find a monochromatic color scheme too boring. It might start to make a room feel heavy.

Bamboo is a popular material right now in interior design. In this picture, there is a lamp made of bamboo. It blends in with the rest of the look.

Bamboo is a popular material right now in interior design. In this picture, there is a lamp made of bamboo. It blends in with the rest of the look.

5. Bamboo Paneling

Bamboo installations give a room a new lease on life. I’ve seen several bathroom pictures lately with bamboo furnishings. The material is associated with the Far East. It can make a room feel more down to earth. People like having natural elements in their homes as opposed to lots of artificial materials like plastic.

You could consider a bamboo board canopy over your bathtub or bamboo counters in the kitchen. It isn’t as expensive as other materials. It will look chic and elegant.

Wallpaper and antiques are making a comeback. People want more finesse to their walls. Homeowners are replicating the looks of charming boutiques and hotels.

Wallpaper and antiques are making a comeback. People want more finesse to their walls. Homeowners are replicating the looks of charming boutiques and hotels.

6. Lively Wallpaper

Think beyond the typical wallpaper patterns you grew up with. What people want today is something that pops and is bold. If you need a good example of lively wallpaper, watch the TV show Only Murders in the Building, it's a comedy murder mystery show on Hulu starring Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez.

I think the production designer for the show has had the time of their life picking out eye-catching wallpaper and furniture. Several of the characters' apartments have distinctive wallpaper that matches their personality.

Lively wallpaper will have bold colors, fun patterns, unreal designs, or an edginess to it. Swap out simple brown birds for peacocks. Instead of beige, think teal. It's okay to do an accent wall in wallpaper.

Just remember, wallpaper is expensive, so you want to pick a design that you'll want to live with for years. It's a good idea to get a few samples and tape them up in the space you want to apply wallpaper. Over time, you'll figure out which one resonates the best in that room.

Also, when it comes to wallpaper, buy all of the wallpaper you want at once and get a little bit extra. This ensures the consistency of the dye and/or other chemicals used for the colors.

Hand-printed wallpaper, the ceiling of the dining room at Mill Rose Inn, Half Moon Bay, San Mateo, CA.

Hand-printed wallpaper, the ceiling of the dining room at Mill Rose Inn, Half Moon Bay, San Mateo, CA.

7. Ceiling Wallpaper

Homeowners are getting rid of popcorn ceilings and replacing them with textures. One trend that’s big is to wallpaper the ceiling. You can put something up top that’s whimsical or sleek and contemporary.

The ceiling is a place in your home where you can play with patterns. Just be careful not to get too pattern-happy with your ceiling, walls, floor, and furniture. You want to keep to a cohesive theme. A smart wallpaper is one that you’ll want to keep for years to come. A nursery with specialized ceiling wallpaper might bore your child once they get a little older.

Residential designs often follow the trends of what takes place in commercial interior design. Looking at boutique hotels can give you an idea of what will be trendy in the future.

Residential designs often follow the trends of what takes place in commercial interior design. Looking at boutique hotels can give you an idea of what will be trendy in the future.

8. Look to Boutique Hotels for Ideas

At this point in time, people want their homes to look posh. They want their living room to be Instagram-worthy. There is joy in trying to make your home a special place just for you and your loved ones.

Taking trips to boutique hotels in your area might lead to unexpected inspiration. Notice what kind of lamp fixtures they have installed. Is there a stunning paint color that grabs your attention? Consider the unique features you see and how they come together to make a unified whole. There might be things you come across that you've never considered:

  • Adding a second fireplace
  • Victorian furniture
  • Chandeliers
  • Stained glass windows
  • Lavish rugs
  • New railing for the stairs
  • Fountains
  • A nook turned into a tearoom
Art Nouveau is making a comeback for its focus on forms related to plants and flowers. The floor of this elaborate room plays off the Art Nouveau style. The staircase and chandelier have shapes related to the design movement.

Art Nouveau is making a comeback for its focus on forms related to plants and flowers. The floor of this elaborate room plays off the Art Nouveau style. The staircase and chandelier have shapes related to the design movement.

9. Art Nouveau

There is a slight comeback to Art Nouveau. It makes sense because people are looking for ways to add more plants into their homes, and this style relates to nature. Art Nouveau was popular between 1890 and 1910.

Objects from this style are supposed to suggest movement. It plays off the natural curves of flora. The style can often be found in furniture, glass art, textiles, metalwork, and jewelry. Art Nouveau was eventually replaced with Art Deco in the 1920s. Art Deco is also making a comeback as a way for people to counter the distilled modern look.

Art Nouveau is known for its spiral staircases with rails that have the forms of plants, bell-shaped lamps, paintings on screens and glass, blown glass, metalwork of fairies and birds, and furniture with elaborate carvings.

Curvy furniture has become popular for a number of reasons. You don't have to worry about running into sharp edges or corners. Curves look softer and more welcoming than sharp lines. Curves are associated with relaxing and are a principle of yin.

Curvy furniture has become popular for a number of reasons. You don't have to worry about running into sharp edges or corners. Curves look softer and more welcoming than sharp lines. Curves are associated with relaxing and are a principle of yin.

10. Curvy Furniture

In order to give your room a touch of dimension, add curvy furniture. You’re less likely to run into sharp edges when items in your home are curved.

In feng shui, curves are associated with yin. Yin is about relaxation whereas yang is about increasing energy. To put it simply, curved furniture works well in spaces where you want to communicate a sense of community, such as in the living room and kitchen.

Curvy furniture can also break up the monotony of straight lines and sharp corners that tend to dominate rooms. Curves can also help you to conserve more space in rooms.

11. Remove a Wall

Removing a wall to make more space in your home is a popular trend. It's possible for homeowners to take down their own wall if they have the right tools and know-how. In many cases, you'll want to contact a contractor.

People are looking for ways to optimize their space. Small compartment-style rooms aren't desirable right now. More space feels luxurious. It's easier to navigate homes when you're not lost in a labyrinth maze of halls and funky nooks. Adding a room to your house is also on trend, if you can get it approved with your HOA, etc.

For your house's resale value, removing a wall or adding a room are two of the best ways to increase value. Essentially, more square footage = a higher price tag.

12. Outdoor Shower

People want a way to wash up outside, so one of the hot DIY projects right now is to install an outdoor shower. Need some inspiration? Google Images is full of ideas with fancy wooden enclosures with adjustable showerheads. An outdoor shower is great if you live in an area with a scenic view. It's also nice to have a quick rinse after a dip in the pool.

The ideas are endless: Fit in a shower chair, use a rain showerhead, add a fountain, install LED lights, add tile flooring, or add some plants. Just make sure, there's no way for people to peek in on you. There are YouTube videos for how to build a shower and install plumbing. Again, it's wise to call a contractor unless you have the right skills.

Younger people are looking to what was trendy in their grandparents' or great-grandparents' time. A lot of people would prefer retro rather than contemporary. Some of the looks of the past had more life and individuality to them.

Younger people are looking to what was trendy in their grandparents' or great-grandparents' time. A lot of people would prefer retro rather than contemporary. Some of the looks of the past had more life and individuality to them.

13. Think Like Your Grandparents

People are buying older houses, partly out of necessity and partly because things were built better in the past. New builds are often made cheaply—they come with an assortment of problems. A house that was built in the '60s, '70s, or '80s has proven it can weather the years. You want a house that has good bones, not just cutesy amenities.

When it comes to interior design, think back on the things your grandparents did around the house. Add glass candy dishes to rooms and stash treats, add lace doilies to side tables, buy plaid recliners, put up vintage movie posters, install shaggy carpet that's in magical '70s hues (like ochre), use antique TV trays, find vintage bedframes, apply floral wallpaper, place rocking chairs on the porch, and install art deco kitchen appliances.

Antiques add a touch of whimsy. They help break up the monotony of a room that only has modern furniture in it.

Antiques add a touch of whimsy. They help break up the monotony of a room that only has modern furniture in it.

14. Antiques

Antiques can add mystique to a room. Sometimes a room can be bogged down by items that are all from the same year (roughly). Furniture sets can be convenient, but they can come off as lifeless. To spice things up, consider going to flea markets, estate sales, and eBay for unique accents and accessories.

When the economy is bad, more people look to secondhand items. The hipster movement saw a resurgence following the 2008 recession. When you're working with a tight budget, it's far easier to bulk up on thrifted goods rather than newer items.

My mom was a big fan of collecting antique blue glass; she’d spend Saturdays looking for glass bottles, birds, and candy dishes. I think the blue antiques made our home feel more relaxed as if there was a seaside vibe. My point? Little knick-knacks can do wonders to make your home feel like it’s your own.

Hardwood floors are more desirable than other floorings that come off as artificial or synthetic. People want natural elements in their home.

Hardwood floors are more desirable than other floorings that come off as artificial or synthetic. People want natural elements in their home.

15. Hardwood Floors

Skip imitation wood and linoleum. People take pride in their hardwood floors. A lot of people get upset when they find out a property has good hardwood floors that have been covered up by another material.

Hardwood floors are easier to clean than carpets, so it's a pro if you have kids and/or pets (which are notoriously messy).

Patterned furniture can give your rooms more personality. Patterns add complexity and dimension.

Patterned furniture can give your rooms more personality. Patterns add complexity and dimension.

16. Patterned Furniture

Instead of solid-colored furniture, try going for something a little more eccentric. Think floral patterns from the ’90s, zigzags, and animal prints. You can make your patterned furniture match together with solid-colored accent pillows and solid-colored curtains.

Patterns bring attention; they’ll make your furniture look more like art pieces. Just make sure that you don’t get too many furniture pieces in different patterns and end up with a clashy room. When things clash too much, it can actually make a room feel smaller.

I recommend deciding what you want to do with your walls before buying furniture. If you want ravishing wallpaper then patterned furniture might be a bit much. If you like beige paint then you can do just about anything with furniture.

Crown molding gives your ceiling more character. It adds a hint of elegance.

Crown molding gives your ceiling more character. It adds a hint of elegance.

17. Crown Molding

Get fancy with your ceilings and add crown molding. This can add texture and dimension to your room. Done correctly it can look elegant. This is a way that you can add some flair to your room without going overboard.

The decorative trim highlights the split from ceiling to wall and gives rooms a more polished look. Crown molding has been around for centuries. It can make a room feel taller, giving the illusion that there is more space.

Some of the most common materials for crown molding are:

  • Wood: It's more durable than synthetic options. Home improvement stores carry a variety of hardwoods, which is great if you want to stain it. There is also primed wood for painted crown molding.
  • Medium density fiberboard (MDF): It's less expensive than wood; however, it has a tendency to sag over time, especially if not installed properly. It's also susceptible to water damage.
  • Polyurethane or PVC: This is a great option for bathrooms and other areas with high to medium moisture. It's waterproof and lightweight. It's also easy to cut, making it easy for those who want to install it themselves.
Japanese aesthetics are desirable for homes right now, whether taken from a traditional look or something more futuristic. Bamboo, simple plants, and minimalism are ways to incorporate Japanese aesthetics.

Japanese aesthetics are desirable for homes right now, whether taken from a traditional look or something more futuristic. Bamboo, simple plants, and minimalism are ways to incorporate Japanese aesthetics.

18. Look to Japan

When it comes to decorating, there are two main camps right now: those who want to add whimsical patterns and interesting designs... and those who want to go the minimalist route. It's on trend to look at Japan's interior design tips and tricks. People are looking less to Scandinavian furniture and more to Japanese minimalism.

When it comes to creating the right look, consider adding plants, bamboo, water features, Asian art, pottery, and miniature pagodas. Study up on zen gardens and meditative spaces. Bamboo counters and panels can make your rooms look more natural. Fewer items will give you more space. Consider relying more on cushions than an abundance of furniture. Tatami is a type of flooring for traditional Japanese-style rooms.

Japan also has the latest tech. It might be wise to study up on trends over there to find new technology that's sleek and convenient.

For ease of working in the kitchen, an island is highly desirable. This is also a great entertaining space.

For ease of working in the kitchen, an island is highly desirable. This is also a great entertaining space.

19. Kitchen Islands

Do you have a home with a u-shaped kitchen counter? These days people prefer space and variety. The kitchen island trend isn't going away anytime soon. It’s easier to work with a kitchen island where you can chop up fruits and veggies from any side, rather than be restricted to the confines of the u-shape counter. Kitchen islands can be built into the floor or have mobility.

You could get rid of your old counters and cabinets and remove a wall. Then add a kitchen island. Your kitchen will look more spacious and modern. You could add these perks to your island: cabinets with shelves, compartments for utensils, and an expandable wing.

Extra storage is a major bonus. People like it when there is more surface space and when their objects are stored neatly and out of sight.

Minimalism keeps things simple and subdued. There is a push for more space and fewer objects.

Minimalism keeps things simple and subdued. There is a push for more space and fewer objects.

20. Open Up Space With Minimalism

I know I've mentioned it already in different ways throughout this article, but I really want to make it clear that having more space is a top priority for many. As much as people are turning to cool trends and Instagram-worthy remodels, there are a lot of people who want things as simple as possible.

When you have less furniture and things, you have more space. Fewer distractions can make it easier to think, and it makes you feel tidier. There is a reason that Marie Kondo's philosophies are still getting praised years after her Netflix Tidying Up special.

It's not just about having less. It's also about optimizing your storage space and closets. When things have a designated space, it makes it easier for you to find what you need and want. Minimalism is often found in interior design trends in Scandinavia and Japan. Instead of trying to add more to your home to liven it up, consider removing the clutter.

Resources

  1. Decorilla main page. Accessed 15 Nov. 2022.
  2. Expertise for the article: Devin Shaffer, Lead Interior Designer at Decorilla
  3. Goss, Jared (2014). French Art Deco. Metropolitan Museum of Art
  4. Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art Nouveau
  5. Heller, Steven, and Seymour Chwast, Graphic Style from Victorian to Digital, new ed. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2001.
  6. Instagram: couple working on a Victorian house in Springfield, MO.
  7. Kondo, Marie. Marie Kondo's Kurashi at Home: How to Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up). Ten Speed Press, 2022.
  8. Ormiston, Rosalind; Robinson, Michael (2013). Art Nouveau – Posters, Illustration and Fine Art. Flame Tree Publishing.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Andrea Lawrence

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