As we enter the third year of the pandemic, the home continues to work hard to fulfill its roles as sanctuary and workspace. It is imperative to do it according to your tastes and needs. Here are some trendy ways to create a harmonious and elegant living experience.
Glass half full
The look and feel of the spaces we occupy can have a huge impact on our moods; it’s our superpower as designers! The pandemic has increased that tenfold, which is why optimism is my main trend in 2022.
Start with the color. Color psychology tells us that yellow is the most optimistic hue, followed closely by orange and purple. Red and black are generally off limits for residential interiors, but green and blue can work if you want a more serene and thoughtful vibe. For neutral spaces such as floors, walls, and ceilings, beware of bright white, which can be sterile; prefer off-white, ivory or dove-gray instead.
The other quick gain is lighting. Maximize natural light by removing anything blocking it: Curtains or a cabinet are easy, but you might want to dig deeper. Replace a wooden front door with a glass door; replace bulky window frames with something more elegant. And of course, you can always ‘pretend’ – floor-to-ceiling mirrors and glossy wall paint bounce natural light around the room, while soft white LED bulbs mimic the midday sun.
Finally, add upbeat flourishes with upbeat artwork, bold photographs, statues, books, or even inspirational 3D or 2D text quotes from your favorite author, leader, or singer.
Earthy and unfinished materials
With the amount of time we’ve spent indoors, nature’s rustic imperfection has become more and more desirable. Textures are your friends here, with unvarnished wood furniture and accessories the quick and obvious fix.
Rugs and throws are another standard solution, while curtains are a more permanent (albeit more expensive) solution. For maximum impact, hit the walls. The textured paint and wallpaper are quite simple, but you can opt for a characteristic wall clad in a natural material such as wood, slate, leather or raw marble.
Then there’s biophilia – the philosophy of bringing the outside in. For plants, go for something like a yucca that has a trunk.
Also, don’t stay away from artificial plants; the effect on your mood is much the same, but with less hassle.
If you have an outdoor space like a balcony or garden, bridge the gap between it and your interior. This is easier said than done, as most homes have fixed barriers between these spaces. Steal the tricks employed by restaurateurs, who solve this dilemma with sliding or folding doors, canopy blinds, fans and radiators, to extend the indoor-outdoor season.
A final word on multisensory design. In the interiors, we think above all visual, but without neglecting the other senses. For the sense of smell, opt for scented candles or oils. Tactility is also very important (especially when we’re locked inside), and these earthy, unfinished materials are gorgeous to touch. They also contribute to the acoustics by attenuating the echo.
Goodbye open-plan, hello ‘Zoom room’
Open plan homes look great in magazine photoshoots, but they are definitely not suitable for those who work from home, especially if you have a family. Imagine the cacophony: mom and dad at work, while the children participate in a debate at school. Add grandparents yelling grocery orders over the phone and you have a perfect storm.
Enter the “zoom room”. There are three essential characteristics that you must master: a good background, strong lighting, and acoustic privacy. Before you break them down, remember that it’s not about having a spare bedroom. I’ve had calls with senior executives in huge villas that fail epically, and others who live in tiny apartments that nail it down.
First of all, the look. The background doesn’t have to be amazing (shelves are a safe bet), but the camera angle and lighting are. Put your laptop on a stack of books and buy a $ 30 ring light from Amazon, the job is done. Natural light is great, but I was caught off guard by long meetings that started late in the afternoon with beautiful light from a window and ended with me in almost total darkness.
Then there is the acoustics. If you are short on space, you can buy or build padded room dividers inexpensively. Or just move freestanding shelves into position. Even if you have the luxury of a dedicated room, tone down the sound. Carpets, wallpaper, plants, books all absorb the echo well. There really is no excuse: until recently, acoustic panels were an expensive specialty product for corporate offices; now Ikea sells one.
We all need our homes to do a lot more heavy lifting these days. In addition to their traditional roles of eating, sleeping and relaxing, during the pandemic they had to take on the roles of gymnasium, office, cafe, cinema, school, spa, playroom … I could go on.
The challenge for residential designers is to bring all of these new experiences together in one space. There is only one solution: the multifunction. This applies to both versatile furniture and creative design.
An example: create a hybrid yoga studio and cinema room. These may seem improbable – the peaceful serenity of sun salutations versus eating popcorn while watching No way home. But think about it: the screen and speakers for your ashtanga tutorials are no different from the home video surround sound system your kids love for TV. Lay out a few ottomans around the sides of the room and you are good to go.
Amid all the chaos and madness of Covid life, many of us crave a little place that we can call our own. As always, it’s easier if you have room to play, but it’s not all about square footage. Here are three tips for creating a sanctuary.
First of all, the lighting. Find a room or part of a room where you can install a light dimmer. It could be your bedroom, bathroom, or a corner of the living room.
Second, set up comfortable seating that is – and this is crucial – different from your usual task or your dining room chairs. Think of an ottoman, lounge chair, or armchair that you can sink into. The point is, it has to be backward (rather than forward) reclining seats that we use during the normal day.
Finally, think about smell, sound and touch. Get scent sticks, a speaker to play relaxing music, and a faux fur rug to snuggle up to.
There is a certain comfort in reconnecting with our childhood, hence the revival of retro residential. We’re not suggesting you go all the way to the 1970s with tie-dye wallpaper, but subtle vintage accents can add real character. Consider a vinyl record player, Pac-Man arcade machine, or retro geometry in art.
A close cousin uses Vuja’s theory of – seeing the familiar with fresh eyes.
Color block and monochrome palettes will fade to make way for patterns this year. In search of trends, take inspiration from the different collections from the spring 2022 fashion shows: graphic lines, illustrated prints, optical geometries and deconstructed patterns will all find their place in upholstery and floor coverings.
Contrasting patterns will also be a big trend this year.
From combining tiles with vintage flowers, stripes with hand sketches, and intricate tile effects with colored stripes, the possibilities are endless.
Hack your space
A final transformative trend to keep in mind for 2022 is hacking, which is quick changes you can make over a weekend, rather than a complete overhaul.
No matter where we live in the world, we all hope that the current reality of lockdowns and home schooling is a temporary phase rather than a permanent one. A short-term problem requires short-term solutions, hence the emphasis on quick and easy hacks.
Many of them are mentioned above. To recap, our five favorite residential tips are walls (textured paint or wallpaper); lighting (mirrors and soft white LEDs); sanctuary spaces (candles, music and an inclined seat); optimism (a painting, a book or an inspirational quote) and multifunctional spaces.
Updated: January 5, 2022, 04:58