Laura Fenton for Real Simple on home trends that stand the test of time. Let the experienced and successful remodeling contractors at SRB Signature Kitchen & Bath help you create your next dream kitchen or bath.
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Escape the unforgiving trend cycle with these strategic design choices from experts.
At the beginning of every year, the media is flooded with trend forecasting for the months ahead. But in today’s trend cycle, styles come and go faster than ever. “Instagram and TikTok are making it extremely hard for trends not to be a flash in the pan,” says Monica Khemsurov, co-founder of Sight Unseen and co-author of the book How to Live with Objects. So, before swapping out your home interiors for something you saw on your social media feeds, it’s helpful to figure out what home design trends have staying power—and which ones are just a passing fad.
To help us differentiate between the trendy and the timeless, we asked Khemsurov and other design pros to weigh in. They helped us determine which interior trends might be worth investing in–and gave us tips to ensure that you’ll still love them for years to come.
However, all the experts we spoke to advised not to worry too much about what’s in or out of style. What’s more important is to zero in on what you love and embrace it, trends be damned! “If you worry too much about making mistakes, everything in your home ends up looking very plain,” Khemsurov says. So, take these trend recommendations with a grain of salt and check your gut to make sure they resonate with you.
For interior designer April Gandy and her clients, black is the “it” color right now. “I think a lot of people are tired of the safe whites and grays; they want to do something different,” says Gandy, who is the founder of Alluring Designs in Chicago. She notes that even if you’re not keen on black, specifically, darker, moody rooms in general are what are drawing clients in this year.
Natural Stone & Travertine
Some design experts felt like marble had too much of a moment in 2022, but Noah Morse, founder of the furniture brand Sundays, says stone is still on the upswing. “Marble and travertine are quality natural materials that will never go out of style,” he says. His advice to make stone timeless is to embrace rounded edges on natural stone (rather than sharp, modern corners). You might also want to steer clear of the high-contrast marble countertops: They may garner tons of likes on Insta, but it’s safer to opt for a more natural-looking finish on something that will be fixed in place for decades.
Another stone-related trend Gandy sees still gaining popularity are slab backsplashes, where the material of counters is carried up onto the walls. Not only does this style look sleek, it is easy to maintain. For a lasting look, Gandy says, “I personally like something that’s clean and simple—that’s the easiest way to see your investment through the long-term. If you’re not getting crazy with patterns it should still be relevant in 10 or 20 years.”
Three-dimensional tiles are having a moment across the board, but Gandy points specifically to fluted tiles as something on her radar for 2023 (she’s even considering them for her own home). Gandy says she normally cautions against a trendy tile, but notes that fluted tiles have a particularly timeless quality. “Fluted is a look that has both an Art Deco feel and is also more classical,” she says (think of all those fluted columns in classical architecture).
Metal, Especially Iron
Hand-hewn metal is making a comeback. Khemsurov points out that of-the-moment furniture showroom Bruises Gallery is showcasing semi-Brutalist metal furniture right now, and, in a recent trend forecasting interview with Vogue, designer Jake Arnold cited iron details “inspired by Giacometti” as a coming trend, as well. The good news is that wrought iron accents can be very affordable in the form of candlesticks, small sculptures, and side tables, and they pair well with both mid century-inspired and historic styles you may already have in your home.
Curves & Arches
Curves and arches aren’t going anywhere in 2023, but the arch motif may have already reached its peak, so think twice about adding these in an architectural way, like an arched doorway or built-in niche. Instead, opt for furniture or accent pieces that embrace the curvy trend.
Italian design of the 1950s and ’60s
One high-end design trend that Khemsurov thinks still has room to grow and trickle down to the mainstream is the revival of mid-century Italian design. Italian designs of the 1970s have certainly been big in recent years. You know that bulbous sofa you (probably) saw all over Instagram? You were looking at designer Mario Bellini’s “Camaleonda” sofa, which was originally designed in 1970 (and likely some replicas too). And CB2 went even further back in Italian design, recently introducing a collection of Gianfranco Frattini’s designs from the ’50s and ’60s.
Old World in the Mix
After years of manufactured mid-century modern styles, some are starting to trade in the clean lines and minimal designs for something a bit more Old World. Specifically, dark wood with antique, hand-carved accents are on the rise, according to Khemsurov. She describes the look as an Italian or French “villa vibe.” And Morse notes that incorporating this trend isn’t about changing your style completely, but rather, mixing it up. “Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles if they bring you joy,” he says. “There’s nothing wrong with combining traditional with modern design.”
You may have seen rooms with colorful or contrasting ceilings on Instagram or Pinterest and wondered if it translates well in real life. Gandy says that it’s a trend worth trying for its ability to make a big impact with relatively minimal effort. “Most of the clients that I present the idea to say they never even considered [painting their ceilings] any other color than white,” she says. And if you don’t like it, Gandy points out: It’s only paint.
Again and again designers told us that they see color making a comeback. After years of interiors drowned in neutrals, designers are seeing their clients embracing bolder colors. If you want to follow suit, there are a few tips to keep in mind. With the speed of today’s trend cycle, you should worry less about finding a trendy color (it’ll be out of style by next month anyway), and focus more on choosing a color you like. If your home is currently decked out in beige, you can ease into the transition by choosing a hue you like and opting for a mid-tone with a little bit of dirt or earthiness in the color. This way, the shade will be more livable than a pure or more saturated hue, say the pros.