Cover Available at W. Atelier, the Clam pendant light by Ahm & Lund is among the new collections from Fritz Hansen

Start your new year right by making stylish updates to your interior and create a soothing space you’ll love living in

It's a new year, and that translates to new shifts and directions in design that can inspire us to transform and improve our nests. From the soothing colour palette that lends a sense of comfort to inspiring forms and finishes that are gaining popularity, we highlight the hottest decor concepts to keep in mind for the new year. 

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Colour: Light and off-white tones

According to AkzoNobel’s Global Aesthetic Center, which tracks colour trends, while neutral tones have dominated in the past decade, the trend now leans towards lighter and brighter colours, in response to the need for positivity during the global pandemic.

This light and off-white palette is a classic look that stands the test of time; it continues to find steadfast fans among minimalists. Layer various textiles and materials in cream and neutral hues to keep the look interesting and tactile.

 

Adding just one accent piece in a striking colour helps, too; these include pastel-toned pieces in colours such as Bright Skies, the Dulux Colour of the Year 2022, the trending shade selected by AkzoNobel’s colour experts for paint brand Dulux.

“After a spell of feeling shut in, we crave expansion—the great outdoors, the open air, a fresh approach and a new start,” says Heleen Van Gent, creative director of AkzoNobel’s Global Aesthetic Center. “Our Colour of the Year is a light, airy and optimistic shade that encapsulates a breath of fresh air.”

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Form: New Icons

These unique designs may be well set to become the new classics. Choose accent pieces feature striking yet sleek sculptural forms that will do well to stand the test of time; highlights include the Living Divani Lemni armchair by Marco Lavit, as well as the Classicon Sol side tables, both available at Space Furniture.

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Material: Sustainable Sources

More furniture brands are striving to minimise their environmental impact by producing collections made with recyclable, eco-conscious materials. “These brands are using materials at the end of their life cycle, or materials that can be recovered or disposed of properly. The idea is to prolong the product’s entire life cycle to reduce waste,” says Isabella Lim, senior marketing executive at Space Furniture.

Such sustainably designed pieces include the biodegradable and compostable Andreu World Nuez Lounge Bio chair by Patricia Urquiola, which is manufactured from a thermopolymer generated by living microorganisms. 

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Style: Work Smart

With many of us working from home, there will continue to be a demand for new home office furniture. According to Lim, managing director of Xtra, a well-designed study should preserve a sense of home but also function efficiently as a productive place for work. “Think about office ergonomics and be sure that the desk and chair you choose are the appropriate height for your body and can support you through many hours of use,” he says. 

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Form: Cuddle Up

Create a cocooning environment in your home with furnishings in curved forms and soft textures. With their snug, rounded proportions, these lounge-worthy pieces will help make your home feel like a cosy sanctuary.

Start with an accent rug or a round lamp as an instant mood lifter, and pair it with equally cuddly soft furnishings when you’re ready to invest in this retro-influenced style to complete the soothing look.

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Finish: Metallic Details

Metallic finishes easily add a touch of glamour to your furnishings. These standout pieces feature coatings that take inspiration from the gloss and texture of metals, creating attractive accent pieces that are instant conversation starters, wherever they may be placed in your home.

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Style: Cottagecore

Because of the pandemic, many city dwellers are now dreaming of countryside houses, so it’s no surprise that cottagecore—a rustic aesthetic inspired by rural environments—is in vogue.

“We love cottagecore! I think this trend responds to people’s desire today to be more grounded, settled, and closer to the land and the forests,” says JJ Acuna, founder of JJ Acuna / Bespoke Studio. “That said, you don’t have to live in a remote rural location to appreciate the grounded materiality of cottagecore; you can simply find beautiful ways to incorporate the style into your urban home,” he says. For one of his clients, he created a modern rustic kitchen by using a mix of oak and wicker furnishings, as well as terracotta and brick tiles. 

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Finish: Lacquer

Furnishings with vibrant lacquered finishes fit the mood for nostalgia, particularly when paired with retro-influenced materials such as terrazzo and sprightly hues. This glossy finish also adds a sleek touch to your interiors. Take a decor cue from these vibrant collections and spaces that make full use of the glossy sheen that comes with the lacquered coating.

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Form: Multifunctional Furniture

Multifunctional furniture continues to be popular, and it’s easy to see why. Such space-saving designs can contribute to an uncluttered look, which can be both aesthetically appealing and mentally calming. 

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Style: Outdoor Furniture

Furniture retailers have observed an increased interest in outdoor furniture with the functionality of indoor furniture. Terence Choo, marketing and public relations manager of P5 Studio, says there’s been more interest than before in rattan, wicker and jute outdoor furniture and decor.

According to Nikki Hunt, founder of Design Intervention, both outdoor furnishings and other verdant touches can help our appreciation of nature, through relaxing ways that boost our well-being. “If you are lucky enough to live in a home with a garden, positioning a seating arrangement to optimise a verdant view would be an easy design tactic,” she says. 

“Simply incorporating house plants into our rooms or even pictures of trees into our designs can also help alleviate stress. These inexpensive design elements not only look great, but can genuinely improve our health at the same time.”

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Style: Maximalist Spirit

“The maximalist interior is all about showcasing what delights you—whether through displaying your treasured collections or your favourite colour in a home that truly reflects who you are and what you love to boost your mood and make you feel great,” says Hunt of Design Intervention. “Minimalists follow the less-is-more mantra, while maximalists espouse that if something makes you smile, it can’t be wrong. Minimalist interiors imbue serenity and embrace simplicity, while maximalist spaces radiate energy and delight in the unexpected.”

 

While pundits have alluded to the resurgence of the maximalist style as a recent reaction to the austere minimalism that reigned in the last two decades, Hunt is certain this dramatic style is here to stay. “I like the sense of individuality that these rooms possess; in a world where easy access to information has meant that style has become increasingly homogenised, maximalist style is all about self-expression.”

Hunt also advises editing your maximalist look to keep it cohesive and visually appealing. Furnishings with decadent fabrics, rich colours, exuberant patterns and elaborate detailing are among such elements of maximalism, and it takes a knack to pair these contrasting features together.

“Maximalism is not chaos; it is a result of deliberately curated choices,” she says. “Successful maximalist style is a meticulous balancing act. These rooms can be bright and bold, yet each element is carefully curated to achieve a style that inspires and revitalises rather than overpowers.” 

Read more: Home Tour: A Maximalist Apartment that Makes Tropical Style Glamorous

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Style: Retro Influences

Expect more retro-influenced elements to show up in the coming year. “With a retro-inspired concept, you can transport people to the past and create a certain atmosphere,” says Acuna.

When designing a retro-inspired home, Acuna recommends using colours, patterns and shapes found in interiors from the 1950s to the ‘80s, and to use what works best with your contemporary pieces. “The idea is to be curatorial when designing to evoke nostalgia. Rather than go all out, give a nod to the past with the right furnishings and decor items to keep things fresh and timeless,” he says. These include curvy banquette sofas, bespoke mirrors, tables crafted with materials such as green or red marble, along with mid-century modern timber panels, and muted red-orange tones.

Neo of EightyTwo likes to add retro touches with materials such as terrazzo, rattan or lacquered wood surfaces, and shades of mustard yellow or desaturated green. To put together an effective retro-inspired scheme, Neo suggests including retro products such as a vinyl disc player, or antique wall clock or bar trolly for a blast from the past. “Try to combine materials and furniture from the same era to create a sense of continuity within the space,” he says.

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