Our homes are our sanctuaries — and, these days, they are often our offices, our classrooms and our gyms, too.
"I think the pandemic has brought more attention to how we spend time in our homes," says Callie Wiens, dietitian turned home decorator.
In 2018, Wiens and her husband, Eric, began renovating their 1915 North Shore bungalow.
"We were our own contractors. We lived upstairs while we completely gutted the downstairs," she says. Her friends and neighbors took note of her talent and soon began to approach her for help redoing their own rooms or selecting accent pieces.
"[Interior design] is just a side hustle for now. Whatever I can do while still having a toddler at home," Wiens says.
For ideas, she largely relies on her instinct. But she also follows home design accounts on social media to stay atop the latest trends — which, she says, are all about adapting to the changing world around us.
Here, Wiens walks us through the top design trends predicted for 2022.
Early in the pandemic, homeowners began converting underutilized space to accommodate their day-to-day needs. Kitchen islands became workspaces; spare bedrooms became gyms; and outdoor kitchens — now being constructed in record numbers — became places outside the home to entertain.
Though born of necessity, it's become about making the most of every square foot.
And now, multifunctional furnishings — the latest leg of the trend — help to easily convert rooms.
A lift-top coffee table, for example, becomes a desk; a foldable dining table becomes a bench; and storage baskets on wheels let you roll away gym or office equipment when not in use. As the trend grows, multiuse pieces are becoming more affordable and more creative, often taking design cues from the minimalist movement, which, says Wiens, is still a top trend — but with a new twist.
"Less is more" is the essence of the ever-growing minimalist design trend, especially embraced by the millennial generation.
"The cool thing about minimalism is that it highlights the central purpose of a room and gives you the opportunity to introduce interesting visual elements," Wiens says.
The new emphasis of the trend is on "cozy," combining a pared-down style with inviting details. The goal, she says, is to be clutter-free while adding warm textures through cushy rugs, houseplants or layered throw pillows. Neutral hues, like cream, white, black and gray, are popular within these spaces, and "wood tones are huge right now," Wiens says.
In fact, wood also plays a key role in another big trend: the rise of nature-inspired design, characterized by the use of organic materials. More wood, more glass and more greenery, for example.
"I think people are moving away from wanting their homes to feel formal, and instead wanting them to feel laid back but still pulled together," Wiens says.
Popular wood-related pieces include bamboo shades, wicker or rattan furniture and anything white oak. "And reclaimed wood is not going anywhere," she says.
More than an aesthetic, the trend highlights sustainability.
"People want to invest in sustainably made, higher quality products," says Wiens.
Eco-friendly options can include non-toxic paint and LED lighting, as well as goods made from recycled materials, which can be more expensive. In choosing which items to invest in, Wiens suggests starting with "the stuff you use every day: your sofa; your bed; your dining table."
Or, for a more affordable alternative, she says, start thrifting.
Supply chain disruptions have created longer than ever wait times for furniture and mattresses.
"People are waiting six months to a year for new pieces," Wiens says.
Many home designers are now turning to antique stores or online marketplaces in search of secondhand furnishings, as well as preowned art and other home décor. Persian and Turkish rugs are also making a comeback, Wiens says.
The trend is bolstered by more than supply chain issues. It is also influenced by the focus on sustainability and our desire for cozier, unique spaces. Vintage pieces help make a home one-of-a-kind, Wiens says. And at the end of the day, that should be the goal of any design project. Our homes, after all, are more than our sanctuaries — they are reflections of who we are.