Trends can be a skein of yarn unravelling from the prior year, sometimes with a new twist here and there, or ending abruptly — like the defunct fad for beaded curtains, rag-rolled walls, or, perhaps worst of all, carpeted bathrooms. For 2022, expect wiser design options, with a continued emphasis on sustainability and natural materials, and a nod toward improving the versatility of spaces, especially since working from home appears to be here to stay. While minimalism is still on-trend, there's movement toward incorporating some softer flourishes, particularly using natural elements. And there's a bit of playfulness entering the design world, with unexpected use of wallcoverings and colorful tiles to create more personalized spaces.
A SOFT TOUCH
Though minimalism still reigns, for rooms that need a bit more warmth or softness, there's no better option than adding velvet.
"Velvet has always been a luxury covering for high-end furnishings," says Tin Roof founder Heather Hanley, noting that it was traditionally made of silk, thus limited to the wealthy or royalty.
Not anymore. Velvet can be made from cotton, but also from synthetic materials that look and feel like silk, says Hanley, yet are more durable and reasonably priced.
The misconception about velvet being delicate or difficult-to-care for is just that, says Hanley. Rub or crush marks can be steamed out, but otherwise that wearing is part of velvet's charm.
"Velvet, like a beautiful leather, will patina with wear over the ages," she says.
An affordable entry into velvet might be pillows or a set of long, lush curtains. And while patterned velvet can be a bit kitschy, says Hanley, it's also fun in small doses.
In their Sprague Avenue location, the Tin Roof carries a range of products in velvet — sofas, chaise lounges, dining chairs, ottomans and pillows — that can be customized by color and pattern.
Hanley's personal favorite application of velvet, though, is on bed frames and tufted headboards, such as for the house they styled for 2021's Fall Festival of Homes.
Subway tile is a 117-year-old trend that has yet to fade, making its first appearance on the walls of New York City's subterranean transit system in 1904. Yet you can say goodbye to plain ol' industrial glazed white tiles.
Instead search out the handcrafted look, says Design Tile & Flooring's in-house designer Deanna Davydenko. That might be revealed through a tile's variegated colors, subtle variations in surface texture and finish, and even intentionally varied glazes or slightly less-than-perfect edges. As for color, "bright, vivid colors are coming back," says Davydenko, who has especially seen interest in blues and greens — she notes both are calming hues. As for shape, says Davydenko, "Hexagon tiles are definitely still a thing." Look for these in high-contrast, mural-like applications with mixed colors, shapes and even textures.
Designers are also playing with tile installation. Herringbone patterns can produce an updated traditional look, while vertical stacks or grid stacks offer a more contemporary vibe.
And tile is being more expansively applied — in addition to tile in the shower, for example, the tile might wrap up onto the ceiling or cover a bathroom's whole wall.
Also popular, says Davydenko, are brass accents, either in between tiles or along the top edge.
Dramatic wall designs reflect a new willingness to add unique flair to a space. But if you grew up in a home with distinct wallpaper — a giant floral pattern, perhaps, or a faux mural of fantastical animals — you've probably got the image seared into your brain. And if you've ever tried to remove that wallpaper, you'll never forget that experience either.
Fear not! Wallpaper has come a long way over the centuries and has benefited from new technologies, making it a cost-effective way to create a big impact in any space.
"There used to be a pretty big downside to wallpaper because it wasn't easy to remove, and when you did it left tons of texture on the wall from the glues," says Strohmaier Construction co-founder Raena Strohmaier.
That's all changed. They've been working with both wallpaper and vinyl decals that are easy to remove when the time comes. For the bedroom of a pre-teen in a south Spokane home featured at the Fall Festival of Homes, they used a "pre-pasted wallpaper" from Anewall, a Canadian company, specifically designed for quick and easy removal — renters and frequent DIY-ers take note — and paired it with black window trim for a contemporary look.
"We chose this wallpaper to be a focal point and grounding piece," says Strohmaier, noting that they wanted something the young occupant would enjoy now, but also as she gets older.
In another room, they used decals (from Urbanwalls), which are separate pieces of specialized vinyl that are also easy to remove but are not ideal for textured walls.
The drawback to decals lies in the intricacy of the design.
"We did have to cut each decal out and plan for placement before having them installed," says Strohmaier, "so it's a little more time consuming with regards to planning, but that also allows for more options of placement and design."
Sustainability and eco-friendly design are forecast to be important to consumers in 2022. And a top choice for illustrating that commitment is through the use of wood, particularly reclaimed wood.
"There are hundreds of non-usable barns out there," says Bruce Johnson, a longtime lumberman who started ReHistoric Wood Products with business partner John Morrow in 2008 with the wood they salvaged from a Palouse-area grain elevator.
They sell around 200 products, but the most popular is mixed-patina interior and exterior paneling, which can be sealed to withstand weather. The woods they recover — mostly Douglas fir, along with some pine, tamarack and spruce — are too soft to be used for flooring. ReHistoric also gets calls for fireplace mantles and live edge slabs, which take longer to cure than most people realize: one year per inch of thickness, with slabs often running three or more inches in depth. So plan ahead.
Working with designers, architects, builders and developers, ReHistoric does both residential and commercial projects, including the new Spokane Conservation District building and Pilgrim's Market in Coeur d'Alene.
Though, "It costs a lot more to take a building down than to put it up," Johnson figures he gets near-daily calls from owners of old buildings, especially folks who can't stand the idea of letting good wood go to waste.
Plants not only bring actual life into a room, they also offer the opportunity to add some color to popular minimalist designs, and plants are the perfect reflection of 2022's trends toward natural products and sustainability.
"Their diversity can cater to any type of person, from minimalist to full-blown jungle vibes," says the Chop Shop's Plants & Oddities co-owner Danielle McGillis. Watching plants grow and change also keeps rooms from looking stagnant, and plants help clean indoor air, something especially important during the winter months.
In addition to all the varieties of plant shapes and forms, don't limit plant displays to simple pots and saucers. McGillis upcycled a child's bed frame to become a statement plant hanger, for example, while she notes smaller items like tea kettles and mugs can also add an element of charm.
If you need a plant for low-light rooms, consider sweetheart or snake plants; the monstera features large leaves with interesting cutouts and also works well in shady rooms. For sunnier spots, consider the low-maintenance aloe plant, with its spiky, eye-catching leaves or the cheerful jade plant that can thrive for decades. For a flamboyant burst of color, try an indoor hibiscus, sure to brighten winter days.