2022 Interior Design and Residential Architecture Trends

Elissa Morgante, AIA

Elissa Morgante, AIA
Founding Partner at Award Winning Chicago Architects, Morgante Wilson

Jan 24, 2022 - 5 min read

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2022 Interior Design and Residential Architecture Trends

At MWA, we take pride in our reputation for being innovators – and good listeners. And like all good listeners, we pay careful attention to what our clients have to say. Lately, we’ve noticed some common themes emerging. Clients are thinking about their homes differently than they used to. They’re using rooms for things they were never intended for. And they’re spending a lot more time at home than ever before. Together, these factors are adding up to some exciting new things to look out for in 2022. Here are six interior design and residential architecture trends we’re watching:

1. Curved Furniture Silhouettes

Think about it: when you compare the idea of something boxy and rectangular to something softly curvaceous, which one makes you feel warm and embraced? It's a lot easier to picture yourself curling into a piece of furniture that also curls. Maybe that's why we're seeing an uptick in serpentine sofas, petal-shaped ottomans, and chairs with comfortable, rounded backs. We think it's a reaction to the harshness of the outside world.

2. The Death of the Formal Living Room

You may be thinking to yourself that formal living rooms have been on their way out for a long time, and you'd be right. What’s new this year, however, is the fact that no one is even talking about formal living rooms anymore. Their time has passed. In fact, I can't think of a single client in the last year who has asked us to allocate square footage for a formal living room. What we're seeing instead, is the rise of multiple, user-friendly sitting rooms. It's not that they're the casual cousins to more formal spaces; it's that they're the only kinds of spaces anybody seems to want right now.

3. Tactile Walls

It’s no secret wallpaper is enjoying a huge resurgence, and for good reason. Color and pattern add warmth and visual interest many of us are drawn to as a means of layering our homes with personality. We see that trend evolving into a whole new class of textured wallcoverings made of sometimes-surprising materials. We’re also seeing renewed interest in old-world craftsmanship as it’s applied to walls. Lime-washed plaster and hand-troweled plaster are just two examples. And can we talk about ceilings for a minute? They’re getting all sorts of welcome attention too, which is a trend we can really get behind.

4. Biophilic Design

As you may have read in a post we devoted to this not too long ago, biophilic design is based on the idea that by connecting inhabitants of a building to that building’s surroundings, you can enhance their well-being – and even their productivity. As residential architects, we often talk with clients about “bringing the outdoors in” – which is a simplified way of describing biophilic design. It’s becoming an increasingly important – some would say imperative – way of thinking about the spaces in which we live and work.

5. Entertaining at Home

One of the many changes brought by the pandemic is that many of us are entertaining at home more often than we used to. Instead of dealing with crowds, restrictions, and slow service at restaurants, we’re opting to have people over. That means we want to be able to accommodate 6-10 people easily, and without fuss. Multiple types of seating, from comfy chairs surrounding dining tables to bar stools circling islands – plus pull-out options such as benches tucked beneath console tables – are a trend we expect to continue growing.

6. The Importance of Lighting

This is a interior design trend we identified last year that continues to gain significant steam. It goes beyond viewing interesting lighting as being the jewelry in a room. Of course, we’ll always appreciate a show-stopping chandelier or a beautifully wrought wall sconce. But now that so many of us are working from home, we expect more from lighting than just a dramatic punctuation. We want quick and easy ways to change the moods of our rooms. By day, bright lights are great for a work space. But come evening, we may want that space to function as a lounge.

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Elissa Morgante, AIA

Elissa Morgante, AIA

Founding Partner at Award Winning Chicago Architects, Morgante Wilson