Interior design trends 2022: Sustainability, biophilia and the Colours of the Year

Annabel Harrison

30 December 2021

Start the new year full of optimism with the interiors trends for 2022 that aim to lift your mood, from eco-conscious to curved, cosy and comforting

30 December 2021 | Annabel Harrison

What will the next 12 months bring? No one can know for sure but, sadly, it's looking likely we'll once again be spending far more time at home than we bargained for. Which means knowing what's on the horizon in interior design trends is now as key as scouring the runways for the must-have SS22 looks. As far as our homes go, lighting has seen a real step-change in terms of perception: once functional, practical, necessary and not really that exciting, it can now be dramatic, dynamic, delightful and the total highlight of a room. So too has our approach to our homes shifted. For very obvious reasons we won't dwell on, we’ve spent a LOT more time in them and we appreciate our homes more than ever. We are also expecting more of them than ever. Yes they have to be functional and practical but they can also enhance our moods and induce joy. We're not asking much...

Stone Blue No. 86, farrow-ball.com

Joa Studholme, Farrow & Ball’s colour curator, predicts that simple and familiar colours in clever combinations will experience a revival. “There is something inherently human in the colours that we are attracted to for 2022 – as well as in the way we use them,” says Studholme. “There is something so familiar and comforting about a painted floor – a chequerboard pattern in Stone Blue [shown above] and School House White Modern Eggshell, for example, instantly transports you to the past." (Reassuringly further back than 2019). So, when it comes to interiors in 2022, optimal wellbeing and mental health are as high on our list of priorities as being good to the planet and making mindful purchases: Do I need it? Do I love it? Do I like what the brand stands for, and am I satisfied they can deliver on what they say they will? These are six of our top interior design trends for 2022.

Soho Home x Leaf Envy: The Haybarn at Soho Farmhouse featuring Soho House's plant collection.

Sustainability

We hope sustainability is no longer singled out as a ‘trend’ in the not-too-distant future because it has simply become integrated into all the interior design decisions we make, or all the decisions that are made for us. It has to be. As Esra Kumbasar, Design Director of Accouter Group of Companies, explains, “We are far more conscious of the way in which the world’s natural resources are diminishing. Moving into 2022, we will become more entrenched in nurturing our moral senses," resulting in "a greater focus on sustainability in terms of the materials we use and the brands we shop from”. Kumbasar also predicts that the rental furniture revolution will accelerate, as it has done in fashion: “As the demand for sustainability gains momentum, individuals will seek flexible interior solutions, without having to compromise on design or quality. Rather than disposing of old items and purchasing new pieces, renting offers the perfect solution”.

Loft bed (kingsize), £1,050, coxandcox.co.uk
Cabinet, £795, rockettstgeorge.co.uk

Brands are paying ever more attention to the materials used in their designs so that customers can shop mindfully without compromising on quality. Cox & Cox has crafted its Loft bed from reclaimed timbers = good for the planet, and the added plus of a unique bed for each customer. Rockett St George, on a mission to supply affordable, closed-loop, sustainable furniture, has partnered with Sussex craftsman Jani Lemut to create its first UK-made collection of this type. The Sustainable Sideboard Cabinet, for example, uses recycled coffee grounds to create the grout for its marquetry. “The highlight of this collection is the challenge of designing beautiful furniture with materials that are at our disposal," explains Lemut. “It's massively exciting that we can reuse what has been thrown away.”

Biophilia

An AGC project. Photography: Taran Wilkhu

Biophilia is a term coined by the Harvard naturalist Dr. Edward O. Wilson to describe what he saw as humanity's "innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes", and to be drawn toward nature, to feel an affinity for it, a love, a craving even. Pinterest can always be relied on to alert us to a home trend that’s on the rise and biophilia is one of its top trends for 2022; we are collectively searching for everything from biophilic office and bedroom designs to staircase gardens and floral ceilings. “You’ve seen house plants,” declares the Pinterest team. “Now meet living rooms. Millennials are turning to plant-first design solutions this year to increase their connection to nature and enhance their well-being."

An AGC project, showcasing biophilia
An AGC project, showcasing rattan wallpaper

Esra Kumbasar and the wider team at the British design collective AGC have been embracing biophilia by using natural finishes and organic forms, along with plenty of planting. “This trend will definitely see more vegetation, including plants and greenery, within the home, along with natural light, textures and materials, such as rattan, cane and raffia. However, rather than a small ode to the trend, 2022 will see it take centre stage and influence the entire concept of a space. We expect to see colour palettes centred on clean hues and earthy tones that allow for a light, airy and uncomplicated scheme, emphasising texture and form.”

Soho Home x Leaf Envy, sohohome.com

At Soho House, and its Houses around the world, they use plants "to breathe life into spaces". To help us to do the same, and bring nature into our homes, Soho Home has enlisted founder of Leaf Envy, Beth Chapman, to curate an edit of plants you'll find around its Houses, along with tips on how to care for them. Chapman extols the virtues of houseplants, which "promote emotional, physical and mental health benefits, including air purification, boosting productivity and reducing stress".

Curves

The Drawing Room in Apartment 4.01 at Twenty Grosvenor Square, finchatton.com

We’ve lost our appetite for sharp angles and hard edges; we want cosy, cocooning expanses of upholstery, pleasingly curvaceous mirrors and circular, oval or oblong tables. We’re searching in our droves for curved sofas, walls, bars and kitchen island ideas, and even round pool decking, according to Pinterest. In 2022, "people will invest in home décor such as curved sofas, curved bar designs and curved kitchen islands. Boomers, Gen X and millennials are driving searches behind this well-rounded home trend.” If you think you could tire of this trend, steer clear of absolute commitment by adding accents that merely nod to it – artwork, geometric rugs, like this one from Made, or one statement chair, a la Soho Home.

Rug, £295, made.com
Garrett chair, £1,695, sohohome.com

Jiin Kim-Inoue, Design Director at Finchatton, which masterminded the interiors at Twenty Grosvenor Square, the first-ever standalone Four Seasons Private Residences, has seen “an increased desire for playful shapes that embrace contours, curves and rounded features throughout the home. As the home is still everyone’s sanctuary in which to escape from the wider world, shapes with softer features and curves help to instil a sense of calm and comfort. We expect to see a rise in popularity for rounded, statement pieces such as sofas and headboards as well as dining tables.”

The Master Bedroom, Apartment 4.01, as above
The Dining Room, Apartment 4.01, as above

Very Peri: The Pantone Colour of the Year 2022

Ploum sofa, from a selection, ligne-roset.com/uk

There’s no escaping the fact that the Pantone Colour of the Year is very, very purple. Very Peri, in fact. For the first time in its history, an entirely new colour has been created. “As we move into a world of unprecedented change, the selection of Pantone 17-3938 Very Peri brings a novel perspective and vision of the trusted and beloved blue colour family,” Pantone Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman declares. “Encompassing the qualities of the blues, yet at the same time possessing a violet-red undertone, Very Peri displays a spritely, joyous attitude and dynamic presence that encourages courageous creativity and imaginative expression.”

Neon light box, £135, rockettstgeorge.co.uk
Opal Quiz bath, £5,731, acquabella.com

Should you wish to add a spritely attitude and encourage your own "courageous creativity" (these effusively-worded thoughts also make us smile), many brands have jumped on the Very Peri bandwagon. If this shade of purple is your thing, turn to Ligne Roset for a sofa or Acquabella for a remarkable free-standing bath; both also tick the Curve trend box rather neatly. Artwork – from classic paintings or prints to modern neon light boxes – is a great way to add colour without overhauling an entire colour scheme. 

Statement Lighting

From a selection, ligne-roset.com

The experts are all in agreement: lighting really matters. Long gone are the days when it was simply a practical necessity, and often a late addition. Jiin Kim-Inoue from Finchatton explains that “spending more time at home has given people a reason to change the focal point in a room. Lighting is often underestimated in its significance within the home but displaying beautifully curated lighting pieces that reflect your personality can add richness to your environment. The best areas to apply this approach is in dining areas and kitchens – where entertaining takes place and guests can admire.”

From a selection, tomdixon.net

Innovatively-designed and well-made lights, when positioned just right, can transform a room’s ambience. Tom Dixon is a firm favourite of Luxury London; many of his dynamic, sculptural, often metallic lighting creations are works of art in their own right. Take time to choose your lighting and think it through; what times of day will you mostly be in this room, how much natural light gets in and what will you be doing? The kitchen in a family home has very different requirements on that front to, for example, a bedroom or space for watching television. Look for websites where the brand has taken images of the lights in situ, rather than just product cut-outs, as Ligne Roset does well.

Cinetique floor lamp, £1,138, ligne-roset.com
Parachute pendant light, from a selection, ligne-roset.com

Bright Skies: The Dulux Colour of the Year 2022

Bright Skies, Dulux Colour of the Year 2022

We thought it fitting to end on a note of major optimism, given the year we’ve just had (again). Dulux consults a panel of international design experts to help understand “the mood of the moment” and gets their insights on the colour trends that shape the way we live; currently, the expanding role of the home, how nature is essential to our lives and how important it is to embrace new ideas for a brighter future. Thus: “a light, airy and optimistic blue that’s good for the soul”. We are on board.

Rex sofa, £2,195, coxandcox.co.uk
Wallpaper, £248, Young & Battaglia,mineheart.com

It is also rather easier to tap into this trend than the more niche Very Peri, as brands just love a pretty pale blue, whether in the form of soft furnishings, upholstered furniture, wallpaper, accessories or paint. Here's to bright skies and interiors that put nature front and centre in 2022.

Read more: Arnaud Zannier’s guide to London’s top interior design destinations