The Top 9 Interior Design Trends for 2024
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The Top 9 Interior Design Trends for 2024

We canvassed hundreds of professionals to predict the next waves in décor.

By Kathryn O'Shea-Evans
Wed, Jan 5, 2022 12:58pmGrey Clock 6 min

IMPERFECTIONISTS, REJOICE. Sean Scherer and other professionals in the realm of aesthetics see interior design embracing flaws in 2022. The founder of curiosity shop Kabinett & Kammer, in Franklin, N.Y., cites a surging interest in chipped and crazed ironstone china as an example. “In the past, people wanted pure white and pristine,” he said. Now his customers are hankering for the opposite—a “timeworn and cozy feel.” Sleek, mass-made items and chilly finishes like glass are being ghosted. Instead, people are gravitating toward handmade finishes, plantlike paint colours and friendly architectural curves. “We are dying for warmth, coziness and colouurs that make us feel grounded,” said Los Angeles designer Peti Lau, who observes cool tones’ fading fast. Here, the incoming trends that were highlighted most often by the hundreds of designers we polled—as well as those they believe are bowing out.

OUT: Fancy Tile

While hand-painted floor tiles seemed charming not so long ago, the colourful quadrilaterals won’t be a big part of the finishes arsenal in 2022, predicted Charlotte, N.C., interior designer Gray Walker. “The line between indoors and outdoors will continue blurring,” and such ornamentation is too busy to jibe with the simplicity of the natural world, she said. Mosaic floors, too, had their moment, said Brooklyn-based architect Adam Meshberg, “until people started spending more time at home and opted for serene spaces that were easy on the eyes.”

IN: Wood Laid in Patterns

Classic, ornamental herringbone wood floors are zigzagging into interiors, even contemporary ones. The look “adds a timeless, textural touch in modern rooms,” said Sara Cukerbaum, principal designer at Austin, Texas, firm SLIC Design, who has recently employed herringbone in white oak and ebony-stained oak. Ms. Walker appreciates herringbone’s twofer contribution: “You get the beauty of a pattern and the warmth of wood.”

OUT: Big-Stitch Blankets

Those throws wrought of extremely thick yarn are so commonplace they’ve become aesthetically smothering. “The machine-made, chunky-yarn blankets are more suited for a football stadium than someone’s home,” said Washington, D.C., designer Josh Hildreth, who adds that mass-produced items make a space feel staged rather than lived in.

IN: Well-Woven Wraps

“Hand-loomed blankets are in because of their organic, natural imperfections,” Mr. Hildreth said. “The yarns are typically hand dyed and also have a richness of colour.” And those tossed-on coverlets make an impact. “When you think of a room in layers, the outermost layers are what you see first, creating an immediate impression,” he added. Los Angeles design pro Susan Taylor, of Davis Taylor Design, often reaches for the Scottish lamb’s wool weaves of Paulette Rollo (shown), “because they look more artisan and handmade.”

OUT: Teensy Pendant Lights

Little dangling lights, even multiples of them, in large rooms have lost their lustre for Newport Beach, Calif., designer Raili Clasen. “In spaces with voluminous ceilings, small light fixtures get swallowed up,” she said. Ms. Clasen clusters wee pendants in powder rooms, but in most spaces, fixtures under 36 inches no longer appeal to her. Interior designer Shannon Palmer, in Rancho Mirage, Calif., noted that he still welcomes small pendants made of interestingly blown glass or even rope or raffia, but “clients are leaving the simple, ‘techy’ frosted glass and cable pendants behind.”

IN: Titanic Fixtures

Illumination is no longer a chandelier’s sole reason for being. Designers bring the drama with pieces like the Moooi Random Light II (shown), a fiberglass orb available in diameters up to 41.3 inches. “[Oversized fixtures] become a major art piece and define the personality of the space,” said Ms. Clasen. In the room with which this story begins, Kyiv, Ukraine, architect Serhii Makhno grouped the Khmara ceramic pendants he designed. Besides the direct function of the fixtures, the largest of which is nearly 50 inches across, he said, they create “a wow factor in any interior.”

OUT: Boxy Blackened-Steel Frames

In 2021’s trend report, we confidently sent the modern farmhouse style, with its white clapboard and dark window frames, out to pasture. Its trademark blackened-steel details have nevertheless persisted in many forms of design, but Kim Armstrong, a designer in Rockwall, Texas, predicts their inappropriate application will wane. “In my area of Dallas I see so many people with 1960s-1980s brick homes installing windows with black frames,” she said. “It shouldn’t be used in every renovation or new build on the block.”

IN: Bendy Lines

Arches—in both cabinetry and architecture—are rounding the corner to sate our need for “softer lines and more comforting designs,” said Ms. Armstrong. In the Winnetka, Ill., house shown above, designer Mark Lavender emphasized broad hallway arches, which he said give a “great sense of space,” by adorning the surrounding walls in a strict, contrasting grid of plaid. Even in a comparatively calm and simple interior, arches make a statement, said designer Lindye Galloway, of Costa Mesa, Calif., who recently tucked a vaulted niche into a client’s tiled shower wall.

OUT: The Reign of Cane

Although Ms. Taylor loves the lightness of the handwoven cabinet-fronts occasionally found on vintage furniture, the island-time material “crescendoed during the pandemic by appearing everywhere.” A little goes a long way. Erin Gates, in Wellesley, Mass., still likes a traditional rattan accent piece here and there but finds the boho “all rattan all the time” approach as faded as an old Hawaiian shirt. “It’s also kind of uncomfortable,” she said of caned seating, “and 2022 is all about finding the blend between comfort and fashion.”

IN: Ribs and Flutes

Those professionals designing luxury residences are adding ribbed-wood detailing to walls, kitchen cabinetry, bathrooms and more, said Mr. Meshberg. (File under “and more” the slatted-beechwood credenza above, by Mexican studio Peca, available at 1stdibs.com. ) Also having a revival: similarly linear fluting, a descendant of the vertical grooves that characterized columns in the better homes and gardens of ancient Rome. Today, fluting introduces visual intrigue “without adding true pattern,” said designer Laetitia Laurent, of Laure Nell Interiors in Boca Raton, Fla. It “strikes that balance of simple yet interesting.”

OUT: Routine Mass-Produced Wallpaper

While design experts largely agreed that wallcoverings are still salable, papering rooms with generic “fast fashion” iterations—especially soulless graphic patterns—won’t turn any heads, said designer Kristen Peña, of K Interiors in San Francisco. “Wallpaper isn’t just a substitute for paint anymore,” said Batya Stepelman, a consultant and owner of WallTawk in Denver. “Many people I work with see it as large-format art, and they don’t want the same piece as their neighbour.”

IN: Walls You Want to Touch

Our yen for contact and cocooning has got tactility climbing the walls. Plastered surfaces, like those in the Spanish colonial living room above, which Los Angeles designer Jake Arnold recently revamped, straddles two seemingly opposing aesthetics: Plaster is “very organic, yet rich,” he said. New York designer Lauren Behfarin predicts we’ll see lots of chalky lime wash, with its subtle texture and intrigue. Plaster paint can supply the blotchy optics without the expense of the real trowel-it-on stuff, said Ms. Galloway.

OUT: Made-to-Order Furniture

Supply-chain snarls are causing exasperating delays when it comes to having anything but in-stock merchandise delivered. “Larger furniture pieces in general seem to have the longest lead times,” said San Antonio, Texas, designer Alison Giese, who has encountered 28-week lead times when ordering upholstered sofas and chairs for clients. “I personally ordered some patio chairs last April, and I just received word that the new expected delivery date is March 2022.”

IN: Ye Olde Goodes

“Antiques are available and sold right off the floor,” enthused Sheldon Harte, of interior design firm Harte Brownlee in Laguna Beach, Calif., one of the many design pros we polled who said that shipping woes associated with new furniture have bolstered their appreciation of vintage pieces. Attic finds qualify, too. “Many clients are digging up family heirlooms and opting to use these in interesting ways,” said New York City designer Tina Ramchandani. “People are craving connections and history.” Alessandra Wood, design historian and VP of style at online design firm Modsy, called out early-American examples and their simple forms as particularly resurgent.

OUT: Banal Blues

The calming colour found in dentists’ reception rooms everywhere is “no longer our clients’ go-to,” said Ms. Ramchandani. “Many of my clients have been nervous about using colour and were leaning into blues as their way of adding interest to spaces,” she said of the sometimes melancholy, now overly pervasive colour. Designers are also moving away from blue-based greys and whites.

IN: Mixed Greens

“The one colour our clients are asking for lately is green,” said Betty Brandolino of Fresh Twist Studio in Elmhurst, Ill. Warmer greens like olive won slots in our recent trend reports, but the palette has expanded to include emerald, eucalyptus, jade and teal. “Rich mid-spectrum shades of green bring the outdoors inside,” said Dennese Guadeloupe Rojas, of Interiors by Design in Silver Spring, Md., who singled out colours such as Benjamin Moore’s October Mist [shown above], Valspar’s Garden Flower and Behr’s Sage. How to further intertwine nature and design? “Not just more indoor plants but larger windows and plant-inspired prints,” said New York City designer Laurence Carr.

OUT: Glass Tabletops and Buildings

We don’t usually debate architectural trends in our annual design trend report, but anyone who finds the glass-walled world of HBO’s “Succession” off-putting may be glad to hear from New Yorker David West, founding partner of Hill West Architects. “We have passed the apex of the all-glass facade,” he said. The slick glazing has become “somewhat synonymous with mass production and anonymity.” Same goes indoors, Ms. Taylor said, citing how easily glass can break or become marred. And there’s the smudge factor, as anyone with a gummy-fingered toddler or spouse will lament. “Oy,” she said.

IN: Travertine Tabletops

The sandy limestone plays nicely with other, brighter hues. Using travertine, with its naturally irregular colour patterns, is also like lugging a bit of the countryside indoors, reports interior designer Lauren Lerner, founder of Living with Lolo, in Cave Creek, Ariz. The stone was a midcentury mainstay that popped up again in the 1980s, Ms. Taylor said. “Its comeback now is largely due to its creamy colour, warm feel and organic surface.” In short: It’s back to nature o’clock.



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They Were About to Move In When the Ocean Almost Washed Away Their New Home

Gail and Ron Fink’s property in Jupiter Inlet Colony sustained major damage during an unusually windy day. ‘The whole backyard is shot. All the landscaping is gone.’

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Gail and Ron Fink weren’t home the day the ocean swallowed their backyard.

The Florida couple, who are in their 70s, were a few miles away on Feb. 6—an unusually blustery day in the Sunshine State—as waves pounded their beachfront property in Jupiter Inlet Colony, sweeping sand, dirt and trees out to sea. When it was all over, the Finks’ newly-built, roughly 10,000-square-foot home was intact; so too was their free-form swimming pool, improbably balanced on exposed concrete-and-steel pilings.

“That’s what saved the whole thing,” said Ron, founder of an air- and-water purification company. “The pilings are holding up the house and pool.”

Gail and Ron Fink recently finished building a roughly 10,000-square-foot home. PHOTO: JAMES JACKMAN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Drone footage and pictures from local photographers and the Finks’ builder show the severity of the destruction, which left their pool suspended in the air, with pipes protruding from the earth. Town officials said erosion claimed 7 to 10 feet of sand and created steep drop-offs in front of about half-dozen homes, including one belonging to Kid Rock , the rapper-turned-country rocker, who paid $3.2 million for the property in 2012. Conair heiress Babe Rizzuto also sustained damage to her property down the street, which she bought for $6.3 million in 2015 and currently has listed for $22.5 million, according to Zillow.  Neither responded to requests for comment.

But the Finks house, located just past the end of a granite revetment wall—a kind of sea wall—bore the brunt of the heavy wind and waves.

 

“The whole backyard is shot. All the landscaping is gone,” said Ron. Also gone are fully matured Palm trees and an ipe-wood deck. “It’s out floating in the ocean someplace.” Ron is self-insured and the repair work will be quite expensive. undefined

A New Jersey native, Ron is an engineer by training who worked at nuclear-testing sites in California and Nevada before moving to Florida in the 1980s. He is the founder of RGF Environmental Group, which makes air- water-and food-purification systems.

For almost 40 years, the Finks—who have three adult children and eight grandchildren—have lived in Admirals Cove, a gated community in Jupiter about 5 miles from their new house. They paid $180,000 for the Admirals Cove lot in 1987 and built a roughly 6,000-square-foot house, Ron said. The Finks also own homes in the Cayman Islands and Bahamas.

Until now, the Finks have lived in Admirals Cove, about 5 miles from their new house. PHOTO: JAMES JACKMAN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Ron said they began looking for property in Jupiter Inlet Cove years ago. “It’s a neat place, just a closed little colony right on the ocean, low key and quiet,” he said.

About 20 miles north of Palm Beach, Jupiter Inlet Colony is at the southern tip of Jupiter Island. The town, founded around 1959, has approximately 240 homes and is surrounded on three sides by water—the Atlantic Ocean, Jupiter Inlet and the Intracoastal Waterway. Long a destination for wealthy homeowners, homes in Jupiter Inlet Colony tend to trade for between $2 million and $5 million, although one sold for $18.6 million in January, according to real-estate brokerage Redfin. Last year, a home on the Intracoastal sold for $21.4 million, a record for the town.

In 2020, the Finks paid $4.9 million for a vacant beachfront lot and subsequently built a coastal-style house with a copper-and shake-style roof, covered loggia, pool and outdoor fire pit. “You know, it’s kind of a dream home,” Ron said. “We have built quite a few homes, but this is the end of the line for us, hopefully the last one.”

He said the property originally belonged to the singer Perry Como, one of the town’s first residents. A prior owner demolished Como’s house, and when the Finks bought it, there were concrete-and-steel pilings sticking out of the ground.

Ron Fink said he never removed about 60 pilings, he simply added roughly 30 more. “Now I’m glad I did,” he said. (Pilings are based on the design of a house, so Ron retained some pilings that he didn’t necessarily need.)

John Melhorn of design-build firm Thomas Melhorn, which built the house, said the Finks were a final review away from obtaining a certificate of occupancy when the backyard was destroyed. “They were right there at the goal line,” he said.

The Finks’ house and pool are standing on about 90 concrete-and-steel pilings. PHOTO: JAMES JACKMAN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Melhorn said the erosion began in late October amid unusually high winds and ocean swell. During the first week of February, sand beneath a row of sea grapes that stabilized the dunes between the house and ocean began to wash away. By the evening of Feb. 6, the plantings disappeared. The yard was gone by the next morning.

Melhorn said a pre-existing, low wall between the ocean and house—described as a cinder-block retaining wall on land surveys—also washed away, as did a walkway and steps to the beach. But he said the 2-foot-high wall was less of a retaining wall and more like a curb between the street and sidewalk. In this case, a prior owner used it to hold sea grapes back from encroaching on the property. The Finks replaced the wall with decorative stone, now lost to the ocean. An outdoor fire pit is still there, cantilevered over the ocean. “We tried to pull as many things out as we saw the erosion coming, but we lost a lot,” Melhorn said.

In Florida, erosion is increasing because of more frequent, more severe storms and sea-level rise, said Cheryl Hapke, a research professor at the University of South Florida and the chair of the Florida Coastal Mapping Program. But she said it isn’t just hurricane-level storms that cause major damage. “One thing I have found about barrier islands [like Jupiter Inlet Colony] is that sometimes a series of smaller events can have as big an impact as a major hurricane,” she said. “But people get caught off guard. It’s something they don’t think of.”

In Jupiter Inlet Colony, longtime residents said this month’s erosion is the worst the area has seen in years, possibly ever.

Mayor Ed Hocevar, who has lived there for 17 years, said it has been a particularly cool and challenging winter with an abnormal number of Nor’easters. On Feb. 6, local news channels warned of high winds, with gusts between 40 and 50 miles an hour. (There were also reports of an earthquake off the coast that week, causing high waves.)

Since the 1980s, Jupiter Inlet Colony has had a granite rock revetment wall that extends from the northern end of the community past 11 oceanfront homes. “But we’ve got 28 homes along the beachfront, so it isn’t complete,” Hocevar said. “Where the wall ended is where the significant damage occurred.” Hocevar said he doesn’t know why the wall wasn’t completed, although local lore is that homeowners building the wall ran out of money.

Last week, the town hired a local mining company to bring in 7,000 tons of sand to replace what washed away. Hocevar said it would cost about $500,000, which will come out of the town’s reserve fund. Long term, he said, extending the revetment wall isn’t a strong possibility.

Hapke, the coastal geology expert, said that in recent decades, sea walls and hardened structures have fallen out of favor as scientists discovered they are detrimental to the environment around them. “Storm water wants to flow, so it will redirect water to the area without a sea wall,” she said, adding that the most ideal long-term solution is to move homes away from the coastline.

 

Hocevar, 67, who has been mayor of Jupiter Inlet Colony for about a month, said the town is working closely with the Department of Environmental Protection on its response. He said the DEP’s recommendation, should erosion like this occur again, is to bring in more sand. Hocevar emphasised that the community is rallying together. “Think about it as a fortress and your wall has been breached,” he said. “You want to protect your neighbourhood and that’s what we’re trying to do here.”

Holly Meyer Lucas of Compass, who represented the seller when the Finks purchased their property, said Jupiter Inlet Colony is a “special little enclave” where sales exploded during Covid. “Listings sell after a day or sell off-market,” she said.

Lucas said the consensus among local real-estate agents is that property values will hold, despite the erosion. “I think this is a really rare, weird, fluky event,” she said. “I’ve sold everywhere up and down the coast and I’ve never heard of anything like this.”

The couple were close to getting their certificate of occupancy for the newly-built home. PHOTO: JAMES JACKMAN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Babe Rizzuto, whose house is two doors down from the Finks, listed her house for $24.5 million in December 2023 and cut the price to $22.5 million on Feb. 6, according to Zillow.

“She’s going to continue to sell,” said Milla Russo of Illustrated Properties, who is marketing the property with her husband, Andrew Russo. “Even though the timing isn’t great, it is what it is.”

Russo said there has been erosion in the past, and during hurricanes residents of Jupiter Inlet Colony are the first in the area to evacuate. But in general, people are not preoccupied with the weather. “Maybe because we live here, when the hurricanes come, we all have hurricane parties. We go to people’s homes and we barbecue and grill. Of course we’re careful and we lock up and all that, but weather is weather,” she said. “We’ve never been terribly scared.”

(The Russos were also involved in selling the Fink property. However, in 2020 the closing agent on the deal, Florida-based Eavenson, Fraser & Lunsford, PLLC, sued Milla Russo and Illustrated Properties as part of a commission dispute. The seller, Michael Cantor’s Range Road Developers, was named as a defendant and cross-plaintiff in the suit, in which a judge ruled in favor of Eavenson, court records show. Milla Russo declined to comment on the suit. Eavenson declined to comment beyond the judge’s findings and Cantor did not respond to requests for comment.)

Ron was also matter-of-fact about the state of beachfront living. Bring a life jacket, he jokingly told a photographer who inquired last week about taking his picture.

However, the Finks are facing weeks of costly repairs. Although the town is bringing in sand to replace the decimated beachfront, the couple is self-insured and will be on the hook for the cost of rebuilding. Several major home insurers have pulled out of Florida, and Ron said insurance on the house would have cost $100,000 a year. Now, he estimated they could face about $1 million worth of repair work. “We gotta eat it,” he said.

The couple, who was supposed to move into the house this month, has put those plans on hold—for now. An engineer recently inspected the property and deemed the house safe, Ron said. “We’re doing wallpaper today,” he said. “We can put it back together again.” The patio and pool area, meanwhile, are roped off while the area underneath is backfilled with sand.

Ron said being near the ocean makes it worthwhile. “I just love the ocean, we both do. It’s important to us,” he said. “It isn’t easy to look at, but I’ve been through a lot worse.”

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