Have you noticed? Decorating trends seem to be coming up for a little air recently. For years, things have been dark and heavy — so to speak — between navy walls, black kitchens, and Edison bulbs that cast less illumination than an 1800s oil lamp. Even those of us who love these elements might be ready to take a deeper breath and bring a lighter vibe to our surroundings. Of course, vintage has a feel-good place in all of this, too. If the word “trends” makes you bristle, let’s call this a list of up-and-coming suggestions that might be worth pondering as you cozy into your nest for spring.
1. Milk and Cream
Rising up from a café au lait-colored wood floor comes a gentle wave of milky whites with hints of ivory and cream. Feeling calmer? Like a soothing bath, a neutral room can help quiet overstimulation of the mind and ease any nervous energy down a notch. Color can be a mood-booster, but not always and not for everyone. If you’re feeling anxious, try adopting a softer scheme for the throws and pillows or putting a few bright pops of color away until spring. Even a whisper of beige is on the industry radar, much to everyone’s surprise.
2. Cool It
Another curveball might be glints of cool metals quietly stepping back in for gold and brass. A rustic window-frame statement mirror or a galvanized barrel to hold pillows, for example, bring just enough coolness to balance a room that features wood floors and furnishings.
3. Primitive Touches
Primitive relics of early American life subtly shift the dynamic, stepping a room back in time. Candlestick-style lighting recalls what we can only imagine to be simpler periods of history, even if they weren’t. Their plain shapes and time-honored materials strike an emotional chord that feels relevant.
4. Well Traveled
Bring mementos of your journeys front and center. Seeing treasures from those travels will spur good memories until you return and stoke excitement for fresh adventures. Try out pieces like French demijohn bottles, sea glass-colored jugs, a piece of coral, seashells, or unique artwork.
5. Other Way Around
Book collections shelved with their spines in and pages out are an impractical indulgence yet always catch the eye. Break up a mass of tomes by interspersing your collectibles as bookends, rather than grouping them all together.
6. Snug Seating Areas
Open concept has enjoyed a long, glorious run. For quality time and kinship, few can argue that close-knit spaces bring everyone together. True conversation rooms without a television might also see a comeback, as we seek ways to turn off at least some of the screens in our lives, at least some of the time.
7. Get Comfortable
This might finally be the time for function over form. We’re all for shedding the stigma of choosing to stay comfy in casual, practical, lovable furniture. No more bringing home a couch merely for its looks then sitting in our old stand-by chair because it sinks and squishes in all the right places. If it feels good, it lives good.
8. The New “ism” Is Realism
A different approach than minimalism or maximalism — and we love great versions of both — realism isn’t a style or a measure of quantity, it’s a genuine feeling of contentment right where you are. In a season we hope to be bursting with comfort and joy, the pressure we put on ourselves to make everything in our homes look, smell, taste, and sound completely perfect can reach a stressful fever pitch.
A version of this article appeared in our partner magazine, Flea Market Home & Living, in 2022.