The Covid pandemic has affected just about every aspect of our lives and made our environments more important than ever, whether due to quarantine, remote work or classroom formats, or social distancing. Such pivotal shifts will surely continue to play out, impacting the way we-and possibly future generations-live, work, play and, therefore, how we outfit the spaces in which we spend our time. We asked several industry designers to share their thoughts on where residential and commercial color preferences are headed in the coming year and what factors are influencing these trends.
REESIE DUNCAN, vice president of global design, Shaw Contract
The pandemic has inspired a more flexible culture, one that is constantly morphing and shifting. Our lives have changed, and we now see things in a transient way, not knowing when something may again change, requiring us to adapt.
As we reflect on the things we have learned, affirmation on what connects us emerges-our connection to ourselves, our community and the Earth. We explore how we can navigate through a time when many have been given the chance to reset and forge a new path.
It is more important than ever to design for connectivity, to create a sense of belonging and community. Spaces must work harder to foster a sense of connectivity and encourage social interactions. Smaller, human-centered spaces that offer personal choice and focus on wellness are prioritized. Hybrid models are pushed forward at an accelerated speed, and the lines between digital and real, home and work connect.
Here are three ways in which color can connect the various spaces where we interact and strengthen our connection to them.
• Color infuses energy into interiors
Pantone’s Color of the Year, Very Peri, captures newness, an optimistic spirit of moving ahead with joyous possibilities for the future. Colors that bring energy, and almost feel as if they are shifting, with an interplay of soft vivid tones, ground and uplift the energy in interior products and spaces.
• Color reflects our connection to nature
On a basic level, we feel an innate physical need to reconnect to nature. Our physical and psychological health are improved by exposure to nature, and it is imperative for our wellbeing. We are more conscious of our choices to balance humanity and our environment, building thriving environments that are restorative.
Just as elements of nature are moving in, we also yearn to bring the interior outside. New materials emerge as bio-composites and waste-composites cause us to reconsider how we define “natural.” We acknowledge the long-term effects of human impact on the planet and the need to modify our approach to implement new design methodologies to fight climate change. Intense focus on carbon footprint, dematerialization and reuse of our resources will continue.
Earthy textures and colors immerse us in comforting spaces that feed the mind and soul. Respect for our Earth and tones of textural clay, deep browns, natural greens and golden tones create an authentic palette.
• Color fosters belonging
Design must create meaningful experiences that encourage inclusivity and freedom of expression. Colors bring balance with warm, natural hues that combine our need for safety and security with our pent-up desire for connection. Our connectedness to each other, both locally and globally, forges new avenues for belonging. The need to reconnect to what is important to us as our lifestyles become increasingly complex is changing the way we are expressing ourselves and creating dialogue. The experiences we seek demand more meaningful and intentional experiences as we venture out again.
KARI PEI, vice president of global product design, Interface
Wellbeing is top of mind for designers in 2022. What started as a renewed interest in bringing natural elements indoors to give us a sense of comfort during the pandemic has since evolved into a more comprehensive idea of wellness within design. As we make a slow transition back to the office, these ideas have been carried over into the workplace. Combining aesthetics and functionality, designers and architects are now also paying attention to how designs make us feel, how we experience our surroundings, and how they affect our planet. Here are three key elements of the trend.
• Earthy hues and organic shapes
A greater emphasis has been placed on employee wellbeing as we gradually return to the workplace and create a balance between remote and in-office work. Hence, there has been a rising trend in biophilic design, a design ethos that promotes wellbeing and productivity through drawing direct ties from nature into an interior space. We can see biophilia’s influence in the shift toward warmer, earthy hues for color palettes and softer, more organic shapes in furniture. This year, expect to see further exploration in variations of tone and striation, mimicking how colors are created in nature, particularly in flooring options like carpet and LVT.
• Prioritizing the planet
Designers and architects are more mindful of the environment than ever before, prioritizing the use of low-carbon materials and recycled-content products in their spaces. Today, it is becoming increasingly common to see furniture that looks like stone or wood but is made from recycled plastics. And from the production side, there is growing interest in how to lower the carbon footprints of building materials. A testament to this shift: Interface has introduced the first collection with carbon-negative carpet tile products and is seeing customers consider carbon during the product selection process to meet their own sustainability commitments.
• Inclusive design
Neurodiversity will play a larger part in how to approach design, as greater attention is given to how building occupants experience spaces. The A&D community is aiming to be more inclusive in their spaces, using design as a tool to support diverse needs in terms of productivity and wellbeing. Designers are now carefully considering the use of color, lighting, texture and acoustics for occupants who may experience sensory overload. As a result, flooring may play an even greater role when it comes to wayfinding and acoustics, especially when designing large communal spaces, such as schools and workplaces.
JACKIE DETTMAR, vice president of marketing, design and product development, Mohawk Group
In just about every segment we work in, the idea of building wellness into a space will continue to be an important focus. That includes things like biophilic design, bringing nature indoors and using patterning and color to affect the wellbeing of the people in the space.
Fractal patterns and dimensions can have a significant effect on people’s sense of wellbeing. We have done research with University of Oregon professor Richard Taylor and 13&9 Design, tapping into how different pattern types affect people’s blood pressure and stress levels and finding that there are certain dimensions of those patterns that reduce humans’ stress levels by as much as 60%. And, Lord, we all need it! We’re so stressed. I see a lot more opportunities to bring science into interior design.
Colors are swinging toward warmth and away from the cool greys we’ve seen for probably a decade now. It’s that same idea: bringing comfort back into our commercial spaces. People want to feel like they’re at their home, to have that comfort and warmth of a home environment wherever they’re working. The colors that are the most positive for wellbeing are nature-related colors. Greens are popular, as are blues, warm and earthy greys, and desaturated nature colors. The cool greys are leaving. That’s at all price points, too.
• Finding comfort in the past
Looking back toward the midcentury aesthetic is informing a lot of design. It’s a nostalgia that makes us more comfortable in spaces. We’re connected to that through our history or something from our childhood or something of our past. Wood tones and wood colors are much more important than they were a decade ago.
VICKIE GILSTRAP, director of design services, The Dixie Group
To look ahead at 2022, we must first reflect on the last two years. Every aspect of our lives has been impacted by the pandemic, and this will greatly influence our choices in the coming years. 2021 was certainly a year of contemplation and healing, and because of this, we have had the time to truly tune in to who we are and how we want to live out our lives. For this reason, connection with our feelings will be the driving force in our choices for ourselves, our families and our homes in 2022. Our homes are our havens in which we nurture, heal and thrive. The following four feelings, I believe, will drive the way we approach our personal spaces.
In this trend, we see people inviting feelings of joy and happiness into their homes through the use of bolder, brighter colors. We will see many more lively combinations of pattern and color than we have seen in quite some time, such as bright yellow, cobalt blue, bottle green and vivid purple. The common theme in all of these colors is the emotion that lies behind them-they are sure to make you smile. Homeowners are layering pattern on pattern, using decorative elements and including more fun prints, which truly points back to the maximalist style we have seen beginning to emerge for quite some time. There are no rules with maximalism. It is all about decorating in a way that reflects your personality, displays what you love and evokes feelings of happiness.
In an effort to reminisce on a simpler, slower and less chaotic lifestyle, people are choosing to incorporate antiques and vintage pieces with their current décor. These pieces conjure fond memories from our mothers’ and grandmothers’ homes and mix the old with the new for a modern-vintage aesthetic. This trend emerges from the desire to reconnect with our families and friends, entertain in our homes and create a cozier environment. Colors associated with the nostalgic trend include rich, chocolaty browns, camel, rust, burgundy and muted cottage-core tones. We also see the revitalization of wallpaper, canopy beds, tassels, lace and classic patterns with a fresh twist with this trend.
The aftermath of the pandemic has changed our lives in ways that will undoubtedly impact many generations to come. As a society, many were prompted to hit their reset buttons and do what makes them happy, with the focus on creating a calm and healing environment within their homes. People want to create a space where they can recover and recharge their social batteries.
Through this period, we were able to spend more time outdoors and connect with nature. Out of this privilege was born the desire to bring the outdoors in and create a biophilic environment. For this reason, colors from nature are prominent in the forecast for 2022. This idea has been confirmed through the various Color of the Year announcements, with shades of green leading the way for growth. Other colors that create an environment of serenity and healing include watery blues, warmer earth tones and pale neutrals.
Additionally, we will see fewer sharp angles and more curved lines and silhouettes in furniture and patterns. These new shapes almost create the feeling of a comforting hug. This trend is also the next iteration of the minimalist style, which we have seen for many years, with the continuation of decluttering one’s surroundings.
As we observe the world with a fresh perspective and accept the growing diversity and changes from the last two years, we gain a greater social consciousness. This new understanding affects our choices and designs in a very profound way. We are embracing purposeful design and its impact on the environment by choosing consciously made, locally sourced goods and sustainable décor. Natural fibers like wool and cotton as well as handcrafted accessories and natural woods are a big part of this trend.
Colors that represent purpose include clay, olive, indigo, natural grass tones and raw wood. Ethical consumerism paves the way in this growing trend as we aim to decorate our homes in a more deliberate and intentional way.
PAMELA RAINEY, vice president of residential product design, Shaw Industries
In celebration of these transformational times, Shaw Floors’ 2022 Color + Design Story, Renewal, inspires consumers to reimagine the future and create the type of home environment that suits their lifestyle.
Embracing practical indulgence, this theme supports casual living with an emphasis on what is important: family and friends. Materials are natural, unprocessed, raw and relaxed. Reconnect with the world around you and add a relaxed organic vibe with this color palette.
Personally, I am not ready to let go of green yet. Shaw’s Rerooted Nature reflects the outdoors when combined with wood beams, paneling, rocks and plants. It’s a living color that blends well with natural textures. Rerooted Nature can make a statement as an accent color, or it can be a woodsy neutral. It’s the ideal backdrop for light wood flooring and luxe brass hardware.
Find renewal at home with colorful moments of self-expression through the use of colors, patterns and textures that embrace your own culture and character. It’s warm and can be playful incorporating color, pattern and natural accents. In line with this trend, we’ll see colors that are diverse, artful and vibrant.
Are you ready to explore a favorite destination in your own home? Transport yourself to Venice, Italy without a plane ticket by using Shaw’s Orange Oxide. This color brings the warmth of the sundrenched, timeworn terracotta and brick of Venice. Or maybe it reminds you of a sunset in Sedona. Either way, this terracotta color in flooring transports me to an exciting place.
Create home spaces with colors and textures that nourish mind and spirit. Cocooning embraces the future of comfort, kindness and self-care. Self-improvement yields true contentment. This wellness mindset has consumers thinking about self-care and completely rethinking their space. The design is more minimal and subdued. Colors are a more tonal approach in pursuit of a sense of calm and a slower pace.
Ethereal and soothing colors set the stage for a serene look. My favorite in this Shaw palette is Lilac Gray. It is a lighter color with moody undertones and a hint of warmth. It’s a color that shifts as the light changes in the room throughout the day. In the morning, the color feels light and airy. In the evening, it creates a cozy ambience. Lilac Gray can seamlessly integrate into any design style, from modern to traditional. It plays the perfect supporting role for a floor when just a touch of color is desired but you still want a sense of a calming sanctuary.
JAMIE WELBORN, vice president of product management, soft surface, Mohawk Industries
When it comes to soft surface flooring, we have had several years of heavy-coverage multicolors that are balanced in the carpet, making it difficult to achieve color separation from other colors. Consumers are asking for the foundation color to be more prevalent so that tonal or multicolor patterns can be more evident, and solid colors are going out.
Following are the overarching color trends driving interior design choices.
Beige (honey, warm, natural): Natural blonde, beige and lighter neutrals continue to be a rising trend. These hues give a warm vibe to interiors.
Brown (chocolate, rich, leather): Over the last few years, we have seen a revival in rich, warm, woodsy colors. Customers are gravitating to more time-honored staples in this time of uncertainty.
White (creamy, airy): White is a fresh and clean color that is expanding past pure white, now leaning toward classic creams and beige-based whites.
Taupe: Taupe is the color to recommend for the consumer who likes to change decor often. It pairs well with brown or grey, making it a longer-lasting color in the home.
Grey (greige, earthy): The grey trend is ever-evolving. Greys have been warming up to a greige, the combination of beige and grey, helping to create a richer, more adaptable hue. However, don’t count out cool greys. We will see them continue to flip back and forth.
Blue as an accent: Accent colors are becoming more popular as they bring interest to any room. Blues still lead the way, but we see green making headway.
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