Michelle Ogundehin’s Interior Design Trend Report for 2022.
Sustainability will be central in the coming year, but coronavirus lockdowns will make way for “unbridled frivolity” in home decor, says Michelle Ogundehin in her 2022 Trends Report.
2021 was therefore not a year of trends. It has been a year of uncomfortable truths. At the end of my last Trend Report, I proposed 2021 as “the year for interiors to speak their own truth” understanding “that the best homes are about how they feel, not what you feel like. ‘they contain the ‘right’ colors or ‘hot’ looks.”
The most poignant of these was that we are all products of our environment. And we were making a mess of ours. Not just on a broader climate scale, but also on a national level. I had even written a book drawing a direct line between our homes and our health: Happy Inside: How to Harness the Power of Home for Health and Happiness. It was published as the first waves of Covid were hitting British shores, but crafted long before the word pandemic entered the popular lexicon.
His message was simple: what surrounds you affects you. And while many of us intuitively know this, for scientists there is a Stanford University study that proves that environment is more important than genetics in determining the strength of your immune system.
Most fashionable trends are simply the novelty dictated by the manufacturer
Water in the mill of the intentional creation of personal space. In other words, homes that reflect an occupant’s authentic tastes and life rather than being determined by anything dictated from the outside.
So where does that leave trends?
In truth, we know that most “hot” trends are simply manufacturer-dictated “novelty,” designed, in the loosest sense of the word, to change products. But there are also larger changes underlying these seasonal fluctuations. It’s the lateral moves we make as a society (evidenced by consumer research or early adopters) that eventually emerge into the mainstream as powerful influencers. These are the “trends” worthy of comment.
As such, sustainability is the obvious common thread running through everything relevant for 2022 right now.
The majority are finally beginning to understand that it is less about the planet in danger than about us. The planet has seen worse, we haven’t. It is we who are in danger of extinction. But it’s not too late (just) to do something about it.
Sustainability is the obvious common thread connecting everything relevant for 2022
Although I jump on the assumption that the bosses of our worst air, water and plastic polluting companies (China Coal and Saudi Aramco at Coca-Cola, Pepsico and Unilever, among others) are starting to focus their power over species survival rather than lucrative personal mandates. Things are moving forward, but too slowly.
Regardless, my faith is always in the power of each and the nudges for change that we can bring about as individuals. A 2020 report from the IBM Institute for Business Value showed that six in 10 consumers are willing to change their buying behavior to minimize their environmental footprint. It has power because options exist, consumers change, and such a direct impact on business bottom lines forces change.
Today, the only question worth asking any brand, supplier or company is simply: can you do what you do responsibly, that is, without endangering our air, our waterways, our mammals or our marine life? Because if you can’t, we don’t want you. And no business today wants to be opened by a jury or canceled via social media.
Any period of sobriety is usually followed by a heady abandonment
But they will be as our eyes are increasingly opened to the obfuscation, the deliberate dissemination of misinformation, the lobbying against environmental measures, and the hypocrisy employed to protect the perilous corporate status quo. And that covers everything from making dishwashing liquid legally considered chronically harmful to aquatic life (read the label on the back of a bottle of Fairy Liquid) to high-acrylic paint, a major source of microplastic pollution. .
In most cases, detrimental options only exist because they cost pennies to produce but sell for pounds, i.e. ching ching, maximum profit. But the tide is turning.
Yet if this is the backdrop against which everything else is measured, decoratively speaking, everything announces unbridled frivolity, the return of joy and a dose of pretty. It makes sense though; it represents an element of release after being so tightly coiled towards which we can only be intuitively drawn.
Any period of sobriety is generally followed by a heady abandonment; denial breeds indulgence – think of the Roaring Twenties after World War I. Cue then rooms drenched in full colors and cheerful prints applied with enthusiastic abandon to walls, floors, even ceilings. Think wallpaper and rugs with parquetry and narrative mosaics.
The success of Netflix romp Bridgerton (pictured) has been the torch bearer of that in my opinion. First aired on Christmas Day 2020, it recorded 82 million viewer households in its first 28 days (according to the streaming company’s own calculations). Steamy, indulgent and diverse, it was a godsend for the sensory hungry and locked at home. Stylistically, it was also incredibly pleasing to the eye, all the wisteria-drenched porticoes, torch-lit colonnades, dapper men and pastel silks.
Waste Made Wonderful Will Be Key to Supporting a New Sustainable Economy
Set in the homes of the elite of the 19th century English Regency, for the wealthy, it was a period of artistic elegance and decoration for pleasure, based on classical tropes but inspired by Egypt in the India. The country was ruled by the fiscally extravagant, culture-loving and party-loving Prince Regent and life in the upper echelons was lush, fun and romantic.
A highly anticipated second series of the show will premiere March 25, 2022. Rest assured that this sentimental recoloring of history will spark a neo-regency as we once again appreciate the uplifting potential of architectural adornment, both within than outside.
The evolutionary wave of biofabricated materials also taps into this romantic milieu. Rather than toxic tanneries and slaughtered animals, we have pineapple leaves (Piñatex) and Mexican cacti (Desserto) made into leather substitutes. During this time, everything from discarded coffee grounds and shrimp shells, tea leaves and nut shells are turned into desirable products.
It’s just as well. Waste made wonderful will be essential to support a new sustainable economy. After all, consumerism is going nowhere. We will always want to wear nice clothes, buy nice things and drink coffee to go, but we have to do it in a way that gives back.
Even in the luxury market, the notions of repair, recycling and reuse will predominate with an emphasis on the uniqueness of the remade product. There will be no loss of style or quality. It will be the same craftsmen who will manufacture the products. But the desire to own something new no longer has the appeal it once had. Rather, we want heritage, stories and a clear provenance. Additionally, today’s extremely conscious consumer literally wants to wear their eco-credentials on their arms and back and sit on them in their homes.
Many of the big trends of the past 10 years have been driven by technologically enhanced convenience
So, from homes designed for Friluftsliv – the Nordic ideal of being outdoors in all weathers – to IKEA pledging to be a fully circular and climate-positive company by 2030, and hempcrete emerges as a credible alternative to concrete, the new normal home-making experience changes. Even long-term furniture rental, rather than buying, is gaining momentum. So much so that UK stalwart John Lewis is getting in on the act by teaming up with Fat Llama, the world’s largest rental marketplace, to offer a flexible and affordable way to experiment at home without waste. It all adds up to a reason for hope.
In summary, many of the big trends of the past decade have been driven by technologically enhanced convenience. We wanted everything to be faster, smaller, faster and yesterday, regardless of the consequences.
Life sped up to keep pace, accumulated air miles were a shortcut to success, and quick coverage, smoothing, and repair solutions were the perfect fit (from surface finishes to coating to wall characteristic) and to hell with the consequences.
We pay for it now. As anthropologist and primatologist Jane Goodall says in her new publication, The Book of Hope, written with Douglas Abrams and Gail Hudson, “If we continue to pull threads from the tapestry of life, it will disintegrate and we will lose what who supports us.”
The wisdom for the future then lies in us finally knowing our place, acknowledging our responsibility to the natural world. In short, for us to deserve the right to stay here, there has to be a new cultural revolution.
The most incredible opportunities currently exist for us and every brand to be a revolutionary pioneer for the greater good. This could be the era of restoration: fixing the planet and people one conscious choice at a time. Our freedom to survive, let alone thrive, depends on these choices.
Michelle Ogundehin is a thought leader on interiors, trends, style and wellness. Originally trained as an architect and former editor of ELLE Decoration UK, she is chief judge of the BBC Masters in Interior Design and author of Happy Inside: How to Harness the Power of Home for Health and Happiness , a guide to living well. She is also a regular contributor to many high-profile publications around the world, including Vogue Living, FT magazine How to Spend It and Dezeen.