Color and Design Forecast: Leading designers share what’s in store for commercial and residential interiors - February 2023

The world seems to finally be shaking off the pandemic, but life remains forever changed-from habits and preferences to the purpose and functionality of our environments. These new needs and desires are shaping color and material selections, the amenities within spaces, and everything in between. Here, five leading flooring designers share their design and color forecasts for commercial and residential interiors on the horizon for 2023.

Reesie Duncan

vice president of global design, Shaw Contract
The role of color in design not only pleases aesthetically but can also influence the way we behave in a space. This year, we are looking at how color and design can help create flexible and inclusive spaces, ground and inspire us in a space, and contribute to a sustainable built environment.

Flexible and inclusive spaces
Today, it’s more important than ever that spaces are flexible, inclusive and inspiring. It’s about creating a deeper, more meaningful connection between people and place.

The idea of work has forever changed. Today’s workspaces need to be more agile than ever-both physically and culturally. This new mindset helps companies attract and develop the talent they need to keep moving forward.

The lines between hospitality, comfort of home and workplace converge to create spaces where people feel engaged and inspired. A one-size-fits-all design approach will not work anymore. Spaces must be adaptable and provide more choices and greater equity. People have wanderlust more than ever after the Covid-19 pandemic and are seeking transformative travel experiences that promote wellness, learning and cultural connection.

Color that creates grounded and inspiring spaces
We know now that design plays a huge role in our overall wellbeing. As we prioritize wellness in all aspects of our lives, we seek out colors that can keep us grounded, inspired and enlightened about the future. We’re seeing an overall lightening of palettes’ warm undertones to colors to support this sense of wellness.

Grounded colors that bring a biophilic perspective can support the spaces needed for people to thrive. Earthy and neutral tones layer together to create warm, welcoming spaces. Greens that can be blended, rich yellows and deep earthtone browns are prevalent. Oceanic blues continue to be important, ranging from calming cornflower shades to intense cobalt. This is juxtaposed with airy, soft colors that embrace the blurring lines between the physical and virtual worlds-barely-there colors and ethereal gradations. Washes of color create a sense of calm.

Bold colors accent spaces to convey an element of optimism and play into the environment (think a mix of dusty primaries)-the Pantone Color of the Year, Viva Magenta, captures this vibrant spirit, reflecting excitement around what’s to come. The fun part is how these are mixed together unexpectedly to create a diverse mix of colors that mirror the people and activities we have in today’s spaces.
A holistic approach to sustainability

Design that promotes a better future for people and planet is more necessary than ever, and that requires new design methodologies. A more holistic approach that considers material health, circular economy, carbon impact and diversity, equity and inclusion ensures we are not sacrificing equity for sustainability, and vice versa. Product certifications like Cradle to Cradle offer third-party verification, conveying that manufacturers considered everything from material health to product circularity and social fairness in their product development process.

Exploration of innovative new materials continues to be at the forefront of every industry, and an intense focus on carbon footprint, dematerialization and reuse of our resources remain top priorities.

Katherine Cohen
associate creative director, Interface and Flor  
As we move into a new year and make goals and resolutions for the future, it’s important to look back at what got us here, as these influences will also help shape what lies ahead. This practice also relates to design as we seek to understand the trends that may arise in 2023.

As we look back at 2022, three key themes rise to the forefront as significant external factors influencing design: a greater emphasis on protecting the world around us, the rise of social media, and the ongoing impact of the global pandemic. Keeping these factors in mind, here are a few design themes that we can expect to see reflected in commercial and residential spaces in 2023.

Nature-inspired accents
No longer a temporary trend, biophilic design is now a leading strategy in the A&D industry, connecting our built environment to the world around us by incorporating nature-inspired materials and products into our interior spaces. Introducing aspects of biophilia-including natural light, outdoor views, organic patterns, living materials and fresh air-can help create spaces that positively impact mental and physical wellbeing.

Expect to continue to see the integration of nature-inspired accents in the following ways:
• Prioritization of earthy, organic tones that connect us to the innate color palette of the environment
• Curved edges in windows, entryways and corridors, which help bring light into a space
• Natural materials and patterns, such as rattan, stone and woodgrains, which link building occupants to the outdoors
• Climate-conscious materials that promote the creation of home or office spaces that positively contribute to the planet

Customized design
With trend information and best practices from the A&D community now accessible to everyone via the Internet and social media, there’s a renewed interest in customizing spaces for specific needs and preferences. This is especially true in the workplace. 

Business could not go on as usual during the pandemic, as companies shifted to a fully remote work model. Now, we are seeing a rebound in the corporate sector as companies continue to set return-to-office expectations and introduce hybrid work policies. Today’s workplace designers understand the need to create inviting spaces where employees can gather and collaborate.

Offices must now be more than a static environment-they should serve as a destination for employees-and this shift is leading to the adoption of new workplace design practices, including:
• Designation of “neighborhoods” within work-choice office spaces to foster relationships and collaborate with teammates to create community

• Integration of flexible spaces that can be used for quiet, dedicated work or lively group meetings

• Creation of “hackable” workspaces that incorporate movable furniture to ensure easy device charging and height-adjustable desks to accommodate different working styles and employee needs

Vickie Gilstrap

director of design services, The Dixie Group
For the last two years we can say with certainty that color and design trends have been driven by the impact of the pandemic. A reconnection with our feelings, families and homes was the catalyst that drove design, color and lifestyle decisions for 2022.

As we look ahead and try to discern what the future holds for 2023, only one word comes to mind: uncertainty. The early predictions of an optimistic development became encompassed by the ongoing economic, political and environmental concerns for the future. For the last few years, we have looked inward for healing. 2023 will be about reflecting outward what we learned with a better emotional understanding and empathy as we find the importance of caring for our wellbeing, our communities and our economies. Several related factors are driving design.

Accountability has resulted in a movement in which there is a demand for a better tomorrow. Sustainable design will remain top of mind, encouraging renewable materials like wool, cotton, bamboo and cork across design elements for flooring, furniture, textiles and building materials. Organic, handmade and “local” are best when it comes to home décor trends for 2023.

As green design grows, expect to see more colors that feel natural and less artificial. Different shades of green will continue to expand, as well as colors from nature, helping interiors to flow seamlessly as indoor-outdoor living spaces blend. Brown will be the new neutral of choice as we seek to ground ourselves in the restorative properties of nature. We have seen all varieties of brown shades in color forecasts for 2023, from light brown, beige, to dark and earthy tones.

Grey will no longer dominate in 2023 as people are exploring warmer colors that help to create the feelings of kindness, serenity and empathy within their homes.

Many desire a space that is an escape from the hustle and bustle of their lives. As a result, consumers will look to their spaces to create a vacation-like retreat. Expect to see schemes that evoke a sense of wanderlust.

Often, warm and inviting neutrals are showcased in these areas for a familiar, comforting effect. Calming blues will make their way to interiors with the use of tranquil blues and turquoise-like hues. The soothing nature of these watercolor tones make them great for spaces of calm and serenity, like home offices, studies, meditation rooms, saunas and spas.

Interiors will cater to everyday activities as well, with music rooms, mini-libraries, movie/game rooms and home gyms enjoying a surge in interest as we seek refuge from the disarray in our daily lives.

Arcs and rounded shapes have been making their way into interiors for quite some time. Crescent-shaped sofas, tulip chairs and circular rugs have all taken center stage. For 2023, we will see an expansion of this trend, with oblong mirrors, architectural details, mushroom lighting and shapes. Cabinets, credenzas and nightstands also have a curvier outlook for the future, helping to create the feelings of serenity and coziness in our homes.

Virtual escape
Another aspect of the escapism trend is one driven by the rapid improvements to technology and virtual worlds, which have created a new approach to “escape.” In digital worlds like the metaverse, one can be creative and exercise control within virtual communities. This allows many to connect with and satisfy their social needs with minimal effort.

There are some unexpected colors in the forecast for 2023 with the emergence of some literally otherworldly colors. Near-neon and hyper-brights are making a comeback, driven by this virtual escape through the metaverse, with color making an impact in both digital and physical realms. A variety of vivid, bold hues, including Digital Lilac as predicted by WGSN, are rising in popularity with Gen-Zers decorating their first homes.

As a result of the countless crises of the recent past, many people have become somewhat desensitized, and in this deciding moment, simply crave a sense of comfort, timelessness or even a bit of nostalgia in their homes. We see support for this movement taking place in interior design applications with the continued growth of the nostalgia trend.

Included in this trend is the thoughtful sourcing of antiques and secondhand pieces with detail and history. Hues of green, terracotta, mustard, brown and mauve help to evoke this feeling of yesteryear in a way that creates a fresh twist for home décor in 2023.

As interiors move away from the absoluteness of minimalism, we are also seeing a renewed interest in more decorative styles like Art Deco. Hyper-maximalism might not be in the cards yet; however, ornate details are on the rise. Expect Art Deco’s brighter colors, geometric patterns and symmetry to make a comeback in interior design for the coming year.

Natalia Smith
director of design, Metroflor
The overarching theme in interiors last year was “cozy living,” offering a feeling of being cocooned, safe and content within our homes. “Meaningful living” is the new concept that has moved to the forefront.

Within this trend, we see a desire to be near our family and loved ones while collecting experiences that bubble over to a drive to be better stewards of the planet and the people around us. Meaningful living has us asking how we can have a softer, more considered impact on the world, and current design trends are indicative of this.

Farmhouse natural
The farmhouse natural trend is now less traditional with a beautiful mix of modern, clean lines paired with warm whites to neutrals and the warmth of natural-toned wood. With this warming trend, there are more opportunities for browns and terracotta tones, while black still offers a great punctuation to the space. Light, neutral walls and large windows ensure that the space is not dark but airy and comfortable.

Calm comfort
This reflects last year’s macro trend of cozy living-feeling cocooned, safe and content within our homes-while also supporting our desire to have more experiences with our loved ones and maintain a smaller footprint on the world. Taking inspiration from Scandi vibes or minimalistic interiors, “calm comfort” can apply to homes with less visual noise, providing a sense of comfort inside the home, without bombardment from the outside world. Things are starting to warm up within this trend. Warmer whites can be coupled with neutralized accent colors that really pop within the monochromatic theme.

Nature home
This trend is inspired by the very tactile things from nature, expressed through the texture of natural textiles like rattan, caning and nubby wools, as well as colors found in nature that correspond with material-focused colors within our decors. You’ll also see larger windows and other ways of bringing more of the outdoors in visually, such as living walls and even moss wall installations, which are evolving from commercial interiors into residences.

Future roots
When you identify a new idea that’s three to four years out, yet household goods and other products are beginning to reference it, you know it’s headed toward the mainstream. The emerging “future roots” trend evokes cave-like interiors, reflecting the idea of people wanting to feel close to nature and cocooned. Art Nouveau is also a huge inspiration behind this trend, with its arched and flowing contours. You’re not going to see a lot of straight, clean lines, but rather, natural curvaceous ones running through woodgrain.

Cozy cottage
The cozy cottage trend is one of my favorites because it feels so comfortable and inviting. It’s the promise of a more pastoral, calm and slow-living life. We’ll see selective antiques or something else from Grandma’s house that is personally important to us. It’s not a cluttered trend, even though it’s casual and comfortable, and it’s becoming a bit more eclectic with more boho pieces coming in along with a touch of that ‘70s look. There’s even an English cottage vibe trickling into more modern interiors, a very comfortable, lived-in aesthetic.

Emily Holle
director of trend and design, MSI
As we enter the 2023 design landscape, we are seeing color come on strong, warmth layer in, and bold pattern and statement materials, all anchored by white and wood tones. Those design choices are manifesting in several thematic color stories.

Global spice
Inspired by Mediterranean artistry, “global spice” adds character and soul with an elevated decor style. Apply earthy tones like copper, mocha and charcoal to your interiors with brick-like tiles, stone-look slabs and wood-look luxury vinyl planks. Complete the look with a touch of flair by incorporating rosy blushes and terracottas to accent walls, furniture, artwork and other stylish textiles. Mixing textures, adding arches and curvilinear shapes build to create this comfortable, lived in, spicy style.

The golden hour
We’ve set our sights on a sun-kissed color palette, a gleaming reflection of warm and welcoming hues. Rooms designed with this “magic hour” aesthetic-capturing the time after sunrise and before sunset where the light’s soft and golden-have a daydreamy, natural look. The trend’s light and airy vibe is super-easy to create. Think gold-veined countertops in quartz or natural stone paired with brushed-brass fixtures, toasty beige LVT or earthtone chocolate brown porcelain planks. Freshen up walls and backsplashes with pale blonde subway tiles and sandy hued decorative mosaics.

More than mod
A new mod look is upon us that is familiar yet updated with a sunny twist. Create a comfortable modern vibe by incorporating classic black and white tones in the kitchen, bathrooms and beyond with a hint of warmth with blonde wood accents. Punch up the look with geometric prints, classic penny rounds and angular hexagons.

Verdant storm
Say hello to the interior design equivalent of cliffside bathing. Inspired by crashing waves, treetop canopies and all the wellbeing benefits of connecting to nature, this look is sophisticated, vivid, yet soothing. The moody color story, flush with ocean hues like indigo, moss and emerald, adds a burst of freshness to interiors. On floors, furniture and cabinetry, graphite and ash wood tones elevate the clean, natural vibe. Moments of crisp white and marbleized styles ground the dreamy aesthetic.

Copyright 2023 Floor Focus 

Related Topics:HMTX, Interface, Metroflor Luxury Vinyl Tile, The Dixie Group, Shaw Industries Group, Inc.