Have you set your decorating resolutions for 2024 yet? For the design-adjacent and house proud, these intentions for the year ahead are so much more important than any self-improvement hype – they’re a way to motivate yourself if you’re gearing up for a big project, can help you stay on track when you get decision fatigue, and generally just set a vision for how you want to decorate and, well, live in your home, going forward.
Of course, no other set of people is better at setting decorating resolutions than interior designers – and with one eye on the interior design trends to come, they’re best placed to advise on what you might want to think about and design with as we head into 2024. We were intrigued to find out what resolutions they think everyone should be making – so, naturally, we asked them.
Below are the five top themes that came up in these designers’ resolutions, from sustainable shopping to designing out of your comfort zone – we’ll be taking on a fair few of these as we get ready for the fresh new year ahead.
1. Buy with intention
Most everyone is aware of how important it is to scale back on consumerism – and resolving to be more mindful about your purchases is a powerful way to do this. Our guide to how to consume consciously will help you here. ‘Buy with intention and wait for the perfect piece(s) you love,’ says Lauren Sullivan, founder of Tennessee studio Well x Design. ‘In a world where we are bombarded with advertising and "fast" design, curating an intentional space and patiently waiting for the right items can be a challenge – but if you buy what speaks to you and not just things to simply fill a space, you're more likely to keep these items longer (aka out of landfills) and cherish them even more.’
‘Resist the urge to "complete a space”,’ agrees Amber Guyton, the Atlanta, GA-based interior designer and founder of Blessed Little Bungalow. ‘Design is a marathon, not a sprint. Be okay with space makeovers taking longer than expected. Don't settle for what doesn't feel right. Understand that everything doesn't have to be brand new.’
2. Try vintage before you shop brand new
Many of the designers we spoke to advocated for making decorating with antiques a resolution for 2024. ‘I strongly believe the most impactful decorating resolution is to quit the mass produced generic garbage and instead opt for one of a kind, vintage or antique, or handmade items by artisans,’ says Meg Lavalette, the New York-based founder of LAVAinteriors. ‘There is a huge difference of quality in both materials and fabrication. One of a kind items bring so much soul and character into a space that can’t be replicated in a production line, which avoids your house feeling like a sterile showroom.’
‘There is so much untapped beauty in the secondhand market and it should be explored,’ agrees Nina Dekay Grauer, founding partner and design principal of Dekay & Tate Interiors dually based in Palm Beach, Florida, and Denver, Colorado. ‘If you have the means to store furniture for the future or a special accessory or a painting then do it. Not only are you preserving furniture legacies but also shopping secondhand is so much more environmentally friendly.’
Alternatively, make your resolution to try mixing and matching vintage and modern designs in your scheme, says Ksenya Malina, founder of New York’s Time and Place Interiors. ‘Not every piece of furniture necessarily needs to fit into a defined decor style. When everything you own has a story or evokes a feeling for you, the commonality will be the expression of your unique personality. In fact, it's best to not create too literal of a themed pastiche with an overload of objects from the same era: this can end up looking contrived.’
3. Practise self expression
If 2023 has taught us anything, it’s that truly personal spaces are so much cooler than cookie-cutter schemes – so while you should take ideas from different design movements and moments if you love them, they shouldn’t smother your personal style. Embracing the art of self-expression, Steph Smothers, vice president of design at Chicago property developer Sterling Bay, explains, is about ‘celebrating individual aesthetics, promoting interiors rich in stories, and accepting bold colors and patterns without restraint.’
‘Don't worry about what anyone else thinks and allow yourself the luxury of well designed space that caters to you,’ adds Bridget Tiek, principal interior designer at LA studio Tiek Byday, ‘whether it's diving into your love of color (or lack of!) throughout your home or carving out a small space to yourself that is fully you.’
Marta Balazs, interior designer and founder of London’s Embee Interiors, thinks making a resolution to embrace pattern-mixing is another good way to approach this. ‘Mixing patterns brings uniqueness and character to a home,’ she says. ‘Thoughtful pattern clashes amplify individuality and transform rooms into bespoke, inviting spaces that truly reflect your distinctive style.’
4. Take more risks
For many designers, the resolution is simple: be bold. ‘For me, 2024 is about embracing change and trying new things, and that includes taking some risks in my home decor,’ says Louisville, Kentucky interior designer Bethany Adams. ‘I'm especially interested in new ways of doing the same old thing – for example, how could a basic range hood be more interesting? Experiment with atypical materials and see where your imagination takes you!’
‘I think 2024 is going to be all about bold, dramatic moves,’ says Devon Wegman, design director and founder of Chicago-based DGI Design x Build. ‘People are tired of playing it safe and sticking with neutrals, soft textures everywhere. We're incorporating more and more graphic stone, provocative artwork, area rugs and large statement chandeliers in spaces. People no longer want their home to look just like their neighbors’, but in order to do that, it's critical to take risks!’
5. Embrace biophilic design
Decorating with plants is nothing new, but 'an important resolution for anyone looking to update their home decor is incorporating natural elements throughout the space,’ says Malka Helft of Westchester, NY practice Think Chic Interiors. ‘Adding just one plant or floral arrangement can breathe new life into any room, whether it's a small vase with one or two flowers in a powder room or a large olive tree in a hand-potted planter in your family room. Not only do these natural touches bring added beauty and texture to your decor scheme, but they also have the added benefit of improving indoor air quality and reducing stress levels.’
‘Biophilic design is a must for the new year,’ agrees Ginger Curtis, CEO and founder of Dallas, TX studio Urbanology Designs. ‘This trend centers around bringing the outdoors inside, creating spaces that foster a stronger connection with nature. Incorporate more indoor plants, living green walls, natural materials like stone and wood, and large windows to maximize natural light and reduce the barrier between the interior and exterior.’
You can practise this resolution in almost every area of your home – the key is to pay attention to materials. ‘Select textiles made from natural fibers for longevity,’ says Sabra Ballon, founder of San Francisco interior design practice ballonSTUDIO. ‘A wool rug will last 25 years. Lanolin in the wool is a natural stain repellent which makes it easy to clean and maintain. Linen is a super strong fiber that has tons of longevity and the looser weave releases spots easily when cleaned. And leather lasts forever as upholstery – it's both durable and timeless.’
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Ellen is deputy editor of Livingetc magazine. She cut her teeth working for sister publication Real Homes, starting as features editor before becoming deputy editor. There, she enjoyed taking a peek inside beautiful homes and discovered a love for design and architecture that eventually led her here. She has also written for other titles including Homes & Gardens and Gardeningetc. While she gets ready to buy a house of her own, she takes inspiration from the works of some of her favourite architects and tastemakers. She has a particular passion for green design and enjoys shopping small, local and second-hand where she can.
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