6 under-the-radar design trends our editor thinks will have their moment in 2023
From colors to materials to textures, these six design trends were all spotted in Milan and will set the style agenda around the world
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This year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan ushered in the design trends we’ll all be seeing a lot of next year. It's where the most innovative and high end brands get together to show their new work to buyers and press from around the world, and where new ideas are born that slowly filter out into the wider world.
I always think of Milan as a place where the 'cerulean choosers' gather. Do you remember that scene in Devil Wears Prada where Miranda Priestley witheringly explains the reason behind Andy's blue jumper? That Oscar de la Renta used it in his catwalk show first, then another designer did, and gradually the high street picked up on it?
Well, Salone does the same for decor. With so many of the world's most brilliant minds creating the pieces on display, and so many of the world's keenest eyes trained on what's happening, it's inevitable that themes which start here will crop up elsewhere.
So from luxe to convivial to a dash of decorative spice, here are the interior design trends that may be under the radar now, but that are how I think you’ll be decorating in 2023 and beyond.
1. Social seating
As one of the team at Calligaris told me, ‘the world has changed and so must what we design.’ This seismic shift has resulted in a fleet of seats that aim to aid relationships and connection, a realisation that these are what ought to be the priority in life.
At Edra, designer Franceso Binfare interpreted this with the Standalto sofa, with its pillow-like cushions you can bend to be as upright or flat as you liked depending on how you wish to repose as you share the seat with friends, while both Bonaldo’s Sleek chair and Arflex’s Delta Vienna lounge chair (seen from behind, above) are angled so that you can’t help but look up and into the eyes of the people around you. Adding the plump, welcoming roundness of the Arflex’s Marenco sofa (above) completes the set for this most beguiling of living room trends.
And Nardi has taken this feeling outside - the Net Lounge chair in red, turquoise or black made for creating little groups in which to recline and relax together.
2. Corner lighting
When I first saw Lee Broom's innovative new Requiem lighting collection, above, I idiotically commented to him 'but you'd need very high ceilings from which to hang it.' He pointed out that they're actually meant to go in a corner, where they can touch - or nearly touch - the floor and not get in anyone's way.
'I see low level lighting like this as a replacement for table lamps or wall sconces,' Lee says, of this dynamic new lighting trend which helps to create little vignettes in pools of illumination in a room. 'Architectural pieces that instead of hanging over a dining table, creating a harsher downwards glow, light warmly from the side.'
Tom Dixon and Bethan Gray have followed this idea, creating strings of light the height of a room. The result is a space that emanates design credibility along with the warmth of the bulbs.
3. Green veining
Marbled surfaces were big in Milan, proof that the sense of opulence that comes from hi-shine finishes is definitely here to stay. But emerging as a trend within the trend was a push towards green veining, a soft tactility which speaks of marble's natural origins and brings the stone’s glamor down a liveable notch or two.
Marazzi took it as the inspiration for its new collection called The Top, above, used to cover not just islands and counters but flooring, too, so expect to see this as one of the key kitchen trends for next year. Marble-effect and made from 12mm antibacterial slabs, it results in a beguilingly sensual overall effect.
Meanwhile at Porada green stone was harnessed to create the irregularly shaped Berry table, the ripples of which invite friends to lean into conversation as they dine, elbows on the top as they luxuriate in the informality of its gentle whorls, while Bontempi have introduced the concept of Supermarble, a new matt green finish for tabletops and occasional furniture.
I'm expecting to see green veining used large and small, in niche areas like coffee table trends.
4. Curiosity cabinets
I've been seeing it in the way people are displaying objets in their home, in the careful consideration that goes into placement and choice. For a while now, even minimalism has embraced the idea of putting your most treasured pieces out for show, filling your home with personality and making you smile every time.
Perhaps it's only logical that curiosity cabinets are going to have a moment in interior design.
Glass fronted cupboards were being seen at Cattelan Italia, above, Galotti&Radice and Rimadesio, and I think they're the new version of open living room shelving. They give your pieces the gravitas of a museum display.
5. Textured whites
You might think white isn't the most practical color for furniture. That kids and pets and pasta dinners on the sofa all in fact make white living rooms the worst decor choice you could make.
But advances in stain-resistant fabric have made white a safer option, and this new take on adding texture to the material allows for a variation in hue anyway.
The sumptuously friendly tactility of boucle has been popular before, so now whites are getting even more textured. Seen in rug trends at Ethimo, above, or on furniture like Poliform's sofas, run your hands over these…as long as you’ve not had any chocolate first.
Already, this is a look that can be bought into now. I particularly like La Redoute's woven white rug (opens in new tab), which is more durable than it sounds.
Isn’t warmth a mood we all want from our homes? Step forward paprika, the punchier cousin of terracotta that adds a dash of heat. Used across outdoor tables at Flexform, dressers at Galotti&Radice and sofas at Calligaris, it’s the new neutral that goes with anything.
Yes, even when it comes to bathroom trends it has managed to find a way in. Scavolini, above, shows how it brings out the kinder tones in grey, updating a neutral suite. And quite literally spicing up your (home) life.
The editor of Livingetc, Pip Rich (formerly Pip McCormac) is a lifestyle journalist of almost 20 years experience working for some of the UK's biggest titles. As well as holding staff positions at Sunday Times Style, Red and Grazia he has written for the Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times and ES Magazine. The host of Livingetc's podcast Home Truths, Pip has also published three books - his most recent, A New Leaf, was released in December 2021 and is about the homes of architects who have filled their spaces with houseplants. He has recently moved out of London - and a home that ELLE Decoration called one of the ten best small spaces in the world - to start a new renovation project in Somerset.
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