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The Hyper-Sustainable Decor Trend This Year

The newest interior design trend is sustainable and abundant – and it’s rooted in the decor from over a century ago. The vintage and antique-centric look is rising, creating exciting and unique spaces.

This year’s sustainable trend focuses on creating a welcoming and comfortable space. While interior decorators haven’t quite nailed down the terminology for this approach, descriptors have ranged from “Victorian” and “English cottage-inspired” to “vintage, fun,” and “textile-forward.” 

Above all, the 2022 home design world is incorporating pieces from past eras in a way that is purposefully lacking complete uniformity. The trend has two goals: to foster space with personality and invitation without being harshly uniform (and feeling like a showroom) and increase home design sustainability. 

Photo courtesy  Sasha Stories

Over the last decade, large profile, heavy, and dark-colored furniture and fixings of the early 2000s went out of vogue. Striking, slimmed down, and cleanly-appointed decor, first dubbed by the New York Times in the late summer of 1998, claimed the stage: Mid-Century Modern. 

Defined by its sleek lines, light wood, slim profiles, and frequently monochromatic color palette, the revival trend catapulted companies like West Elm, Ikea, and Article to popularity. Experts say that mid-century modern is on its way out while incorporating more color and history into homes is the new approach. 

“Color schemes come and go but typically have a popularity lifeline of about a decade,” said Andra DelMonico, a home design writer for the publication Trendey. “Gray is coming to the end of its decade.” 

Previously, new trends sent people in search of replacing already owned items to create a curated look. This has led to a strain on the environment as deforestation increased and factories pushed into overdrive. Just like fast fashion hit its peak, the American design industry’s fast furniture is facing a similar fate. The industry and consumers alike are pushing for a reckoning with sustainable manufacturing, labor, and sourcing. The new (old) approach’s pillar tenant incorporates unique pieces, usually vintages or antiques – a practice with economic and environmental benefits. The longevity of these pieces, combined with the (usually) lower price, makes this new decor trend an excellent investment. 

Photo courtesy  Nicola Nuttall

Most vintage or antique stores are locally owned, meaning consumers will support family-owned businesses. And by purchasing vintage or antique items, no additional materials are being harvested for creation. It may seem small but think of all the deforestation that could be spared if people first checked out local antique shops.

Beyond manufacturing, buying these welcoming pieces limits the pollution that shipping, and distribution put into the environment. 

Photo courtesy of Andres Molina

So, how is it done?

Embrace bold patterns and varying textiles. Lean into the whimsical patterns of vintage furniture, particularly those using darker colors and florals. Think beyond the dichotomy of cotton woven cushions and explore options like velvet or leather. Alternatively, if you find a piece that isn’t quite your liking, visit a local upholstery shop for alterations.

Focus on comfort and warm tones. Above all, your space should be comfortable for you and your guests. Look for plush and inviting pieces while keeping an eye out for a warmer color palette, which lends a cozier feel.

Display items with a story. Consider pulling out those items you had tucked away in the new Victorian-inspired decor wave. Make your space reflective of your story and give people something to ask about when they come into your home! 

Mix your eras. One of the best components of this trend is its inclusion of pieces from various periods coming together to make a distinctive look. You may be surprised how the wood of your vintage record player perfectly matches the Chippendale side table you could find at your antique shop. Look to tie together pieces of individual items rather than the entire pieces of furniture or decor themselves. 

Look to spring. Florals and biophilic decor are always in, and flowers and plants will be an evergreen staple of interior design (not to mention the health benefits). After all, the Victorian era first brought plants into the home. 

Photo courtesy  Javier Vinals

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