Courtesy NKBA

While many believe 2020 was a pivotal moment for residential design, some argue it was merely an accelerant. Before March 2020, attributes such as healthy home environments, sustainable qualities, and work-from-home capabilities piqued the interests of many homeowners, but they weren’t necessarily top needs at the time. Ultimately, the effects of the pandemic pushed those trends to the forefront quickly, and the industry is shifting to accommodate.

“The pandemic forced a lot of people to reevaluate what’s most important in their lives and in their homes,” says Amanda Pendleton, Zillow home trends expert. “For many, 2022 is the moment to start living those values. That could be investing in sustainable home features, designing a space with well-being in mind, or leaning into comfort and function over high style.”

To see what’s in store for the coming year, BUILDER compiled predictions from a few industry design sources, including Zillow, Houzz, and the National Kitchen & Bath Association. Some build upon trend expectations from the past year-plus, including a continued focus on outdoor living and remote work, while others focus on trending colors and multifunctional spaces. Read on for 10 trends that will influence single-family design in 2022.

Blanched Thyme – Calming and nourishing, this natural green shade encourages balance.
Courtesy Valspar Blanched Thyme – Calming and nourishing, this natural green shade encourages balance.

1. Down-to-earth colors: Paint colors can have a huge impact on homes, and experts from several sources predict homeowners will gravitate toward nature as they seek out calm through color. Natural hues, such as greens, blues, taupes, and browns, will prevail this year. Because of this trend, many paint manufacturers selected a shade of green for their top color of 2022.

2. Functional offices: With the continuation of hybrid and remote work into 2022, flexible work solutions are extending to the home. Designers should focus on creating calm, inviting spaces—whether it’s a pocket office by the kitchen or a larger space that could also function as a guest room—with great light control and nice backdrops.

3. Sustainability and efficiency: Sustainable building practices will be a top priority for younger homeowners, who will seek out home features and products that allow them to live by their values. Features such as high-performance windows and solar panels will help reduce energy use, while native trees and grasses can help create water-efficient landscapes.

4. Outdoor living: Backyard escapes were a big takeaway from lockdown periods. As a result, people want their backyards to be relaxing extensions of their interior living spaces. From fire pits and outdoor kitchens to televisions and ample seating areas, the line between indoors and out is almost disappearing.

5. Comfy cozy: People are spending more time at home, and they want their space to be as comfortable and cozy as their stretchy outfits of choice. Owner’s suites should offer a refuge from the hustle and bustle, and living rooms will prioritize not only what looks good but also what feels good.

6. Smart technology: Homeowners are slowly adopting the use of smart household devices. The pandemic made people conscious of high-contact surface points, so owners increasingly turned to hands-free and voice-activated technology to reduce the spread of diseases. Plus, smart elements that can tie back to efficiency, such as energy and water monitoring, are increasing in popularity.

7. Hardworking storage: The right storage strategies can create a highly functional home. While cabinetry hasn’t changed much over time, the inside of cabinets has shifted. Pullouts help bring items from the back to the front and special shelves lift heavy appliances from a lower cabinet to countertop height. Designers are also including cubbies for towels and hidden storage for items like laundry hampers.

8. Aging in place: Many of today’s homeowners are looking to create their forever home, and that could mean incorporating universal design principles that will assist with accessibility for years to come. Features like curbless showers, non-slip flooring, and shower benches have become desirable and stylish features for homeowners of all ages.

9. Furry friends: Zillow research found that pet ownership among recent movers soared over the past year. Nearly three-fourths of home buyers reported having at least one pet at home (73%), up from 64% of buyers who reported having a pet in 2020. Look for pet owners to invest in fenced yards, custom feeding stations, built-in beds, and even pet washing stations this year.

10. Health and wellness: It’s been a tough two years, and people are prioritizing their mental health. Homeowners will create retreats within their homes, such as private spaces for meditation or reflection, reading nooks, and spa-inspired bathroom escapes. Natural light will be important, especially in home offices and common spaces, while indoor plants will continue to be popular as well.