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As 2023 hits the stage and the year of the gentle rabbit rings in, bringing renewed hope, a sense of calm and a sigh of relief, home and interior design is also shifting gears to follow suit.
“We’re all excited that the dark cloud of COVID has finally disappeared and with that comes a new year and new trends that carry through happiness and little rays of sunshine,” says Susan Jomha, owner and principal interior designer at Distinct Interior Design, an Edmonton-based design company that also works across Alberta including in Calgary, Canmore and Windermere. She notes that in 2023, we can expect a focus on simplicity, clean lines and functionality.
“We’re going to be seeing a lot of natural materials and elements connecting nature to design, like wood panelling, stone walls, more like larger slabs on feature walls and greenery incorporated into residential design.”
This year’s design focus is all about creating hygge in our homes, getting cosy in a warm and comforting environment, while taking steps to burst out of our cocoons with ample spaces for entertaining and joyous infusions of luxury, pops of rich colour and plenty of natural materials. The Herald talks to the experts and takes a deep dive into some of the exciting new trends sparking interest for 2023.
The kitchen has always been the heart of the home, but this year, as we settle back into a more social way of being, it becomes even more important. “We’re seeing many different styles of kitchens — contemporary modern, traditional, farmhouse style and more,” says Jomha, adding that kitchens are taking up the lion’s share of the main floor. “They are becoming the main focal area of the home and the entertaining area.”
Large islands with different levels and a farmhouse style table integrated into the island structure are also popular.
Jennifer Grenda, show home merchandiser for Jayman Built says that adequate storage and prep space, great flow to the space, and quality appliances are essential to kitchen design.
“We are seeing trends like hood fan shrouds, two-tone cabinetry, lighter woods, and panelled appliances,” she says.
Many of these elements were used in Jayman’s Holly 24 show home in Wolf Willow, which earned a finalist nod at the 2023 Canadian Home Builders’ Association National Awards for Housing Excellence.
A stunning countertop can make a kitchen pop and if the kitchen centres around an open-concept design, a “wow” counter will set the tone for the entire home. Juxtaposition of materials and colours is topping the countertop trend charts this year.
“It’s a two-toned approach,” says Alykhan Velji of Alykhan Velji Designs.
Using two tones on counters — one material on the island, juxtaposed with another material on the perimeter countertop — adds texture and drama to the design.
“We’re incorporating two-toned countertops and cabinets a lot more in our designs. It makes a space become more custom and natural stone adds such a luxe factor — granite is making a huge comeback,” says Velji.
Porcelain and natural stone are also making headlines in countertop designs. San Diego-based designer Brian Brown recently highlighted Caesarstone’s new offerings at the Interior Design Show held in Toronto in January: a one-of-a-kind collection of porcelain, capturing the visual qualities of a wide range of material types, from natural marble to the industrial aspects of concrete and metal, along with a curated collected of responsibly sourced natural stone.
Sustainable, Eco-Friendly Designs and Healthy Designs and Materials
Although many trends come and go, designing, building and renovating a healthy and energy-efficient home continues to be a high priority. Passive design, where the home is positioned on a homesite to gain maximum sunlight, placement of windows to gain passive heat (larger windows on the southern exposure), geothermal heating, natural materials like wood and stone, and installing a host of energy saving devices, appliances and fixtures are all on everyone’s radar.
State of the art water filtration systems and water-saving fixtures are part of the equation. American Standard offers several, including the Spectra filtered shower system that reduces up to 50 per cent of the chlorine in shower water and the Saybrook water filtration system, which reduces 99.7 per cent of lead, 96.9 per cent of chlorine and 92.6 per cent of Class I particulates from tap drinking water.
Colours that Calm
Expect lots of layers of soft neutrals, with creamy whites topping the must-have chart. Chocolate brown is also making a big come-back and accent features and walls of rich tones like jewel green and terracotta. Pantone’s colour of the year is Viva Magenta, so expect that this soft shade of wine will be a colour that is widely used in accent furniture and pillows. Bold blacks, moss green and peacock blue will also shine. And, don’t forget about the sparkle — gold and brass accents, whether in fixtures, lighting or cabinetry pulls, will definitely turn heads.
Comfortable and Versatile Furnishings
Clean and classic looks are in, as are designs with texture and evolving versatility.
“We’re seeing a lean to designs that have it all: comfortability, functionality, versatility, natural materials and timeless forms,” says Liana Thomson, product developer at EQ3, a Canadian home furnishings and accessories manufacturer and retailer. Wood, stone, marble and plaster are all making a comeback in furnishing and accessories — think solid teak bar stools and stoneware collections.
“Our best-selling Dew stoneware collection, formed from stones salvaged from an Indonesian riverbed with no two alike, is a perfect example of this. There is beauty in imperfection,” says Thomson, adding that bringing the natural beauty of the outdoors inside provides texture, depth and a variety of shapes.
Adjustable designs, that grow and evolve with a family or that have multiple functions are becoming highly in demand, as is colour. For example, sofa collections that allow for added pieces or that can be reconfigured, much like puzzle pieces, or a table that doubles as both a home office desk and as a place to eat, are the kinds of flexible designs that are in demand.
Functional and Beautiful Home Offices
The working-from-home and hybrid work trend is here to stay and that translates to an increased focus on carving out functional home office space.
“There’s now a greater emphasis on comfort and functionality, ergonomics and organization, as well as the need for storage,” says Distinct Interior Design’s Jomha.
Chris Lemke of Calgary’s Alloy Homes, a custom home builder in Calgary, notes that home offices are certainly top- of-mind in design.
“Without question, a home office is the No. 1 request that we are getting, and it’s not just one home office, often it’s two,” says Lemke, adding that what people are asking for is a whole new thing. “We’ve always built home offices, but people are now asking for things like beautiful cabinetry to create an elegant Zoom backdrop. The room you are sitting in says a lot about your professionalism.”