As a new year dawns, thoughts start to turn to what we want to achieve, or change, in the coming months. Time spent at home over Christmas can bring a sense of urgency to those decorative tweaks, or more significant renovations, that have been on the backburner in the run-up to the festivities; and a new season brings with it new inspiration.
The concept of interiors “trends” has become, in itself, rather old-fashioned, due to the cost of living crisis and a general rejection of badly made fast furniture; but for those with an interest in interior design, it’s interesting to see what the leaders in the field are doing to bring a feeling of freshness to their work. Here are seven examples of what the experts will be bringing to stylish homes in 2024 – that, crucially, won’t look out of date a year from now.
1. Cosy colours
The palette for 2024 is getting distinctly earthy. All the warm shades, from burgundy and damson to burnt orange, terracotta and ochre, are coming back, and not in a 70s revival way; even brown (bear with us) is getting its moment in the sun. “There’s a move towards indulgent, cocooning interiors that deliver a soothing power; richer neutrals are overtaking whites in popularity, bringing with them a cosy and inviting atmosphere,” says Ruth Mottershead, creative director of paint brand Little Greene, whose latest collection of colours features honeyed tones with names such as Muscovado, Affogato and Ganache.
Mottershead calls them “earthy yet refined”, a quality that makes them “the perfect backdrop to the natural materials currently being incorporated in contemporary interiors, including wicker, rattan, warm woods and stone finishes”.
What may appear to be slightly old-fashioned colours get a fresh new look when paired with paler tones, such as blush pink or pale blue, or with brighter accents. Designer Kit Kemp concurs that “the warmth of umber tones” will be “bringing joy into rooms in 2024”, alongside “pops of fresh green and dashes of zesty orange detailing on accessories or piping to outline furniture and add another layer of character”.
Trend forecasters Pantone and WGSN have both predicted that warm, peachy tones will be big in the coming year. Although Peach Fuzz, the particular shade that Pantone is pushing, might suggest “teenage bedroom circa 1989” rather than sophisticated living space, again, there are ways to use peach tones stylishly: Colefax and Fowler’s Squiggle wallpaper and fabric pattern, for example, or Soho Home’s Antique Rose velvet upholstery.
Unlike bolder colours, earthy tones are easier to pair with others, so will have more longevity, making them the opposite of a flash-in-the-pan trend, says interior designer Ashley Kruger of StudioMorey: “Natural colours such as olive green, forest brown, burgundy and creamy whites have a timeless quality, so you can invest in earthy-coloured furnishings and know they will not become outdated.”
2. The “old money” aesthetic
Although this originated on social-media platform TikTok, where trends come and go in the blink of an eye, it’s probably the one with the most longevity: it may be inspired by Gen Z wanting to imitate an old-money lifestyle, whether or not they live in a stately home, but it’s a look that has cross-generational appeal. Think of it as the interior-design equivalent of the King in a patched up jacket and mended shoes: it celebrates the value in something classic and well-made, rather than consigning an old piece to the skip and replacing it with something new.
It might be giving old curtains a new lease of life by adding a border, or re-stuffing and upholstering a comfortable but threadbare armchair. And if you don’t already have such ready-aged things, it’s easy to find an old chair to revive, or a vintage portrait in a junk shop that could depict an ancestor.
The sustainability element of this make-do-and-mend approach is obvious – and very Gen Z – but it also makes sense on a financial level: vintage and antique furniture and artworks can be picked up at antiques markets and auctions for less than the price of an equivalent, newly made piece, and they’ll instantly give a room a sense of gravitas.
For inspiration, look to the work of decorating firm Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, whose founders spearheaded this “easy elegance” aesthetic. In the words of the firm’s joint managing director Emma Burns, “The English country house style they pioneered is confident, warm, relaxed, practical, welcoming and generous, with beautiful rooms that are not disrupted when a dog jumps on the sofa or 20 teenage children rock up unexpectedly to hang out. The decoration doesn’t change for years, it develops, with slip covers on chairs, an eclectic mix of ethnic cushions to perk up existing sofas, and bedside tables piled up with books.”
3. The return of unpainted wood
After years of painted wood holding sway, particularly in the kitchen, unpainted wooden finishes are once more having a moment, thanks to the “quiet luxury” trend that highlights natural materials in their raw form.
“The wood kitchen trend has made a significant comeback; we have moved on from outdated and clunky wood kitchens to seamless elegant designs, which enhance the beauty and versatility of wood,” says Al Bruce of kitchen company Olive & Barr, who has noted demand from homeowners “looking to invest in an authentic look which celebrates natural materials in abundance, moving away from the stark white design from previous years”.
For those who like a calming, neutral look at home, showing the natural grain and texture of wood – whether in the kitchen, or with furniture or shutters in the living or dining room – is a way of bringing warmth and character, without strong colour or busy pattern. Mix with other materials that have a little lustre, such as velvet upholstery or bronze hardware, for a balanced look.
4. Elevated storage
An organised home is never out of fashion, but David Beckham’s impeccably ordered dressing room, as revealed in Netflix’s recent documentary series, has sparked a renewed focus on high-end storage solutions. Wardrobe specialist Neatsmith has already spotted an increase in customers requesting bespoke wardrobes that are specifically designed to enhance the feng shui in their bedroom or dressing room (very Beckham), with built-in storage add-ons to ensure the inside of the wardrobe doesn’t become cluttered or “overwhelmed”.
Similarly, the kitchen is also seeing an increase in upscale storage options. “Clever planning and storage that can function and support in the role of a ‘back’ kitchen will be a key component in 2024, allowing for the more mundane tasks to be relocated away from the kitchen and open-plan living area,” says Felix Milns of design company HUX London. What looks like a simple cupboard can open up to reveal a surprise coffee station (searches for “coffee bar styling” are up 1,125 per cent on last year on social-media platform Pinterest), or a backlit bar.
“Breakfast pantries are growing in popularity, ensuring all those pieces of equipment that clutter the counter, such as the toaster, microwave and daily essentials, can be easily accessed and instantly concealed, simply by closing the doors,” Milns continues. “Pivot and slide doors allow these pantries to be open or closed, and this idea also works really well when incorporating a home bar. Operational changes like this free up the overall kitchen space, ensuring it is dedicated to offering a comfortable and convivial environment.”
5. Cool metallics
Fashion collections have been awash with metallic fabrics this season – call it the Beyoncé effect – and Pinterest is forecasting that cool silver and chrome tones will “make their way into the mainstream” in our homes in 2024 as “people trade in their trusty neutrals for something a bit more hardcore”.
The aluminium furniture that Pinterest predicts as a potential trend might be a bit too hardcore for many, but there are ways to introduce metallic accents for a little modern shine, without going full Barbarella.
“We are bidding farewell to the notion that metals have to match, as 2024 heralds the era of mixed metal colour palettes and elements, adding a modern and sleek touch to any living space,” says Kruger. “Playing with textured silver and gold finishes on walls, furnishings and accessories will create visual interest and sophistication in your home, with bold impact. Think of metallics as neutral – they can be worked into any room, and pair well with natural colours and organic materials.” A metallic lamp, vase or side table will introduce that subtle hint of shine, without bringing too much bling.
6. The “soft wall”
WGSN has declared that in 2024, “after years of devotion to the window, consumers will start to seek out curtains once again,” adding: “Once considered old-fashioned, curtains will be the newest must-have for homes.”
For some of us, of course, curtains never went away; but it’s certainly true that, thanks to current energy prices, they have become a practical choice as well as an aesthetic one. Luckily, it’s a trend that designers are already on board with, and there’s an increasing choice of ready-made and made-to-order curtains that offer far more in the way of style than your average tab-top: see Tori Murphy’s smart stripes and checks with frill details that look chic, rather than fussy.
It’s not all about windows either: Victorian-style door curtains are having a revival due to their draught-beating properties, and for those who want to create a divide between rooms in an open-plan space, without building a wall, a curtain is both more flexible and far cheaper than installing folding or sliding doors.
And then, of course, there’s the skirtain: the under-counter curtain, or skirt, that conceals appliances or storage. Again, it’s a less expensive way to update your kitchen than replacing cabinet doors that have seen better days, and in a classic stripe or a country-style gingham, it brings welcome softness to what can be a somewhat sterile space.
7. The indoors outdoors
While the concept of the “outdoor lounge” is not new, it’s set to be taken to new heights in 2024. We may no longer have to entertain alfresco, huddled around fire pits in duvet coats, as we did during the pandemic, but that experience has taught us the value of an outdoor space that we can use and enjoy as much as possible.
“There has been a big shift in the way people utilise their outdoor spaces, with a growing trend of transforming these areas into second living rooms,” says interior designer Kelly Hoppen. “This reflects a desire to blend the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living. Outdoor furniture and accessories have evolved beyond traditional patio sets, with a focus on durability and style – people are investing in weather-resistant furniture, cosy rugs and ambient lighting.
“With the integration of fire pits, outdoor kitchens and entertainment systems, people are maximising their use of external spaces. This not only enhances the overall living experience but also connects people with nature,” says Hoppen.
WGSN is predicting that the alfresco office will take off, stating that as “being in nature has been confirmed to stimulate the intellect and positive emotions and is a great way to boost productivity”, the “outdoor desk” will become a key piece of furniture, “ideally equipped with solar-powered chargers, wifi-enabled structures and heated seats”.
Food for thought for those with decorating and garden revamps on the mind; and proof that the best “trends” are those that endure.