Designing For a New Luxury: Three Design Trends that Can Improve our Health & Headspaces in 2022

Today, more than ever before, our interiors have become the pinnacle of our mental and physical wellbeing: they are our sanctuaries, our offices, our gyms, and the places where we create our fondest memories. Thanks to the coronavirus, many of us also look to our interiors as places where we can recharge and recenter.

There’s no denying that the spaces we spend time in influence our feelings, our mood, our energy, and the choices that we make. With more time spent indoors this past year due to the pandemic, people worldwide have been reflecting on how they can create spaces that feed their ambition, inspire them to be better, and make them feel happy every day. My belief is that our collective experiences during the pandemic will take us back to a more simplistic, organic, health-oriented way of living and designing the spaces around us.

So, as we prepare to welcome a New Year, now is also a time to take a step back to redefine the meaning of luxury in design. Thanks to our collective experiences, we are envisioning and appreciating a new version of luxury in design. This new version of luxury design is less ostentatious, less glitzy and glamorous. It’s all about paring back, having reservations, and viewing simplicity as elegance. Functionality also overrides opulence and comfort dominates.

As we look to the year ahead, here are my top tips for incorporating design trends that will help us better relax, feel more grounded and rejuvenate us both mentally and physically.

Springbank Road private residence by Tomas Pearce Interior Design (photo by Erik Rotter).

Our spaces can help improve stress levels by reconnecting us with natural elements. Organic modern design, inspired by nature, has been linked with reducing stress, improving our cognitive well-being and creativity, and inducing a more harmonious living environment. This past year has seen a significant shift in the design world – especially in terms of luxury design – moving towards biophilic elements.

By incorporating more organic materials and natural textures like wood, stone, and ceramic; as well earthy elements like plants, water, and fire; we can leverage design to create spaces that are more thoughtful and relaxing and promote a more balanced mindset.

In the same way that earthy palettes are being used to connect with the outdoors, large windows allow designers to bridge the exterior and interior of a home because they invite nature into a space and can be an extension of its interior design. On that note, we’re also seeing a lot of black frames on windows, which frame the outdoor landscape in the same way we frame a painting.

Also worth noting, biophilic design is linked to all our senses and is not limited to what we can see and feel, but is also what we can hear and smell. For example, the sound of a crackling fire can be soothing, and aromatherapy can promote a healthier cognitive function and elevate the level of luxury.

In terms of amenities, luxurious condominiums and residential projects are incorporating more contemporary spaces for relaxation, meditation, and self-reflection. For example, instead of a regular terrace or garden patio, designers are opting for gardening centers and spa-like facilities.

Our spaces can also help us feel more grounded thanks to the psychology of colour. Colour, texture, and materials all play a significant role in our psychology and mental health. When we surround ourselves with the elements we love, we can embrace and nurture our mental health and overall well-being. Incorporating an understanding of colour psychology can be a powerful and effective tool in having a well-balanced living space.

For example, throughout the course of the pandemic, we have shifted from cool monochromatic tones to earthy warm and cozy colours and textures inspired by Mother Nature. A spectrum of warmer tones – from desert sand and wheat to copper, bronze and gold – will continue to grow in popularity for decor because they bring a sense of warmth and the outdoors in, and provide our interiors with a grounded ambiance.

That said, a complete redesign is not necessary to add warmth to a space. Colours can be incorporated into existing interiors in different ways – be it a fresh coat of paint or adding new throw pillows, to changing a rug or adding different artwork – making these minor tweaks can significantly transform the look and vibe of a certain space.

Mill Landing, a new condominium and townhouse development by Amico Properties in Halton Hills, Ont. designed by IBI Group together with Tomas Pearce Interior Design (photo by Erik Rotter).

Finally, our spaces can bring us back to a more minimalistic mindset thanks to artistic choices. While art will continue to be a big part of design, opting for minimalistic pieces and neutral tones is another design trend that will be big in 2022. Line art, which has been around for thousands of years and was heavily influenced by great artists like Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, is making a strong comeback.

While its organic nature and simplicity may seem primitive, it is a powerful expression of creativity and can be interpreted in myriad ways, which makes it more fun and exciting.

Other types of art that we expect to see more of include textured and abstract canvases with neutral colours, as well as minimalistic decor items like ceramic vases, stone frames, wooden side and coffee tables, and simple light fixtures.

Again, due to restrictions imposed by the pandemic, people have spent more time decluttering and organizing their possessions and spaces, and that longing for simplicity and refreshment is one of the reasons this form of art has made a comeback. Purging can also melt away feelings of being overwhelmed or stressed, thus improving our mental health and helping us focus on design that matters.

So if there’s one lesson I wish everyone learned from this past year it is that if you have design elements that do not fill you with joy and happiness, it’s time to refresh and reset. Design is a powerful tool. We can use it to transform our interiors – and possibly even our everyday lives.

Oak and Co., a new condominium project in Oakville, Ont. by Cortel Group, designed by Zeidler Architects and Tomas Pearce Interior Design (photo courtesy of Tomas Pearce Interior Design).

Tania Richardson is CEO and co-founder of Toronto-based Tomas Pearce Interior Design