Pandemic. Pandemic. Pandemic.
When it comes to the top design industry influences of 2021, the pandemic has definitely earned the top three spots — and rightfully so, because it has impacted absolutely every segment within the interior design world, be it education, healthcare, retail, or the government — all of it.
And while it may have brought a lot of negativity, the pandemic also fostered a lot of innovation. Designers had to think differently. They had to adapt by coming up with new ideas to make spaces more interesting and livable. Ideas that have long lurked in the background were improved upon and moved to the foreground.
Reinventing the Customer Experience
Because the interior design industry relies heavily on collaboration, interaction, and brainstorming, the challenge lies in finding ways to collaborate like never before. So, we use more technology to show customers what we are working on and send samples to them when we can’t be in the same room to discuss them. In our business, we need customers to see them, touch them and look at them with other design elements to see how they all go together.
Top 10 Changes That Are Here to Stay
As with many things in life, there is an ebb and flow to interior design. Some things change; some stay the same; some old ideas are new again. Overall, ten areas look like they are here to stay for 2022 and beyond:
1. Hybrid work is here to stay in all sectors because it is hard to build relationships virtually. Colleagues often come up with some of the best ideas and solutions through meetings and unplanned in-person interactions. Designers are looking to balance remote learning and safe in-school learning. And healthcare will tweak their telemedicine options.
2. Architects and designers need to make the food industry (grocery, fast food, restaurants) delivery intuitive, responsive, safe and simple. The result should be a delightful customer experience that inspires them to return.
3. Healthcare will want more respite spaces for staff and families, which will be — and should be — a core value in healthcare and the workplace.
4. Offices may use “hoteling,” which replaces the traditional permanent seating arrangements in favor of employees “renting” a space for a day or week.
5. The newest generation entering the workforce has different values regarding what they need to succeed. This generation seeks enhanced flexibility and work-life balance and designers are creating spaces to reflect their wishes.
6. We are currently seeing material failure due to rigorous cleaning procedures now in place. Companies must now create materials that can withstand these stringent cleaning protocols.
7. Commercial interiors are creating separation in more aesthetically pleasing ways beyond those ubiquitous clear, plexiglass panels.
8. Green, live walls continue to be integrated into building design.
9. We are also seeing more focus on ways to open spaces and windows so people can use exterior spaces and have access to open air.
10. There is also a concentration on reworking HVAC systems to find the most effective ways to keep air moving in all buildings where people assemble.
The challenge for all of this currently involves supply chain issues. How long will it take to get the materials? Make it? Install it?
Other Interior Design Influences
- We are seeing a moving away from the cooler grays towards a warmed color palette of beige and greige.
- Wood will continue to be an important design element because it exudes warmth and calm, which people need and want.
- We will also begin to see warm-toned stone as well.
- Designers are looking at ways to introduce patterns into spaces such as walls and floors.
- We see more textures and items made with simpler materials and that look and feel handmade
- Designers are looking to mid-century modern and the 1980s for design inspiration.
- People are looking for engaging environments wherever they go.
Staying Curious in 2022
It is essential to stay curious about how 2022 will evolve. When will we emerge from this craziness, or won’t we? And if we don’t, how do we navigate that new reality? How can we help Interior Designers, who may not be able to attend live shows in 2022, find that connection with customers and potential customers?
Overall, there is a hope that all the new wellness components stick around because it is vital for good mental health. It matters where you sit and how you feel when you are there. And we could all use more of that as we start a new year with a pandemic that feels as though it is comfortable in the top three spots of our influences list. Here’s hoping something much better knocks the pandemic out of those positions in 2022!
Laura is a Senior Product Designer at Construction Specialties, where she primarily supports color and trend work within our New Product Delivery team. She is responsible for delivering powerful and moving color palettes, textures, patterns, collections, and designs that resonate with an evolving customer.
Laura also conducts research and drives ideation and development activities. She has an extensive history of designing products for the commercial interiors market, including utilizing various design tools and Voice of Customer research to bring products from concept to commercialization. With her passion for learning new things, she constantly seeks out new information that will help her develop products customers will love.