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9 Design Trends That Are Contemporary And Comfortable

Marco Santos – Peninsula Sotheby’s International Realty 

In recent years, living environments often felt clinical in their sculptural surfaces, pale palettes, and polished sheen, or they completely surrendered to plushness—as though the entire home wore a pair of sweatpants.

These tired trends have finally fallen by the wayside. Today’s aesthetic focuses on the individual: expressing the self creatively, feeling inspired by everyday items and spaces, and living according to deeply held values. All of these culminate in interiors that are enlivening without being needlessly embellished, and purposeful without being pointlessly austere.

Bursts of Expressive, Exciting Colors

Serena Boardman – Sotheby’s International Realty – East Side Manhattan Brokerage

Minimalism had a moment. For a while, spare, airy spaces were seen as chic, as was a colorless monochrome of whites and neutrals. But now, blanched equals bland and color has returned—for the simple reason that it sparks joy. How could you walk into this spectacular, two-floor condo above the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, with its unobstructed views of Central Park, and not feel delighted by the unique, vibrant pops of primary hues?

Lines That Carry the Eyes to the Skies

Chantel Mehrabanian – Sotheby’s International Realty – Beverly Hills Brokerage

The most impressive architecture’s grandeur can be enhanced through meticulous symmetry and geometry. Views can be guided by the clever use of vertical lines, creating interiors that feel majestic and uplifting without having to be larger-than-life. The award-winning team behind the construction of this illustrious Bel Air address understood this concept, which energizes the property through shape and substance.

“Biophilia”—the Love of Living Things

Côte d’Azur Sotheby’s International Realty

One of the best ways to bring a home to life is by bringing life into the home. That’s why houseplants have enjoyed such a renaissance; they’re beloved for their soothing colors, calming presence, and air-purifying qualities. But now, the “biophilia” trend has gained a new perspective. Rather than growing a jungle in the bay window, designers seek innovative ways to blend the interior and exterior environment, as exemplified by this gorgeous residence in Cannes with a mirrored terrace to better amplify the view.

Appreciation for Fine Craftsmanship

Kumara Wilcoxon – Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty 

The world has never been more aware of the social and environmental compromises that accompany mass production. So it’s no wonder trendsetters are moving towards one-of-a-kind objects, fixtures, and furniture made masterfully by hand. That’s the concept behind this breathtaking Austin penthouse. Bespoke sliding doors that double as art, biennale-worthy lighting installations, and the primary suite’s suspended swing make this an ideal place to live, work, and play.

Reclaimed and Refurbished Materials

Angelica Ferguson and Annabel Taylor – Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty

The era of throwaway convenience is over. Architects, designers, and homeowners want to minimize waste, which means using new ways to recycle and repurpose materials once deemed unsalvageable. That spirit animates this remarkable mansion in Upstate New York, which has served as everything from a church to a town hall over the centuries, but is now a modern dwelling that makes the most of its restored wood and stone.

Taking What’s Old and Making it New

Juan Torregrosa – Costa Blanca Sotheby’s International Realty

It’s not just material infrastructure that trendsetters are creatively resurrecting. It’s also architecture and decor, which are increasingly being modelled after second-hand sources to yield an aesthetic that’s as authentic as it is eclectic. Take a look at how this property on Spain’s Mediterranean coast exudes tasteful vintage vibes through design that infuses Art Deco with Mid-Century.

A Look and Lifestyle That Goes Green

Marco Santos – Peninsula Sotheby’s International Realty 

Sustainability has been trendy for designers and homeowners for several years running. But as cheaply made goods and planned obsolescence become taboo, the desire for back-to-the-land living becomes more pronounced. This pastoral, lakeside retreat in Australia fully leans in, set amid a beautifully preserved bird sanctuary. It also capitalizes on several current design-forward trends, from the bold black ceilings accentuating its interior details, to “jewel box” rooms paneled in gleaming tile.

Celebrating What’s Local and Natural

Ricky Allen and Cathy Griffith – Sotheby’s International Realty – Santa Fe – Main Downtown Brokerage

Closely related to sustainability is a focus on sourcing materials and furnishings from organic, hyperlocal sources. Today’s most inventive designers work with various materials—fruit peels, petals, algae, fungus—to fashion tomorrow’s textures and textiles. With American clay walls and chic adobe guesthouses, this edgy Santa Fe estate is well ahead of the curve.

Looking ahead, the emerging trends in architecture, design, and decor emphasize living consciously, conscientiously, and happily. It’s time, once and for all, to embrace living spaces that feel as fabulous as they look.

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