Is Stark Design on the Way Out?

March 27, 2020

The signature look of stark, white, impeccably clean minimalist design may face declining appeal in home decor. Instead, comfort and usability will likely guide home design going forward, design experts predict in a new article at realtor.com®.

The era of sheltering in place during the COVID-19 outbreak has turned homes into security blankets, where comfort reigns, they say.

“Austere polished concrete floors, stone walls, all-white color palettes, and industrial finishes can be found in homes nationwide,” realtor.com® notes in its article. “Today, that vibe feels detached from the world that we’re living in, where a safe, comfortable space to hunker down is the true luxury.”

Designer Sheila Bridges says a trend toward “more is more” design likely will take root. “I believe that the trend has already begun to swung back toward maximalism; perhaps, ultimately, we land somewhere in between,” Bridges told realtor.com®.

Trends like wallpaper have already been re-emerging in recent years. Designers also recommend bringing out treasures from past travels and memories to display. Plush blankets and throws—always a favorite of home stagers—likely will be spotlighted in a bigger way going forward as they’re draped over furnishings. Further, colorful pillows and geometric patterned rugs can help liven up a space.

“You can work wonders with lighting,” Susan Solliday, president of the Arizona North chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers, told realtor.com®. “Think about a fabulous hotel you have stayed in—or for that matter, an image of one. They are not cluttered with things, but they do have the right lighting. The amount and type of lighting directly affects your concentration, appetite, and mood. Lighting also creates depth, shadow, and accentuates the important.”

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a similar aesthetic shift became apparent, designers note. “People wanted to be at home with their loved ones, and it became more important for designers and homeowners to create homes that felt safe, secure, warm, and livable,” Bridges says. “Home offices or live/work/play spaces will continue to grow in importance.” Indeed, designers predict a wave of formalized home offices to gain popularity as the transition to remote working from home continues to play out.