Sit back and get comfortable because I have a lot to say about the C-word today! We’re talking about why comfort is the biggest interior design trend for 2022. Get your mind out of the gutter.
Over the course of my career as an interior designer, I’ve had the chance to design for high-profile clients and work alongside top designers in the field. However, I’ve witnessed time and time again the word comfort being bashed by the “fashion-forward” side of the industry. In showrooms, I have heard clients being outright mocked by their designers for daring to ask if the sofa they are considering is comfortable. “Beauty is pain!” As I test out the ultra-plush lounge chair across the room, I think to myself, “beauty is comfort.”
In the last decade (the 10s feel so long ago!), we all saw the rise of “bare-bones modern.” Think stark white kitchens, harshly angled sofas, and borderline empty living rooms. This design trend was obsessed with clean lines and proudly looking uncomfortable. Well, I say it’s time to put an end to that nonsense! Let’s go back to the days of Meg Ryan dancing around her shabby chic living room in You’ve Got Mail, posing for prom photos in our taffeta dresses lined up along a Georgian revival staircase, or lounging poolside among gaudy Hollywood Regency estates. Mark my words, the C-word (comfort) is the biggest interior design trend for 2022!
How to Make Interior Design More “Comfortable”
We allowed ourselves to create uncomfortable shells of homes. So, how do we get back to the basics and make interior design more comfortable? At our Austin interior design firm, my team of designers and I believe that comfort is not just a feel but also a look. This doesn’t mean your home must be cluttered or sheathed in upholstery. Instead, it means we must consider and honor the human form and personal tastes when designing a room.
Rooms are built to house people, not a collection of uncomfortable furnishings. Let’s consider what we all actually want and need — comfort! Designing for comfort is twofold. First, an interior designer must consider the size, ergonomics, and touch of furnishings. Second, they need to set the mood of the space, directing the eye to beautiful things like accent pillows, oil paintings, collections of unique objects, and even views outside.
Remember, it’s about designing for scale, personal tastes, and comfort.
Why the Comforts of Home are So Important
So, why is it so important for a home to be comfortable anyway? From a spartan approach, comfort is entirely frivolous. I’m afraid I have to disagree. I think comfort is an essential component of our emotional health and well-being. Multiple studies show humans think and feel better when surrounded by the comforts of home. Don’t feel productive in your office? It probably just isn’t comfortable! Upgrade your space with a comfortable work desk and chair that encourages good posture and productivity.
Take a lesson in the simple comforts of home from the artist Vermeer. I personally love Vermeer paintings because of his talent for making everyday domestic scenes a thing of beauty. The environments he created are simple yet so elevated. He’d paint the same room over and over, focusing on the delicate details, texture, and light. To me, that’s the secret of creating a comfortable interior — simple, uncomplicated, comfortable elegance.
The Role Interior Designers Have in Designing for Comfort
People often misjudge the role of interior designers. They think it’s our job to push the latest trend or create a photo-ready backdrop. That is simply not the case. As interior designers, it’s our responsibility to help clients discover a more comfortable life. That might mean expanding a living room to accommodate more seating, adding a window to look over a prized rose garden, or even just adding more throw pillows to a bare sofa.
I always encourage our Austin interior design clients to make their design decisions based on their personal comfort, not what they think will impress the neighbors. In the end, it is always the right choice. After all, who isn’t happy sipping their morning coffee from a plush banquette while basking in the morning sun?
6 Tips for a Cozier Home
Now you know why a comfortable home is important, but how do you achieve that warm and happy feeling? Here are my six tips for creating a cozier and more comfortable home.
1. Throw in Some Throw Pillows
Throw in some throw pillows! Pillows offer immediate visual comfort and make a space feel more inviting. Would you rather sit on a bare sofa or a sofa outfitted with bolster and accent pillows? My advice is to go with custom-made pillows rather than store-bought. They are more comfortable, durable, and worth every penny.
2. Add Window Coverings
Listen up. Add window coverings to every room. We don’t want to look like we live in a flophouse! There are very few exceptions to this rule. Remember that privacy matters, particularly when our view is of our neighbor’s new SUV and not Lake Como. Being able to frame our views strategically, control light, and shut off the outside world is a luxury (and one of the most basic comforts).
3. Layer in Area Rugs
Yes, your new hardwood floors are gorgeous. But, do you know what is also gorgeous? Stepping onto a warm, plush area rug. Area rugs make our homes quieter, cozier, and way more comfortable. I recommend oversized rugs, and I argue that wall-to-wall carpeting is even back in style.
4. Plan a Full Lighting Scheme
You don’t want to feel like you’re in an interrogation when you are sitting at the dining room table. A lighting plan doesn’t end at overhead lights. Develop a full lighting scheme with your interior designer, including ambient, task, and accent lighting. Add floor lamps, sconces, dimmers, table lamps, and even light strips along base and crown molding. Lighting sets the mood. We want “dinner in a Parisian flat” vibes, not “called in for questioning at the precinct” vibes.
5. Decorate With Patterns and Textures
We are leaving stark white walls and furnishings back in the last decade. To create a comfortable home, I encourage you to explore the world of pattern and texture. Remember the appeal of Laura Ashley bedding and luxuriously upholstered walls? They’re back in style and still just as comforting.
6. Hang Oil Paintings
My favorite way to layer in comfort is to outfit a room with old-world oil paintings. Think Mario Buatta covering an entire wall with dog paintings from floor to ceiling. If you have any collection of art, show it off! Our collections are what showcase our personalities in the home, making them unique and comfortable to us.
Why is Comfort the Biggest Interior Design Trend for 2022?
I am not the only interior designer making the argument for comfort. Comfort has been named the biggest interior design trend for 2022. (Shouldn’t it have been the trend all along?) After spending much of this decade confined to our homes, we collectively took a moment to reevaluate how we live. Our homes should work for us, not the other way around. We’ve learned a valuable lesson, and I hope we all remember it. Beauty and comfort aren’t mutually exclusive.
Comfort is beauty.
(You see, the C-word isn’t really that bad, after all.)
Amity Worrel is an award-winning interior designer based in Austin, Texas. She has worked on high-end interior design projects for celebrities and tastemakers in NYC, LA, and the Bahamas. In 2008, Amity decided to bring her passion for diverse design back to her hometown of Austin. Her spaces pull from timeless design concepts ranging from coastal contemporary to cozy cottage to Austin eclectic. Emotional connections, functional flow, and a touch of humor remain central to every interior design scheme. Her work has been published in national and local publications, including The Wall Street Journal, House Beautiful, HGTV Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, and Austin Home. In her free time, she loves perusing estate sales and diving into design history. Learn more about Amity.