1stDibs interior designer survey shows green remains popular


Results from a 1stDibs survey of more than 750 interior designers show this Maharam corduroy pillow will be popular in 2022 due to its olive color.

NEW YORK – The results from a survey conducted by marketplace 1stDibs of more than 750 interior designers show that green will be big in 2022 – not only the color but also the biophilic, natural trends that are taking place.

1stDibs said this year’s survey results showcase interesting trends regarding how and where design firms are operating, most likely driven by the pandemic. Specifically, there is a change in the size and composition of the firms, with more reporting that they are solo practitioners, and owners/principals now accounting for 77% of the sample, up from 41% three years ago. The data suggests that more interior designers have left firms to start their own design practices.

“The design industry is always changing–new trends emerge, old trends are reinterpreted and our perception of beauty continually evolves. Additionally, the last two years have been unlike anything we’ve ever experienced, with our homes and corporate offices taking on new meaning,” said Anthony Barzilay Freund, editorial director at 1stDibs. “It’s interesting to see the spike in ‘solopreneurship,’ and the new geographical concentrations of the design industry.”

Freund said many designers have left the Northeast to live in other parts of the country. In 2018, the largest geographic segment of the survey was completed by designers in the Northeast, at 51%. This year the West and Southeast make up the largest footprint at 55%, with the bulk concentrated in the West.

Color trends
The designers who responded to the 1stDibs survey said dark greens, like emerald, and lighter shades, like sage, will be popular in the coming year. In general, warmer earth tones like burnt orange and tan continue to feature prominently in interiors and are slated to remain popular.

Another top-ranking color is cobalt, which is trending up and falls right behind the earth tones, according to the survey. As the most popular blue this year, cobalt bested navy, which had the most dramatic decline in responses, dropping 43% in interest.

Design trends
When asked what design trends will remain popular, almost all designers selected sustainable materials and plants, which both reflect a desire to remain in harmony with the environment. Top patterns and finishes for 2022 extend this – with organic motifs, bold and large scale prints and plant patterns as the top three choices for designers.

Materials slated to become popular are all options that are either derived from nature or have a tactile finish, including wood, plaster, natural materials, bronze and leather.

What’s out for 2022
The least popular colors for next year are millennial pink, tangerine, light yellow, violet and bright red, according to the survey. Each of these hues captured less than 5% of designer votes, with red earning just 1%. In addition to declining interest in navy, mustard yellow saw its numbers slide, as did light gray.

Designers are not interested several trends made popular through social media in recent years. Specifically, neon signs received the lowest votes along with black interiors, grandmillenial options, cane seating and arches.

What’s trending in art
The most popular art styles in 2022 are expected to be abstract, at 54%; followed by contemporary, at 48%; and modern at 42%. The medium that designers plan to use more of in 2022 is sculpture, with 48% of designers indicating they anticipate an increase in use, and 41% sharing they’ll incorporate it the same amount year over year. Drawings, paintings, photographs and prints will remain popular, with 50% or more of designers indicating they will incorporate them in their projects, at a consistent rate year over year.

Designer demographics
Demographic data from respondents point to two key findings emerging among interior designers. First, senior talent that come from larger design firms are now opening their own businesses. More firms report that they are solo practitioners – 31% with just one employee. And owners/principals now account for 77% of the 2022 survey sample.

Project projections
Even though the size of interior design firms has been declining, the average number of projects completed in the past 12 months has remained relatively flat since 2020, averaging about six projects a year. And designers are optimistic, with 67% saying that they expect to complete more projects in 2022.

In-person sourcing
The percent of items bought online spiked in 2020 at 73%, and has cooled off in 2021 to 66%. Expectations about the share of online buying have also dropped, implying more visits to stores/galleries in 2022.

1stDibs commissioned researchers with Surveys & Forecasts, LLC, to conduct more than 750 online interviews with designers between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, 2021.


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