As we head into 2024, it is worth looking at those house and interior design trends that are on the way down if you want to avoid embarking on a new year's house project that is going to seem dated and tired too soon.
While we are never ones to suggest that homeowners should be slaves to the latest trends and house design ideas – instead endorsing taking a very tailored approach towards house design to ensure that you end up with a home that suits your individual needs and lifestyle – there is nothing wrong with keeping up-to-date.
"Trends usually fade away much more slowly than when they rise, so it can be tricky knowing exactly when something is finally ‘off-trend’ or out of date," says James Mellan-Matulewicz, creative director at wallpaper brand Bobbi Beck. "Most trends don’t simply disappear, but morph into something new."
We reached out to the experts in the world of house and interior design for our guide to trends that are on the decline and asked for their opinions on which products, looks and features homeowners should be giving a wide berth if they want their properties to stand the test of time.
1. Just sticking to straight edges
While straight, sleek lines have been popular in homes for some time now, particularly with those after modern kitchen ideas or aiming for a minimalist look, there has definitely been a shift towards a gentler, more rounded look making an appearance and this seems like something that really has staying power going forward.
“Soft, curved silhouettes became hugely popular in 2023 and they are certainly here to stay," says Juliette Thomas, founder and director of Juliettes Interiors. "This not only refers to furniture but also curved features in our homes such as fireplaces and archways. Offering a gentle, aesthetically pleasing appearance, curves introduce fluidity to a space which contributes to a sense of comfort and cosiness.
Extremely versatile, curves also improve spatial flow in a room by making a space feel more open and less rigid — plus, they are timeless as curves are not tied to a specific design aesthetic.”
Juliette Thomas is the founder and creative director of the London-based interior design and luxury furniture retail company, Juliettes Interiors. Juliette has been designing and offering unique exclusive interiors and furnishings since 2005.
2. Anything unsustainable
While we are not suggesting that sustainability and green features are something we are only just hearing about, there is a definite sense as we close 2023 that incorporating eco friendly features into every aspect of our homes is something that is now much more commonplace that even last year.
It is now easier than ever to design a green home and you need not feel that you have to install solar panels and a heat pump to do your bit — even more affordable items such as eco paints will make a difference.
“2024 is set to be a year filled with eco-conscious design choices. From accessories right through to core kitchen incorporations, sustainable elements not only benefit the environment, but they will also contribute to your own wellbeing and the future of our planet," points out Lucile De Graaf, marketing executive at AluSplash.
"Homeowners are looking for materials that go further and work harder, rather than it just being a necessity," says James Scully, founder of Recork. "For example, people want to introduce materials that are not only functional, but also sustainably sourced and give back to the environment rather than taking away.
"In terms of flooring, cork is a fantastic example of this. Across a 200-year life span, cork is harvested 15 times without any damage to the tree — and it simply regenerates after each extraction. These harvested cork oak tress retain three to five times more CO2 than an unharvested tree, so they play a vital role in countering global warming. In addition, installing cork flooring in your home has physical wellbeing benefits so it gives back to the household."
3. A move away from Minimalism
For some time now, a clutter-free, pared back look has been favoured by many, but get ready to see more detail, texture and interest when it comes to home design as we head into 2024 — this is a great one to take note of if you are after living room design tips as it can impart a lovely sense of warmth. One trend to be particularly on the lookout for is a renewed interest in Art Deco interiors.
“Originating in the early 20th century, Art Deco interiors continue to captivate designers and homeowners for several key reasons, and it looks like 2024 will be no exception," says Juliette Thomas. "Whilst bold, dramatic and opulent, this aesthetic is also celebrated for its timeless and enduring elegance. Offering geometric shapes, rich gold finishes and a sophistication that resonates with those seeking a sense of elegance, Art Deco draws from various art movements. A celebration of craftsmanship, this trend appeals to creative and well-travelled homeowners, as well as art enthusiasts that are looking to add a touch of glamour to their homes.”
"In 2023 we saw a shift away from traditional minimalist and ‘greige’ interiors and this is set to continue into 2024," points out Shelley Cochrane, accessories buyer at Furniture Village. "Increasingly, people want their homes to reflect their style, taste and personality, as they spend more time working and entertaining at home.
"As a result, the strict style rules of minimalism are loosening to welcome colour and pattern in the form of eclectic interiors. The trend towards eclecticism is far less prescriptive than minimalism, encouraging free (and often bold) use of patterns and colour and the combination of old with new. This is much more resonant with how people truly live in and experience their homes which are very rarely totally uniform throughout and where light-coloured sofas, floors and pared-back living spaces are incompatible with the realities of busy daily life and the sticky hands and muddy paws of children and pets.”
4. Embrace dramatic, bold shades rather than neutrals
It really is time to get comfortable with colour if you want to be on-trend in 2024 because neutrals are on the way out.
“I have noticed a rise in clients requesting dark and moody interiors, due to the cosy and dramatic atmosphere they tend to create," observes Juliette Thomas. "Deep shades of black, navy, charcoal, forest green and dark burgundy are essential for this style. We’ve noticed this trend works well for bathroom design ideas, as it can help to create a sophisticated and spa-like aesthetic, especially when paired with copper or gold accents."
"Gone are the days where homeowners will be going for the all-white aesthetic," agrees Chelsea Clark, head of brand at Lust Home. "In 2024, it’s all about colour and print, daring to go bold and show off your personality in your home. From printed wallpapers to playful paint, we’re predicting there will be colour clashing galore!"
5. Forget playing it safe with flooring
Using your floor to add character and personality is going to be big news in 2024 — no more choosing types of flooring to act as a neutral backdrop.
“To add an elegant design element to the home, more homeowners and designers are looking to 'combination flooring' to make a statement," says Yolande Meyer, purchasing and product development manager at Havwoods. "A pairing of two different styles, colours or patterns, combination flooring allows you to be more experimental and adventurous in your home, providing a real focal point. From sophisticated borders to multi-coloured patterns, use products which complement one another or, alternatively, those that beautifully contrast for an eye-catching design.”
It isn't just about colour and pattern either, the size of the individual flooring elements can help inject interest too.
"Wide and oversized planks deliver a beautifully impactful look, so it’s easy to see why we’re seeing more designs like this being introduced into people’s homes in 2024," continues Yolande. "Adding instant drama and personality to any room, large boards can truly accentuate a space and create a real talking point of their own. Offering wall-to-wall flooring with no end joints, the result is a seamless, statement solution that delivers on visual appeal, stability, quality and spaciousness. Ideal for smaller rooms, the wood draws the eye across creating the illusion of a larger space, plus if you pair it with a lighter finish, it will reflect light forth"
6. Bye bye cool colours, hello warmer tones
It is time to bid a fond farewell to cooler shades such as grey for now, because 2024 is all about using warm, inviting tones within the home.
“From terracotta reds and earthy browns to mustard yellows and forest greens, we will see a shift towards a natural yet deep colour palette in our homes," advises Hege Lundh, marketing and business development director at Lundhs Real Stone. "For example, for many years, darker worktops were high on homeowners’ priority lists, but in 2024 we expect to see an increased desire for softer coloured counters.”
“2024 will be all about the warm, earthy, inviting colours," agrees Charlie English, marketing director at dining room specialists Woods Furniture. "Expect to see mushroom browns, warm chocolate browns and taupes which create a great contrast to the beige and greys we’ve seen in recent years.
"To create a cohesive concept that marries with the current colour drenching trend, replace dining chairs with upholstered chairs in the same colour as your walls. This gives a subtle nod to any darker paint you’ve chosen, without overdoing the colour and making the room too dark."
"I think we’re seeing the tail end of 'Japandi', especially the extreme version of Japandi where the space is ultra minimal and colour drenched in beige," says James Mellan-Matulewicz at Bobbi Beck. "I think Japandi’s future continues to see the use of natural materials like wicker and boucle, but will be combined with richer and bolder colours for a more practical overall look."
"All over grey kitchens are continuing to lose their appeal as we head into 2024," says Richard Davonport of Davonport. "It doesn’t mean that they are entirely out of fashion, but they're certainly not as popular as they once were. Instead, we’re seeing the emergence of warmer tones, such as cashmere that make the kitchen feel cosier than the cooler greys we have seen previously.”
Even the world of bathrooms is set to enjoy some of these warmer, cosier shades according to Barrie Cutchie, design director at BC Designs: “Pastel shades are disappearing from bathroom design as the trend for bolder colours takes prominence," says Barrie. "Pastel shades – pinks, yellows, greens and blues – have been overdone, especially during the pandemic when pastel colours were the soothing antidote we needed to the craziness of what was going on in the world. We’re now wanting a change, moving to earthier tones that reflect our newfound respect for nature."
7. Expect to see less dark wood flooring
For some time now, many of the new homes and extensions we've seen have featured richly-toned types of wood flooring, yet the flooring experts we spoke to sense things are changing.
“We are seeing a particular interest in light wood flooring from our clients, as they create a casual yet versatile base, perfect for any room," says Katie Hudghton, head of marketing at Ted Todd. "Blonde wood in particular feels organic and establishes a coastal feel with subtle tones and interesting textures. The character of blonde wood is emphasised when laid in the ever-popular herringbone design which evokes a sense of movement and opens the space.
“The natural colour of blonde wood is also an excellent pairing for vibrant and patterned fabrics, as it provides a neutral base that will tone down busy aspects of the room. This is the perfect way to also incorporate Pantone’s 2024 colour of the year, Peach Fuzz, which boasts a fun and graceful blend of pink and orange which would look great with the blonde flooring aesthetic. Blonde wood also looks great with reflective materials, such as brass, for a truly modern aesthetic.”
“Lighter floors are definitely increasing in popularity, so softer blonde and honey-coloured woods will certainly be making their way into homes in 2024," agrees Yolande Meyer. "Providing a contemporary and clean aesthetic, lighter woods look fantastic when paired with both dark and light colour palettes thanks to their timeless texture and style. Add some pattern with a parquet design to give the space depth and character.”
8. A move away from basic bathroom lights
In the past, bathroom lighting ideas were often chosen for its functionality more than anything and while this has been slowly shifting, 2024 looks to be an exciting year for bathroom illumination.
"Basic bathroom lighting is evolving beyond what we have typically been seeing and lighting solutions are now more seamlessly integrated with the overall bathroom design," says Jorge Hernandez, product design manager at Crosswater. "Lighting affects the overall mood and homeowners and designers are looking for more options from different styles and silhouettes and versatile accents that complement the overall bathroom design, for example finishes that match brassware."
Jorge Hernandez is Product and Design Manager at Crosswater, a bathroom speacialist.
9. Utilitarian bathroom fittings are out
While on the subject of bathroom design, it is worth bearing in mind that it isn't just lighting that is getting the luxury treatment heading into the new year.
"As we move away from the idea that bathrooms are purely functional spaces, we are seeing less utilitarian, minimalist designs of clean lines and white fixtures," says Jorge Hernandez. "Texture, including visual texture, is being used more and more to add interest to bathrooms, giving the space depth and dimension. Texture can be in the form of furniture with fluted finishes, brassware with tactile finishes and detailed tiles with layers of colour."
10. Less navy, more blue variations
Deep navy blues and inky indigos have been hugely popular throughout 2023, from navy kitchen ideas to wall colours, but expect to see a little less navy as we step into 2024 and the appearance of brighter and softer blues instead.
"Shades of blue including cobalt, periwinkle and blueberry are a great colour choice due to them all denoting positive energy, creativity and relaxation," reveals Jennifer Porter, senior designer at Neville Johnson.
"While indigo has been a popular kitchen colour for a few years, 2024 sees blues becoming more balanced and moderated, creating a sense of energised calm within the home," reveals Simon Collyns, group marketing and retail sales director at Symphony Group."
11. A downturn in the open plan layout
Open plan layouts can be fantastic in many ways, allowing for a seamless flow and ensuring all members of the household feel included in whatever activities are taking place. That said, they also have their drawbacks, including the fact that they can be noisy to live with and can result in a lack of privacy (as well as spots to hide away clutter...) In fact, broken plan, is now often more favoured than an entirely open layout. Perhaps it is because of this that designers are seeing homeowners move away from them a little.
“In 2024, we can expect to see a further shift away home from open plan living as homeowners are increasingly choosing more traditional home layouts, and opting to keep their social spaces separate, rather than merging them into one," observes Lena Gierasinska, head of product and displays at Barker and Stonehouse. "The need for separate spaces and zoning has emerged in a post-Covid world as our homes need to serve multiple purposes with more people working from home, entertaining at home and exercising at home. Many people are therefore reconfiguring their spaces to create some distance between home and work and to give each room its own purpose. In 2024, we can expect to see even more of this.
"In smaller homes, we’re seeing people increasingly make use of furniture to create a sense of separation or zoning — for example, people may place a corner sofa in the middle of the room and use the space behind this as an office whilst the space in front is as a place to relax. This can help people to switch off at the end of the day and can create separation between the two zones.’’
Which trends are here to stay?
Just as we wave goodbye to some trends as we head into 2024, there are others that look set to enjoy another year of popularity, including:
- Herringbone flooring: This type of flooring has been absolutely everywhere for the last few years and the good news for anyone who has recently installed herringbone flooring is that it is going nowhere. It looks particularly great in blonde wood shades too. "Parquet is still as popular as ever, with many homeowners opting for herringbone and chevron styles in their homes," says Natalie Mudd, creative director at The Wood Flooring Co. "We’ve noticed that more people are looking for ‘cleaner’ parquet planks and what we mean by this is a board with less knots and markings in contrast to a rustic grade floor."
- Bold botanicals: "The green botanical theme is here to stay for another year," say the experts at Henderson Design Group. "In 2023, we’ve seen a lot of people lean into the greens, a colour renowned for its calming qualities. Bringing a sense of harmony, balance,and tranquillity to any space, green has deep connections to our wellbeing. In 2024, we’re set to see more tropical themed prints, from luscious leaves to repeating patterns and tropical touches."
- Wall panelling: Wall panelling is another trend refusing to budge — and it isn't hard to see why. "Panelling has become a key fixture in many properties this year and the trend isn’t going anywhere in 2024," say the design experts at Neville Johnson. "Textured surfaces and walls are ideal for adding instant depth and character to a larger room, while also adding a modern look to any space."
- Shades of green: Green has been gaining momentum in the popularity stakes throughout 2023 and is set to stay. "One trend which is showing no sign of slowing down is the colour green," says Juliette Thomas. "Interior designers and homeowners alike are using this timeless hue in its entirety from wall colour to furniture and kitchen cabinetry. A colour that reflects the natural world, green brings a sense of the outdoors indoors, and helps to create a harmonious and calming atmosphere. An extremely versatile colour, from soft sage to bold emerald and deep forest green, the colour is perfectly suited to a wide range of design aesthetics and looks best when layered together in different tones.”
- Barbicore-ish style: While Barbie-inspired interiors are losing momentum, it seems our love affair with pink is here to stay for a little longer. "The hot pink shades we’ve seen in 2023 are out, and post Barbiecore interiors are in. Think dusty pinks, pastel tones and much more muted versions of the famous shades that have taken over this year," says Chelsea Clark of Lust Home.
Get the Homebuilding & Renovating Newsletter
Bring your dream home to life with expert advice, how to guides and design inspiration. Sign up for our newsletter and get two free tickets to the National Homebuilding & Renovating Show (21-24 March, NEC, Birmingham).
Natasha is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Associate Content Editor and has been a member of the team for over two decades. An experienced journalist and renovation expert, she has written for a number of homes titles. Over the years Natasha has renovated and carried out a side extension to a Victorian terrace. She is currently living in the rural Edwardian cottage she renovated and extended on a largely DIY basis, living on site for the duration of the project. She is now looking for her next project — something which is proving far harder than she thought it would be.