Trends in Decorative Accessories
A look at what’s hot in 2022 in the world of home accents—trends that impact not only your giftware buying but also your floral design styling.
By Andrew Joseph
Accents. We’re not talking about twangs and drawls or whatever one calls the older Boston voice; no, we’re talking about home accents and decorative accessories and the trending items that are most likely to sell best in a flower shop.
It’s true that flowers and plants—and their vessels—qualify as important decorative accessories, but in this article, we take a broader look at home accents, including items such as table lamps and outdoor lighting; area rugs, throw pillows and other soft goods; wall décor—and, most important, fresh and permanent flowers and plants!
Post pandemic, it is important to note that there is a huge shift toward home entertaining and creating spaces to have fun times in with family and friends. Furnishing that are geared toward sitting together and being convivial, cocktail cabinets that move and rotate, and anything that is a bit playful yet glamorous and dramatic. While there is a general move toward sophistication, that aesthetic is more relaxed today than ever before. The feeling of luxury remains important, but it has to feel comfortable, livable and approachable.
There are no magic-bullet products we can suggest that every consumer in North America will want, but there are trends to be aware of—both seasonal and year-round. Most consumers do not have the means or desire to change their home décor every season or year, so most refresh and update their looks by changing their decorative accessories and accents. So, what’s in right now?
KEY LOOKS FOR 2022
According to Good Housekeeping magazine, key themes for 2022 include bringing the outdoors in, incorporating more patterns and textures, and taking inspiration from decades past—specifically 1970s and 1980s, as well as mid-century-modern influences from the 1950s.
Home Accents Today reports that Chairish, an online retailer of vintage furniture, art and home accessories, says that bright colors, sophisticated striping and floral prints are big trends for 2022, in upholstery, lampshades, throw pillows, fabrics and more.
With furniture, light, “blonde” woods are popular for creating airy-feeling environments. Kitchens, however, appear to be a different story, according to BH&G, which says that dark woods are again making inroads in kitchens, with dark wood cabinets, matte black appliances, and all-around darker décor.
COLORS OF THE YEAR
The Pantone Color Institute created a new color for its 2022 “Color of the Year.” “Very Peri” (PANTONE 17-3938) is a blue with a violet-red undertone (less blue than lavender). Since 1999, Pantone’s “Color of the Year” has influenced product development and purchasing decisions globally, across myriad industries including fashion, industrial design (like product packaging and graphic design) and home furnishings.
“The ‘Pantone Color of the Year’ reflects what is taking place in our global culture, expressing what people are looking for that color can hope to answer,” explains Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute. “Creating a new color for the first time in the history of our Pantone ‘Color of the Year’ program reflects the global innovation and transformation taking place.”
In the world of cut flowers, blooms that grow naturally in this hue are fairly limited. Blue-violet varieties of New York asters (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii, formerly classified as Aster novi-belgii); China asters (Callistephus chinensis); and garden Phlox/perennial Phlox (Phlox paniculata) immediately come to mind, but there are also, of course, common periwinkle (Vinca minor) and greater periwinkle (Vinca major) plants. While we’re aware that periwinkles are typically sold as perennial outdoor plants, they can be grown in pots and placed on windowsills indoors—or outside, on patios or decks. Keep in mind permanent, preserved and dried botanicals as well as flower containers and plant pots in blue-violet hues; they occupy a prominent space in the decorative accessories marketplace.
In addition to “Very Peri,” other trend-forward hues for 2022 include:
• Greens, from mint and olive to pistachio and sage;
• Mustard yellow, which is taking over from terra-cotta as an accent color;
• Deep, dark blues, which are popping up everywhere;
• Aqua and other blue-green “ocean” hues, which some say are the hottest colors for this year.
To be considered a trend-forward retailer, it is important to show your awareness of color trends to consumers, especially ones as prominent and global as Pantone’s “Color of the Year,” and to stock decorative accessories and create displays in those trend colors.
Foliage and flowering houseplants—especially live, but permanent, too—as well as accents of cut greenery in vases, have been on-trend for several years now as decorative accents, and their popularity shows no signs of subsiding any time soon. BH&G lists the following houseplants as favorites among trend-savvy consumers:
• Golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
• Chartreuse ‘Neon’ pothos (Epipremnum aureum ‘Neon’)
• Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
• China doll plant (Radermachera sinica)
• Bromeliads, especially Guzmania lingulata ‘Scarlet Star’, Neoregelia carolinae (blushing bromeliad) and Aechmea fasciata (urn plant/silver vase plant)
• Air plants, especially Tillandsia xerographica (xerographic air plant), Tillandsia bergeri (mad pupper air plant) and Tillandsia ionantha(blushing bride air plant)
• Watermelon begonia/watermelon Peperomia (Peperomia argyreia)
• Tropical pitcher plant/monkey cup (Nepenthes spp.)
• Snake plant/mother-in-law’s tongue (Dracaena trifasciata—formerly known as Sansevieria trifasciata).
(Read more on trending houseplants in “Houseplant Trends and Marketing Tips” )
ART, NATURE AND SIMPLICITY
The 2022 ideal is to showcase a visual connection with nature, including incorporating more natural light, earthy colors, warm-hued woods, natural textiles and, of course, live houseplants into living environments. BH&G points to the rise of biophilia, which is the innate instinct of humans to connect with nature and other living beings.
One standout segment of the current natural, less-is-more aesthetic is Japandi design, which is the fusion of Scandinavian functionality and Japanese rustic minimalism, to create a feeling of art, nature and simplicity in a perfect blend of function and form, focusing on clean lines, bright spaces and light colors. Consumers can still have what they want and need, only everything should be sleeker and lighter.
THE BRIDGERTON EFFECT
Home Accents Today reports that Bridgerton, Shonda Rhimes’ popular Netflix program set amid London’s high society during the early 1800s, has dramatically influenced trends in home décor. With two seasons already released and third and fourth seasons on the way, don’t expect its influence to fade away anytime soon. According to Home Accents Today, the price comparison website Uswitch.com notes that Bridgerton inspired some 1,900 searches for home furnishings design during 2021. Searches for Regency Era (1811-1820) English home décor showed an increase of 354 percent the day after the first episode aired on Dec. 25, 2020, and the show inspired Bloomingdales to create a display at its flagship store on New York City’s Upper East Side.
Florists have been the masters of this segment for decades, originally with beautiful seasonal wreaths for inside homes and offices and, more recently, with everything from sculptural weavings incorporating botanicals, fresh and faux, to wall gardens and more. Florists, being specialty retailers, are advised to focus on these types customized and artistic wall décor, which showcase their specialized media and artistic talents. After all, what other type of retailer is more suited to provide unique botanical wall décor for both indoors and out?
Beyond botanical wall décor, mirrors—from artistic and contemporary to classic and ornate—and oversized wall clocks remain strong mainstays in the wall décor segment and are typically great sellers in flower shops known for their home décor sections; however, note that your selection should be distinctive and unique because competition for these products reaches far and wide.
Per the “2022 U.S. Houzz & Home Study: Renovation Trends,” consumers who have recently renovated said that lighting was a top trend motivator—after paint choice. Today, the decorative accessory lighting segment that is most applicable for florists comprises primarily table and floor lamps, with the most exciting new developments being small portable battery-powered LED “table” lamps and luxe outdoor lighting, encompassing everything from candle lanterns and oil lamps to sophisticated “light units” with the latest in LED technology.
Portable lamps can be used everywhere indoors from small nooks, kitchen shelves and bathrooms; outdoors, on patios; and, most interestingly for florists, styled as part of dining table tablescapes, both indoors and out.
Did you know that you can target specific demographics with your lamp and other lighting offerings, with millennials and Gen X-ers being the most important groups. A recent study conducted by Furniture Today Strategic Insights shows that millennials (26 to 41) and Gen X folk (42 to 57) have no issues spending between $250-$999 for lightning while 30 percent of Gen Z-ers (25 years of age and younger) and 32 percent of baby boomers (58 to 76 years of age) spend less than $50, on average, on lighting purchases.
It is also worth noting that although there are many consumers who seek to be on trend, others look for accent lighting to complement their existing styles. That could run the gamut from casual to glamorous, contemporary to traditional, and country or cottage to coastal or tropical.
BH&G notes that within living rooms and rec rooms, people want to be comfortable—sitting on large curvaceous sofas and high-back lounge chairs—they want small pillows to hold on to as comfort “tools.” If you sell throw pillows, continue to stock the latest styles of pillows in the same sizes you currently sell, but remember that pillows need not have four corners; today, look for round pillows and other interesting and novel shapes.
For retailers looking to provide more luxurious looks, the use of velvets and metallic fabrics, along with crystals and other ornamentation, can create pillows and pillow covers that are, perhaps, less functional and more decorative—even works of art.
Swapping out a rug can bring new life to a room without forcing consumers to buy new furniture or repaint rooms to freshen their looks. Today, soft flooring is either natural, neutral and calming, with quiet colors and patterns that provide versatility, elegance and a classic feel, or it is an explosion of color and pattern. While rugs with geometric patterns, including check, herringbone, diamond and art deco are still popular, new designs with vibrant patterns and bold “technicolor” hues are capturing the interest of today’s most daring and sophisticated consumers. While animal hides and zebra prints remain on point for 2022, why not offer your customers something entirely new?
A top trend today is area rugs in new, irregular and unconventional shapes, often with eye-catching prints and/or complex textures. And, according to Ruggable.com, there are other trends in rugs to consider, with “vintage” being the big one. Note, however, that rugs don’t have to actually be vintage; they just have to look vintage.
Flat-weave rugs are also becoming highly sought. While people still like natural rugs such as sisal and hemp, many consumers are gravitating to rugs that have a similar look but feel softer and plusher underfoot, have more intricate patterns, and are easier to clean and more durable—for high-traffic areas. Flat-weave rugs can be used in both indoor and protected outdoor spaces.
FLOWERS AND PLANTS—ALWAYS AND FOREVER
Regardless of which magazines or websites you peruse to follow trends, you will likely notice a floral element in nearly every image—be it flowers or plants or modern, new floral print designs.
This article is intended to show how to accentuate your flower business with items your customers are most likely to buy for their homes, to keep up with the latest trends, but never forget that flowers and plants—both fresh and faux—are always tops in the sphere of trendiest decorative accessories.