Self-improvement is at the heart of many New Year’s Resolutions; home improvement is at the center of many others. Although if you ask us, they are one and the same! After all, your home is ultimately a reflection of you — and when you enhance your surroundings, you enhance your mindset.
So, in honor of our new design showroom and the new year, we asked our project design consultant Sharon Vick to define the zeitgeist of home remodeling in the here and now, based on the wishlists of Ayars customers. If you’re resolving to remodel in the months to follow, we hope our top five 2023 interior design trends will set you on the right path.
Oak is in
Oak has long been a favorite of furniture-makers for its resilience (one of the toughest North American hardwoods, as measured by the Janka hardness test), characteristic grain pattern (resembling rays), and versatility (it takes on wood stains very readily).
However, homeowners of the ’90s went a little overboard with the oaken aesthetic, especially as it applies to cabinetry. These golden oak-stained cabinets often showcased wider, more prominent grain patterns, and yellowish tones that were never a great match for more contemporary styles — by so declaratively flaunting their woodiness, they became almost a caricature of woodiness.
It took a couple of decades to come back around, but more and more home remodeling customers are starting to realize oak is okay again. In fact, white oak cabinets are one of the most popular 2023 home design trends. According to Vick, this is because latter-day oak-adopters have rediscovered subtlety: “Whether it be washed white oak or a cleaner rift white oak with closer grains and less yellow/orange tones, the look is now more natural and clean.”
“Oak is back and it’s better than before,” she confidently proclaims.
Stain has staying power
It’s not just oak that’s reasserting itself; stained wood kitchens in general are garnering greater acceptance. This 2023 kitchen trend directly mirrors 21st-century lifestyle trends — which continue to be go, go, go.
“The wood and stain combination is more forgiving with everyday wear-and-tear as opposed to painted cabinets, which show miters and separation within the cabinetry,” explains Vick. “Busy families appreciate the forgiveness.”
Not only that, stained wood lends an organic warmth that most of us desire in a kitchen. And as with everything else, there are more options than ever in 2023 — far beyond the glossy reds and browns of yesteryear. You might opt for a lighter or more transparent stain to highlight the wood’s natural color, a dark stain to deepen the warmth, or go with a white, blue, or silvery stain to mesh with more modern and contemporary aesthetics (without hiding the grain pattern).
Choose one stain color or mix it up. Apply it in select areas or everywhere. There are many ways to work it in, and we’re pleased to report that many of them work quite nicely.
Mingling mixed metals
Mixing metals is an interior design trick that long predates 2023. Regardless, it’s still so widely requested that it warrants discussion. The logic of mixed metals is simple — to play up the visual interest and dynamics of a space. The execution is more nuanced but can make a huge (even if understated) impact.
“Whether it is in the lighting details and cabinet hardware or faucets, it really gives people more flexibility and helps the look last longer and not become dated too quickly,” asserts Vick.
There are two main aspects of metals that can be mixed and matched:
- The finish metal: This is the plating that overlies the base metal, whatever it may be (usually zinc, copper, or brass). It’s responsible for the tone and color. For example, brass and bronze are “warmer,” whereas nickel and chrome are “cooler.”
- Luster: How shiny the finish metal is — from highly lustrous polished metal to low-luster matte finishes.
However your mixed metals manifest, it’s important to be intentional about it. A good general rule of thumb is to strive for complementary contrast (e.g. warm vs. cool, shiny vs. matte), designating and distributing evenly and judiciously. In the context of 2023 bathroom trends, for instance, you might employ brushed metal vanity cabinet pulls down low while applying polished metal around your vanity mirror’s edge, or vice versa.
We love testing our design mettle (and metal)!
A gentler white
Echoing the rationale of the stained wood 2023 kitchen trend, today’s homeowners are embracing subtlety — even when it comes to the very model of neutrality, the white kitchen. While it’s unlikely the popularity of the white kitchen will ever wane, recent kitchen remodels have tended to be a little less white.
“I am noticing lately people don’t want that glaringly white kitchen. They are leaning more towards a more neutral, softer white,” reveals Vick. “This is proving very successful with clients whose homes are still very brown and wood focused throughout but still want a brighter, whiter kitchen. This version of ‘white’ keeps the kitchen still very consistent with their homes but gives them a more modern ‘of today’ look.”
Still open to open concepts
Our last 2023 interior design trend is another that isn’t exactly “new” — open concept home design has been steadily gaining momentum for decades, even as far back as the groundbreaking American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) or further. His reasoning was that with fewer physical walls, people would feel more connected with one another and their environments, and that still holds today.
“Open design is still one of our clients’ top priorities. Many clients want to feel included in day-to-day family interactions while having open entertaining space as well. Homework stations and meal prep areas have become the family connection,” expresses Vick.
Open-concept home design comes with the expectation of spaces being multipurpose and multifunctional, and that especially holds true for kitchens.
Our business has consistently trended up, and we could not be more grateful to our customers! The Ayars team is booked through 2023, but we encourage you to browse our project portfolios for inspiration and see if we’re a good fit for one another in 2024!