Trend alert: 7 interior design trends to look out for in AW23

From biophilic design to bold colours, dopamine dressing to earthy tones, Hotel Designs, in collaboration with Swyft interior designer, Kelly Collins, identifies some of the key AW23 design trends…

moss green couch with plants in the background and textured natural carpet on the floor

With designers, makers and creators all dropping their AW23 look-books and collections, along with London Design Festival (LDF) making bold statements and curating interesting conversations across the capital, we thought it would be good time to catch up with interior designer Kelly Collins from Swyft, to take a closer look at the emerging trends and how they are being integrated into our interiors.

SCP, Darren Appiagyei, Goldfinder and Wood Awards_Material Matters (6)

Image credit: Material Matters

With ‘The Power of Colour’ being placed firmly on the agenda with an immersive entrance designed by 2LG Studio in partnership with Lick, as part of LDF, it feels like a strong starting point when identifying trends.

“First up has to be Earthy Tones,” stated Collins, kicking off the colour conversation. “The past few years everyone’s been really big on neutrals and before that, it was grey that I saw everywhere. When I say earthy tones, I’m talking about colours that are naturally found. There are two main groups that stand out to me that are perfect for home interiors – earthy shades of pinks and reds and on the other side of the spectrum, those in tones of greens.”

brick wall, wood floor and saffron coloured furniture in earthy tones in a room

Image credit: Swyft

“We’re going to see so much more pink come through in interior choices this season and into next year,” added Collins. “Unfortunately for all you Barbie lovers out there, it’s all about pinks and reds that are a little more toned down – versions of warm browns, terracotta, rust, henna and brick.”

Feeding into these earthy tones are the Shades of Green, which along with the clays and hennas, cross over into the realm of biophilic design on a sensory level. “Greens I’m loving at the moment are a little more subtle, going with the organic theme, agreed Collins.” If you’re changing up your place this season, try out Spruce, Moss or Celery – they’re all great options for nailing this trend with a slightly different angle.”

On a slight colour deviation, the London Art Collective, with its exhibition On Purple, has put the royal colour in the spotlight during LDF – so who knows, maybe the colour purple will reign again?

Locke Zurich living room in suite

Image credit: Locke

We have been talking about Biophilic Design in all its shapes and forms here on Hotel Designs for some time now – it  has proven to be a trend that is here to stay and clearly crosses all disciplines, moving into colour, materiality and lighting. Exhibitions like Planted continue to explore the theme from a broader social base as it provides a platform for a sustainable vision of the future, built upon the principles of biophilic design and working only with brands who place nature and sustainability at their core.

“This concept isn’t anything new – it’s been used by architects and interior designers for decades,” agreed Collins. “In super simple terms, biophilic design is all about spaces that make you feel more connected to nature. I’m confident that we’ll see it get even more popular in interiors this AW23 season.”

white and cream contemporary interior with blond wood and plants and soft seating on the floor

Image credit: Nicholas Worley

“Incorporating biophilic design into your interior doesn’t have to be complicated – we’re not trying to recreate the Eden project here,” expanded Collins. “Increasing the number of houseplants you’ve got in your home is the most obvious choice, but if you’re not green-fingered, there are plenty of other ways to create a calming oasis. Include natural materials in your decor choices – things like real wood, rattan, jute and stone are important when designing a biophilic-inspired interior. It’s all about mimicking natural patterns and shapes, so don’t be afraid to experiment with this concept.”

bright hot air balloon colours in dopamine rush trend by Newmor

Image credit: Newmor

On a bright note, another trend identified by Collins is Dopamine Dressing – a relatively new interior design trend which is all about using colour, pattern, texture and accessories that make you feel happier in your space. It’s playful, joy-inducing stuff.

The Newmor team identified this in its trend forecast for 2023 and luxury brand Bulgari made a bold statement in its Bulgari Hotel London collaboration within multidisciplinary artist and designer Yinka Ilori. Fabric house Harlequin has also embraced the dopamine dressing trend with its collaboration with designer Sophie Robinson.

bright striped headboard against botanical print wallpaper and a bold green pattern throw on the bed

Image credit: Harlequin

Discussing the dopamine trend in a little more depth, Collins went on to discuss just how to introduce these happy notes into the home or hotel interior. “There’s a sense of nostalgia with this trend too,” she explained. “I’m seeing lots of vintage and retro items being used as decor, especially anything that’s quirky and very of its time – think 60’s/70’s rotary phones, 80’s/90’s lava lamps – basically anything with lots of nostalgic good vibes. If dopamine dressing is an interior trend you want to try out for yourself, start by choosing colours you’re drawn to that make you feel happy. In your soft furnishings and furniture, choose textures that make you feel safe and comfy. Then, bring the look together with accessories that spark joy or bring back happy memories. Your home interior has so much power to make you feel happier in gloomy winter months – dopamine dressing is the proof.”

lighting over table designed by Sybille de Margerie for Gabriel Scott

Image credit: Gabriel Scott

Bold Architectural Lighting is another trend that is making strong statements across the boards. Lighting brand Gabriel Scott launched Welles Reimagined, earlier in collaboration with six global designers and architects and showcased at Milan Design Week and the team at Northern Lights continue to make bespoke architectural lighting statements in hospitality interiors.

Making a grand gesture this week at LDF and featured in our Editor’s pick, was Aura – a live installation that transformed the sounds present in St Pauls Cathedral into a pulsating line of light projected at an architectural scale. It introduces new ideas while seamlessly integrating into the building and its daily life as if it had been part of the original design. Aura listens to the sound, voices and music generated in St Paul’s and materialises them into a spectral, three-dimensional aura that enhances the ritual aspects of this space.

Spectrum Aura lighting installation at LDF

Image credit: Pablo Valbuena

Sustainability continues to be a significant focus in interior design, in fact it is less of a focus and more of a fixture. As AW23 collections emerge, you can expect to see more eco-friendly materials, energy-efficient fixtures and a general emphasis on reducing environmental impact. Not simply about the end product, mode of production and waste continues to come under scrutiny. Fabric collections like RESET from Edmund Bell place these issues in centre stage, as its recycled fabric have become a core part of the company ethos.

On the subject of sustainability, Material Matters has returned to Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, as part of the Bankside Design District. The fair brings together world-brands, designers, makers, and innovators to investigate and celebrate the importance of materials and their ability to shape our lives. From innovative use of materials, through to a spotlight on clean tech, this exhibition continues to push sustainable boundaries.

design details in a Knowledge themed room at 25hours copenhagen guestroom

Image credit: 25hours / Stephan Lemke

Finally it feels appropriate to end a trend forecast about future directions by looking back, with the trend that is all about Retro Hues and a sense of nostalgia.

“Retro is definitely here to stay! I talked about vintage vibes in our last style guide, and as a lover of this trend I’m very happy it’s back in full swing for the AW23 season,” concluded Collins. “This year and next it’s going to be all about warm, comforting colours, and a little less about avocado bathrooms and shag carpets. Think 70s style, but toned down a bit. If you’re looking to recreate a subtle retro look, it’s all about warm colours. Mustard yellow and Ochre are probably the boldest of retro-inspired warm hues to go for – ideal for a statement piece like a sofa or accent chair. Browns, burgundies, deep greens and terracotta also work well.”

Earlier this year, Hotel Designs sat down with leading designers at a roundtable event to discuss the trends that have been shaping and reshaping the hotel design and wider hospitality industry for decades. Whether we choose to be a follower of fashion, or prefer to step outside the trend-directed path, it is both interesting and important, to understand the trends shaping our lives, the reason behind them and the social impetus that drives them forward.

Main image credit: Swyft