Real Talk: Feel at home in your home

Real Talk: Feel at home in your home
Home décor should reflect a personal sense of style and support the way you live and work.

By Mary Ellen Rotondo, MBA

As a realtor, I’m often asked about the latest trends in home design and clients always want advice for keeping their homes au courant. Design trends are fueled by lifestyle changes and customer needs. High-traffic, frequently used areas in today’s houses are changing, as many people are choosing to spend more time working and playing at home. Breakfast nooks and living rooms are now being reimagined as flex and morning rooms.

Meanwhile, home offices are here to stay and exciting approaches to patterns and furnishings are helping folks fashion their homes into sanctuaries of comfort and style. Home design concepts for 2023 are rooted in the habits and behaviors of people who utilize their homes differently today than they did prior to 2020. With 2023 on the horizon, here are some of the key design trends you will be seeing.


People spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It’s the heart of the home – where we prepare meals, eat and gather with our favorite people. So it’s no surprise that kitchen design is one of the most popular topics for home trends, year after year. One of the biggest design trends of 2023 is mixing materials. Designers are using multiple materials in one space to create an exciting look. This can be anything from combining wood and metal to using different types of stone or tile in a backsplash.

Alexandria-based designer Claire Schwab, founder of Claire Schwab Interior Design, said a trend to “reface” – as opposed to renovate – has gained traction over the last 12 months. Now that people are spending more time at home and don’t want the disruption or downtime in the main area of the house, an update versus a complete ‘gut’ job is easier for homeowners to digest.

According to Schwab, in the last 12 kitchen projects her team designed and executed, priorities included making room for more functional work space, such as expanding and elevating the command center/desk portion in a kitchen by adding a coffee bar or refreshment station. It also includes painting existing cabinets lighter colors, adding creative backsplashes, switching out small round knobs with interesting decorative metal pulls and adding ambient lighting under cabinets and over islands and sinks. Homeowners are opting to replace countertops with lighter-hued quartz and Caesar stone and install larger, more functional sinks.

Another popular trend in trade showrooms today is the use of bold colors. While designs of the past few years showcased ethereal whites and earthy tones, 2023 kitchen designs will feature pops of color, whether it’s a bright accent wall or colorful cabinets. If you’re not ready for such a drastic change, consider painting your island a different color than the rest of your kitchen cabinets. This is a great way to add a dash of color for subtle impact without going overboard.

Technology also plays a significant role in kitchen design trends. Designers are incorporating built-in touchscreen appliances, hands-free faucets and even voice-controlled smart cabinets in their designs. So if you want to stay on-trend, consider adding some high-tech features to your kitchen.


There is a significant shift toward innovative designs. Homeowners are looking for ways to make their bathroom feel like a luxurious spa retreat. When it comes to countertops, flooring and tiles, designers continue to gravitate toward natural materials like marble and granite.

Homeowners are also interested in incorporating unique textures and patterns into their designs. For instance, geometric tile patterns and stone mosaic accents dominate the HGTV home show circuit. These materials make a bold statement, are full of character and really define a space.

Another popular trend for 2023 is the use of mixed metals. In the past, most bathrooms were designed with one metal finish, usually chrome or brushed nickel. However, mixing different metals to create a different look is on trend now. This can be achieved by incorporating different metal finishes into cabinetry, hardware and lighting fixtures.


Contemporary lighting fixtures can add instant ambience and rich character to any space. New 2023 trends are all about going bold with specialty lighting that incorporates color and high style. Lighting fixtures have evolved significantly in the past decade and they play a large role in any design scheme. According to Schwab, room size and ceiling height are the most important factors in selecting and placing the right fixtures, and bigger is most often better.

Schwab believes the color of the light fixture should echo the dominant color or metal tone found in a room. She advises clients to consider door or cabinet hardware in the living room or kitchen and repeat that tone in overhead or standing fixtures. For table lamp bases or shades, consider the colors in a favorite chair or a rug. Lastly, Schwab advises to choose texture when you can.


As the world looks to 2023, significant change is anticipated. A distinctive change on the horizon is the 2023 Pantone Color of the Year: digital lavender. This lavender hue represents stability, serenity and digital escapism during these uncertain times. Goodbye to you, agreeable gray; we look forward to getting to know you better, digital lavender.

For more information about design trends and how to incorporate new ideas into your home, I advise clients to consult magazines and shop at home stores, such as Old Town’s Patina Polished Living, area HomeGoods or a home store and warehouse like Floor & Decor. For expert assistance and professional guidance, hiring a skilled interior design professional is a good idea.

Regardless of trends, your home décor should be a reflection of your personal sense of style and should support the way you live and work. If 2023’s purple doesn’t have a place in your space, don’t give it a second thought. If mixing metals or materials creates chaos in your mind, stick with monochromes and minimalist tableaus. Your home is your safe harbor and it should lift you up, support your lifestyle and bring you joy.

The writer is a licensed realtor with Compass in Virginia and Washington, D.C.