Modern design: Dark wood returns to the spotlight

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Dark wood like teak, walnut and mahogany, relaxed Parisian interiors, all things mermaid, and vintage patterns are among this year’s hottest décor trends, according to Etsy. 

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“The re-emergence of dark wood is very different from what I’ve seen in previous years,” says Etsy Trend Expert Dayna Isom Johnson. “A lot of times you can see trends evolve but dark wood is the complete opposite of what we’ve seen in previous years with very Scandinavian-inspired looks.”

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Let’s dive into Etsy’s trend predictions for 2023:  

1. Dark wood What’s inspired the dark wood trend? “We can credit it to people wanting their homes to feel more warm, more inviting and just having a sense of comfort,” Isom Johnson says. It even received the stamp of approval from Etsy 2023 Collections Curator Martha Stewart. 

2. Parisian apartment This esthetic is all about embracing the French art de vivre – the art of living well. Shoppers are saying ‘oui’ to antique and vintage finds like gilded mirrors, marble accents, oil paintings in ornate frames and ruffled duvet covers. “It’s a beautiful aesthetic that’s very elevated but comforting,” Isom Johnson says. 

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Dayna Isom Johnson
Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy trend expert. Photo by EDUARDO AMORIM

3. Paper lighting Also on trend: paper lighting in all shapes and sizes. Think hanging paper lanterns, rice paper lighting and paper floor lamps that diffuse light to provide a soft and warm glow. “These playful yet sophisticated pieces can create a magical ambiance, whether used as a statement piece or clustered together to create a larger display,” says Isom Johnson. 

4. Mermaidcore The pop culture obsession with all things mermaid is making its way from fashion and beauty to home décor. But don’t confuse it with the ‘coastal grandma’ trend that made its mark last year. It also differs from last summer’s crustaceancore trend, “which had a bit more of a kitschy vibe because you were seeing lobsters printed on plates. It was very literal,” the trend expert says. 

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Mermaidcore, on the other hand, is a “younger, more whimsical aesthetic that is all about infusing interiors with an ethereal dream-like quality while embracing shells, pearls, seaglass, iridescent accents and under-the-sea-inspired motifs, like scalloped edges and bubbles.” Indeed, there’s been a dramatic increase in searches on Etsy over the past few months for scalloped runners, oyster shell ring dishes, mother of pearl trays and bubble light fixtures or pendants.  

Origami lampshade
Origami lampshade. Photo by ETSY

5. Statement rugs “From ’70s-inspired shags to geometric Moroccan designs, to intricate vintage Turkish rugs with a charmingly-worn appearance, rugs with personality are a great way to have fun with colour, pattern and print without overwhelming a space,” Isom Johnson says. Searches for handwoven rugs, custom rugs, colourful rugs and wavy rugs are all trending upwards, she reports. 

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6. Old school patterns Gen Z shoppers are moving away from streamlined, minimalist looks and instead embracing grandmillennial and cottagecore styles to create cozy, eclectic and nostalgic interiors. Traditional patterns like toile, chintz and vintage floral prints are appearing on everything from textiles and teacups to wallpaper and upholstery. 

“These patterns bring an air of sophistication and refinement to contemporary spaces, while maintaining a sense of playfulness and individuality,” says Isom Johnson. Etsy has seen a “staggering” 1,041 per cent increase in searches for embroidered botanical items. Searches for vintage wallpaper, floral home décor toile art are also up.

Velvet shell pillow
Velvet shell pillow. Photo by ETSY

7. Jewelry for the home The same way jewelry adds sparkle to an outfit, decorative accents and little luxuries adorn rooms with “visual interest and elegance” and have a “surprisingly big impact” without breaking the bank, Isom Johnson notes. Etsy reports an increase in searches for gemstone décor, suncatcher prisms, unique wall hooks and brass kitchen hardware over the past three months. 

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With any trend, it’s never all or nothing. “It’s all about incorporating the elements that match your personal style and being OK to mix and match and allow your space to become eclectic and a true reflection of yourself,” Isom Johnson says. 

Jewelry for the home is one her favourite trends. After moving to L.A. from New York a few years ago, she purchased a suncatcher from one of her favourite Etsy makers. At the same time every afternoon, it’s like a rainbow hits her living room. “It’s the smallest thing but it brings me so much happiness and joy,” the trend expert says. “I think a lot of people are turning to items that may be very small but have a huge impact on how your home looks and also the feeling that it brings you.” 

Vintage handwoven rug.
Vintage handwoven rug. Photo by ETSY

Last year’s trends

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Did you embrace any of the trends Etsy predicted in 2022? They included the following:

Balance. Finding more joy in fewer, higher-quality and more meaningful possessions.

Etsy colour of the year. Emerald green, a rich and lush tone bursting with energy, brings new depth to products and photos.

Pastels. Soothing, softer tones offer a sense of calm and helps balance out statement-making jewel tones like emerald green and deep magenta.

Abstract shapes. Arches and pyramids evolve rounded edges, squiggles and scalloped shapes.

Flexibility. Multipurpose items like storage stools work double duty and fit into evolving lifestyles.

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