Interior Design: What’s New, What’s Next and What’s Timeless

Share This!

Local pros from the home and garden industry weigh in on trends in every part of the home and where interior design is headed

Large shelves kitchen
Kitchen and Bath Galleries. Photo by Beth Sweeting Photography

By Katie MacKinnon


“Many clients are opting for less wall cabinetry and more floating shelves – especially if they have a larger pantry area where they can store overflow cookware.” – Kaylor Russell, senior designer, Kitchen & Bath Galleries

“Kitchen remodeling is a great way to increase the value of your home. You will likely recoup a portion of your investment. A new, bright kitchen is always a great idea.” – Kevin Gerber, lead designer, Bud Matthews Services

White large kitchen
Fresh Air Designs NC

“An appliance garage adds timeless value to any kitchen design. It eliminates clutter and allows easy access to coffee makers, mixers and other gadgets.” – Bronwyn Charlton, principal architect, Charlton Architecture

“The classic white kitchen is still not going out of style! This kitchen reflects the timeless warm white with fresh accents of vintage soft green glass inserts and tile accents to give it that new age look. Add in innovative technology such as this induction range to bring this kitchen up to modern day. Induction cooking offers energy savings, precision cooking and ease of cleaning – reflecting the fast-growing technology trend for 2023!” – Mary Kate Bedell, lead designer and owner, Fresh Air Designs NC


“We have discovered that all of our clients are interested in at least one area of sustainability when provided the option. Topics include a wide range of things including packaging products in recyclable materials to partnering with women-owned artisans.” – Kristin Bartone, creative director and principal, Bartone Interiors

Women's art large
Bartone Interiors

“Natural materials, like wood and stone, stand the test of time because they tap into our innate human instinct to connect with nature (biophilia). As research increasingly shows, biophilic design has a positive impact on human health and well-being; natural materials should be used whenever possible. Natural materials bring complimentary warmth to elevated modern design.” – Bronwyn Charlton, principal architect, Charlton Architecture

“Leathered and honed (matte) finishes add a more casual, natural feel to the space. These finishes are also excellent at hiding imperfections, scratches and fingerprints. A matte finish can be applied to many materials such as granite, marble, quartz and quartzite. This is a great option for growing families who enjoy hosting and appreciate good design!” – Katherine Gianakos, owner and business manager, Max Hugo Interior Design

“This stunning kitchen marries color with natural walnut, drawing one to a natural space offering comfort and joy! The trend of biophilic design is manifested in this kitchen with the use of warm wood and marbles, offering the yearning for a connection to nature. The appliance selections offer sustainability and efficient energy usage with all of them being Energy Star rated – reflecting an increasing eco-friendly trend for 2023!” – Mary Kate Bedell, lead designer and owner, Fresh Air Designs NC

New construction kitchen
Collins Design-Build

“Green certifications are high on the want list as well. We are building airtight homes as a result, so we incorporate energy recovery ventilators in 100% of all of our new homes.” – Chad Collins, Collins Design-Build


“We see more modern interiors in historic homes. Collaboration between our design and build teams and our clients results in clean, modern, beautiful and warm spaces on the inside while maintaining a traditional and historically correct exterior.” – Kendall Glaze, sales and marketing lead, BuildSense

Historic modern bathroom
BuildSense. Photo by Cat Wilborne


“Most of our clients love to host, and spaces that support these events are at the top of their wish list. While exterior entertainment spaces connected to interior living areas are nearly always a priority, we are designing and building more cocktail areas, billiards rooms, music rooms, game spaces, wine cellars and even tequila bars!” – Kendall Glaze, sales and marketing lead, BuildSense

“Since the pandemic, our clients have been focused on creating or revising homes for their own comfort and for gathering with guests. This has led to more indoor-outdoor living, facilitated by large bi-fold or multislide doors, porches with retractable screens, as well as built-in outdoor kitchens, playful bars and fireplaces/wood stoves for the porches. People really have rediscovered the art of staying in with their own families and with friends.” – Sophie Piesse, principal architect, Sophie Piesse Architect


“We are seeing trends of adding exterior hardscapes such as in-ground pools, patios, fire pits, radiant heaters and exterior kitchen and grilling areas for entertaining and relaxing. Homes that are now reaching 25-plus years in age can need general updates, a fresh coat of paint, new shingles, landscape pruning, etc., depending on weather exposure. We typically would incorporate these enhancements within the construction schedule of the additions.” – Chad Collins, Collins Design-Build

“Many of my clients are asking for their outdoor spaces to feel even more personalized than they have in years past. Having made it through the pandemic, outdoor spaces are more popular than ever. Many families are maximizing their yards to become retreats. Whether a pool, outdoor kitchen or even fire pit, the focus surrounding time in nature has been at the forefront. Families are wanting to wind down away from technology and screens and spend time relaxing outdoors without having to invest the time in traveling.” – Amy Strunk, owner and designer, Amy Strunk Designs

Back porch medium
Amy Strunk Designs

“With the beautiful weather in the spring, summer and fall here in North Carolina, many people are taking advantage of spending time outside by adding a new deck or screened-in porch.” – Kevin Gerber, lead designer, Bud Matthews Services

“Outdoor living spaces truly flourished during the pandemic as people were reorienting how and where they connected to others. Furniture makers responded by creating outdoor furnishings that embodied all the luxury and comfort of indoor pieces but were also built for outdoor durability. The result has been some truly incredible design options for beautiful and functional outdoor living.” – Cat French, CEO and principal designer, Cat French Design

Outside large porch
Cat French Design

“Many homeowners are asking us to design screen porches. These sheltered outdoor spaces make wonderful sense in our region and became valuable ventilated pandemic gathering spaces. With a radiant heater and a ceiling fan, you have added a relaxing year-round living space.” – Brian Grant, AIA, principal architect and Katie Wakeford, principal, Grant Group Architecture

“Outdoor kitchens are on many wish lists these days. Perhaps it is a grill with a hood on a screen porch or a poolside gazebo with a fully functional kitchen for entertaining. Regardless, the pleasures of cooking outside come with the added benefits of keeping heat and strong smells out of the kitchen. Most outdoor kitchens we design also incorporate a table, bar or seating area for enjoying meals alfresco.” – Brian Grant, AIA, principal architect and Katie Wakeford, principal, Grant Group Architecture

Outdoor kitchen
Grant Group Architecture. Photo by Arsalan Abbasi


“Interior improvement trends are kitchen and bath update heavy for sure! However, the request for bigger windows, sliding doors and more glass in exterior walls is the hot trend. This trend certainly requires a licensed general contractor or at least a professional engineer because of the engineering aspect of shear walls and wall bracing.” – Chad Collins, Collins Design-Build

“Lighting trends are very popular. It is not only replacing the fixtures, but the bulbs, too. Educating our clients what an LED bulb actually is and navigating them through the process of selecting the best Kelvin color temperature for them. The soft white 3000 K is our most popular as it produces the warmer, yellow light. The 4000 K produces a brighter, white color, and we use these for folks that want full, bright light. We rarely see the 5000 K in residential, as it is mostly used in commercial-type locations, as it produces a bright, almost blue hue.” – Chad Collins, Collins Design-Build


“I get requests for floating vanities now more than ever. Floating vanities tend to make a bathroom look larger because the floor tile can extend under the cabinet to the back wall – so in small spaces this is a way to trick the eye into making the bathroom feel bigger.” – Kaylor Russell, senior designer, Kitchen & Bath Galleries


“Lately it has been all about color with our clients. We are still doing some neutral projects, but most of the time we are incorporating color somewhere in the space.” – Caroline Shillito, owner and principal designer, emma delon

Tan kitchen with mosaic backsplash
emma delon. Photo by Cat Wilborne

“People also want to be inspired by their spaces, so we’re seeing an openness to more playful expressions. Clients are stepping away from neutral, desiring more interest by way of colorful kitchens, interesting lighting and creative steel use in entryways, staircases, fireplace cladding and shelving.” – Sophie Piesse, principal architect, Sophie Piesse Architect

“We love saturating a room in one color. Painting the walls, trim and doors in one rich hue adds warmth and coziness to a space. We have found it to be most of our clients’ favorite places to hang out and relax.” – Debra Zinn, principal designer, Debra Zinn Interiors

Blue bookcase
Debra Zinn Interiors


“2022-23 has said goodbye to the completely open floor plan. Working from home, remote schooling and having multiple people in the house trying to complete “focused work” has brought back the need for enclosed spaces. This can mean adding a desk to your guest bedroom and putting doors on the den or library space.” – Kristin Bartone, creative director and principal, Bartone Interiors

“Of course, people also discovered that working from home can be much more productive and healthy. In the past, home offices were near the bottom of the wish list, something that might be nice to have, but not a priority. Now, these spaces have become a major motivator in home renovations and new home designs, often requiring two office spaces, one for each spouse, where they can do outside work, household management and hobbies.” – Sophie Piesse, principal architect, Sophie Piesse Architect


“All wallpapers are in demand right now, especially chinoiserie wallpaper. It is a timeless choice and makes any room look like a jewel box.” – Debra Zinn, principal designer, Debra Zinn Interiors

“We have been having lots of fun with wallpaper. There is so much to choose from now and almost every project in the last couple of years has incorporated wallpaper somewhere in the design.” – Caroline Shillito, owner & principal designer, emma delon

“When it comes to finished, beautiful spaces, clients are drawn to inventive spaces that reflect their personalities. We create this by introducing layers of visual texture using a unique, rich or textured wallpaper.” – Cat French, CEO and principal designer, Cat French Design

“Wallpaper is making a huge comeback! We are using wallpaper in more areas throughout the home, including circulation spaces like foyers and halls, and even on the ceiling for added interest.” – Kristin Bartone, creative director and principal, Bartone Interiors


“Aging in place is a very real thing. With the housing market skyrocketing and many adults taking in their elderly parents to care for, remodeling an existing space for a new purpose has become a desire of many.” – Kevin Gerber, lead designer, Bud Matthews Services

Large white bathroom
Grant Group Architecture. Photo by Marilyn Peryer

“Remaining in our homes as we age is a goal for many. Yet often houses are not built to accommodate our changing needs. Designing to age in place comes in many forms. It might be renovating a bathroom to be better prepared to serve if a family member becomes disabled. It could be adding a primary suite on the first floor for ease of access, including features such as wide doorways, safe bathing configurations and an eye toward future lifestyle changes. Adding accessory dwelling spaces (ADUs) can also facilitate multigenerational living, making it easy for grandparents to enjoy daily interaction with their children and grandchildren while still maintaining a level of independence.” – Brian Grant, AIA, principal architect and Katie Wakeford, principal, Grant Group Architecture

Share This!

Posted in

Chapel Hill Mag Intern

Scroll to Top