When remembering the past, it’s often art that the cements our memory in a time and place: the clothes we wore, the music we listened to, the movies we saw, the books we read. 2023 interior trends will remind us how we lived. Today, Google released its annual Year in Search, and the top trending queries for architecture and interior design styles over the past year are quite telling. But as Amalia Graziani, developer and designer at Noor Property Group says, “What people search and what people end up putting in their homes can end up being very different.”
The styles that made the list—10 architectural ones and 10 interior ones—represent search terms that received a significant spike in traffic over a sustained period in 2023 compared to 2022 in the United States. Curious if your favorite look was as loved by others? Dive into the 10 trendiest architectural and interior design styles of 2023 below.
Trending Interior Designs Styles of 2023
Not to be confused with coastal interior design, a beach style is more tropical. Beach interiors often make use of oak tones, relaxed linen textiles, and Aegean blue accents.
9. Art Deco
Art Deco interiors came into vogue in the 1920s, and though the style may no longer carry the same influence it once did, including Deco elements in projects remains popular. Defined by rich finishes such as lacquer, gilt, stainless steel, and brass; streamlined forms; and geometric shapes, the look is glamorous and full of opulence.
8. French country
Not too casual, not too stuffy, French country is a luxuriously relaxed style with history dating back to King Louis XV in France. The look features a combination of vintage French furniture and rustic touches such as wood beams.
7. Boho chic
Justina Blakeney, AD100 designer and queen of boho, previously told AD that the heart of the aesthetic is freedom. Generally, the term refers to a versatile interior design where anything is fair game, from vintage finds to modern additions and keepsakes from travels or other adventures.
Often marked by austere materials like concrete and steel, brutalism is a divisive style. But love it or hate it, it was the sixth top trending search of the year, affirming that the look is certainly on people’s minds.
5. California coastal
Sometimes referred to as California casual style, the significant interest in California coastal design could correlate to the rise in quiet luxury, since the look hinders on relaxed but sophisticated spaces. Designers like Shea Mcgee keep the aesthetic at the front of people’s minds.
Minimalist interiors don’t equate to boring, something designers have proven time and time again throughout this past year. The style is less about living with as little as possible and more about living only with what you need.
It’s no surprise that modern interiors were among the top three trending searches of the year. After all, what even is modern design these days? The style is rooted in the modernist movement of the ’30s and ’40s and often features natural materials such as wood and leather.
The near opposite of a minimalist home, the maximalist style is all about displaying the things you love in an eclectic and (sometimes) exaggerated way. It’s all about a “more is more” mentality.
Steampunk was the top trending search of 2023. Heavily influenced by the industrial age, think Victorian elegance meets steam-powered technology. Things like gears and factory-style lighting are all fair game.
It appears people had their minds on water this year, as not one but two ocean-inspired design styles were among the year’s trending searches. “I think that makes sense—as human nature goes, we’ve always been obsessed with the sea,” says Joey Conicella, president at Soco Interiors. “The ocean means vacation, retirement, and wealth to so many people. And anything California has this feeling of old money.” Despite their trending nature this year, these styles also represent an aesthetic that will always be relevant. “They’re geographic styles,” Conicella says. “They evolve with the times, but unless California sinks into the ocean, it’s always going to be there.”
Also making an appearance among the trendiest architectural and interior design styles were the three “big m’s” of interior design styles: minimalist, maximalist, and modern. Both Conicella and Graziani agree that of the three, maximalist feels most accurate to where they see trends going. “Though I love minimalism myself, I think it has swung quite far in recent years, so it makes sense that of those three maximalism is at the top,” Graziani says. However, she says the way people are executing maximalism has changed in recent years. “It doesn’t have to be as loud, but it still has lots of rich layers for the eye to explore.”
Modern’s appearance within the top three spots was unsurprising to both designers. “Modern is always going to be there; I feel like that will always be top three,” Conicella says. “It’s easy to confuse contemporary, modern, and midcentury modern, and it means so many things to so many people, so I think people search it because not many can easily define it.”
Despite the expected appearances on the list, the top spot remained a shock. “It’s definitely surprising, because it’s so specific,” Conicella says. Graziani adds that she’s seen certain elements that could be considered steampunk—such as iron work, hanging clocks, screws, or circular windows—appearing in recent projects, which might explain the data, though she was also surprised. “If you pull out some of the core visual cues, you can squint and kind of see how it’s showing up a bit like Gothic maximalism, which we’re seeing in some spaces where there’s a lots of rich, monochromatic layers and deep colors coming together,” she explains.
The search result could also allude towards a broader perspective among the masses who are moving away from the homogenous to the individual. Steampunk is edgy, alternative, a little punk even, which could reflect a desire to design a home without regard to what is “in” or not. “Modern farmhouse would be the opposite of steampunk,” Conicella says. “It’s like the pendulum is swinging in the complete opposite direction—which happens a lot in design—away from everyone wanting a home that looks like Joanna Gaines designed it towards something its own.”
Trending Architectural Style of 2023
Named after the iconic German art school, over 100 years in and the Bauhaus style is still a major player in the design world. Architecturally, the style is defined by simple geometric forms; use of steel, glass, and concrete; flat roofs; and glass curtain walls.
Unlike other architectural style, contemporary design generally refers to architecture of the 21st century. New York’s Hudson Yards, seen above, has become a playground for today’s top architects with recent projects by firms such as Foster + Partners, BIG, Frank Gehry, and Jean Nouvel all in the area.
8. Italian villa
Though the second season of White Lotus premiered in 2022, perhaps the fact that Italian villa trended throughout the year proves it’s still on the mind. These structures are most clearly defined by a square tower with a bracketed cornice at the top.
7. French Baroque
Also called French classicism, French Baroque is the architectural style that blossomed throughout France under Louis XIII, Louis XIV, and Louis XV. The most famous example is the Palace of Versailles, seen above.
Frank Lloyd Wright remains the most influential architect of the midcentury aesthetic. The specific design ethos—which is not just buildings built in the ’40s and ’50s—includes elements such as clean lines, floor-to-ceiling windows, and open floor plans.
5. Second Empire
Like a number of architectural styles, second empire gets its name from the historical period from which it originated: the Second French Empire. Common elements seen in buildings designed during this time include mansard roofs, central windows, and a projecting pavilion above the entrance.
The most famous example of neolithic architecture is Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. The fourth top trending search, the term refers to structures and shelters built during the neolithic period.
Many craftsman homes were designed with the idea that a home should last for generations with little need for repairs. The houses are generally single or 1.5 stories and feature low pitched gable roofs and covered porches.
In the United States, the best place to see French Creole architecture is without a doubt in New Orleans (and more broadly Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region). Wraparound porches, known as galleries, and ironwork railing are common features of the style. Creole cottages, however, are usually described as 1.5-story homes with hipped or side gabled roofs and often gabled dormer windows.
The top trending architectural style of 2023 was modern architecture. Though it sounds like it might refer to buildings designed within the past few years, the moniker has historic roots. Modern architecture was born form the Bauhaus movement and includes similar characteristics, such as open floor plans, horizontal or curtain glass windows, and a lack of ornamentation.
This past year saw a diverse collection of trending architectural styles, spanning searches for aesthetics as old as neolithic design right up to contemporary architecture of the present day. “It’s funny, maybe after COVID people just want to go out and research these things,” Timothy Archambault, director of Americas at Oppenheim Architecture, says. “Post-COVID, there might have been a greater interest in an architecture style encountered while traveling.” This could explain the geographic stretch of searches, spanning styles rooted across countries and cultures.
Seeing modern and contemporary appear on the list was expected, he adds. “To me, that signals that people are of our time.” For him, this shows consumers are interested in the structural and aesthetic possibilities of architecture today, rather than looking back towards the past. Even so, there were also some welcomed upsets, such as neolithic and Creole architecture. “I think neolothic is great,” Archambault adds. “It goes back to the simple aspects of architecture.” Though designing a true neolithic style home today would be unlikely, it’s attractive in the abstract. “I think architecture that references back to the neolithic in a more conceptual form and through simplicity can be very intriguing,” he says.
However, the list of trending architectural styles omits aesthetics Archambault would’ve expected to see. Most notably, regenerative architecture. “I’m seeing that a lot in projects now,” he says. This doesn’t just mean recycling materials or adapting old structures for new use, but often designing with the goal that the building helps the environment it exists within. “You can create surface treatments that enhance vegetation growth, we can reflect light to enhance certain types of growth, we can design water runoff systems that get filtered and then go back to the site,” he says. Despite not appearing on the list, he sees it among one the most notable “trends” in architectural design that will continue into 2024 and beyond.
Ultimately, Archambault cautions away from thinking of any of these styles as in vogue and rather consider what each user requires. “I think people really get into these styles and their set view of what it should be, and they forget about their needs,” he says. “Architecture can redefine how you live or help enhance how you live; I think that’s where people miss out.”
Originally published in Architectural Digest
Text by Katherine McLaughlin