Cheers to New Interior Design Trends This Year

Interior design trends at Village on the Isle (Venice, FL), Phoebe Berks (Wernersville, PA), The Vistas at Willow Valley (Lancaster, PA) and Southern Market (Lancaster, PA)

The start of a new year means there are new interior design trends to explore and incorporate into living, learning and working spaces. The adage “What is old is new again” is a theme woven throughout this year’s interior design trends. These styles put a modern spin on classic ideas while others draw inspiration from the natural world. Vintage-inspired warm colors and natural floral designs appear in textiles, tile, paint colors and wallcoverings. Natural materials, such as the use of wood in caning and woven surfaces, elicit imagery of artisan makers who predate the industrialized production of goods.

We sat down with some of our interior designers to discuss interior design trends and how they are incorporating the trends into their projects.

Natural Materials

One interior design trend for 2023 is the integration of natural materials into spaces. Increasing an individual’s connection to the natural environment through building design is called biophilic design. (See our whitepaper for how this applies to educational environments or our design blog for biophilic design strategies for interior spaces.) Bringing nature inside is achieved through natural objects, colors, textures and patterns inside a building.

Green walls, or living walls, continue to be a popular and beautiful way to incorporate living materials into spaces. Not only are these multifunctional walls a lovely, natural art accent to any room, but they also provide acoustic value in multi-volume spaces, offer fresh herbs and greens to kitchen staff or create a dynamic background for branding signage.

Hearth and Harrow at Pleasant View Communities (Manheim, PA)

Another way to add natural objects to a space is to choose furniture, accent pieces and lighting made from raw materials. Dramatic marble surfaces are a bold accent choice; large-format thin porcelain panels are a durable and cost-effective way to incorporate this dramatic look. Caning, used on chairs, cabinet fronts and room dividers adds warmth and texture to a space. Woven materials create dividers and light fixtures. Cork wall tiles soften a space both visually and acoustically.

Incorporating natural elements can also be achieved with impressionistic patterns pulled from nature. Wallcoverings, which were popular 30 years ago, have made a resurgence in the design world. Many wallcoverings use flora and fauna designs to accent a room.

Similarly, organically influenced patterns on pillows, carpets, tile and window treatments make a bold, natural statement. There are endless possibilities to incorporating these natural interior design trends into living, learning and working spaces.

Village On The Isle retractable walls open to the exterior (Venice, FL)

Indoor/Outdoor Living

Outdoor living spaces are more popular and highly prioritized since the Covid-19 pandemic. This interior design trend directly complements the use of natural materials in design. Indoor/outdoor dining and social spaces are common, and designers are using large garage doors or a panel wall system to allow for the natural flow of light and air in these spaces.

Within flexible spaces, furniture needs to be durable as it adapts from indoor to outdoor conditions. Lighting needs to be mobile so it can relocate as the space changes. Fabrics and textiles need to absorb more wear and tear from environmental conditions. The thoughtful and purposeful incorporation of these elements creates a welcoming and useful indoor/outdoor space.

Warm Color Palettes 

A warm color palette for Willow Valley Communities (Lancaster, PA)

Another interior design trend for 2023 transitions from the use of cool grays to warmer colors. Warm neutral colors have yellow, orange, or pink undertones, such as beige, tan, and gold. These neutral colors are being used as wall paints, fabric finishes and flooring to soften spaces. Gray tiled floors with white walls are being replaced by oak wood flooring with a neutral warm wall color.

An understated way to incorporate this new color palette is the use of accent colors like deep reds, soft corals and rust oranges in accessories, artwork or window treatments. For a more adventurous spirit, the bold use of muted pink, orange and red color families in carpeting while softening the design with warmer neutral walls creates a lasting impression. The 2023 Pantone color of the year, Viva Magenta, is a vivid, warm color that can be used to accent any space.


Curtain lighting makes a statement at Cokesbury Village (Hockessin, DE)

Dramatic Lighting

In addition to natural materials and warm colors, dramatic lighting that makes a statement through aesthetics and/or functionality is an interior design trend in 2023.

Large scale light fixtures are being used to complement the architecture of buildings. For example, light fixtures define spaces and destinations while creating focal points in open floorplans. Intentionally incorporating lighting fixtures made from organic materials, such as woven textiles, adds warmth to a room. Lighting with gold and brass finishes is a popular way to warm to a room.

Another lighting interior design trend, versatile lighting, serves its intended purpose of providing light to occupants while also functioning in an unexpected way. For example, sculptural lighting acts as artwork in a space. Multi-pendant lighting adds a cascading effect in a large space. Accessory lighting highlights accent walls, branding, and artwork installations all while generating ambiance in a space. Adding dynamic and intentional lighting to a room positively impacts the space.

Student/senior housing and public-facing spaces should be refreshed every few years and completely renovated by year 15, if not well before then depending on the industry. If it’s time for an update, give us a call, our team is ready to help!


Carrie Lehman has been an interior designer for 10 years. She acknowledges that the profession can be unpredictable and challenging but also says it comes with a feeling of reward when a project is completed and the client is happy.

Ashley Sowa has found her 6 years of experience to be extremely rewarding as she has created safe, efficient and aesthetically pleasing environments that make a positive impact on someone’s daily lifestyle and routine.

Liz Haverstick, IIDA, has spent 10 years as an interior designer and enjoys the balance between the design and technical aspects of her profession as well as interior design’s constant evolution.

Laura Peppler, IIDA, has 6 years of experience as an interior designer; she is a dreamer and loves the process of turning dreams into reality.

Blog Editor – Erin Harclerode

How Lovely Are Your Branches? Tips For Decorating The Tree

tree design The center of attention and activity, the Christmas tree embodies the unique combination of nostalgia, good will and hope associated with the holidays. Many of the same ideas that apply to decorating your home are also important to keep in mind for a beautiful tree that expresses your style while fostering holiday spirit for everyone who sees it.

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Interior Renovations: Budget-Friendly & Brand-Building with Big Benefits

Interior Designers discuss options for an upcoming project

Higher education institutions understand the importance of evolving and changing with the times; making campus updates is among the top priorities from year to year. Rather than initiate a large construction project, institutions are staying current with small-scale interior renovations to underutilized areas of campus that need reimagining.

Combining interior renovations with upgraded furniture can provide a large impact through projects that can be completed in a shorter timeframe and don’t exhaust the annual budget. These quick-hitting projects aim to improve the value an institution provides to its students and reinforce the branded experience intended for campus.

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Moving Day

Dropping Your Child Off at College: A Parent’s Perspective

Parents and student getting ready for college moving day

The end of summer brings many things: shorter days, cooler weather and the first day of classes. For first-time college students, moving day and the prospect of living away from home for the very first time can be an exciting time. From the rush of receiving an acceptance letter to the campus that was first choice to the hours spent shopping to get the perfect accessories to decorate a new room, it’s a non-stop adventure.

As a firm that provides higher education planning and design, we focus on the campus experience and how it affects students, faculty, staff and parents. Lessons learned from our own teams’ experience offer insights that we can apply to future design. Two of our RLPS team members who recently dropped off their children at college for their first year were nice enough to share their experiences. Along with recounting how moving went, they also let us know how their kids… and they are adjusting.

The parents on our staff began with completely opposite levels of experience with preparing and dropping off children at college. One parent was moving their youngest of three children to an out-of-state university, a few hours’ drive away. The other was moving their oldest child to a college closer to home. Despite the marked difference in the distance travelled and parental familiarity with moving kids to college, they had similar experiences and feelings.

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Should You Consider A Satellite Community?

senior living satellite community trend Satellite communities are popping up around the country in many shapes and forms. Life Plan Community (LPC) sponsors and other senior services providers are increasingly turning to this expansion option when current campuses are built out, partnership opportunities emerge or new markets are explored.

As senior living providers seek creative opportunities to maintain vitality and market presence, satellite community campuses can offer distinct advantages for attracting a new generation of older adults.

  1. Growth opportunity
  2. Expanded market reach
  3. Distinct alternative product such as living in a more urban setting
  4. Unique partnerships such as University-Based Retirement Communities
  5. Leveraging existing campus resources and services
  6. A new value proposition – from Care Model to Vitality Model

Research conducted by Ziegler’s Senior Living Investment Banking team shows that of all of the new not-for-profit communities currently in the planning or development phase, roughly one out of three are satellite campuses that will be in close proximity to an existing, full-continuum community.

“This is a very attractive growth strategy for providers who are looking to build upon their existing brand and bring forth an alternative choice for seniors in their market”, says Lisa McCracken, Ziegler’s Director of Senior Living Research.

With proper planning, satellite communities allow for incremental growth and expanded market reach. They can neighbor a main campus or be located in another geographic area.  A satellite can appeal to a new market group or meet a need for more of what already exists at a Life Plan Community.

Download the Satellite Community White Paper:

To continue reading and learn more about potential benefits and future planning considerations for this continuing growth trend for Life Plan Communities and other senior living services providers, download the Whitepaper via the form below.

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Additional Resources: 

For more senior living topics, trends, projects and information about Hybrid Homes, Memory Care, Reinvention and more, check out our Resources Page.

Campus Redevelopment, Revitalization, and Resiliency

How Community Partnerships Can Benefit Your Institution and the Surrounding Community

Student meeting in library – Teamwork

This topic was the focus of a panel discussion at the AICUP Campus Leaders Forum held in Harrisburg, PA on June 15th.

“We need to see ourselves no longer as an ivory tower surrounded by walls or fences but in the midst of the economies of which we exist and upon which we depend.” – Dominic DelliCarpini, Ph.D., York College of PA

While higher ed and industry have very different missions and cultures, there is a symbiotic relationship between the two. Finding a common ground for collaboration, research and work partnerships benefits everyone. As campus recruiting becomes more competitive, community partnerships serve as a positive differentiator and a valuable resource for long-term vitality.

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Supporting Student Wellness and Campus Health through Design

For many young adults, college is the first time they’ve been on their own and away from their support network of family and close friends. COVID-19 made this time of sudden change even more stressful for many by limiting social interactions and activities while still expecting students to keep up with their courses. This dramatic and sudden change has highlighted the importance of student wellness design.

College campuses nationwide have reported higher levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. According to a survey by the American Council on Education, 72% of college and university presidents identified student mental health as a pressing issue for the 2021-22 school year. Mental health challenges can also result in less physical activity, eating too much or too little, making unhealthy food choices and sleep disruptions. As a consequence of the psychological stress, both physical well-being and academics can suffer. Continue reading

Student Housing Updates: 3 Reasons to Renovate

As college and universities work to regain lost ground due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many face the reality of deferred student housing updates. Lingering uncertainties related to infection control, along with shifting demographics and student expectations heighten the need for action. Based on data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, undergraduate enrollment declined by about 3.5% in fall 2021 from the previous year. Continue reading