Trending: The Aesthetics of Joy

By Karen B. Wolf
Karen B. Wolf Interiors

I was going to write this blog post about the pursuit of happiness until I listened to Ingrid Fetell Lee’s recent Ted Talk on Joy. As a culture in perpetual pursuit of the holy grail, especially of late, Ms. Lee’s honest embrace of everyday moments, small smiles and pretty little things filled me with not only relief but purpose. The aesthetics that we as designer’s strive to perfect might be trivial in the scheme of world order but the tangible sensation of joy that we deliver provides hope and yes, momentary happiness. Now that I am tuned into the mission of “Joie” deliverance, I see signs everywhere. The industry is bursting with adult versions of childlike associations from happy language, bright colors, candy art, rainbows, bubbles, to polka dots. This is a trend that is primal and pure. It is adult Joy.

Instagram’s biggest stars are seekers of joy. Images of escape, freedom, travel, whimsy and just simply happy lifestyles set the bar for the products that we desire in our homes:|

One of the artists and designers that I follow has captured the essence of the JOY trend in all of her touchpoints. Kerri Rosenthal began her career with art and then branded her happy lifestyle promise into textiles, wallpaper, furniture and a retail concept store.

Wendy Concannon is a photography artist who captures the spirit of joy in her highly saturated images, use of color blocking and subject matter choices.

BUTTERFLY Turquoise Coral

BUTTERFLY Citrus Punch












Jen Ramos was ahead of the curve when she launched her Color Series a few years ago. Still coveted in the design world, these simple and colorful bold strokes and polka dots sell like hot cakes.



Serious colors meet a playful pattern on these gorgeous earthenware plates by Chela Edmunds from Takeawei

Oomph Home is known for its playful colors and signature scallop. For the girl in you:

Stray Dog Design’s whimsy has made a comeback this year.









Polka Dot chairs are spotted in Anthropologie’s new home catalog.

And last, the iconic Kate Spade celebrated for her graphic and playful shapes creates joyful adult patterns from childsplay:

In this new ear of joy seeking, we embrace the child within, play with color, recognize beauty and live without boundaries. Anything goes if it brings you joy.

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