The Rise of Escapist Decor in the Age of the Coronavirus (And How to Add It to Your Home)

PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.

Home is our sanctuary, so it only makes sense that as we collectively shelter in place, we’re looking for ways to create the refuge we want (and need). And, based on recent trends, that means an even greater desire to comfort, to calm and to bring a sense of the outdoors in. It’s escapist decor, essentially, buffering us from the chaos and confusion of our news feeds.

A little interior refresh gives us a sense of control, when so many things seem out of our control. It helps us feel productive and accomplished, and as a therapist recently told me, the act of decorating itself forces you to focus on the present moment—it’s mindful meditation for people who can’t imagine sitting still right now. Plus, when you’re done, you’re surrounded by an instant mood booster. These are the five styles people are craving the most right now.

How to ‘Quaranclean’ Your Home (Without Losing Your Sanity)

escapist decor cottagecore

1. cottagecore

While this aesthetic has been on the rise long before we all started quarantining, cottagecore has really taken off in the past few months. That’s partially due to the influx of stories about the concept—but also because the look itself is so alluring: Imagine a cozy little cottage tucked away in the middle of the woods, birds chirping in the background as you curl up In your armchair with a patchwork quilt, a well-worn book and a cup of tea. It’s the quaint, storybook version of country living, which you can weave into your home no matter where you live with a few ceramic frogs, chintz and embroidery.

escapist decor shabby chic

2. shabby Chic

Chokers, bike shorts, bucket hats—the ‘90s have been trending in fashion for a while, and now the era is seeping into our homes, with the return of the vintage-romantic look Rachel Ashwell popularized decades ago. Shabby Chic is a blend of white or pastel-painted, distressed antiques, paired with softly rumpled, ruffled linens and twinkly chandeliers. It’s a lot like cottagecore, only more glam than grandma. A big part of the vibe is cushy, oversized sofas and ultra-plush bedding you could sink into and never want to leave, so…honestly, we get why people are ditching the clean lines of their mid-century modern furniture for this decor.

BUY IT ($80)

70s sunset prints etsy

3. ‘70s Sunset Prints

Ah, a throwback to a simpler time—one you may have not even been alive to experience. Nonetheless, retro sunset art has been surging in popularity on Etsy, with searches up 99 percent this year. The red, orange, yellow and pink color palette warms up a room, and provides a soothing focal point when you just need a minute to zone out.

Pair that with another trend from the days of disco—rattan furniture—and you’re instantly transported to a land before COVID.

escapist decor under sea

4. under-the-sea Style

Just because you’re far from the beach doesn’t mean you can’t bring a little seaside charm to your home. “Rather than using it as a theme for an entire room, [this look is] all about bringing in a few choice accents, like a stunningly scalloped wall mirror or a nautilus planter, to give a space character,” Etsy’s in-house trend expert, Dayna Isom Johnson, says. That’s the key—too many flourishes can make you feel like you’re living in a Long John Silver’s (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as you’ve got an endless supply of Hush Puppies in your freezer).

saturdayonsunday natalieebel

5. super-saturated Colors

After staring at the same white walls all day, every day, it’s only natural you’d want to shake things up. Most color experts have seen a rise in demand for calming colors, but that doesn’t always mean pale, muted shades. In fact, some of the most popular ones right now are deep, inky ones so rich it feels like you could disappear into them. Think indigo blues, emeralds, even darker takes on the ever-popular millennial pink.

During the first two weeks of April, paint company Backdrop saw a roughly 800 percent increase in sales of 36 Hours in Marrakesh, an earthy pink, and Saturday on Sunday, a dark greenish-blue. Another dark blue with hints of green, Surf Camp, quintupled in demand. These rich shades are moody, for sure, but they’re also enveloping, creating a cocoon-like hideaway from the rest of the world.

candace davison bio

VP of editorial, recipe developer, kitsch-lover

Candace Davison oversees PureWow's food and home content, as well as its franchises, like the PureWow100 review series and the Happy Kid Awards. She’s covered all things lifestyle...