Seven Interior Design Trends for 2021

January 6, 2021
Credit: Alison Giese Interiors, Robert Radifera

The time that so many of us spent at home last year inspired change in many ways, especially in how we live in our houses. Remodeling spending spiked in 2020 among people who were able to work from home, and many homeowners made small tweaks to their homes to increase their comfort and beautify their surroundings.

While features like open floor plans and indoor-outdoor living will likely remain popular for years to come, the New Year is expected to bring new interior design trends to the forefront. Not every trend fits every home but consider these options for inspiration when updating your home in 2021.

Photo Credit: Behr, Jean Jacket Blue

Warm colors adorn walls. Paint companies introduce new colors every year, hoping to encourage homeowners to try new color combinations for an instant lift to their home’s appearance. This year, the colors are trending away from cool gray and white to a warmer pattern of earthier tones—shades that encourage rest and relaxation. For example, Behr’s 2021 Color Trends Palette includes warm tones such as earthy “Canyon Dusk” and creamy “Almond Wisp.” Several interior designers anticipate homeowners will turn away from all-white rooms and ditch the accent wall for rooms that are drenched in comforting, soothing colors like “Jean Jacket Blue” or “Nocturne Blue.”

Incorporate plants indoors and outside. For many people, a benefit of working at home in 2020 was the extra time afforded when they ditched their commute. While some people turned to baking or jigsaw puzzles to relax during their extra hours, others turned to gardening. Whether bringing in a plant to add life to a drab home office, adding a potted plant to a terrace or designing an elaborate garden, taking care of plants provides physical and mental benefits. Living walls of plants creatively displayed on a fence or in a family room are expected to be trending in 2021.

Add pizzazz to your Zoom room. The switch from gathering in a conference room to virtual meetings meant that many people suddenly needed to reevaluate their home décor – or at least the part visible on camera. While neutral backgrounds can be soothing, designers expect to see more effort to add personality with artwork and collections, as well as interesting colors or textures in those spaces that are visible on camera.

Rethink your furniture. When most people spent more time away from home in movie theaters, restaurants, offices and their cars, they were probably less aware of the comfort and versatility of their furniture. Now that your home also may serve as your office and entertainment venue, the durability and flexibility of your furniture is more important. Designers expect to see people turning to fabrics that stand up to daily use yet are comfortable. Dining tables that can handle use as a desk, dining chairs with softer upholstery, and coffee tables that can serve as kids’ art stations are all likely to be popular in 2021.

Credit: Tiffany Leigh Designs

Shift your shiplap. Barn doors and horizontal shiplap became ubiquitous in recent years and many designers are looking for alternatives to create a more distinctive style. Instead of a barn door, try frosted glass doors or pocket doors to add interest. Shiplap also can be installed vertically for a fresher look.

Credit: Peronda Tile

Spice up your style with colorful tiles. Whether you want to go big with a new floor in your kitchen, breakfast room or sunroom or just add a splash of color to your entrance, colorful patterned tiles are a popular option. Instead of sticking with a classic white subway tile or neutral tile floors, tile companies are offering a range of patterns in bright and soft colors to add European flair to your space.

Experiment with wallpaper. For decades, wallpaper was stripped out of every possible room and replaced with paint. In recent years, wallpaper has made a comeback because of its new flexibility: with peel-and-stick wallpaper, you can change the look of a room easily without feeling tied to the pattern for years. Wallpaper can define a small space as a reading nook or meditation corner; it can update a powder room or transform a plain bedroom into a dramatic space.  

Create multigenerational appeal. While minimalism has been popular for years and decluttering has become a mantra for many homeowners, the “grand-millennial” style flips that concept. For these younger homeowners, vintage items or modern twists on their grandmother’s homes mean they’re more likely to have chintz, collections of family photos and treasured objects rather than a sleek mid-century modern or contemporary-style home.

Whether you grab a paintbrush or a roll of wallpaper, even just swapping your furniture into a new configuration can give your home (and you) a lift. You may even find a new place that can become your favorite Zoom room.