14 Home Decor Trends We're Loving in 2021

2021 Design Trend Rattan
Photo: Courtesy of Society Social

If there's one thing we can all agree on when it comes to 2020, it's that looking forward is the only way to go. While that means big things this year for very important topics, it's also a very apt statement in the design world come December.

We've spent more time in our own spaces than ever before, probably doing a bit of nesting, organizing, rearranging furniture, and either hating or loving everything that surrounds us. Trends? What's a terrazzo floor going to do when you're working three feet from your home-schooled 8-year-old? (Okay…they are pretty dreamy.)

Forecasters hear you. This year, trends aren't so much about style as they are about feeling comfortable in your own space. Function is just as important as form. And colors and styles that feel like a big, warm hug are paramount. (There are those rays of sunshine, too.) Here, we rounded up 14 we're particularly excited about.

01 of 14

Trend: Not-So-Open Floor Plans

2021 Design Trends Closed Floor Plan
NelleG/Getty Images

Before sheltering in place happened, walls were pretty much the stuff of decades-old, dated floor plans, while wide-open, entertaining-friendly layouts reigned supreme. But confined to one space with the whole family simultaneously Zoom-ing friends and teachers had many questioning their privacy-free living quarters. While we certainly won't see a complete departure from open floor plans, expect to see creative solutions for dividing space, like sliding barn doors or bookshelves. Reconfiguring furniture layouts with an emphasis on cozy nooks can also make a space feel more intimate.

02 of 14

Trend: Back to Nature

2021 Design Trends Beige
Darlene Halaby Photography © 2019 Houzz

Boring beige? On the contrary: the paint world's most ubiquitous neutral is suddenly cool again. According to Houzz, many designers are seeing a renewed interest in shades of brown, including warm taupe, sand, and, yes, beige. Not ready to splash your whole home in the hue? When used as an accent color with other popular neutrals such as white and gray, the naturally inspired shades can add warmth to a space, say designers.

03 of 14

Trend: Plush Picks

2021 Design Trends Soft Textures
Courtesy of Stefani Stein Inc.; Photo by Dan Arnold

Think of it as the decorating equivalent of the athleisure you adopted as your daily uniform this year: cozy yet still buttoned up enough to show off. According to online furniture marketplace Chairish, soft textures that beg for an impromptu snuggle session are poised to be big next year. "We're mad for orb pillows and ottomans in a sumptuous shearling or mohair and seating that's upholstered in fuzzy boucles or plush velvet," says Chairish co-founder and president Anna Brockway.

04 of 14

Trend: Shelves to Show Off

Brittney Forrister Open Shelving in Nashville Cottage Kitchen
Mary Craven

When decorating, pretty little vignettes can be like the jewelry that takes an outfit from drab to fab. According to Pinterest, one such swoon-worthy corner that's set to take over 2021 are open kitchen shelves. While certainly not a new concept, floating shelves have seen a 130 percent increase in searches on the site since last year. And display-worthy kitchen gear—think hand-formed clay plates, colored glassware, and copper cookware—are equally on the rise.

05 of 14

Trend: Return to Traditional

Sherwin Williams Nuance Paint Color Living Room
R. Higgins

Between the past decade's obsession with midcentury modern and Scandinavian style, design—particularly among Millennials—has trended toward contemporary. But as homeowners seek an increased feeling of comfort in their spaces, familiarity and ease of use are becoming much more important. According to Modsy, that translates to an uptick in traditional style, including things like slipcovered sofas, classic prints, and simple silhouettes.

06 of 14

Trend: Seeds of Optimism

Brighten Things Up
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn, Robbie Caponetto

As the experts at Pantone pointed out in their 2021 Color of the Year picks, comfort isn't the only thing we need right now. Equally important is a sense of optimism, and in the decorating world, that easily translates through color. Cheery yellows and pretty pastels are all hues that can evoke a sense of happiness in the home. Look for them to pop up as accents in homes next year. And if sweet, summery shades aren't your jam, consider opting for the year's other big color moment: rich, bold jewel tones à la the 2021 Color of the Year by HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams, Passionate.

07 of 14

Trend: Germ-Free Upgrades

White Kitchen with Farmhouse Sink and Soapstone Countertop
Alison Gootee; Styling: Jennifer Berno DeCleene

It might not be the most alluring of trends, but in a COVID-world, it's entirely relevant. As more people search for ways to make their homes healthier, design choices that can lessen the spread of bacteria are growing in popularity, particularly in high-traffic areas like the kitchen. Think touch-free faucets and trash bins. And if you're considering a reno, surfaces like non-porous quartz and copper can actually prevent the spread of—or even kill!—germs.

08 of 14

Trend: Stay-All-Day Backyards

2021 Design Trends Pergola
Rikki Snyder © 2016 Houzz

If you hadn't fully utilized the space in your backyard before, chances are that all changed this year. In addition to an increased interest in tiny backyard studios for housing loved ones (or your own sanity), Houzz reports that pergolas are the new hot feature for outdoor spaces. The simple shade-giving structures are relatively quick and affordable to build and can enhance alfresco activities like dining, working, or relaxing, making it quite possible to enjoy the majority of your day in the sunshine.

09 of 14

Trend: Natural Appeal

2021 Design Trend Rattan
Courtesy of Society Social

Good news for fans of the seagrass rug: natural textures aren't going anywhere. According to Modsy, materials from woods (lighter tones are having a moment) to wicker are still going strong. Roxy Te Owens, founder and creative director at Society Social in Charlotte, agrees: "Rattan, wicker, and grasscloth furniture will always remain classic," she says. "Woven furniture is stylistically versatile and full of texture and warmth which makes it an easy design go-to."

10 of 14

The Trend: Drink Trollies

Fully Set Bar Cart
Robbie Caponetto; Styling: Lydia Pursell

Are you surprised? According to an analysis of Google Trends data by Roofing Megastore, the "drinks trolley," (AKA bar cart) has increased in popularity by 117 percent this year. Of course, any Southerner worth her margarita salt likely has this entertaining staple already. But if not, 2021 should absolutely be your year. (Here's how to style the perfect one!)

11 of 14

Trend: Bring the Outdoors In

Jessica Stambaugh Designed Dining Room with Office Space and Window Seat
Alison Gootee; Styling: Suzonne Stirling

When we sheltered in place during the early days of the pandemic, many of us sought solace in walks around the neighborhood for fresh air. Confined indoors for much of 2020 inspired designers to bring their favorite parts of the outdoors into our interiors in 2021. Soothing shades like verdant green, sky blue, and golden yellow remind us of the beauty of nature right outside our windows. Many homeowners are bringing these peaceful hues to their living room and bedroom walls as well as to kitchen cabinetry. Additionally, the popularity of bringing houseplant into homes rose as well, not only bringing an organic element to our interiors but also giving us another living thing to care for.

12 of 14

Trend: Multipurpose Spaces

2021 Idea House Library Work Station
Marta Xochilt Perez; Styling: Page Mullins

As work-from-home mandates grew from two weeks to 12 months, homeowners realized they needed to set up shop somewhere other than the dining room table. Designers are seeing an increase in demand for multipurpose workspaces that can serve as an office space during the day as well as family-friendly hub after hours. In our 2021 Idea House, designer Sarah Bartholomew incorporated several multipurpose workspaces throughout the home, such as built-in desks in the children's study and roomy tulip table for homework or crafts in the studio. In the study (shown here), a hidden desk in the bookcase can be pulled out for work calls and tucked away for cocktail hour.

13 of 14

Trend: What's Old Is New Again

Mountain House Guest Bedroom with Wood Paneled Walls
Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Lizzie Cullen Cox

It's confirmed: Grandmillenial style is here to stay. Wicker furniture, chintz upholstery, and floral wallpapers are sweeping our Instagram feeds. The popular granny-chic style feels feminine and familiar—which after a year like 2020, sound like a welcoming backdrop for our homes. Designers have noticed an increase in demand from clients to incorporate vintage and antique pieces into their homes. In our opinion, a patinaed piece with a good story behind it never goes out of style.

14 of 14

Trend: Fancy Floors

Casual traditional entry space
Brie Williams; Styling: Page Mullins

Fancy flooring is having a moment in 2021. Whether it's artful tiles or patterns painted onto hardwoods, dressing up your floors is another creative way to make a statement in your spaces. In our 2021 Idea House, designer Sarah Bartholomew applied a blue-and-white geometric pattern to the kitchen floors to add another element of character and age to the room. On Kiawah Island, South Carolina, designer Cortney Bishop set the color scheme for the home with painted wood floors in the entry (shown here). Whatever color scheme or pattern fits your aesthetic, use flooring as another surface for creativity.

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