2021 is an exciting year for decor! The new Pantone color, Living Coral, is a rich and indulgent hue that can work with so many design styles and schemes. New materials, many of which are sustainable and more environmentally responsible are continuing to hit the decorating scene, making it easier to personalize a space with a clean conscience. Thanks to de-cluttering icon Marie Kondo, new visions of minimalism and organization are also hitting the scene, much to the delight of those who love clean lines and a well-organized home (or at least aspire too.) Read on for 40 trends that look to make waves in home decorating this year!
In the era of Marie Kondo, it’s no surprise that clutter is no longer sparking joy for many interior decorators. While eclectic clutter has been popular for several years, particularly in Bohemian style spaces, there is finally a turn towards simplicity and clean lines. Where once five quirky pictures might have been crammed together on one small accent wall, now one larger, simple print could make more of a statement. While complex designs are still on trend, expect to see them with a more minimalist edge that prioritizes quality over quantity!
2. Gender Neutral Rooms
Finally, the era of the “man cave” may be ending! From the children’s room to adult hobby spaces, gender has been a defining feature of decorating for far too long. The pink princess palaces for girls and the blue adventure dens of boys are (hopefully) soon to be a thing of the past. Yellows, oranges, greens, and neutrals are becoming increasingly popular for non-gendered children’s rooms. Many toy stores are already bucking the trend with gender-less aisles, so expect to see more home decor trends following suit. For adults, the man cave fad is fading out, to be replaced by more family and couple friendly shared living spaces.
3. Delicate Tones
While those who favor Mid-century Modern or Memphis Style won’t likely be giving up their bold secondary or primary colors anytime soon, but more style agnostic decorators may want to give some delicate, blushing hues a try. Familiar jewelry tones like rose gold and pewter are on trend and can wake up tired bedrooms. Dusty pink and bronze are also beautiful and rapidly gaining popularity, especially when used as accents to perk up tired neutrals. Rose gold and bronze accessories and cabinet hardware are now widely available and can give a hint of sophistication and delicacy without an entire room makeover.
4. Textural Finishes
As part of the eclectic movement, patterned finishes have had a couple of big years with stripes, chevron, and herringbone all seeing much popularity. However, with more delicate tones and cleaner aesthetics eclipsing the slightly outdated eclectic style, look to interesting textures instead of patterned finishes for decor, especially upholstered furniture. Patterns are rapidly being replaced by bold primary colors and exciting textures, especially those inspired by nature. Upholstery meant to look like botanical or leaf-like textures, stone, wood, and so on are all going to become dominant in 2021.
5. Statement Art Pieces
While many chic designers are moving towards minimalism overall, that isn’t mutually exclusive with having an over-the-top statement art piece. After many years of Nordic-inspired minimalism and somewhat stark Mid-century Modern design, decorators are turning to boldly colorful and magnificent pieces of art to create statement walls or focal points in rooms. In keeping with the anti-eclectic trend of quality over quantity, a super trendy way to make an open wall pop is one vast, vivid, and breathtaking composition of art instead of several smaller works or one big neutral piece. Go wild!
6. Personality In Design
Common decorating wisdom often focuses on the color wheel, color families, matching or contrasting colors, and so on. While these guidelines certainly can help create a tied-together space, many modern decorators are taking a more care-free Avante Garde approach and centering the homeowner’s personality, rather than any particular style or rule of decor. Does it really matter if a favorite piece of art perfectly matches the couch? A significant focus of 2021 decorating is going to be moving towards infusing personality and personal favorites and ushering out the old maxims of matching and sterile modern design.
With ever worsening signs of climate change, many savvy decorators are turning to sustainable materials to decorate their homes. Durable plant fibers like bamboo and hemp are becoming more popular and more widely available for floors and textiles. Many decorators are turning to local craftspeople to ensure their money is supporting their own community while also enjoying a much lower carbon footprint than internationally or even domestically transported goods. Keep an eye out for items that are marked Made in the USA, fair trade, items with tags stating specifically which local artisan(s) made the product, and so on. Also, do the homework and read up on what materials create the least environmental impact while still looking beautiful and durable!
8. A Natural Fit
In keeping with the increasing focus on the climate emergency, many decorators are turning to “biophilia,” a coin termed to express the relationship between humans and the natural world, and the innate tendency to seek out the beauty of nature even in urban environments (and inside homes.) House plants, while always popular, are expected to see a massive spike in popularity – especially large showpiece plants like palms. Stone and wood floors and accent pieces are also going to be very popular, especially those that are made from renewable materials with a low environmental impact like bamboo.
Finally, floral wallpapers are making a comeback! For decades now, floral wallpapers have been relegated to grandma’s bathroom and “old, character” homes that are immediately renovated in favor of the typical grey or white “clean” walls. No longer! Floral wallpapers and textiles are making a big, beautiful comeback and they are available in more colors and patterns than ever. Any design scheme can find a beautiful floral pattern for an accent wall or even a whole lush, botanical bedroom. There are abstract florals in grey tones, metallics, and more and one can still find delicate chintz floral patterns that echo the delicate beauty of old tea sets.
10. Soft Lines In Textiles
Thanks to Pinterest, Trellis, and Ikat patterns have been having a major moment for the last few years. However, they are starting to take on a somewhat dated appearance and will definitely be left behind in the 2020s. Get a head start on the new trend by incorporating softer, flowing lines instead of sharp geometric patterns. In keeping with the very botanical trends of 2021, lines reminiscent of water or abstract leaves add a beautiful, gentle elegance and bit of textural interest without introducing any dated harshness.
11. Jewel Tones
In addition to delicate, more feminine tones like blush and rose gold, jewel tones are making a huge splash in fashion and home decor. If the bold primary colors of maximalist art and Memphis Style decorating don’t quite check one’s boxes, the gorgeous, lush secondary tones of emerald green, rich plum, and amber can add a warm and sultry air to any space. While these tones have appeared on and off in kitchens over the past few years, they are now breaking out into the rest of the home with beautiful, velvety pillows, luxurious rugs, and more.
12. Memphis Style
No, not like Graceland. Memphis Style refers to the bold colors and shapes that were widely popular in the 1980s. It is an updated version of the Mid-century Modern style that has been flourishing over the last decade, but it slowly starting to lose some popularity. The straight lines and secondary colors of Mid-century are replaced by the soft, bold shapes and primary colors of Memphis style. Look for bright splashes of primary colors, round lines in furniture and art, and overall slightly 80s feeling pieces to start making a huge comeback.
13. Warm Neutrals
Face it; gray has been the ‘it’ color for too many years now. One cannot flip through Pinterest without seeing an endless array of cool, grey walls with clean white trim. It’s pretty, and easy to maintain, but enough is enough. For 2021, spruce up your space with warm neutrals. Warm-toned greys, ecrus, bisques, and ivories are all back in the game; they pair beautifully with many of the other tones, like corals and deep jewel tones that are also on trend. Best of all, the cool grays of the past shouldn’t be too hard to cover, and a fresh coat of a warm neutral will help your home feel cozy and more welcoming.
14. Bold Backsplashes
No one can argue that clean, white subway tile backsplashes are absolutely gorgeous in almost any kitchen. However, they have also been done to death and could use a bit of a modern refinishing. For 2021, look to bold patterns that incorporate splashes of bright colors to liven up kitchens and add a bit of glamour. Graphic tiles will make a huge comeback, especially those with pops of unique colors like teal, plum, or one of the primary colors. Nothing jazzes up a white and stainless kitchen like a pop of beautiful color in a backsplash!
15. Simple Kitchen Floors
When a kitchen features a beautiful, opulent backsplash, it’s a great idea to tone down the floors and let the backsplash speak for itself. Many kitchens over the past few years have incorporated bold floors, especially Terrazzo Tile that can, let’s face it, start to look a bit like an elementary school cafeteria if one is not careful with color choices. For 2021, simple neutral tiles are far more versatile and allow a decorator to play around with pops of color and exciting textures and line work in other areas of the kitchen. Renewable and ethically sourced floor materials, like bamboo and certain types of stone, will be all the rage, especially in neutral, simple colors and patterns.
16. Artisan Accents
Nothing sets off a space better than a beautiful, handmade piece that comes with a story. Imagine the pride of sharing the story of the local craftsmanship that went into a statement piece, knowing the materials it is made of, and so on. Artisan accent pieces like mirrors, plant stands, and more are going to be huge in 2021. Spending money locally, supporting local artists, and knowing that an item is locally and ethically sourced allows one to decorate with a sense of purpose and respect for the environment and community.
17. Calm Handmade Fabrics
Wild, bright-hued statement fabrics like Shibori, or Japanese tie-dye, have had their moment recently. However, 2021 decorators are looking to incorporate calmer, more muted handmade and artisan textiles into their spaces. Sustainable jutes, muslins, organic bamboos, and other natural materials are going to see a resurgence with their delicate, airy textures and natural, muted finishes. These fabrics will fit into many of 2021’s most prominent styles, especially the artisan and biophilia design movements. Scrap fabric pieces, especially those that incorporate florals, also will make beautiful editions to rooms featuring 2021’s delicate and jewel tones.
18. Four-Poster Beds and Hangings
Perhaps the popularity of Game of Thrones and other medieval Europe themed television shows is finally making its way into the decorating world, as four-poster beds with opulent hangings are set to make a big comeback in 2021. Not only do the angular, clean lines create a stunning statement in a bedroom, but natural fabric hangings in neutral, delicate, or lush jewel tones makes for a warm, safe, and inviting space that will really leave one with no choice but to sleep like a king or queen.
19. Wood and Stone Art
While natural fibers like jute, bamboo, and linen are very much in for textural finishes on upholstered furniture, pillows, and more this year, they are very much on the way out for wall art. Macrame and other fiber wall arts have been approaching dangerously 1970s levels for the past few years and their time has finally come. Wood and stone wall accents will be all the rage for 2021, in keeping with the biophilia idea of bringing some of the outdoors in to help connect with nature’s beauty. Even better if local crafters make the pieces.
20. Softer Boho
If you are a Boho lover, don’t worry it’s still around for 2021, but with a fresh twist. While a lot of previous Boho design has focused on eclectic clutter and a lot of harsh lines, 2021 Boho is looking at brighter colors, cleaner and simpler styles, and much softer and circular designs for furnishings and decor. Patterns featuring stark whites, neutrals, pastels, and circular shapes will be popular, as will circular light fixtures, pillows, and furniture. Welcome more natural feeling soft, circular shapes into your home and brighten up your spaces with light colors. Out with the dark and cluttered Boho, in with the soft, new Boho!
21. Mixing Styles
Decorators have been reluctant to mix styles for many years now, often sticking exclusively to, for example, Mid-century Modern if even one piece of furniture matches that style. This rigid style principle really has no place in the modern aesthetic, and designers are finally freeing themselves to mix and match styles of design as they please. Don’t let rooms become too one-note with one predominant look. Combining techniques draws the eye throughout the room and keeps any one style from looking too dated or stale. It gives a space a better sense of longevity and can create an entirely new style vibe that is uniquely your own.
22. Acrylic Base Pieces
2021 is all about the natural elements, like house plants, stone, and wood accent pieces but that isn’t to say inorganic pieces are entirely out. Clear or lightly tinted acrylic or resin furniture is ready to have a breakout moment, mainly when used to contain organic accents. Nothing makes a statement quite like an angular, clear acrylic table topped with Terra cotta pots of succulents. Mixing media, primarily organic and inorganic, draws the eye and makes a compellingly modern statement without being too eclectic.
23. Natural-looking Metals
With the Moscue Mule still enjoying the limelight, copper is still quite ubiquitous, especially in kitchens. In 2021, look to see copper slowly fading out to be replaced by more earthy, natural-looking metal tones like iron, pewter, dark brass, and tarnished silvers. While copper is beautiful, it can get a very processed, artificial shade that detracts from the natural beauty of other ores and metals. More natural metal tones can be combined beautifully with jewel-toned fabrics, stone and wood furniture, and more. Neutrally toned metals, in particular, will be very popular this year.
24. Mixed Metals
With natural-looking metals like nickel, iron, bronze, and more having a significant comeback, 2021 will be the perfect year to incorporate a timeless standard: mixing metals. While the finishes should be limited to no more than three different metals, combining two or three metals in a space gives a chic, timeless, and sophisticated look that just cannot be achieved with a monochromatic finish look. Try mixing silver accents with pewter or bronze, or try pairing gold with iron. Play around and find which finishes speak to you, and see if you can combine them. Start small with metallic planters or frames, and build up from there.
25. Covering Up Brass
Many decorators bought entirely into the all-brass trend of yesteryear, especially for decorating bedrooms. Unfortunately, matchy-matchy brass now gives off a very early-2000s vibe that many homeowners are no longer loving. Fear not! Brass furniture doesn’t need to be replaced, as some brass elements are still highly desirable, especially when paired with iron or another metal finish. When surrounded by too much brass, try covering a simple piece with metallic spray paint. It’s a cheap and relatively easy way to change the metallic tone, and spray paint now comes in an incredibly wide variety of hues including rose gold, gunmetal, and more.
26. Black Bathrooms
Few things feel more instantly calming, relaxing, and spa-like than walking into a black bathroom. Being surrounded by black marble or granite immediately imparts a luxurious, almost sensual feeling that adds a ton of value and enjoyment to any bathroom. Splashes of white and grey, either in a backsplash or in the bathroom’s linens break up the monotony while staying on trend. If a bathroom has enough light, some humidity loving houseplants completes the spa feel and makes the bathroom beautiful and healthier through air purification.
27. Accents Throughout A Room
The accent wall has mostly seen its peak. While a well-placed accent wall can still stay on-trend, a far more forward-looking 2021 theme is spreading accents throughout an entire room. Why should one wall get all the fun? Between mixing metallic finishes, embracing bold pops of colors, incorporating beautiful natural elements, and going with the flow of curved designs, there are so many fabulous trends to choose from in 2021 that no one part of a room should be limited to incorporate accents. Play around with your entire space and don’t bind yourself to only expressing yourself on one small wall.
28. Light Wood Flooring
Homeowners looking to increase the visual space of a room already know to avoid dark flooring, as it tends to make areas look much smaller, darker, and closed-in. While for some this may be a plus, many homeowners are looking to fully embrace biophilia by making their spaces seem large, airy, and as much in tune with the great outdoors as possible. Beautiful light flooring like birch, white oak, and light bamboos can impart this look onto floors. These light floor shades also pair beautifully with 2021’s trends of delicate tones and warm neutrals, giving any space a gorgeous, homey, and inviting appearance.
29. Painted Cabinets
Unfortunately, many home superstores are just not keeping up with trends in cabinetry, still featuring large blocks of dark cherry cabinets. While these were popular for a time, homeowners realize that they are hard to match with both metallic finishes and flooring, and tend to close off a space with their somewhat foreboding tone. If you enjoy dark cabinets but find cherry a bit dated, painted black or dark grey cabinets are seeing a massive explosion in popularity this year. Navy blue cabinets are also making a comeback and would look amazing when paired with a brighter pop of color in an adventurous patterned backsplash.
30. Comfort, Comfort, Comfort
While it should be evident that comfort is paramount in your own home, many design trends throughout the years have placed form above function. From stiff, angular sofas to chairs that can barely be used, 2021 is all about bucking the function trend and ensuring everyone is happy with lush, comfortable furniture and flooring that human beings will actually enjoy being on and around. Imagine that! Thick, soft carpet is reappearing as a popular choice, and chairs with thick cushions and beautiful fabrics are replacing stern-looking, uncomfortable all wood pieces. When decorating, the look is important, but comfort for you and your family needs to be number one!
31. Matte Finishes
Shiny things are often beautiful; there’s no doubt about it. From warm metallic finishes to hints of sequins and glitter, shine can add a gorgeous focal point to a room. However, 2021 is mainly ready to say goodbye to metallic finishes on furniture, especially lacquer, and usher in a new era of more natural-looking matte finishes. Whether stone, muted metal, or natural-looking wood, matte finishes are less obtrusive and feel well-used and loved. This change will make your room inviting. It’s almost impossible to not curl up with a book and coffee next to a gorgeous matte stone coffee table or well-worn wooden chair.
32. Trimmings and Baubles
With 2021’s emphasis on clean, curved lines and minimalism, there is thankfully a bit of design room left over for a bit of fun with trimmings and baubles. While often seen as a bit tacky or passe, more modern trimmings are making a roaring comeback with new shapes, textures, and colors that take them from tacky to fantastic. Look for curtain tie-backs to become a must-have accessory, with rich jewel tones, unique modern shapes, and metallic elements separating them from the dull, monotoned tassels of the past.
33. Polished Nickel
Copper and rose gold, while still popular, are starting to feel a bit played, especially to decorators who love to be on the cutting edge of new trends. One metal finish to watch out for is polished nickel, a gorgeous bright finish that manages to add shine while still feeling quite classic and timeless. Always popular in bathrooms, polished nickel will start to break out and be featured in living room furniture, bedroom accent pieces, and more. Polished nickel can pair beautifully with gold and bronze and would make a perfect tone to start a mixed-metallic finish room to be genuinely on trend.
34. Warm and Dark Countertops
Austere white marble, granite, and quartz countertops have been all the rage for the past decade, and it’s almost impossible to find a newly built home without them. Silver and icy blue or grey flecks and veining have been the go-to secondary colors, but are quickly being replaced by warmer tones. Marble, granite, and quarts will continue to be incredibly popular due to their excellent properties in the kitchen, but keep an eye open for much darker base tones with warm-hued secondary tones. Butcher block will also make a comeback, with darker base wood. These dark, warm tones will pair beautifully with the 2021 trend of dark blue or warm dark grey cabinets.
35. Home Style Countertops
Having stark white, professional looking countertops that wouldn’t be out of place in a Michelin Star restaurant has long been a trend. However, many decorators are now starting to see them as too professional and austere, which detracts from the inviting name of a home kitchen. In keeping with the minimalist and biophilia trends of 2021, warmer tones and even wood countertops are making a splash, with the shiny and somewhat sterile nature of quartz becoming less popular. Look for quirkier cuts of marble or granite with warm tones, or even a rustic finish butcher block to make a kitchen feel personal and homey.
36. Statement Paint Colors
While the accent wall fades out of popularity, making all walls speak for themselves is going to be the new trend in 2021. With Pantone’s bold choice of Living Coral for 2021, it’s time to break all the rules and entirely paint rooms with gorgeous, bright colors. Incorporating biophilia principles of nature-based decor, look for bold mossy greens, floral petal oranges and corals, and more to become popular. In keeping with the trend of jewel tones, rich plums and burgundies, deep sapphire blues, and warm, lush ambers will all also be on 2021’s decorating radar.
37. Combining Eras
Very few people set out to intentionally turn their living spaces into time capsules, but that’s precisely what can happen if one era’s style, especially if it’s very distinct, is plastered all over a room without any variation. Mid-century Modern, in particular, can become a victim of this phenomenon. 2021 is all about incorporating trends from multiple eras to make a layered, multi-faceted look that naturally draws the eye throughout the entire room. Combining a modern accent with a vintage piece can put a unique personal stamp on the place and avoid the dreaded museum vibe of one-note vintage decorating.
38. White With Small Pops of Color
Stark white is back, baby! While stark white was viewed as far too harsh for many years, it is once again getting the respect it deserves. Few things delight the eye more than walking into a bright, white room filled with a few small vibrant pops of color. It turns your entire room into a beautiful white daisy or lily, with little specs of color to break up what could get monotonous. Bold splashes of primary color pair beautifully with white, as do mixed metallic finishes like brushed nickel and gold. White is the ultimate pairing for any pop of color, so get creative and express yourself.
2018 was definitely the year of the succulent. These plants were not just in homes, but on Instagram, at weddings, and everywhere else. Houseplants are still incredibly on trend for 2021, but try broadening your horizons beyond the slightly-played out succulent. There are countless gorgeous, easy to care for plants that come in a wide range of colors and growth habits, from neon green vines to large white variegated tropical leaves and more. Fill your space with a mixture of colors and textures. There is a houseplant that can survive in almost any light and humidity conditions, so head to your nearest nursery and explore!
40. Macramé Plant Holders
Lucky for you if you still have some of your grandmother’s macramé hanging pot holders, as they are coming back hugely! Macramé has had a bit of a resurgence as wall hangings, but the trend is turning towards plant holders, especially with biophilia driving a considerable influx of houseplants in home decorating. Macrame is incredibly versatile, coming in many styles, colors, and materials, and it frees up floor space for larger plants by allowing you to hang a wide range of plants from the ceiling or a window. Try combining warm neutrals and various natural materials for a hanging pot corner to bring some of the outdoors in!