We’re midway through 2021. The trends predicted at the beginning of the year have been given time and space to breathe and be embraced. Things change, though. Not every prediction takes hold. The internet helps accelerate various ideas to their logical ‘conclusions as well as to the heights of their power. New trends develop as the year progresses. What are the popular design trends of 2021?
Two key trends for 2021 revolve around colour. Both exist at seemingly opposite ends of the spectrum, embracing different philosophical and atmospheric approaches to how rooms look and feel. First, here, we have calming tones. In general, these tend to favour beige, cream, brown, grey, and white, with their naturally subtle shades. Much of this palette will intersect with earth-tone interests too, another popular trend for 2021.
Those decorating their homes tend to lean towards the minimalist aesthetic – leaving patterns to statement pieces (though with these calming tones they carry only a – desired – peripheral power), having the room sparsely filled with furniture, and keeping the atmosphere light and, unsurprisingly, calm. Walls are kept simple and bare, allowing the room to feel as big as possible. Laminate flooring is often a popular choice. Natural wood-effect designs and colours are often considered, but grey wood flooring is also popular. Looking through the options on www.woodfloorwarehouse.co.uk, for instance, shows that this type of flooring, along with even the slate and terrazzo alternatives, offer those desired tones while contributing that peripheral power that patterns can provide.
Bold Wallpaper Print Designs
At another end of the tonal spectrum is bold wallpaper prints. Flooring won’t discriminate against these prints and will often be favourably matched with grey wood flooring or natural wood colours, for instance – all perfectly valid choices for a minimalist and a maximalist approach to interior design – but these wallpaper designs are statements, and they want to be statements.
Feature walls are a common design choice in homes around the world – the chimney breast, the wall opposite a window. Bold wallpaper works well using this technique. It gives the design its designated spot to show off, with the room augmented to maximise its potential.
Leaning more into a maximalist approach, another popular option is to put it on every wall, floor-to-ceiling, to fully – fully – commit to this print. This can work well in a smaller space, where the wallpaper can be encompassing, where there isn’t a lot else in the room so that the wallpaper is the room’s décor, for all intents and purposes. Though, it’s not out of the question to cover a big room either. Clever colour, furniture, and accessory usage will be necessary, though, to make sure the wallpaper doesn’t feel washed in the space, losing its potency and relevance.
Both calming tones and bold patterned wallpapers are prominent components in the post-cottagecore stylings of 2021. Floral- and avian-patterned wallpapers in subtle earth tones with pops of yellow, orange, pink are Instagram ready. Bare beams, under-window benches, Victorian candles and candleholders – they all contribute to the country vibe common at the beginning of this new decade. It forms the basis of two cottagecore ‘spin-offs’, with rustic and reclaimed or glamourous and shiny touches taking it to similar but marginally different places: one-with-nature village life or upper-class country homes.
Cottagecore as a foundation looks set to continue as a notable aesthetic choice and trend for the foreseeable future, inspiring more than living rooms and kitchens but communities which congregate on TikTok too.
Bold Lighting Choices
Lighting trends in 2021 emphasise the necessity of natural light. The first step is to maximise it, allow as much as possible into the space before designing your lighting solution. Room colours and shapes obviously dictate the power of natural light. We are not all blessed with huge bay windows, the AM or PM sun (or both) waving through the glass. Natural light can be difficult to harness, or at least difficult to maximise to a truly noticeable degree.
In its place, artificial light comes to the rescue. In 2021, feature lighting is hugely popular. Floor, wall, or ceiling – different eras, styles, and philosophies are brought to the fore to play a role not just in lighting the room, but in setting a mood. They are more than functional.
Some examples: ceramic pendant ceiling lights of organically warped shapes, wooden ceiling lights that evoke the Hoberman Sphere, sculpted floor and table lamps that sat as art next to a lazy chair or on a console table.
Over the last year, a piece of furniture’s texture has come into focus and has become a key consideration during its process. Velvet, linen, and rattan have become staples of this movement. Leather and nubuck are popular too, but these are more traditionally loved. The velvets, linens, and rattans of 2021 are setting a new pace.
Velvet has been an in-vogue piece of interior design since the end of the 2010s, but, in 2021, it has consolidated itself. While never ‘out of fashion, per se, as it’s a material that has opulence, glamour, and grace built into its very image – which never ages – it is now, seemingly, the default fabric for high-design sofa manufacturers as well as high-street stores. Paired with strong primary colours and often a mid-century shape, velvet sofas and chairs have been selling well. As a strong fabric choice, it needn’t take over the space – setting the tone for an all-velvet room. Linen and boucle cushions and throws have been incorporated to help tone down the velvet, which keeps the sophistication concentrated to the statement piece.
Rattan has come to be a popular choice for indoor and outdoor furniture, as well as other furnishings. This is part of a larger interest in handcrafted items and natural materials which has taken hold in 2021. Rattan’s flexibility – being used in chairs, side-tables, and lampshades – as well as its appropriateness in both minimalist and maximalist environments, pairing well with a variety of colours and materials – grey wood flooring, black metal chair legs, or green-backed, avian-patterned wallpaper, gives it both a subtle and prominent space in design, giving ample room stay prominent and relevant beyond 2021.