Having spent the majority of 2020 inside our homes, as we go into 2021 we’re probably all ready for a little (or a lot) of change, and, if you’ve not felt particularly inspired during lockdown then don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with what we think are going to be some of the hottest interior design trends that’ll have you reaching for that paintbrush in no time at all.
There’s a strong possibility that we could be spending a lot more months than planned inside our homes again this coming year so we wanted to take a much more in-depth look into upcoming trends; including more ideas than ever before to spruce up your living space.
Of course, while we’d all love to get through everything on this list, feel free to treat it as a rough guide and incorporate different elements that you particularly love, into your home as and when you can.
Some aspects of these trends can be timeless, so stick to them when thinking of core areas of your home. Others could very well be a flash in the pan so try not to overdo it. One thing that seems to be consistent though is the adaptation of trends; some things have made a return with a bang – think Shabby Chic 2.0, others, like Japandi, we saw a lot of in 2020 but are set to stay long into the new year.
So, without any more delay, here are some of our favourite interior design trends for 2021. Which ones do you love or hate?
This list was updated on 02/01/2021
Last year, we discussed how Japandi, a creative hybrid showcasing the best of Japanese and Scandinavian design, could completely transform your living space into a minimalist and chic abode – and it looks like in 2021, this warm and earthy aesthetic is here to stay.
The great thing about Japandi is that it fully embodies the Japanese art of wabi-sabi; the notion that all things in nature (or life) whether it be your home, places you visit, even yourself, possess a little imperfection which, in turn, makes it beautiful. Wabi-sabi teaches us to honour, embrace and appreciate such imperfections which makes it an ideal concept for budding interior designers or DIY enthusiasts to adopt when renovating their homes.
Muted dark tones that complement the lighter, more traditional tones of Scandi are the typical Japandi colours. It’s the perfect partnership of both warm and cool collaborating to create a whole new concept of interior style. Specifically black, eggplant, mulberry, denim, peacock and emerald shades are popular Japandi colours, especially when teamed with cooler neutral rose tones and off white shades.
Though we’ve mentioned in the past that this style works best in living rooms and bedrooms, in 2021, Japandi is set to also take over the likes of the bathroom. By using Japanese-inspired shapes and colours with the neutral Nordic style of Scandi and natural materials like wood, your bathroom can be transformed into a secluded sanctuary, no matter the size.
Sustainable design ideas have been around for years, we only need to look at the Nordic trend to see that. This past year has left us with an incredible amount of time on our hands, so what better time to pick up a paintbrush and show some of your creative flairs. There’s no doubt that some antique furnishings possess a somewhat superior quality to many items you’ll find today and as such we should make the most of them in our homes. Buying new? Look for sustainably sourced items and items made from part recycled materials. Nowadays, many designers are using repurposed wood for shelving, tables and TV stands.
If you’re re-painting furniture, this really depends on your personal taste. However, if you’re wanting to go for a bit of a rustic, eco theme, then earthy shades work best. Dulux’s colour of the year is Brave Ground, described by the paint manufacturer as a “warm, earthy tone”  it’s sure to bring a breath of fresh air into your home. Thanks to its undertone, it can be teamed with greens and blues but also works well with brighter colours such as berry pop if you’re looking for a more Mediterranean inspired theme. It also looks great with rustic wooden accessories.
The good news is pretty much any room in the house is perfect for a little sustainability. The dining room is a great place to showcase a table made from reclaimed wood, as is the bedroom (think headboards or side cabinets).
You can cross over to the dark side or remain fairly neutral with your cabinet selection, but if you’re wanting to stay on trend in 2021, ensure that you ditch anything that’s warmer looking when it comes to your cabinets. Beige is out, and grey, muted tones are in.
Though transforming existing cabinets can be a bit of an endeavour (think a lot of sanding and priming), it’s the perfect opportunity to create something unique to your household even if you are following seasonal trends. If upcycling isn’t really on your to-do list for 2021, seek help from a tradesperson who can do this for you or go to your local DIY store to get ready-made cabinets in your preferred colour and style. Many manufacturers have countless variations of cupboard colours this year.
For kitchens, anything with a grey, desaturated undertone will work well in the coming year with greens and blues set to be a sure thing. If you’re feeling a little bolder and can accessorize accordingly, matt black cabinets can look chic, modern and expensive; especially when teamed with metallic cabinet handles and a contrasting tile backsplash.
We’ve hinted at it throughout this section, but the main room this trend is designed for is, of course, the kitchen. Though you can always work this into other rooms such as the bathroom. Wherever you choose to replace your cabinets, it’s guaranteed to transform the environment.
Described as somewhat of a ‘Gen Z’ created trend, centred around what life would be like were you to live on a farm or in the countryside, it became one of the more popular home décor trends of 2020  and is set to stay for 2021, albeit with a little bit of a twist.
For those of you who are lucky enough to already boast unique features in your home (wooden beams, thatched rooves or original flooring), cottagecore will come easy to you as all you need to do is emphasise the features you already have. But, how do you do pull it off if you’re in a modern apartment in London, for example?
Reclaimed wood is an ideal way to add a touch of cottagecore to your home. Like we mentioned with the Japandi theme, look for items with imperfections in them, as grains and textures are what cottagecore is all about. You can also pick up some knitting needles or a sewing machine and try making a few of your own designs around the home. Start out with linens such as cushion covers and throws -anything that will give your home that chilled country vibe – and you’ll nail it.
Softer colours work best when it comes to cottagecore. Think about nature and what sorts of shades you’ll see outside and keep things warm and cosy; deep greens, warm browns, mustards and lavender shades work well. Close your eyes and imagine warm August evenings, the colours you’ll see are at the heart of this trend.
The great thing about cottagecore is that it literally works anywhere; from your kitchen to dining space, or even outside. Adding a touch of cottagecore can work well in any environment whether you’re just adding a few homemade accessories to your home or going all out.
In keeping with the cottagecore theme, searches for dried flowers has been up around 500% over the last 12 months  and they’re sure to be everywhere for 2021. Dried flowers can suit pretty much any colour scheme too making them an ideal and simple addition to any home.
It’s also the perfect way to upcycle a fresh bunch of flowers that could be on their way out. Drying flowers can be a bit of a marathon as you have to get rid of the excess foliage and then be left in a dark place (this helps retain colour) for a couple of weeks  before you can bring them out but the wait is worth it and they add a quaint finishing touch to your home.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to colours as, as long as you dry the flowers correctly, you’ll be able to retain a fair amount of colour so you can go as bright and mixed as you like. We personally prefer to be in keeping with more traditional styles and recommend using plants like lavender, eucalyptus, yellow achilleas and dried thistle. Just remember when creating your bunches to mix and match flowers with similar colour palettes for maximum effect.
Dried flowers work really well as table centrepieces in dining rooms or as additional decoration for the bedroom. If you get creative with your presentation, however, dried flowers can work well in any room. They also don’t just have to be presented in a vase. You could make them into wreaths and hang them on walls, we’ve even seen large displays suspended over dining room tables for the real outside-in feel.
We’ve mentioned textures throughout this post and that’s because it has been and will continue to be a key trend for 2021, in some cases, it’s even becoming more important than colour and can transform a room from being drab and bland into an interior design masterpiece.
If you’re not planning to repaint a room then stick with a colour that matches the current palette you already have. However, we recommend something neutral; nudes, creams, beige and off-white, so as not to distract from the textures themselves. What you don’t want to do is mix too many different colours and textures in the same room. Our advice? Pick one colour you love to make the room pop and then experiment with a variety of textures in that shade.
Although textures are a great way to add depth to any room, we love adding them in the bedroom. Cushions and throws are an easy way to make a room feel cosier and well put together but feel free to expand your horizons. Try some wood flooring (if you have original floorboards, even better), exposed brick and be sure to have included a rug. Finish off the room with 2021-appropriate accessories like dried flowers.
Don’t worry, the 2021 take on shabby chic doesn’t mean you’ll have to start sanding down all your furniture and distressing everything in sight. Shabby chic nowadays is all about creating something a little more beyond distressed paint, woven hearts and cliché signs. It could be closely compared to cottagecore, though it is a little more subtle has that rustic charm.
Pastels work great but can be injected with some colour as long as the colours are slightly more muted; a theme throughout this post and in 2021. Try to pick one contrasting colour for each room you choose to incorporate your new and improved version of shabby chic. Blues, greens and deep pinks/reds work the best.
Depending on the style of your home you may want to add either a hint of shabby chic or go for the full works, though we’d only really recommend the latter if you’re living in an actual cottage and you’re wanting to be in keeping with its authentic, original style. Beyond that, I always find the bedroom is a great place to start. Think about creating an old school rustic entrance with original barn doors, and unique bedside tables made from reclaimed wood. White bed linen complements the style perfectly and you can also incorporate a lot of the other style ideas we’ve discussed in this article to bring your home to life.
We love this style for 2021 and it helps add a little more character to your home while giving older furnishings a new purpose. Mixing old and new will allow you to create an eclectic living space for the new year. You can keep antique items as they are or even upcycle them slightly if they require a little TLC.
Repurposing old furnishings and accessories in this way is also far more sustainable than heading off to the shops to buy more furniture. There’s a lot of high-quality old school furnishings out there that, when dressed correctly, can look incredibly stylish and frankly should avoid landfill. What’s more, they also make interesting focal points of any room in the house. Mirrors are a great go-to for newbies of this trend, especially those with elaborate frames. They can work in bathrooms, bedrooms, hallways – just about anywhere. It doesn’t stop at furnishings too, perhaps your home has a uniquely original feature? If so, work with it.
Deep regal-like colours work well with this trend so think bright reds, emerald greens and sapphire blue feature walls or tiling. Go for muted flooring so the room isn’t too busy and loud.
We like this for living space, though we’ve seen many bathroom specialists incorporating this trend into larger bathrooms, especially with freestanding baths; modern tubs can be mixed with contemporary styles or vice versa.
While Dulux has stuck with a more earthy and neutral tone for their colour of the year, Pantone went pretty much the other side of the spectrum when they announced that ‘Illuminating’ would be their colour of the year alongside ‘Ultimate Grey’.
Benjamin Moore went for the still bright, yet soothing shade of Agean Teal for their colour of the year choice for 2021, which, if rumours of further lockdowns persist, will have us dreaming of those Greek/Turkish waters well into the year.
Valspar and Farrow & Ball also went for more of a 2021 palette but were in keeping with Dulux as the tones were definitely more warm and earthy.
If you’re steering towards the light and bright illuminating Pantone shades for the coming year, we highly recommend using it through pops of colour in the living area or perhaps your bedroom if you’re into more statement pieces.
Dulux have gone pretty broad and as such, the colour will work anywhere, though we like how it complements brighter shades in the bedroom to bring a more Mediterranean vibe to the house.
As for the Agean Teal, we love it in kitchens. It perfectly balances wooden rustic countertops alongside modern metallic finishing and will add a real sense of comfort to the home for 2021.
With most of the country in tiers right now that at best allow small social mixing in gardens, a hot trend for 2021 and potentially beyond is outdoor living/entertaining space that’s suitable for all seasons. No matter whether you live, be it an apartment with a cosy balcony, or something with a slightly more modest garden, our Instagram feeds have been inundated with ideas to transform outdoor spaces of every shape and size.
Patio furniture and small tables can be sources easily second hand or upcycled (or bought new if you prefer) and you can test your skills by creating your own cushion covers if you find you have a little more time on your hands than expected.
We suggest basic colours for any furnishings or seating that you have, for example, black and white, or even wooden. From there, you can then accessorise with seasonally appropriate blankets, cushions and lighting that creates a more warm and welcoming entertainment space. We love a pop of colour when it comes to outdoor seating and you can coordinate with the surrounding plants.
So, with 2020 (thankfully) soon behind us, we hope by showcasing the latest and greatest interior design trends, you’re encouraged to get stuck in with some home improvements. Remember if you’re buying new items, invest in high-quality sturdy items that will stand the test of time, but, where possible, try to work with what you’ve got to reduce waste as much as you can. Most of all, enjoy your fabulous new home.
Lawrence, R.G. (2001) Wabi-Sabi: The Art of Imperfection [online] Available at https://www.utne.com/mind-and-body/wabi-sabi accessed 16th December 2020
Dulux (2020) Colour of the year [online] Available at https://www.dulux.co.uk/en/dulux-colour-year-2021 accessed 16th December 2020
Pardilla, A. (2020) What is Cottagecore? Meet the biggest trend during quarantine [online] Available at https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/cottagecore-trend-quarantine-diy_l_5ecd875ec5b6e3f6739dbdfc accessed 16th December 2020.
Google (2020) Trends [online] Available at https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?geo=GB&q=dried%20flowers accessed 17th December 2020
ProFlowers (2018) How to Dry Flowers [online] Available at https://www.proflowers.com/blog/how-to-dry-flowers#:~:text=Find%20a%20dark%2C%20dry%20area,three%20weeks%20until%20completely%20dry. Accessed 17th December 2020
Pantone (2020) Announcing the Colour of the Year 2021 [online] Available at https://www.pantone.com/uk/en/color-of-the-year-2021 accessed 18th December 2020
Benjamin Moore (2020) Colour Trends 2021 [online] Available at https://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/color-overview/color-palettes/color-of-the-year-2021 accessed 18th December 2020
Edward is the managing director of Sloane & Sons Stylish Chairs. He is an expert in quality, comfortable upholstered chairs.