Interior Design Trends of 2021
- People got tired of boring and bland after being cooped up in 2020.
- Breathe life into your home with granny chic or grandmillenial designs.
- Be on the lookout for deep, rich stains that are on the red spectrum and ornate, real wood furniture.
As is the nature with all trends, interior design trends fluctuate from year to year. but what was once an annually subtle shift in popular color, pattern or textiles, has turned into a drastic design turn. Unsurprisingly, COVID has caused a complete upheaval of everything we have believed about design trends over the past 5 years. Gone are the days of all-white kitchens, minimalism, neutrals, shiplap and accent walls. Here’s the thing, after spending an entire year in the comfort of home, nothing could be more uncomfortable, “out” or as uninteresting as the age of greige, and basically empty walls. After spending day after day within the confines of home, clean and simple has lost its savor. The masses and interior designers alike have agreed that it’s time to spice it up; to make home a more interesting and exotic place especially considering the fact that so much of the population has switched to a work-from-home setup. Home trends have branched off into two main styles, the first branch being naturalistic, the second being grandmillenial. Without further ado let’s dive into the first.
In 1984, a biologist named Edward Wilson proposed that humans (like all other species), are genetically drawn to nature. This is known as biophilia. Well, thanks to the industrial revolution and the birth of the technological age, we humans are very VERY far-removed from our natural habitat. Are cities, skyscrapers, buildings of brick and mortar our actual habitat? No. It’s why we as a species (like all species), find so much peace, relief in comfort while out in the wild. We belong there, and somehow our DNA still knows it. After a very long year–with the world basically shut down–and having incredibly restricted access to any place outside of our home addresses, it is no surprise that many of the rising trends revolve around natural elements.
Natural fibers are derived from plants and animals whereas synthetic fibers are created from chemical compounds. Cotton, linen, leather, silk and wool are the most common of the group. Throw blankets and pillows, bedding, clothes, curtains, and even rugs are simple and easy ways to incorporate these nature-derived fabrics. Adding diversity in texture, introducing warmth and has the added benefit of additional sustainability.
Let’s talk textiles & finishes.
Continuing down the road of nature-inspired home goods, there are a lot of materials that can easily bring interior design back to our earthy roots–and I mean a lot. Cement, handmade tile, marble, terracotta, rattan, wicker and cane are the elements that we are going to touch on in this article. Cement side tables, display items or trays are all small ways to incorporate cement but another popular way to use cement is as a finish for a fireplace or even as a backsplash. Handmade tile makes for a great backsplash, and the best part is no two pieces are the same, which adds charm and a finished product that is quite literally impossible to reproduce.
Terracotta is great for planters, accent pieces and display vessels. It’s not the sturdiest of building materials so it’s best to keep terracotta to small details rather than big pieces or projects.
If you are looking for a quick and inexpensive way to freshen up a space, rattan, cane and wicker are a no-brainer place to start. These materials look great no matter how you slice it. Lighting fixtures, chairs, baskets, ladders, coasters, place mats, boxes. You truly can’t go wrong, but this is one material where less is more.
Where white, greige and any other light loving neutrals were dominating the “in” color field, dark rich, earthy tones have come to take their place. Greens, more particularly olive greens, will be leading the charge into this new age of “natural”. A deep charcoal grey or an ashy blue are both safe and popular choices.
What says nature more than plants? Literally nothing. So, yes, buy the plants, then buy 5 more. There is no such thing as too many plants, not anymore!
The second category that almost all other trends fall into, is what has been coined “granny chic”, or “grandmillenial” and it is exactly as it sounds. If your grandma owned it, chances are, it’s a hot commodity. First in the granny chic line-up are heavy floral patterns. During the last decade this was considered an obvious faux pas. It was too much, asked for too much attention and was simply too loud, but now it has become an easy way to create intrigue within a room. This is one that can easily be incorporated into bedding, accent pieces, furniture itself, or even wallpaper. It’s easy on the eyes, sparks joy (I mean who doesn’t love flowers), and incorporates an aspect of nature.
Wallpaper is the “grandmillenial” second in command, and has also been resuscitated after years of being dead and buried. It’s like 2021 took wallpaper and said “but let’s make it interesting”. Impressionist art and murals are the most interesting additions by far to this area. If that’s not your style, dark and moody colors, such as a textured wallpaper, bring a whole new level of intrigue. If that’s still not your cup of tea, I’m sure you can find something to your liking via vintage print. The diversity within this element guarantees that everyone can find something that feels made for them while staying unique.
An element of the new-old-age style that just draws you in is the eclectic vibe. Something about odds and ends, seemingly unrelated trinkets, frames, art, vases, and accent pieces work together with the larger parts (wallpaper & furniture as an example), to create one fluid and cohesive room. The fact that these little parts don’t have to match makes it easier for the pieces to work together. Thrift shops, flea markets and even garage sales can all be great places to find interesting knick knacks that will hardly make a dent in the wallet, and also quickly help you achieve the look you are going for.
When looking for drapery, it’s best to channel your inner grandma. Better yet, call your grandma and see what she likes or what drapes she had in her home. And, if all else fails, just try to recreate what you’d imagine to be in a manor in England 100 years ago. Thick and heavy velvet invites a darker, moodier, richer feel, whereas simple thin lace-edged curtains can add just enough without taking the focus away from more poignant pieces in a room.
The final figure in this grannychic triad consists of furniture. Say what you will about the older generation, but it cannot be debated that they truly invested in their furniture. They saved, and bought quality. Real wood, hand crafted furniture that was made to last–and then they took care of it. Which lets face it, is not the millennial/gen x way (we see you and we love you ikea, but it’s time we talk). We’re talking about real wood, typically paired with darker stains, and oftentimes those found in the red family. For example, look at the ornate, real wood Murphy beds below. They are styles you would expect to see in your grandparents’ home, which means they are surging back into relevance.
There is a lot happening in home redesign this year. No matter the current state of your house, the new wave of interior trends has something to offer everyone.