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Need a makeover? Design trends that are IN and OUT in 2021 

design trends kitchen

With the whole world staying at home for most of 2020, it should come as no surprise that we’re all craving a home makeover in 2021. It also makes perfect sense that design trends this year focus on improving the livability of our homes. Working from home, cooking at home, relaxing at home and practicing new hobbies at home all call for a balance of function and comfort. Instead of making our rooms resemble the perfect images from a magazine, in 2021 we want our spaces to support our practical needs and nurture our need for comfort. Décor that reflects those desires will of course look different for every family. However, there are some noticeable design trends that are IN and OUT in 2021.

OUT: (Exclusively) Open Floor Plans

Houses with open floor plans will always be popular. In 2021, however, many families are craving distinct spaces with some element of privacy. Entire families are now spending so much time at home together, often attempting to work, attend virtual school and relax all within the same spaces. Open floor plans are not ideal for such a setup as they don’t allow for much privacy or soundproofing.

IN: (Modified) Open Floor Plans

Open floor plans are not entirely out, but both and report a trend in 2021 toward modified open floor plans. Families want to include some private or semi-private spaces within an open floor plan. This can be achieved by creating nooks and distinct pockets of space for working or relaxing using sliding doors, partitions, or even a curtain. Also, consider creating separate spaces with furniture—why not try a modular sofa to separate a living area from an office area?

OUT: Stark White Minimalism

The all-white minimalism that seemed so chic in recent years is definitely out for 2020. The appeal of that trend was in its uncluttered cleanliness, which just isn’t practical for those spending all day, every day at home. It’s difficult to keep all your possessions out of sight, and every surface free of clutter, with the new normal of our stay-at-home lives.

IN: Warm Earth Tones

Design experts report that earth tones including various shades of cream, beige, terracotta and browns are in for 2021. Joining them are natural materials such as untreated wood, especially for kitchen countertops and cabinets, and rattan.

IN: Personal Mementos

The upheaval of 2020, namely social distancing and the inability to travel, have altered décor trends toward the personal. We want to see loved ones, remember past adventures and look forward to future ones, and this is reflected in our décor. Think framed family photos, travel mementos and personal memorabilia on display. Many of us have also picked up new hobbies, and 2021’s décor trends incorporate them in creative ways. Arts and crafts projects now appear around the house, both completed and in progress. A wicker basket of yarn and knitting needles, a painter’s easel or a musical instrument might now have pride of place in a room.

OUT: Boho and Mid-Century Chic

There’s still a lot to love in the 2020 trends of boho chic décor and mid-century modern furnishings. However, a 100 percent dedication to those themes is on its way out. You might blame Instagram for over-saturating our eyes with those trends throughout 2020 for their diminishing popularity. However, this is more likely just a case of a popular design trend reaching its natural conclusion.

IN: Mixing Eras

A welcome 2021 design trend is the mixing of eras in terms of furnishings and accents. We have all come to the realization that our homes are for ourselves only, and that décor should include personal favorites without worrying about any design “rules.” An on-trend home in 2021 might pair an antique dining table with mod chairs, an old-world oil painting with a modern macrame wall hanging, or your grandmother’s needlepoint cushion with an IKEA bench. Anything goes in terms of eras. 

STILL IN: Houseplants

An abundance of leafy houseplants was a major trend for 2020 that’s set to continue throughout 2021. Green-thumbed homebodies are embracing the ability to bring a touch of nature indoors. Nurturing plants is a popular hobby as well. Beginners should research species that are easy to care for. When you’re using houseplants for décor, look for a variety of sizes and shapes to add visual interest to a room. You also get to play with different styles of planters that suit your personal style.

More Trends for 2021

There are lots of other trends emerging in 2021. Herringbone tile patterns and Zellige tile (square, glossy handmade tiles) are becoming popular in kitchens and bathrooms. So are touchless faucets and bidets. Multipurpose spaces, such as the “cloffice” (closet office) and the office/guest room, reflect the shift to working from home, as does the curation of Zoom-worthy backdrops. Trend-watchers should also note that the Pantone color of the year for 2021 is actually two colors together: “Ultimate Gray” and “Illuminating,” a slatey mid-gray and a sunshine-y yellow, respectively. 


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About the author: Access Publishing

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Paso Robles Daily News on Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.