2021 Design Trends

January 11, 2021

Goodbye 2020, hello 2021. This past year has completely changed how we have lived (physically and socially) and we are seeing it greatly affecting the spaces in people’s homes and even how we design.

In the past few years people’s priorities have been focused on experiences: traveling the world and splurging on cocktails or fancy dinners on the weekend with friends. Now that we are unable to have these experiences, we see people put that priority back onto physical items and looking to expand and perfect their homes.

What follows is an overview of design trends that we started to see more of in 2020 and that we think will really take off in 2021.

Flexible Spaces

The most obvious trend that we are seeing are flexible spaces in the home. Bedrooms that can serve as home offices for the parents, dining spaces with additional storage so it can act as a classroom for the kiddos, and bathrooms that have a spa feeling for a relaxing tub soak or unwinding yoga session (yep, yoga in the bathroom, I have been doing it a lot).

Color / Bolder Patterns

We have been attached to the white subway tiles for some time now… probably too long and in general we are seeing more color in everyone’s future (and a lot of it) along with bold and daring patterns used in lots of ways I’ll get into below.

Color

Bye bye greige, hello color. We aren’t seeing color accent walls anymore in rooms, but instead the whole room being painted. Add some trim details and paint over those to create a stunning take on a traditional design element.

We are especially seeing the play with color on kitchen cabinets. Blues and greens are very popular for this application. And if you choose, a great way to tone down the boldness of the color in your space is to apply it to your base cabinets and maintain a natural wood or neutral color to the top ones.

Atelier Drome, Leschi House

Tile

White subway tile is making its way out and we are seeing similar style applications, except with every color of the rainbow. I visited San Francisco last year and basically spent a full three days at Heath Ceramics in the Mission. We took tours in the morning, got reenergized with carbs from Tartine Bakery (it’s in the same freaking building!), and went back to look and play with all of the tile samples and kitchenware.

We are also seeing tile arranged a little more uniquely. If you are considering tile, try using different sizes in the same color, doing a two-tone wall (one color on top and one on bottom), or even doing your arrangement at an angle. There are so many possibilities and we predict we will see people taking a lot more risks.

Heath Ceramics
Heath Tile Factory Color Samples

Wallpaper

Have you noticed that bell bottoms and baggy mom jeans are the major fashion trend right now? Hello 90’s! Well just like fashion trends, architecture and interior design is seeing a trend revival in none other than wallpaper! We are seeing animal scenery, geometric patterns, or full wall murals and the risk is totally worth it! Wallpaper has come a long way since the 60’s and 70’s and is now much more user friendly.

Sarah Sherman Samuel
Angel Face in Portland via Remodelista

Geometric Shapes

We had a lot of fun with arches in 2020 and believe it’s only the beginning! We think we will see more geometric shapes in 2021. We think this will show up in wall finish edges, patterns, interior openings and even furniture.

Atelier Drome, Frankie & Jo’s University Village

Greenery, Plants & Natural Design Elements

Being connected to the outdoors is more important than ever. Over the next few years, we will see more houses and apartments with integrated and very thoughtful outdoor spaces that are designed specifically for socializing. If you don’t have direct connection to the outdoors, we highly suggest house plants!

Elle Decor

Greenterior is one of my favorite books that show you how to integrate plants and greenery into interiors and tell you how to care of all of the plants!


This inspirational edition written by architect Cassie Fox, a Washington native who loves getting outdoors, exploring the world and it was through the search for balance between art and math that she found herself falling in love with architecture where the two blended perfectly. Read more about Cassie in her bio.

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