THE 17 Design Trends of 2021, According to Designers

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Somehow, it's already December, which means that 2021 will also be here before we know it. We can't wait! To get in the spirit for a new year and a fresh start, we're looking ahead to see which design trends will be popular in the coming year.

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To get an expert-backed feel for the 2021 design trends we can expect, we reached out to some of our favorite designers. Their predictions have us even more excited for what's ahead.

1. Ruffle Detailing

"For 2021, I'm loving softer silhouettes and injecting a touch of femininity," interior designer Jake Arnold tells Hunker. "Ruffle details on a slip-covered sofa, on sconces, or shades do just that."

2. Scalloped Furniture Edges

In addition to ruffles, Arnold is expecting to see scalloped edges on furniture in 2021. "They can be really beautiful, used on a dining table or a desk," he says. "It feels fresh vs. the angular furniture and the sharp lines we've been used to."

3. Plaster Walls and Finishes

Emma Kemper, the principal designer at Emma Beryl Interiors, tells Hunker to look forward to plaster walls and plaster-look faux finishes in 2021. "I love this look because it makes your walls feel so much more solid, strong, and permanent than drywall does," she explains. "There's been so much unsettlement and chaos in 2020 that as we move into 2021 people are craving stability and the protective, fortifying feeling plaster offers."

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4. Cozy Spaces Rooted in the Past

"I think people are looking for spaces that feel cozy and warm — rooted in history, rich dark colors, and more traditional patterning," Keren Richter, the co-founder and principal designer at White Arrow, tells Hunker. "When the world feels unstable and scary, it makes sense to retreat to the familiar — be it materials, ideas that have a sense of nostalgia, or furniture with a sense of craftsmanship and provenance."

Richter adds that during the financial crisis, they saw similar comforting trends. "Although I don't think we'll be seeing a return to antlers and rustic log cabin vibes this time around," she says.

5. The Mixing of Elements and Styles

"I predict that people will be more comfortable mixing elements and creating unorthodox spaces," Keia McSwain — the principal designer at Kimberly + Cameron Interiors and president of the Black Interior Designer's Network — tells Hunker. "We have lived in our homes more this year than ever before, and if that has taught us anything, it is to lean towards what you love — what makes you happy and not focusing on it all being one style or a streamlined element."

More often than not, McSwain finds that a juxtaposition of elements works well (and is more indicative of one's personality).

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6. Luxurious Bedding

Olivia Stutz, the principal designer and founder of Olivia Stutz Design, tells Hunker, "While we've all been spending more time at home and sleep is of the utmost importance to many, I'm finding clients spending a lot of time talking through recommendations for environmentally friendly linens, and taking the time and care to research making their bed really beautiful and comfortable."

7. Bright Wall Colors

Image Credit: Alex Reyto

Though the past few years have seen clean white walls as a trend, Stutz thinks that there is going to be a shift in 2021. "Don't be afraid of color!" she says. "Whether a pink bathroom or chic soft blue living room."

8. Sustainable, Meaningful Design Choices

"This pandemic has driven people's attention more towards re-usability of resources and continuity of space, and it also has magnified people's requirement for real-life experiences," Li Xiang, an architect and the founder of X+Living, tells Hunker. "I believe that design trends in the post-pandemic era will lean towards being more sustainable, environmentally friendly, and focused on diverse and deep user experience."

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9. Practical, Multifunctional Spaces

"2020 has taught us that the function of a home is so important," interior designer Justin Q. Williams of TradeMark Design Co. tells Hunker. "I've completed more family work/live spaces this year than I ever have in my career. The importance of function has been made apparent through the pandemic and now families must be prepared to make the most of their space."

In these practical spaces, Williams also foresees a lot of space-saving furniture and storage solutions.

10. Holistic Rooms

Image Credit: Hunker in Partnership With Acme Real Estate

"So many of us are heading into winter really acutely aware of how our spaces failed us over the course of quarantine [and] where our pain points are," creative director and design enthusiast Sean Santiago tells Hunker. "[We] are trying to find design solutions that make us feel sane, empowered, and inspired, whether that's reorienting the flow of foot traffic through the living room or investing in a stash of candles."

11. Non-Industrial Aesthetics

Architect and interior designer Claudia Suárez Ahedo tells Hunker that 2021 will see us leaving industrial spaces behind. "Simple geometries remain [along with] earthy and brighter tones perfectly mixed with a good balance between modern and classic to achieve warm spaces," she says, describing what we can look out for in the coming year.

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12. The End of Open Floor Plans

"Rather than amalgamating a living room, kitchen, utility room, and dining room into one, I'm a huge fan of rooms with purpose," Jonathan Brook, an art and branding associate at Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, tells Hunker. "This is especially pertinent as more people work from home and need that separation."

13. Versatile Colors

Interior designer Young Hu of Young Hu Interior Design tells Hunker that 2021's color trends will be shifting. She says, "Color trends are veering away from primary colors and leaning more toward 'changeable colors' — colors that aren't so straightforward and are harder to define like mauve, complex blues, and taupe instead of white."

14. Curvilinear Furniture

"The shift towards curvilinear furniture continues [with] pieces that are playful and pretty," says Hu. "We're seeing fewer and fewer hard lines!"

15. Statement Stonework

In kitchens and bathrooms, Hu is expecting to see a rise in stonework. "Whether natural or man-made, stones with striking movement and in bold colors are becoming more and more prevalent," she says.

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16. Dark Wood Kitchens

When asked for her 2021 design trend pick, interior designer Pallas Kalamotusis of Studio Krokalia says, "Definitely dark wood kitchens."

17. Pastel Greens

Kalamotusis adds that we can expect to see more pastel greens in the home space. This can also be seen in IKEA's 2021 catalog, in which mint green was a standout paint color choice.

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Anna is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who covers lifestyle and design content for Hunker. She's written for Apartment Therapy, the L.A. Times, Forge, and more. She previously worked as the lifestyle editor at HelloGiggles and deputy editor at So Yummy. Her email: anna.gragert@hunker.com