Vogue.com, January 2021
Author: Elise Taylor
Interior Design Trends to Know in 2021—And What’s on Its Way Out
BY ELISE TAYLOR
January 8, 2021
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It used to be that our homes were a place for part of our lives. Much of the day was spent at the workplace, with a commute by train, bus, or car on either end. Often, we’d have plans before and after work too: maybe an early morning spin class, or a dinner at a favorite neighborhood restaurant. Simply put: many of us weren’t actually in our houses or apartments that much.
The coronavirus pandemic changed all that. Now, much of America is working, socializing, exercising (and, well, doing mostly everything that ends in -ing) from our homes. And as we adjust the way we live, we’re also adjusting the spaces we live in.
So makes sense that, when Vogue asked several top interior designers what home trends we’re likely to see in 2021, one word dominated above all: comfort. “Comfort, practicality, and making your home your sanctuary on every level,” says Martyn Lawrence Bullard. “Comfort in all forms is becoming more paramount,” says Timothy Corrigan. “Comfort over concept,” says Roman and Williams co-founder Robin Standefer. “The importance of comfort, wellness, and sustainability will continue to be a priority,” says Sheila Bridges.
What does comfy look like, exactly? Think plushy, sink-into furniture, chestnut woods, warm colors, overflowing bookshelves (but not the color-coordinated kind, rather, ones stocked with tattered covers of novels you’ve read and loved). Less mass-produced furniture and more reworking of passed-down family pieces or ones you already own. (There’s nothing more thrilling than giving new life to ancestral pieces,” says Kathryn Ireland.) Fluffy towels, luxurious candles, objets d’art from local artisans rather than e-commerce giants. Essentially: “The trend is to embrace what lasts, what’s well made, and what makes you smile,” says Standefer.
We will also be reworking our homes to, well, work: as offices remain closed across the country, people are investing in making their own Zoom-friendly spaces.
As a result of our newfound focus on 24/7 livability, some previously hot trends are falling fast out of favor. The decline of mid-century modern, once the design choice du jour, continues: “While the mid-century look was very popular, now that people are actually hanging out in their living spaces for hours at a time, there is a strong trend towards furniture that is big on soft, comfy sofas and chairs that allow you to lounge with ease,” says Timothy Corrigan. Robert McKinley also predicts a similar fate for another style: minimalism. “I think minimalism will begin to go by the wayside in 2021,” he says. “As we spend more time in our homes, we need more objects to hold our attention. All that empty space can be suffocating.” Oh, and perhaps back off the beige. "The all-beige catalogue look is out,” proclaims Ireland. “Be bold and decorate with conviction.”
Below, seven experts share how unprecedented times will affect interior tastes and the trends they will usher in.
“With everyone spending more time at home, there is a renewed emphasis on rooms that not only look good but can live up to increased use. Durability will continue to be more important and we will see a rise in using outdoor materials inside the home: there are so many great outdoor fabric options that allow you to make a mess and not worry about the clean-up, without having to sacrifice beauty.” -Timothy Corrigan, Timothy Corrigan Inc.
"Wallpaper and pattern play will continue to dominate rather than subtle, more monochromatic schemes.” -Sheila Bridges, Sheila Bridges Home
“As we spend more time in our homes, we need more objects to hold our attention—all that empty space can be suffocating. I’m not advocating for clutter, however. I’d say that 2021 will be a year of attributing meaning to carefully selected pieces—the year of the craftsperson, the artist, the artisan.” -Robert McKinley, Studio McKinley
“Most of us used to just sleep and shower in our spaces, but now people are really investing more time, money and energy into decor details, bringing meaningful small goods and statement pieces into their homes. We're paying attention to everything from what we're drinking water out of, to the kind of bath towels we use.” -Harry Nuriev, Crosby Studios
“We are loving warm cinnamon and marigolds. Those rich oranges, chestnuts, warm woods, bring some heat and spice to a room.” -Robin Standefer and Steven Alesch, Roman and Williams
“Real decorating is back in—colors, textures, a mix of old and new. Repurpose things. Shuffle artwork around. Move furniture to another room. Re- accessorize what you have rather than starting over. Keep the pieces that have meaning." -Kathryn M. Ireland
“Out for 2021. . . rooms with no purpose, rooms only used for high days and holidays, furniture that has no other function but to make a statement. In 2020 we learnt our lives are for living and need to be lived out in the best way we possibly can. Needless excess is out, functionality and duality in the home is in.” -Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Martyn Lawrence Bullard Design
“We will see less beige and grey and more green, pink, and my favorite color, blue.” -Harry Nuriev
“Everyone can be transported through the use of pattern and color (muted and grounded shades mixed with brighter and more hopeful colors like yellows or bright greens).” -Sheila Bridges
“Crisp, clear colors are continuing to grow in popularity with yellows, light blues/turquoises, and greens being used to brighten up spaces and put a smile on your face during these challenging times.” -Timothy Corrigan
“I think we will move away from grand, sweeping styles and towards a rawer, more casual aesthetic. Homes will become textural and layered with elements of warmth—grounded elements. I expect that we will see design that is more regional and place-based than ever.” -Robert McKinley