Saying that 2020 has been filled with more than its fair share of ups and downs is quite the understatement, but this year has also truly helped many of us reconnect with our homes. Life in quarantine has allowed us to begin the process of making our homes—no matter how sprawling or sparse—a more functional, beautiful place that reflects our own histories, experiences, and design aesthetics. We’re crossing our fingers that, at least in the latter half of the year, we will be living in a post-pandemic world, but that won’t mean COVID will lose its impact on the way we live, dream, and design.
We shared designer predictions for 2021 color trends earlier this fall and anticipate these notions will also influence our fabrics, styles, and priorities for holistic design in the new year. We’ve selected ten emerging trends for 2021 that offer exciting opportunities to help our homes become the ultimate refuge, a space to spark creativity, a healthy and sustainable environment, and offer better ways to make the most of the space you have.
Follow along with our forecast, supplemented by quotations and commentary from a few of New York Design Center’s inaugural class of “What’s New, What’s Next” ambassadors, to discover which design concepts to consider exploring within your own four walls.
Nostalgia as a Guiding Force
2020 saw a natural rise in nostalgia in interior design as a way to make our homes cozier and more comforting, according to a report by virtual interior design platform Modsy. While midcentury modern is certainly not out, we can’t wait to see more of the ’80s style revival in design, shown in this Miles Redd-designed home in Greenwich, Connecticut. This also means we’re anticipating a gravitational pull towards traditional-leaning decor.
We’re looking to best design elements of the decade—sculptural furniture, saturated colors, plenty of Laura Ashley-esque florals, and more drama than decade-favorite Dynasty—to breathe new life into dull rooms. Designer Mikel Welch even predicts a resurgence of ‘90s style—from hunter green walls to modern wicker furniture and infamous arched windows—this year as well.
“I think as we move forward, we will increasingly combine the old and new, the classical and modern—rooms that are all modern or all antique do not age as well,” says designer Thomas Jayne. “People are seeking rooms that are both new and fresh, as well as familiarly comfortable. I’ve always believed that successful contemporary interiors belong to a historic continuum, and I can see us continuing towards authentic, meaningful design that transcends trends or one specific style.”
Rose Stripe Prepasted Wallpaper Double Roll
Bring some nostalgic flower power to your space with this charming pearlescent wallpaper from York Wallcoverings.
Flutter Slipcover Sofa
Designer Kara Mann’s new collab with CB2 is all about bringing ’80s design into the modern era, and we’re especially crushing on this slipcover sofa.
Going Au Naturel
Rattan and caned furniture have skyrocketed in popularity in the last few years, and the use of natural materials continues to be an anchor of many brands’ new collections.
We believe this reflects a rise in consumer demand for more sustainable, artisan-made materials and greater prioritization among the trade when designing and sourcing for clients. Modsy also reported the use of natural materials as a 2021 design trend, which was the most favored trend for the new year by clients they surveyed.
Natural materials not only create a more layered space, but they also welcome the outdoors in and are perfect accents for houseplants. Plus, certain materials like teak have a luxurious yet worn-in look that adds patina to your room.
Give your home office—or corner—an upgrade with this stylish rattan desk. A glass top preserves the natural materials and brass finishings add an elevated touch.
Antigua Caned Headboard
Greater Diversity in Design Inspiration
While Europeans have much to offer the design world, we can’t wait to continue exploring ideas, materials, and artistry offered by people of other cultures and origins. Diversity paves the way for new, better ideas and innovations to help us create a more conscious and beautiful home, and we are excited to see a greater wealth of talent brought to the forefront of the world of design and architecture.
“With a screaming desire for diversity and inclusion in the design industry on the forefront, I predict a brilliant mosaic of global designers and their work being more proudly displayed, supported, and sold!” says New York-based designer and Veranda contributing editor Joy Moyler. “This will add needed vibrancy to the industry. The result will be more cultured and interesting pages in the shelter magazines. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”
The Bride Pendant Light Blue
We love all things Marie Burgos, and her sculptural woven pendants are sure to bring organic beauty and a sense of comfort to your living or sleeping space. They are offered in six colors and no two look exactly the same.
Djembe Table Medium – Natural
54kibo is bringing modern African design to the masses with a fabulous collection of furniture, art, and housewares that educate the world on the beauty and craftsmanship of the African diaspora.
We’ve all been reminded this year that life’s too short, so why wait to finally lacquer your dining room or wallpaper your home with that print you’ve been ogling for years?
Designer Marie Flanigan predicts that “designers and homeowners won’t shy away from interiors lavishly swathed in color,” whether it’s a rich, saturated red or a funky jewel tone. Plus, with a rise in the highly curated “grandmillennial” and “cottagecore” aesthetics, the deman for floral-patterned wallpaper and murals painted in countryside scenes will likely only increase in the new year. Our current inspiration? This stunning, Upper East Side entry designed by Chiqui Woolworth.
“Home has become our ‘everything’ space right now,” says Manhattan-based designer Phillip Gorrivan. “I see more interiors with authenticity and narrative as well as spaces with color, pattern and playfulness as the next trend. Color and pattern are one way to tell a unique story, and also lift up our moods and spirits. I think designers and homeowners alike will seek ways to make their interiors more unique. Interiors will need to speak to the inhabitants and tell a story.”
Antique Belgian Verdure Jagaloon Series Tapestry – 06’10 X 16’07
Bring the outdoors in while adding some “wow” to your walls in the process with this gorgeous antique tapestry. This Aubusson wallhanging is a reproduction of a 16th century commissioned work from King Sigismund Augustus of Poland (before he became emperor).
Spice up your sconces with this fabulous design by Suzanne Kasler. Offered in hand-rubbed antique brass and polished nickel, these beauties are sure to bring some elegant drama to your walls.
An Increased Awareness and Desire for Craftsmanship
At our core, we encourage craftsmanship and artisan-made heirlooms over quick-to-ship products that will be thrown away with the next design trend. We’re anticipating a continued increase in demand for the expertise of these skilled craftsmen and producers, often within a drive-able radius, to make our homes more beautiful and reflect the incredible talent within our communities and around our country.
This Greenwich, Connecticut home designed by Miles Redd features incredible custom curtains fabricated by NYC-based curtain maker David Haag balanced with the original threadbare velvet upholstery on the blue armchairs that once belonged to Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan. Good craftsmanship lasts, and we hope to see more people purchase pieces as heirlooms to keep in the family instead of tossing whenever they get bored with it or it inevitably falls apart.
Our upcoming issue, The Beautiful South, will be just a small spotlight on some of the incredible artisans throughout the Southern U.S. that have been honing their crafts for generations and using their skills to rebuild broken communities and boost their local economies. We anticipate a greater interest in brands like these, who do so much more than offer their artistry—they offer a new lease on life for those in need.
White Earthenware Square Tulipiere #7335
Frances Palmer is a Connecticut-based potter who has been selling her beautiful ceramics since 1987. This stunning vase is the perfect, Old World-inspired vessel for displaying your latest seasonal blooms from the garden.
This whimsical raw maple mirror is custom-created by the lovely folks at Sawkille Co. in Kingston, New York. All of their products are sustainably sourced and they are a no-waste facility, meaning their bespoke creations are as good for the planet as they are for decorating your home!
Outdoor Spaces Built for Year-Round Entertaining
Living through a pandemic has certainly caused us to rethink entertaining at home as we know it, but as we begin to discover how easy it can be to entertain through the winter with a few changes, creating these cozy outdoor spaces for year-round use is sure to be a priority for those of us with itty-bitty city balconies and sprawling, lakefront backyards alike. We’re loving this cozy Palm Beach retreat equipped with a fireplace that is perfect for hosting when the sun goes down and the temperatures drop.
We’re anticipating a rise in demand for outdoor fire places, fire pits, and even pizza ovens—anything that makes one’s outdoor space more livable and exciting throughout the four seasons. We also expect more people to ditch their stiff outdoor furniture for new and exciting options coming out on the market.
“Outdoor living is the current trend I’m most excited about,” says Lindsay MacRae, a designer who splits her time between New York City and Orlando. “WFH life has people yearning for an outdoor escape and they are embracing this previously overlooked space. Balconies, roof decks, and backyards are all getting more love. I am seeing more and more outdoor furniture options. Everyone seems to be getting on board—both online retailers and to-the-trade vendors. And with ever-improving outdoor fabric options, there’s no better time to invest in your outdoor living space!”
French Quarter® 9-inch Patio Lanterns
Setting the mood is just as important when entertaining outdoors as it is inside. Keep the party going all night long with these beautiful patio lanterns that will make for a memorable evening.
Global Outdoors 26″ Genuine Copper Fire Pit with Screen, Cover and Safety Poker
Pour yourself and a few loved ones a warm winter cocktail, get this baby going, and you’re all set to enjoy a chilly yet comfortable evening in style.
Wellness as a Design Imperative
The home is supposed to be our sanctuary, our refuge from, well, much of what 2020 has thrown us. All the challenges we’ve faced this year have been a much-needed reminder that our homes are supposed to bring restoration, not induce stress, and many of us have had to pivot in order to create sacred spaces in the home to work, sweat, or simply take some deep breaths in the morning without distractions. This cozy office nook in a Montana retreat, features a layered daybed for cat naps and offers a lovely place to start a quiet morning with your favorite cup of coffee.
We wrote earlier this year about how the pandemic may lead to the demise of the open floor plan, and we anticipate more people creating special nooks and safe spaces that help them prioritize mental health and the activities they love most. We also anticipate cozier fabrics, more casual living spaces, and greater prioritization of bedroom design to cultivate healthy sleep habits—all of which will better prepare us for future unprecedented times.
“During this time of the pandemic and deep social unrest, I think we’ve all learned the importance of our home—or where we’ve made one—and the need to find the joy inside of it,” says designer Alexa Hampton. “Whereas, once upon a time, home was where the heart was; now, home is also where the work is done, where the lessons are learned, where the food is cooked, where the drinks are raised, where the entertainment is had, and where the heart is. If we can ask this much of our homes, then we owe it to them to give them the attention they need to do so much for us.”
Dandi Alpaca Throw
Keeping a cozy throw nearby your workspace or favorite reading nook will help put you at ease and stay warm through every snowfall.
This ultra-plush rug is made from New Zealand wool and is the perfect way to bring some extra cozy into your living, dining, or sleeping space. Each rug is handcrafted and one-of-a-kind, making it a lovely heirloom.
Visions of Grandeur
One of the most exciting trends we hope explodes in the new year is forgoing the notion that our homes have to fit one design motif throughout. Spending every waking—and sleeping—moment in our homes has forced our abodes to be deeper reflections of ourselves. We can’t wait to watch more homes begin to reflect their inhabitants’ most cherished memories, experiences, and family heirlooms to create a more unique and creative space.
We also hope people will balance out their cozy nooks and hideaways with big, bold colors, patterns, and textures to bring vibrancy and new life into their dwellings. Wellness and grandeur can in fact go hand-in-hand with fabric-covered rooms that feel indulgent and cozy, luxe fabrics and materials that offer a greater sense of comfort, and a mix of bright and nature-inspired hues that boost our moods. The perfect example? This Connecticut country home designed by Markham Roberts.
“Interiors have the power to teleport us to a different place and era beyond imagination,” says designer Sasha Bikoff. “Design allows us to curate our own unique world and create an ambience that affects us on an emotional level. The future of interiors seems bright to me as people want to invest more in their own personal spaces and experiment with different aesthetics. The future of design is fun, colorful, and filled with life!”
Strawberry Thief Trunk
Designer Lisa Queen’s new e-commerce shop, The Queen’s Trunk, is filled with one-of-a-kind finds, like this gorgeous trunk that showcases William Morris’s most-iconic pattern.
This lacquered mirror is customizable with 21 different colors and a contrasting trim for a piece that is uniquely you.
Sustainable, Conscious Design as A Top Priority
We have always been proponents of shopping local, small, and vintage, but we know there is much more work to be done in order to be more conscious consumers, better global citizens, and eco-friendly decorators.
More and more brands are innovating new materials, production methods, and the way they design for a holistic approach that better benefits the makers, designers, consumers, and planet Earth. We love how designer Cliff Fong outfitted this Blue Ridge retreat with a wealth of materials sourced from within a one-hour radius and designed the home for ultimate heating and cooling efficency.
From textiles to furnishings to jewelry, many products for the home are getting the “slow” treatment, as we have begun to see in fashion for the last few years. As society begins to care more about where the things they own came from, who made them, and what impact have they left on the planet, companies that prioritize ethical and sustainable practices from sourcing to shipment are finally getting the spotlight they deserve, and that will only grow in 2021.
“The future of interior design is the expressive home; spaces that assert the ideas and values of the client,” says designer John Douglas Eason. “This will look like many different things, but it still embraces tradition, perhaps in unexpected ways, because it is the bedrock of who we are. We professionals have at our disposal enormous options in materials and objects; they can be functional and comfortable while telling a beautiful story. But above all, it will be sustainable.”
Tremont Rectangular Cocktail Table
No trees were harmed in the making of this table! Crafted from teak wood roots of reclaimed trees that had been sustainably harvested from lumber, this beautiful item is equally as good for the planet and helps you get one step closer towards curating a more conscious home.
Basic Sheet Sets
These crisp percale sheets are made from 100% cotton on a family-run farm that is free from added dyes and bleach. Talk about sweet dreams!
Traditional Glamour Balanced with New Technology
We’re far enough into the digital age now where many of us are disillusioned with the notion that the “home of the future” must be cold and metallic and glassy. So many fantastic innovations in the home space have occurred in the last 30 years, and we’re starting to see many of them perfected, becoming as beautiful and home-worthy as they are functional.
As we look to upgrade our bedrooms to help us achieve better sleep and equip our bathrooms and kitchens with sleek, anti-microbial surfaces, we anticipate a greater balance of technology and traditional glamour that echoes the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s. Brass and marble will be center stage, as we see here in this Ken Fulk-designed Napa estate.
“The infusion of technology in design is here and growing. Homes know your needs before you do, thanks to SMART design technology,” says designer Melody Vaughn. “It’s beyond automatic lights, it’s about the total package of scent, touch and feel. From a temperature testing sanitized entryway or mudroom to voice controlled walls that move, change colors, and more. Intimate spaces like bathrooms being lusciously designed as additional living spaces.”
Fully Integrated Coffee Machines
L’Atelier Paris has been making our kitchens more chic since 1830, and we love this ever-so-sleek option for brewing the perfect cup of coffee. It comes complete with endless functions and presets that make it easier too.
Belshire Wall Hung Dual Flush Toilet With Seat
Ditch the dirty handles and make it easier to conserve water with this sharp-looking bathroom setup inspired by the Art Deco period, bringing the Golden Age into the 2020s.
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