6 Design Trends that Topped the Charts in 2021

After spending so much of 2020 in our homes, it was only natural to expect some interesting design trends to show up in 2021.

Experts saw the shift begin when our home decor goals started to change. Many turned away from wanting updated kitchens and hi-tech appliances to wanting simpler things like functional spaces that made us feel cozy and relaxed.

So which trends topped the charts? Here are 6 we kept seeing over and over again.

1. Trendy Traditional

Wallpaper isn’t the only thing that’s made a comeback.

Whether you call it granny-chic or just a return to the old and familiar, recent trends have circled back to more nostalgic periods. We’ve said goodbye to mid-century modern and hello to vintage. Think: slipcovered sofas and up-cycled hand-me-downs.

This trend rejects a lot of the minimalism we’ve seen before in lieu of more cozy, homey designs. Think of it like a big, warm hug from your grandma…except from your house.

2. Multi-purposed Spaces

Work from home much? Many folks have made the switch, which means our spaces often have to pull double duty. This has pushed home design to its limits, demanding more from every room and the furniture in it.

Function has been top of mind this year, and it’s showing in how we purchase furniture. Built-in or hidden desks are on the rise, especially for those tight on space. So is dual-purpose furniture. Folks are seeking out well-built quality pieces that can withstand a lot of varied use.

3. Welcome Back Wallpaper

Wallpaper’s popularity has been on the rise in recent years, but has really picked up steam these days. And for good reason. After spending the better part of a year confined to four walls, wouldn’t you want those walls to look fabulous?

The answer in 2021 is a resounding yes.

Walls are now art galleries. From statement making accents to colorful pops behind shelving, people are using wallpaper in all sorts of interesting ways.

Even better is that renters can get in on the fun too with many peel-and-stick options that are easy to put up and easy to take down when needed.

4. Going Green

If you can’t go outdoors, then bring the outdoors in. That seemed to be a recurring design trend this year.

From incorporating more houseplants to decorating in calming shades of green, blue, and beige, people embraced more of nature in their design themes.

Faux plants were out and real plants were in. There’s something about taking care of another living thing that sparks joy, along with other awesome perks like purifying the air and even enhancing mood.

5. Goodbye Open Floor Plan

It might not come as a surprise that after so much time spent at home, the need for more privacy would trump the wide-open layouts of years passed.

From home-schooling to work Zoom calls, homeowners in 2021 started looking for more neatly defined spaces. This meant adding room dividers or creatively arranging furniture to construct more intimate zones within the home.

Open floor plans may not be gone completely, but they are definitely not as valued these days when your home needs to serve so many different purposes to an entire household.

6. Hello Open Shelves

To contrast the reversal of open floor plans, open shelving actually grew in popularity this past year. The trend isn’t exactly new, but it’s made a resurgence in 2021.

Open shelving isn’t for the faint of heart. Your stuff essentially becomes art as it’s on display 24/7. Many home dwellers embraced the concept in places like the kitchen where fancy accessories and doodads could be uniquely displayed and appreciated.