As the seasons change and we welcome a new year, tastes and preferences shift to meet the demands of more time at home and a new appreciation for the space in which we live. Based on how we spent the last year (sheltered in place), experts are quick to forecast the major trends we will see in 2021. We polled leaders in the design and building industries for predictions on home trends for the year ahead, and they revealed an increased interest in personalized spaces, multi-purpose rooms that suit the entire family, and outdoor spaces for entertaining.

Read on to see what South experts predict for 2021’s top home trends

9 Home Trends for 2021

Trend: Dark Rooms

Expert: Chelsea Robinson, Chelsea Robinson Interiors, Nashville, TN & Rosemary Beach, FL

“I’ve always been in love with a dark room, and I think we will see a big shift from the all-white-and-bright look to dark, cozy, dramatic spaces. There is something comforting and secure about a dark, moody room that also gives off a super chic vibe!”

Living room with a dark, cozy design, a 2021 home trend

Nashville-based designer Chelsea Robinson predicts the rise of dark rooms in 2021. All-white spaces will be replaced with cozy, more intimate designs. Image: Caroline Allison

Trend: Home Saunas

Expert: Emily Paprocki, Rock Paper Hammer, Louisville, KY

“Throughout 2020, we received many inquiries from people wanting to make improvements to their homes; most have involved covered outdoor living areas or screened porches for outdoor entertaining. In terms of interior trends, kitchens and master bathrooms are, of course, popular as well. One interior project that we find trend-worthy is a home sauna, especially heading into winter months.”

In-home sauna

Earlier this year, Rock Paper Hammer completed an at-home sauna project that includes Western red cedar walls, benches, and a ceiling with Shou Sugi Ban accents that are charred in white oak in reference to bourbon barrels, a fitting detail for a Kentucky home. Image: Rock Paper Hammer

Trend: Multi-Use Spaces

Expert: Veronica Solomon, Casa Vilora Interiors, Katy, TX

“I am looking forward to seeing clients actually use every ounce of their home and not have wasted spaces. I am already seeing clients asking for multi-use spaces that take on dual roles for more functional living. Your home should support your lifestyle and functional needs, and I am excited to help clients reimagine their homes to look and function at their best. In a toddler’s bedroom, we carved out an area for sleeping two guests or a nanny. We used a queen-size daybed with a trundle to create the illusion of a living room setting by day but a fully functional sleeping area by night. It’s also a great space for this large family with four toddlers to all cozy up for bedtime stories.”

Bedroom that serves as toddler's room and living space

This toddler’s bedroom, by Casa Vilora Interiors, has enough space for a sleeping toddler, plus guests. Image: Colleen Scott Photography

Multi-use bedroom by Casa Vilora Interiors, a 2021 home trend

The daybed doubles as a place for guests (or a nanny) to sleep. Image: Colleen Scott Photography

RELATED: Veronica Solomon: Interior Designer Crush

Trend: Old-World Aesthetic & Wallpaper

Expert: Joyce Downing Pickens, JDP Interiors, Austin, TX & Los Angeles, CA

“I’m not a huge fan of the idea of ‘trends,’ as that implies design going in and out of style; I feel design should be timeless! So what is ‘in’ is that old-world aesthetic that never gets old — darker, moodier rooms and old oil paintings mixed with a modern light fixture. This design plays to the tune of not being able to place what era the room is from. That’s how to achieve timelessness; mix and match eras!

“I also foresee wallpaper to make a big comeback as well as darker paint colors in the kitchen and a less modern, more collected feel in bathrooms. Ultimately, I believe that rustic woods, earth tones and woven accents will never go away.”

Living room with old-world aesthetic, a 2021 home trend

Joyce Downing Pickens, of JDP Interiors, is a Los Angeles-based interior designer who is expanding her business to Austin, TX. With her, she plans to bring a timeless aesthetic filled with darker colors, wallpaper and earth tones. Image: Amy Bartlam

Trend: Dining Rooms

Expert: Lance Thomas, Thomas Guy Interiors, Lake Charles, LA

“Homeowners spent too much time at home in 2020 to follow design ‘rules,’ and I predict a beautiful smorgasbord of mixed styles that reflect individuality and personal style. Although COVID has forced a lot of people to stay home, it has also forced homeowners to reflect, dissect and evaluate how they live in their homes, how their homes make them feel, and how, ultimately, they want to change and improve upon their relationship with home.

“Dining rooms will regain focus in 2021. Families gathering around the table for shared meals, bonding and reconnecting after a tumultuous year will make the dining room an important space in the home again.”

All-white dining room

Lance Thomas of Thomas Guy Interiors predicts the return of dining rooms in 2021. A safe space to gather with friends and family is more important than ever. Image: Haylei Smith

Trend: Small Details & Fine Craftsmanship

Expert: Stephanie Sabbe, Sabbe Interior Design, Nashville, TN 

“In 2021, we will see a renewed appreciation for the small details and fine craftsmanship that make a home unique. We’ve all been home a lot this past year, and staring at sterile walls and big-box furniture is, well, kind of boring. People will see the value in that extra layer of wall molding or the funky fringe around a cozy chair. Most of all, I think we’ve all had time to think about who we are and what gets us excited, and good design always starts with that.”

Chair next to window in room with floral wallpaper

This year, don’t overlook the details! Stephanie Sabbe of Sabbe Interior Design believes homeowners will see value in small details and fine craftsmanship that they can sit back and enjoy — such as a playful fringe on a cozy chair. Image: Paige Rumore

Trend: Converting Spare Bedrooms

Expert: Mary Patton, Mary Patton Design, Houston, TX

“So many people are working from home and converting spare bedrooms into home offices and Zoom rooms. I have helped several clients do this — and it’s very fun. We pick new office and lounge furniture and come up with a color palette that looks good on video calls. (Who would have thought?!) Clients are also converting spare bedrooms into gyms and yoga studios. Actually, I have done this in my own home. We aren’t having any guests stay with us, so I thought, why not? Searching for inspiration for a home gym is hard, but I created a neutral, serene, functional space.

“I have several clients doing remodels now, as well. Since no one is traveling, people are putting their travel money into a new kitchen or master bath.”

Room converted into a home office, a 2021 home trend

This time last year, the need for a functional and Zoom-friendly home office wasn’t as pressing. Now, homeowners are redesigning spare bedrooms to accommodate work-from-home and video calls. Here, Mary Patton transformed an unused corner into a stylish space to get things done. Image: Molly Culver Photography

RELATED: 4 Beautiful In-Home Office Retreats

Trend: Authenticity

Expert: Lisa Sherry, Lisa Sherry Interieurs, Charlotte, NC

“Trendspotting is a bit like speed dating — with products, materials, design alchemy, colors of the year, and pattern pairings all seeking to seduce. It is intoxicating, but I am going to be a bit of a stick in the spokes of the trend wheel. Maybe it’s time to s-l-o-w things down. The big macro trend that I see in 2021 is actually a bit anti-trend. It’s authenticity.

“I love how this is embraced and expressed in the home. For example, gypsum is great, but old-world craftsmanship and plaster is better. I love engineered performance fabrics, but silk velvets, Belgian linen and nubby bouclés are even better. Sustainable and plentiful rattan is going to have its day this year. Ultimately, comfort is part of this authenticity movement. What is more fundamental and timeless than a true sense of security and at-home(ness) in our own spaces?”

White living room with black couch and patterned pillows

Lisa Sherry is a proponent of authentic design, which includes designs and fabric that endure changing trends. Here, the sofa and ottoman are upholstered in a cotton velvet and finished with tactile and faux skin pillows. Image: Brie Williams

Trend: Porches & Fire Pits

Expert: Ridley Wills, The Wills Company, Nashville, TN

“The home has become more important because it is where we now spend most of our time, which means any projects that make it more enjoyable are in high demand.

“Enjoying a few friends and family is much safer in the outdoors, and a covered porch makes that all the more possible, especially if it is heated. Fire pits are another and relatively inexpensive feature that can provide you with a place for safe, social connection outdoors.”

Outdoor fire pit

A fire pit installation creates more opportunities to safely gather with friends and family outside. The Wills Company predicts a rise in fire pits and outdoor gathering areas this year. Image: The Wills Company

Cheers to a new year! We hope you find endless ways to enjoy your home in 2021.


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