Nell Matzen - 2 Feb, 2021

Top Home Design Trends for 2021

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The global pandemic has caused both expected and unexpected changes in the world. The more significant ripples have been felt by the economy, housing market and healthcare system, with smaller ripples affecting how we work and live. COVID19 drastically shaped the way we use and think about our homes, transforming them into gyms, offices, bakeries and more.

These surprising changes have brought with them exciting interior design trends, with a strong focus on blurring the lines between inside and out. Each year Houzz predicts upcoming trends based on the most popular searches and images on their site. To get ahead of the design curve, we spoke to their team to determine what kind of design trends we can expect as we enter this brave new world.

Antibacterial materials and automated appliances

2020 was a fantastic year for hand sanitiser, and unsurprisingly there has also been a rise in interest in antibacterial materials and renovation ideas. Houzz’s report revealed that automated, voice-controlled appliances are increasing in popularity, aiming to limit high touchpoints around the home. Additionally, innovative sensor-activated flushing toilets and automatic basins are high on renovators lists for bathrooms in 2020.

Kitchens are experiencing the same trends, with automated ovens, fridges and the like topping the search list. Non-porous or antimicrobial metals, like stainless steel, copper and brass also gained popularity in 2020, proving to be the most hygienic materials. Bacteriostatic materials, or materials that inhibit bacteria growth, are also expected to be a leading trend in 2021.

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Artistic tiles

It’s a known phenomenon that vibrant and colourful fashion trends follow a recession, and according to Houzz, the same can be said for tiles.

Design style has traditionally been expressed through wall paints, furniture and homewares, but 2020 saw a rise in renovators getting creative with tile colour and placement.

Gone are the days of cold marble or minimalistic subway tiles, with zellige (made in Morocco) tiles having their moment in the sun. The movement has led to several collaborations between artists and tile manufacturers, resulting in stunning and unique tile designs.

Homeowners are getting particularly creative with kitchen splashbacks, making bold colour and pattern choices.

Design experts recommend investing in good quality tiles, and using them sparingly, as a pattern can quickly overwhelm a room.

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This year saw a movement toward creating warm and inviting spaces at home, and nothing says warm and inviting like bricks. The trend also blurs the line between inside and out, helping to create the indoor/outdoor living that also gained popularity in 2020. Homeowners are utilising the warmth and texture of bricks both inside and outside the house.

Not to be mistaken with 70s style brickwork, the recent trend showcases stylish bricks in more appealing colours. Shades of black, white and grey are particularly popular, creating a textured feature wall, allowing lush greenery or brightly coloured homewares to pop.

Indoor plants and greenery

Opportunities to get outside and amongst nature were few and far between in 2020, so homeowners found ways to bring the outdoors, in.  A survey conducted by Houzz in mid-2020 revealed that greenery is the next big thing. Homeowners are creating a little slice of nature in their own homes in multiple ways – from simple pots to more elaborate setups.
Architects and interior designers on Houzz reported the rise in clients looking for ways to showcase plants and greenery in their homes, including lush garden walls and rooftop gardens. Considering that plants are both beautiful and good for your physical and mental health, it looks like the trend is here to say.

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Clever small home design

With our homes becoming more than a place just to eat, sleep and relax, there has also been an increased interest in multifunctional design.
The trend is prevalent amongst those who live in live apartments or smaller houses as 2020 was about trying to maximise every inch of available space. Study nooks took centre stage, with people seeking to create productive spaces for school or work.

There was also a notable emphasis on creating more places for people to gather, or ‘social hubs’.

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Adaptive large-home layouts

Multifunctional adaptive designs are also popular for homeowners with a little more room to play with. The trend was born from the increased need for privacy with the potential for multiple people working from home in a single household. Rethinking the ever-popular open planned living layout led to innovative features like temporary walls or sliding partitions, so housemates can create privacy when needed.

Kitchens are also receiving a layout makeover, due to the reignition of Australia’s love affair with cooking during the lockdown. New layouts are replacing the usual kitchen ‘work triangle’ with the ‘work trapezoid’ making room for more cooks, and more adventurous recipes.   

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Futuristic Biodesign

The weirdest and most wonderful trend to emerge in 2020, Biodesign utilises organic matter and processes to create buildings, objects and furniture.

The movement which involves scientists, artists and designers, has seen the creation of chairs grown from mushroom fungus and much more.

Scient-fiction worthy furniture won’t be mainstream in Australia any time soon, but in the meantime, organic processes are being used to purify the air and even clean water.

A great example is a natural swimming pool, where water is circulated through water plants to maintain a pristine pool.  

Natural and rich colour palettes

The desire to bring the outdoors in also made way for natural and rich colour palettes. The warmth and texture of natural materials instantly creates a calming atmosphere, which is precisely what the doctor ordered in 2020.

Rustic timber, metals, stone and glass are all popular choices, according to Houzz. Earth tones and deep greens are making a comeback, which are being paired with pastel hues. And of course, an abundance of greenery ties all the design elements together.

Curves and edges

Houzz reported a push back against the harsh angles and lines of modern architecture, making way for curves, circles and archways. Keeping with the natural theme, homeowners are looking for ways to use organic shapes in their home. Round windows and archways are a popular feature, and the more daring splashed out on curved walls of windows or spiral-staircases.

Homewares and furniture are following suit with tubular forms and round edges.

Better backyards

Backyards were transformed into entertaining paradises in 2020, creating spaces that felt like an extension of the home. The desire for more living areas has brought back the classic pergola, as they are a relatively cheap way to create another ‘social hub’ in the home.

Swimming pools were also big on the backyard wish list in 2020, with no signs of the trend slowing down into 2021. Landscapers reported to Houzz that pools were the number one requested project and pool companies found themselves drowning work.

Those lucky enough to have space, are installing backyard cottages or accessory dwelling units, to create a private oasis away from the rest of the family. These spaces are being used as an office, school, gym, or extra accommodation to house family who needed to return home during the pandemic.

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Words by Nell Matzen

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