Last year completely changed how we live in and think about our homes, and many of those changes won't be temporary. Although 2021 felt like a fresh start, this revived focus on our homes is here to stay, and modern furnishings brand CB2 just released a report that details the trends that will define this new era of design.
"2020 renewed the importance of interiors and our passion for providing elevated pieces that energize, uplift, and reflect our customer's unique style," said Ryan Turf, president of CB2, in a press release. "Our first-ever Next In Design Report allows us to share our love of all things design, giving customers a glimpse into the ways our top buyers and designers are reimagining homes for 2021, and beyond."
Based on a survey of more than 900 interior designers from CB2's Design Trade Program, the report takes into account how fashion, pop culture, and even astrological events might shape our design choices in the coming months. The trends broadly focus on self-expression, multi-functional homes, sustainable design, and optimism for the new year. Here's what to watch for in interior design throughout 2021.
Our homes provide an avenue to express our personal style, and CB2 predicts people will be increasingly willing to go bold in their decorating choices. Nearly two-thirds of surveyed interior designers said they're planning to incorporate bold statements in their 2021 designs. Beyond vibrant colors and patterns, scale is another way to make a statement. The oversized collars and shoulder pads seen on runways and forecasts will carry over into the home with elements like extra-large vases and impactful lighting choices. "We're seeing a lot of nontraditional uses of scale in recent design work," says Andrea Erman, lead product development for CB2. "A large pendant over a nightstand or a tiny café table. It's a fun way to play."
Open-concept layouts could become a thing of the past as homes continue to function as offices and classrooms as well as living spaces. According to the trend report, dedicated dining rooms might return to favor as people look for ways to separate life from work. Dividing up rooms is another way to carve out space for multiple functions. For those without a separate home office, a slim console table can provide a workstation that nestles against a living room wall. Parlor-style seating arrangements, in which furniture is clustered into multiple vignettes within a larger space, can provide private spots to answer calls or emails.
Comfort is paramount in a place where we spend so much time, so plush fabrics will continue to be highly sought-after in the coming year. Upholstered furniture, including comfy accent chairs, will be the item clients request most, according to the interior designers surveyed, with 42% saying velvet will be the top material. "The desire for comfort is nothing new, but customer choices definitely are," Erman says. "They simply aren't willing to sacrifice style. It's all about luxe livability in 2021."
CB2 forecasts cheerful, energetic colors will take the place of calming neutrals in our homes to deliver a dose of optimism. For a look that brightens without overwhelming, turn to uplifting earthy tones, with 62% of surveyed designers naming mineral-inspired shades as the colors of choice. Nature-derived substances like mercury, olivine, ochre, and clay provide bold color inspiration with an organic feel.
As sustainable design continues to be a focus for both shoppers and retailers, CB2 predicts natural materials will be a top interior design trend for 2021. According to the report, 56% of designers named stone as the material of the year (with cast metal coming in as a close second). Expect to see stone surfaces like black travertine or marble used on accent tables, decorative pieces, hardware, and more. The report also notes that FSC-certified wood, which is harvested according to the highest environmental and social standards, will continue to grow in popularity as consumers seek out more sustainable furnishings.
Another trend gleaned from the fashion industry, maximalism grants permission to boldly express your personality through the layering and mixing of colors, patterns, and textures. Although CB2 designates the style as a "micro-trend," it's likely to continue gaining traction in the interior design world. "With this style, there really are no rules," says Matthew Williamson, a fashion and product designer included in the report. "In fact, the more you mix up styles from different periods and genres, the stronger the overall effect. It's about tapping into what you really love to make a space that's uniquely yours."