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6 Popular Home Design Trends for 2021

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

WELLNESS, COMFORT, and FUNCTIONALITY — these are the “names of the game” for 2021. They are the overall wants and needs that will be driving the design trends when it comes to our homes these days as we continue living through the pandemic. Here are the trends I see as being the big must-haves of 2021.


1. Home Office Spaces and Multi-Functional Furniture (well, duh)


Thanks to Ms. Corona staying LONG past her welcome (well, I guess she was never really welcome in the first place), we are still working from home, and kids are still attending school from home! And although I do foresee children going back to school in the coming months, many businesses are finding that having some work-from-home options provides employees with flexibility and keeps everyone safer. And, to be honest, you don’t miss the commute, do you? #nashvilletrafficnightmares

So, whether you go back into an office or not; whether your children go back to school or not; you probably have found that you need and use a home office space now more than ever. (Bonus points if it’s not at your kitchen counter!)

You need:

  • a private, workable, inspiring space — and one that looks good on Zoom!

  • space for your “stuff,” some pretty things on the wall, and room to spread out and work.

  • lots of USB and electrical ports.

  • a comfortable chair (or two).

  • access to coffee (oh wait, that could just be my problem …!).

You need a well-designed home office space!

However, not everyone has an extra room to create a private home office, so many people are using pieces of furniture that have more than one function. You may have to get creative! For example,

  • a pretty writing desk can double as a bedside table.

  • a console table can become a desk.

  • a daybed can function as a sofa for the home office by day and a guest bed for the kids’ sleepovers or company at night.

  • dining chairs on casters (wheels) can be easily moved around to function in multiple rooms and ways. I’m even seeing this trend on high-design chairs.

Creating a home/work environment with creative storage solutions will STILL be a huge trend in 2021!

To learn more, download our free guide on how to create a successful work and school environment at home.


A writing desk can pull double duty as a bedside table. Keep it pretty!


Home Office, design by Home by Hattan, photo by J Totten Photography

2. Cozy Corners


“The adjective cozy describes being comfortable and warm, like when you feel cozy curled up on the couch under a soft blanket, in front of a roaring fire. ‘Isn't this cozy?’ If you hear these words, you might be in a friendly, casual place where everyone feels welcome.” — This is how Vocabulary.com defines the word “cozy.” Coziness is the #1 request I’ve been hearing lately from my decorating clients, and what I'm also seeing in the design world — it's not just me and my clients! We all seem to be wanting a sense of peace, security, warmth, and comfort from our homes. In the world of home design and home environment, the coziness quotient is being met in a number of different ways. For example, I'm seeing lots of:

  • soft and inviting textiles,

  • updated bathrooms with soaking tubs,

  • live plants,

  • upholstered outdoor furniture (yep! No more metal chairs!),

  • rounded corners and shapes in chairs and sofas and tables,

  • plush rugs and textiles,

  • special little “cozy spots” created in corners of the home or even outside.

Almost every livable space in and around your home is going “cozy!”

Keep in mind that "cozy" does not refer to a style, but rather to a feeling. So for some, coziness may be simple, clean lines in a clutter-free space where they can relax in style, and for others, coziness may be surrounded by books, a dog and a blanket in their grandmother's chintz chair.

You do you, and you'll always be in style!

Round edges and soft surfaces help to create this cozy spot and are popular trends in the world of Design this year. Photo from Skogman Homes


3. Outdoor Living


The great escape! The great outdoors! It provides a change of scenery during your day, a place for the kids to burn some energy, a place to get some fresh air and connect with nature (which is so healthy for you psychologically, by the way)! Your backyard, your patio, your deck — your outdoor area — is so important and is part of your home environment that will probably get a little extra attention this year. The world of design is certainly giving it some attention — everything from patios to firepits to backyard ziplines! And don’t forget the stringed globe lights!

Even before the pandemic hit, outdoor living areas were gaining in popularity, and now that we are relegated to gathering and entertaining outside (if we do it at all), our outdoor living areas are much more important.

So many design options are available to help us “cozy up” and gather together comfortably outdoors now, including:

  • outdoor throw pillows, poufs, and blankets,

  • lamps and chandeliers made to be kept outside,

  • upholstered outdoor furniture (see some trends here),

  • outdoor kitchens and fireplaces,

  • porch swings and cozy chairs.

Even if you live in a condominium or an apartment downtown, there are ways to elevate your outdoor living and, in turn, elevate your well-being. Here’s a post I wrote about creating an Outdoor Oasis no matter where you live!



ALL of this furniture is OUTDOOR furniture! Outdoor Upholstery offered by Summer Home Classics


4. White & Bright ... and Earthy Warmth


Is it just me, or is every new-build house and every older red-brick home in Nashville being painted white? (Personally, I do love a painted brick



White & bright is still popular.

If you have painted your exterior or your interior walls white, I think the all-white and/or the white-&-black trend is here to stay for a few more years, especially given that we are in the middle of the country and we tend to incorporate trends (like wallpaper) later than either coast.

But … even within the all-white trend, I am seeing more warm elements being added to our white rooms.

  • gray colors are leaning towards warm gray than cool gray.

  • white colors are including colors of cream, sand, mushroom, and putty, especially on trim and moldings.

  • traditional wood pieces are being used to add character to our white spaces.

  • wicker, rattan, caned seats, even rope accents, are being used to bring in that earthy, natural warmth we are craving.

  • and lots of plants, are adding a touch of green and more natural warmth.

You may be wondering then, which is best, which color scheme is trending — the creams or the whites? It depends on your furnishings and your taste! Both are “correct,” it’s just a matter of what works best with the rest of your house and what you feel happiest in!

White is classic. Cream is classic. You can’t go wrong with either.


White & Bright living room with natural elements such as wood and woven pieces and live plants. by Studio McGee


5. White & Bright ... and Moody


Many designers are painting ceilings, accent walls, and sometimes entire rooms soft black, navy, rich deep teal, and GREEN! Mood rooms!

And they are doing this in the mostly-white home!

And while white is still popular, it’s all about contrast! Adding a little drama here and there. (see #6 on this list)

Adding contrast and “mood” is an easy trend to try in your all-white home (or your all-beige or your all-gray home)!

  • paint the wall behind your headboard a smokey charcoal black.

  • paint your ceiling a deep, luxurious blue.

  • add a little contrast in your décor by throwing some pillows on your sofa, that are in complete contrast to its color (Is your sofa a “natural” or “oatmeal” color? Add some velvet pillows in a rich saturated color; or add “natural” pillows with some black stripes).

  • and if you’re really brave, try this design feature — wrap an entire room, from baseboards, to walls, to crown molding, to ceiling — all the same color! Many Designers have done this beautifully and it is quite striking and really creates a mood!

I think we’re all feeling a bit moody this year, aren’t we!? I know I’m feeling all the moods, I may as well express it in my home!



Beautiful & Moody Blue Library, image from House Beautiful, photo by Simon Watson



Beautiful Moody Green kitchen in a mostly white home, image from Decoholic


6. Wallpaper


YES. I keep saying this. But it’s really a thing.

Wallpaper is so good at adding a little life, a little color, pattern, movement, interest, and MOOD to a space.

And to be honest, many of us in the design world are growing just a bit bored with the all-white spaces! While we love the light & bright, we love to add a bit of interest and drama, and wallpaper can do the trick beautifully!

Now don’t be scared — if you are not ready to commit to wallpaper, there are tons of “peel & stick” wallcoverings! (Hint: some are called “removable” wallcoverings if you are searching online) Or you can choose a small space to try some wallpaper, and see how you like it!

I see the wallpaper trend EVERYWHERE in the design world!

The most popular rooms to hang wallpaper these days are:

  • hall bathrooms,

  • home offices,

  • formal dining rooms,

  • backs of shelving,

  • accent walls,

  • and even ceilings.

There are beautiful wallpaper design options to choose from, ranging from large florals, to geometric, to art deco, to chinoiserie, to hand-painted mural wallcoverings!

Here's a Pro Tip: keep your wallpapered room from looking too fussy or too “granny”, by adding a contemporary light fixture to counter-balance the mood.

Y’all, I think I am going to give this trend a try in my own home this year! Love me some color and pattern! Stay tuned …. !


Morris & Co wallpaper in updated bathroom brings feelings of tradition and beauty, comfort and style. by Studio McGee


Wallpaper doesn't have to be "granny style," it can dress up a contemporary home as well.

Most importantly, let me say, if we’ve learned nothing else during our (almost) year of COVID quarantine, it’s how important our health and our homes are! So I hope you will "comfy-cozify" your home, however best serves you, your tastes, and your needs, and you’ll certainly be living in style!


As always, let me know if you need my help! Feel free to schedule a discovery call to discuss implementing any of these trends in your home.



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