This will be an interesting year for interior design trends. As we saw in our 2021 style trends report, COVID had a big impact on patterns and trends within the interior design world in 2020. Last year significantly changed the way we view and use our homes. With the shelter in place guidelines impacting so many Americans in March and April, office closures, and the introduction of remote learning, our relationships with our homes shifted. For many, our homes have now become a workplace, a school, a family entertainment center, and a literal shelter from the outside world. And that’s going to have a big impact on the interior trends that continue and emerge in 2021.

As we head into the new year, we’re looking at how the changes in 2020 kickstarted new trends that will define the 2021 design landscape—and we gotta say, they’re pretty great. Ready to dig into our top 5 predictions of trends for 2021? Keep reading. We’re excited for what’s to come in 2021!

Wondering where interior design trends come from and why they die? Check out episode 4 of our podcast, The Render!


open seating area with ruffled sofa, sculptural black arm chairs and dark green walls

Traditional Design

When we talk about the traditional design trend, we’re talking about that classic 1990s comfort look. Think Rachel and Monica’s apartment from Friends, early Pottery Barn style, homes in Nancy Meyers movies from the 90s and early 2000s, and even your parents’ home if you were born in the 80s or 90s. Whatever image comes to mind, we think that Traditional design brought to life by these cultural references will be making a strong comeback. Why? People are spending a lot more time at home and looking to add layers of functional comfort to their space. And there’s certainly a sense of comfort in overstuffed furniture, softer curves, and traditional styles that you can count on always looking the same.

But there’s not just one way to do the traditional look. When it comes to Traditional design ideas, you can go for the classic approach, or you can try on a more streamlined and updated take on Traditional style.

display of traditional wooden furniture against green wall

It’s perfect for…

Those who want their home to focus on comfort and reliability, but with a slightly elevated sensibility.

How to Bring This Look Home

Look for sofas, sectionals, and armchairs that have a comfortable look and feel—something that you could really curl up on and binge-watch TV or read a good book. (This is a great moment to try the wingback chair trend.) Choose furniture pieces that lean less minimal or mid-century and instead are more traditional, with simple decorative carvings and dark wood surfaces.

geometric wallpaper in lavender with a pink velvet roll arm sofa

Grandmillenial Style

Just as people are looking for traditional styles to soothe the uncertainty of the world, the Grandmillennial style offers similar comforts. This style, however, pulls from classic design styles and takes some inspiration from Colonial Americana style, leaning into antiques, Victorian-inspired wallpaper, busy patterns, and preppy elements such as florals and ruffles.

This trend is all about younger generations who love design and decor that might culturally be viewed as “old lady” or granny. It hinges on classical design forms and patterns, historic architecture, and, of course, “brown furniture” (aka dark brown wooden antiques). The rise in this trend predates COVID, with Gucci famously popularizing the granny chic trend in their ads and collections in 2018. But it has risen steadily in popularity since the, exploding in 2020, and even creating subculture offshoots like “cottagecore” and the rise of Instagram accounts like Cheap Old Houses, both of which celebrate a decidedly simpler life than the one most of us lead—albeit a completely idealized version of those “simpler times” of the past. However, in a time of social and political unrest, looking toward the past for stability and comfort—while having a bit of fun with patterns and colors—feels like an appropriate way to cope.

Want to mix and match 2021 interior design trends? Try on Grandmillenial style with one of the 2021 colors of the year, like Benjamin Moore’s “Aegean Teal!”

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grandmillennial style living room with chesterfield velvet sofa and wallpaper

It’s perfect for…

Millennials. It’s in the name, after all! But it’s also a perfect way for older generations who have long been into the antiques trend to give their style a lively update!

How to Bring This Look Home

Get up early on the weekends and hit up the flea markets! Look for Victorian or Early American furniture (or revivals of those styles). Pieces made of aged Mahogany, a beautiful and rich dark-toned wood, are perfect in Grandmillenial spaces. This style feels attainable and under-the-radar, like Victorian and Neoclassical styles have not been part of trending design movements, so you can find these antiques for a good price. For less than IKEA prices, you’ll have a well-made, solid piece of furniture that has already lasted generations and is poised to continue to last many more. For young professionals, buying these old pieces is a great way to make their budget go further while also making a more sustainable purchase.

large dining room with atomic brass chandelier, glass dining table and minimalist chairs

1980s Style Revival

The 1980s revival style is all about bold forms, geometric patterns, and 80s-inspired color palettes—plus a nod to Art Deco style and a bit of that Golden Girls kitsch. There are many ways to bring this look to life, just as there were many trendy design styles in the 80s.

In the 1980s, the interior trends shifted from earthy naturals to luxurious, modern materials and highly sculptural forms. In this decade, we saw the wide use of brass and lacquer, sculptural forms, glass and stone with high shine finishes, and sparkling new materials. Interior design in the 80s was all about wealth and opulence, pulling inspiration from Art Deco ideology and Minimalist style.

Just as antiques are a bargain, for the past few years furniture and decor from the 1980s have been easy and inexpensive to obtain on second-hand marketplaces. As the style comes more into the forefront, authentic pieces will command higher prices, and we’ll start to see mainstream retailers offering their own modern takes on the style.

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2021 interior design trends

It’s perfect for…

Those who have a nostalgia for the 80s or who simply love the bold, sculptural forms that herald the design style of this decade.

How to Bring This Look Home

Look for some hallmark 80s pieces such as a glass dining table with a chrome or marble base, and incorporate materials like lacquer, glass, and marble into your decor through accent pieces. Opt for high-contrast color schemes such as black and gold, or muted palettes that include mauves and dusty rose. Love that 1980s Miami look? Bring on the palm prints and rattan furniture à la Blanche Devereaux’s iconic bedroom.

modern white sofa on a grey jute rug with sculptural accent tables scattered around

Biophilic Design

Biophilia is the love of nature and everything that is alive. In the design world, this often shows up through the use of plants and other natural greenery as a way to increase people’s connectivity to nature. The hope is that incorporating natural elements will have positive health and environmental benefits. But it’s also woven into home design through the use of natural materials and an awareness of sustainability in the production of furniture and home accents. By 2021, we’re predicting that Biophilic Design will particularly show up through the use of natural, sustainable materials.

We’re seeing a softer, earthier look come out to play filled with organic shapes and natural materials such as cane, jute, leather, ceramic, and plants. Natural texture is the secret ingredient every room needs—and spaces with these materials feel more tied to nature and have a calming effect. We’re also seeing a move toward more natural wood furniture versus spaces with a lot of manufactured materials. With that, light-colored wood (from Scandinavia blonde to rustic, light oak) is rising in popularity, pushing out the medium tones that often dominate Mid-Century spaces. This lighter color of wood is uplifting and easy to design around, creating a slightly more modern look—even in cozy and comfortable spaces.

Stylist Tip: Our guide to flawlessly mixing wood tones will definitely come in handy this year as you incorporate lighter tones into your home’s design!

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It’s perfect for…

Those wanting to incorporate the soothing aspects of nature into their home or increase their connectivity to nature and sustainability through their furniture and decor choices.

How to Bring This Look Home/What to Look For

No matter if you’re leaning towards a Scandinavian or Rustic style, when it’s time to choose pieces of furniture, lean for lighter toned woods as opposed to dark wood, metal, or lacquer pieces. When it comes to incorporating natural materials, layer different natural finishes to create depth and texture within the space. You might layer a wool rug atop a larger jute rug, and add a cane or rattan chair to the space. Pile pillows and throws atop the sofa to create softness and fullness in the space. Look for materials that are certified sustainable by their manufacturers to ensure that you’re buying pieces that you believe in.

Want to dig deeper into biophilic-inspired designs? Check out our blog post on how to decorate with natural materials, dig into the cane furniture trend, and listen to our podcast episode on environmental psychology to learn more about why natural elements, like plants, make us happy. 

eclectic seating nook with green velvet sofa and gallery wall on dark grey walls

Jewel Box Rooms

Move over white, gray, and greige—because bold wall colors are about to take center stage. As people are looking to create more personalized interiors, we’re seeing an uptick in highly saturated, bold-colored walls. (And with that, often bold-colored sofas, chairs, and accents as well.) The result? Jewel Box Rooms.

A bolder cousin of the Victorian farmhouse trend, these spaces are filled with highly saturated colors from floor to ceiling, with both jewel and earth tones making appearances. With a classic, almost regal look—but with an eclectic edge—Jewel Box Rooms celebrate the artistry of design through the use of bold colors and fabrics. We see deep, saturated velvets combined with dark walls and classic and antique furniture forms to create a “cabinet of curiosities” vibe that sparkles with unexpected delights on every surface.

We think this trend is really inspired by people’s disconnect with the outside world and a yearning to create a home that has a bit more flair and personality. Looking back at a few golden eras of home entertaining, such as the Victorian era or the mid 20th century, people decorated their homes with bold and intense color palettes. Perhaps as we lead lives that are more centered at home, we too are turning to more bold statements through color and luxe materials.

Love the look of a collected, classic vibe in your home? Get inspired and take a page out of the Victorian interior design history book.

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It’s perfect for…

Anyone who loves a touch of British charm. (This look is very inspired by British designers.) It’s also perfect for those who want a cozy yet inspired space that’s full of life and personality.

How to Bring This Look Home

Intense colors in bedrooms or offices could influence your mood when trying to work or sleep. So, pick a space where you will not feel overly impacted by an intense color palette, such as a living or dining room. Think about some of your favorite colors. If you love green, for example, pick a shade that’s deep with earthy undertones. You can paint just one accent wall or the whole room for added drama! When painting a jewel box room, use semi-gloss paints. This helps reflect light, which will keep the space from feeling too dark or cramped!

Want to work from your favorite 2021 design trend?

Follow this link to download high-resolution images of each trend, which you can set as your Zoom or Google Meet background. Your coworkers will surely be jealous of your trendsetting style.

Want to try on some of these 2021 interior design trends?

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3 replies
  1. Jesse Ford says:

    The biophilic design looks really cozy and comfortable. Nature is my go-to place when I need to relax and let out some steam. Having elements of nature in the interior of my home and in the furniture would be amazing.

  2. Afton Jackson says:

    Your example of a 1980’s style revival design really caught my interest. My wife and I have always been fans of “retro” looks in everything we do, and designing our house in such a way could really help us be satisfied with the way it looks. I’ll keep these tips in mind so we can transform our house into something we’ll love when working with a house remodeling contractor.

  3. Rebecca Gardner says:

    It was interesting when you talked about how bold colored walls with saturated jewel or earth tones are becoming popular. My sister wants to choose a color scheme for redecorating her bedroom so she can go to an interior design store to shop for furniture and decor pieces this weekend. I’ll share this info to give her some fun and trendy design ideas to consider to make her space really stand out!


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