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Design trends for 2021

Indoors or out, the focus is on the home for 2021.
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Home decor trends for 2021 include more use of steady grays and optimistic yellows. Photo: Metro Creative Connection

Time spent at home--gardening or creating an indoor oasis--will continue to be huge in 2021. If home redecorating is on your to-do list this year, here are a few design trends to watch for.

Pantone 2021 Colour of the Year: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating

Look for this calm, steady gray and optimistic shade of yellow on furnishings, in advertising and in wall paint colours. “The Pantone Colour of the Year reflects what is taking place in our global culture, expressing what people are looking for that colour can hope to answer. As society continues to recognize colour as a critical form of communication, and a way to symbolize thoughts and ideas, many designers and brands are embracing the language of colour to engage and connect," said Pantone Color Institute's Laurie Pressman. 

Indoor Plants

Were indoor plants ever out? They're a hot trend again, as homeowners spend more time inside for work or family time. It's a natural extension of what's happening in the garden, but with the need to bring greenery to our interiors too. Experts say as the plants freshen indoor air, they also bring the clarity and calm of nature into the home, also acting like art on a shelf or table. Plus, caring for the plants is grounding and life-affirming. It's an all-around win.

Edible Gardens

Edible gardens will continue to gain popularity in 2021 too. While outdoor raised vegetable gardens or containers bearing herbs and tomatoes on the back deck are sure-fire winners, the indoor windowsill works too. Having freshly-grown indoor herbs is nourishing and satisfying for body and soul, adds Alberta gardening expert Jim Hole. "Micro-greens, basil and thyme or chives growing near a sunny window are popular--people just love having needed ingredients at their fingertips--and growing your own makes it even better."

Multipurpose Spaces

With many of us working from home, at the kitchen table, the bedside, even in a closet--we've made our living spaces work for us. There'll be more of that in 2021, say design experts, pointing to multi-purpose uses for our existing spaces. The kitchen table may be a classroom for home schooling this year, and the bedroom may be a gym. And lower-level rec rooms? It's a blank slate for doing whatever we need to do at home in 2021, from crafts and a home business to renting out space for extra income.

Old-World Influences

Imagine a dark-coloured, book-filled library room with rich woods, a desk and globe, oil paintings and antique lighting. Designers say the old-world aesthetic is timeless, but by adding something like a modern light fixture, it will defy being able to place what era the room is from. Embrace that moody space with a touch of whimsy or sleek, contemporary accent.

Diamond patterned flooring and geometric shapes

We've been seeing patterned floor tiles at entry ways and in kitchens for some time, but there's a big move to large-scale diamond-patterned flooring. The black and white retro diner-style look remains popular, but the trend is toward diamond shapes painted onto wood floors, in colours like blue or white. Experts say it combines rustic with refined, in the vein of the eclectic English granny trend. What is that you ask? Our mothers and grandmother's closets reveal the style inspiration--think vintage clothing, crocheted items and eyeglass chains.

Blush and Bidets

North Americans don't know much about bidets, but trend experts say this European bathroom favourite will become a big deal here too. Maybe it's because of the toilet-paper hoarding that happened in 2020, or maybe because it's a design element that says luxury, self-care, etc. but watch for interest to grow. Colours we thought of as accents are becoming more of a neutral too--blush for example, which can replace white in most spaces. Maybe behind the bidet?

Textures and plaid fabrics
A nod to the old sofa in your family rec room, plaid fabrics (and other prints) evoke memories of a time gone by and signify comfort and happiness, according to designers. Textures are popular too, creating a desirable tension and contrast to smooth and sleek. Think dimpled, rough plaster, travertine and rattan furnishings. Hand blown glass is another example of something organic and natural set against a neutral space.