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    2021 Home Design Trends: They're All About You

    Each year, a beloved tradition among experts and professionals across interior design, decorating, and home improvement genres begins to dominate print and social media. Titles include, “Must-Haves,” “Bests Of,” and “Top Trends.”  

    The pros curate their picks (sometimes with a generous nudge from paid sponsorships) on what will be popular with consumers next year. From the colors of the year to which houseplant is the “in” showpiece, you can always count on specific home decorating advice to get your new year started. 

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    But the average homeowner and renter are often confused and discouraged by these professional predictions. Learning to weave multiple new trends into your existing home décor requires commitment, practice, and often a big chunk of money. 

    If this befuddlement is relatable, hold on, because 2021 is the year for you. Thanks to a wretched 2020, just about any color, design, or piece of décor that makes life more productive and comfortable at home is on trend.

    2021 Home Design Trends


    Balancing Life, Work, and Play in 2021

    This wide-open decorating philosophy is no doubt in response to an unsettled and disruptive 2020. More time spent at home allowed people to dial into what was and was not working in their space. 

    It also shed perspective on how much work would be performed from home in the coming years. Upwork released its Future Workforce Pulse Report and predicts,

    “By 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be remote, an increase of 16.8 million people from pre-pandemic rates.”

    Balancing live, work, and play in 2021


    What’s a Cloffice?

    Some at-home workers and students found solitude and quiet in an imaginative getaway—their Cloffice, which of course is a transformation of closet space into a home office or study space. Shelving, paint, framed artwork, and a comfortable chair all add to the personalization of an area previously used to store shoes and clothing. 

    Closets weren’t the only spaces taken over; attics, basements, and every nook and cranny available to house a workstation were given an update to become not only functional but eye-catching. 

    Between makeshift home offices and a formal dining room conversion into a homeschool hub, families learned to reimagine traditional room boundaries. Without a mass return to work and school scheduled, these separations will be perfected in 2021. 

    The Debate Continues: Open Concept or Dedicated Rooms

    Working parents introduced into homeschooling in 2020 were happy to have that infrequently used formal dining room that quickly transformed into a classroom. On the other hand, some work from home and non-working parents appreciated a close eye on their students from across their open concept floorplan.

    The debate over open concept or dedicated rooms

    If you were lucky enough to get your hands on adequate construction supplies during 2020, you were building and improving upon lessons learned for a well designed 2021. Adding a few new doors, privacy screens, and even framing new space in the basement are all going to trend on in the new year. Open or closed, your living space became precious territory, and every family will continue to adapt to which solutions work best for their lifestyle. 

    Multi-Solution Furniture 

    More time spent at home means a need for furniture that accommodates for more than its traditional use. Because a sofa became the new office chair, a convertible coffee table with a lift top that extends up to offer a desk or dining space is a hidden-in-plain-sight solution for a small space or to provide an extra work surface for multiple home students. 

    Farmhouse decorating might be waning (just a little bit, though), but the farmhouse table, or any exceptionally long dining table, now serves multiple purposes. Families have created zones: one for eating, one for work, and another for crafts and hobbies. 

    Kitchen tables are becoming work and school spaces.

    Ah, yes, the sofa. It either served you well in 2020 or deflated under constant use. This year, buyers are searching for comfort in the way of extra deep seat cushions and functionality with the recurrence of washable slipcovers and easily cleaned family-friendly fabric. Buyers are also re-evaluating the layout of their seating. The pandemic quickly revealed inefficiencies and the need for a better flow pattern. 

    Paint Colors of the Year 2021

    Although the number one trend for home decorating in 2021 is to simply be happy in your home, color is a substantial predictor of mood, so spending some time to make the right choice is highly recommended. No time to ponder? Take the experts’ advice and choose from their pre-coordinated color chips and swatches. 

    Paint experts have built color combinations that include trim, wall, and ceiling colors. Every major brand has a substantive website with plenty of guidance for novices and inspiration for experienced painters. Most companies also have color-matching technology if your existing color needs a refresh from scuffs and scratches. 

    Need sources of color inspiration? Pantone’s Colors of the Year 2021 are Ultimate Gray, a deep gray shade, and Illuminating, a vibrant yellow. Admittedly these are challenging colors to incorporate, so check out Sherwin Williams, as their chosen color for 2021 is Urban Bronze, a versatile and sophisticated color that is also popular as a trim color for windows, a la Joanna Gaines.  

    Plants and Greenery 

    If you haven’t jumped on the plant bandwagon, what are you waiting for? Now widely accessible, plants can be purchased online from boutique garden shops as well as Amazon, meaning there’s no reason to hesitate. 

    If you need a pro’s assurance biophilic design is here to stay, Julie Busby, founder of the Busby Group at Compass in Chicago, told Realtor.com,

    “During the pandemic when it was difficult for some to get their daily dose of nature, people started bringing the outdoors in with natural materials in their home.” 

    Spring and summer traditionally include a buying spree for greenery and plants. Coupled with a continued stay-at-home conditions, plants will remain go-to items, especially because many are easy to care for and inexpensive to purchase. 

    Plants and greenery are a large part of home decor for 2021.

    Stop and take a moment to carefully look at each item in a room on the pages of a decorating magazine or sales catalog. You’ll notice at least one plant, either a potted standalone variety adding texture and color to a bright corner or a smaller variety perched on surfaces such as a console, coffee table, or mantel. 

    Now, there’s even room for faux plants because their quality has substantially increased in recent years. Trendy artificial plants include big leafy plants like Monstera, Philodendrons, and Alocasias.

    Although it’s debatable whether or not the few house plants you own actually clean the air, the charm, color, and comfort they bring into the home are often the driving factors for buyers to make the purchase. Start with one or two small varieties, such as a snake plant or Calathea, to see if you have a hidden green thumb. 

    It should be refreshing and encouraging to read that home decorating trends are versatile and accommodating in 2021. For those who are hesitant to make changes in your home, this is your year to shine!

    Reflect on what the challenges and shortcomings of your home space were in 2020 and begin to improve. The project could be as easy as a paint color change or a new furniture layout plan or even finally hiring professionals to create the outdoor space you’ve always dreamed of. 

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    Dawn M. Smith


    Dawn M. Smith

    Dawn is a real estate and military life writer who has a serious HGTV habit. When she is not writing, her teen daughter, Army husband, and golden retriever keep her busy through chauffeur duties, travel planning, and long dog walks. Dawn is pleased to share her experiences with MilitaryByOwner readers who are hoping to simplify military family journeys of all kinds. Follow Dawn on Pinterest for more ideas and resources and visit her site at Dawn M. Smith Custom Content Creation.

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