Culture and design are inevitably linked, and 2021 trends reflect the seismic changes 2020 brought us.
Working from home has been the biggest shift that’s had a subtle and not-so-subtle impact on how we decorate and even think about our homes. This is good news for fans of home decor. Never has creating beauty, comfort and smart solutions to space challenges been more of a priority. Our experts highlight 2021’s top trends, from art to pattern, and textures to tech – which will you embrace to make your home an inspiring haven?
1. Japanese Influences
Nolta fabric armless LOVESEAT, $1,099; Ennora PENDANT, $119; Mobilia.
Wabi-sabi, a Japanese Buddhist philosophy that invites one to find beauty in imperfection, resonates deeply these days. On the home front, it’s merged with Scandi style into Japandi (a contraction of Japan and Scandinavia). Japandi focuses on natural materials, rich textures, artisanal ceramics, and the elimination of superfluous objects, says Montreal designer Sophie Sylvestre of Chrysalide Design. Drifting from Scandi’s white palette, Japandi features off-white neutrals like taupe or buff, and pastels.
2. Modernized Mid-Century
Luisa CHAIR, $1,299, CB2.
Maybe because we’re feeling a touch nostalgic, our interest in Mid-Century Modern continues. It’s a style that’s easy to reproduce: add gold metal accents, light wood tones and furniture with retro lines. Natalia David, director of trends and design at Home Depot Canada, also suggests playing with bright colours and retro shapes, and bringing in accents like vintage-style chairs.
3. Wow Factor
Sculpt CHAIR, $1,399, Crate and Barrel.
It’s all about investing in a “wow” element in 2021. Accent furniture in a contrasting colour, luxurious materials, objects with a story to tell – the key is to give character to your space. “The idea is to move away from settings where everything is the same,” says Sophie Sylvestre. Go for custom furniture, original artwork, or introduce a daring material like marble with gold veins. Says Sophie: “Trust your instincts.”
4. Face Line Art
Ceramic SCULPTURE, $35, H&M Home. PRINT, Mette Handberg Art Lines, set of 4, $539; Sydney CHARIOT, $1,219; BoConcept.
This style of drawing, where a single continuous line forms a face or silhouette, is increasingly sought after for minimalist interiors. This style of visual representation has an impressive lineage – Picasso and Matisse produced major artworks using this technique. Look for it on vases, cushions and canvases. It’s a great way to add an artistic touch while maintaining a light feeling.
5. Geometric Shapes
Hasslarp CABINETS, Sinarp DOOR, to come on Spring, IKEA.
Strong geometric shapes on furniture and accessories, and in rug and tile patterns are on the rise. Geometric-pattern tiles also reflect the trend to handmade and have a less uniform look, says Sophie Sylvestre. “This brings an artisanal touch to modern geometric shapes.”
6. The Intelligent Home
Air Fry InstaView ThinQ RANGE, $1,699, LG.
Demand is increasing for smart home systems. According to André Allard, head of styles and trends at Rona, home automation can help us delineate between work and relaxation time by controlling lighting. “We are realizing the real benefits of integrating technologies into our daily lives,” he says. All the smart appliances are expected to grow in importance in the coming years, from personal virtual assistants and robots that clean floors to automated heating, security and entertainment systems.
7. Customized For Comfort
Surface Design white marble pattern decorative WALL PANEL, 4' x 8', $539, Rona.
One positive effect of staying at home is that people have more time to create the space they’ve always wanted, says André Allard. “We are doing the small jobs that have been waiting for months,” he says. “We are looking for ways to update our home and make it more comfortable.” Montreal designer Fay Martel of Concept SM2 agrees: “We want to create a comforting bubble, functional, ergonomic and focused on well-being. Teleworking is changing the way we think about living space and interior design has taken on great importance.”
Artificial WATER CANNA, $220; artificial PHILODENDRON, $110; Veronneau.
Gardening indoors and out is a new passion. Indoor plants – including hanging and potted plants, terrariums, green walls – are all popular. Bonus: plants help to clean air and revive mood. Our love for the natural world extends to non-living elements: look for botanical prints, with a continued emphasis on oversized blooms and foliage in wallpaper patterns.
9. Rattan and Wicker
HEADBOARD, starts at $550; Rose Bonbon.
Interest in woven rattan objects and furniture, including seagrass rugs, cane chairs and large open-weave pendant lights, continues. We love the cool, exotic, “beach vacation” feel they bring inside. These materials blend easily with existing decors, which may explain their meteoric rise in popularity.
10. Maximizing our Homes
DESK, $690, Alphabet.
More than ever, especially with the pandemic, we want to maximize the potential of our spaces, especially in small interiors, says Liana Thomson, accessories product developer at EQ3. “We spend more time at home than ever before, so people are focusing on the multifunctional aspect of their decor,” she says. As well, no space is wasted, and we’re learning to integrate inviting, discreet and functional home offices.
11. Curved Shapes
Shany six-drawer velvet-covered CHEST, $399, Structube.
Here’s a trend that all experts agree on: an inclination for round shapes. “The curves are reminiscent of nature and respond to our need for softness,” says Fay Martel.
12. Light Woods
Osaka SOFA, $7,159; Charlotte ARMCHAIR, $3,069; Borholm COFFEE TABLE, $399; BoConcept.
Our recent love affair with Scandinavian style has brought pale woods with ashy undertones to the forefront, with white oak and maple in the lead. Whether on flooring, kitchen cabinets or wall cladding and panelling, we like light woods for their homogeneous shades and regular grain, explains Montreal designer Jean Stéphane Beauchamp. “Their beautiful neutrality goes with everything,” he says. “Nowadays, people need light, nature. Another benefit of light shades on the floor is that they’re more forgiving, so scratches and dust aren’t as noticeable.”
13. That '70s Show, Again
Lawndale Leather DAYBED, $2,899, CB2.
Movies and TV series are keeping our focus trained on the 1970s, so look for chrome, clean lines, graphically strong patterns, a lounge-y feel, and colours like khaki, orange, brown, purple, says Fay Martel.
14. Buy Local and Handmade
Heart POSTER, $46, Etsy.
Mass-manufactured objects are out; handmade crafts by local artisans are in. This welcome trend brings a highly personal, relaxed and slightly boho feel to decor. The turn to a handcrafted look ushers in a new palette, with all the richness of terracotta, nude hues and desert colours for art and everyday objects.
On the Horizon in 2021
- Textured wall finishes
- Black kitchens
- Round area rugs
- Herringbone patterns on wood, furniture and cabinets
- Walls covered with slats
- Painted floors
- Strict minimalism
- Kitchen cabinets without cabinetry hardware
- Large wall murals
- Coloured ceilings
- Dark bathrooms
- Loopy wool
- Large-format porcelain tiles
Colours of the Year
Does anything transform a room – or date it – faster than colour? Luckily, embracing colour trends is easy. There’s no better or easier way to refresh your home than with a new coat of paint. The biggest trend in 2021 is a shift to soft, soothing warm neutrals – just what we need! And we are loving the new delicate and bright tones of blue and green that are so optimistic. Bring it on – or paint it on, as the case may be!
Dancing in the Rain
Beauti-Tone • C20-5-0644-0
Image Courtesy of Beauti-Tone
This pale, almost powdery blue is a must-have in a nursery or any room you want to imbue with a soothing softness.
BEHR • PPU6-02
Image Courtesy of Behr
Rich and vibrant, this colour, reminiscent of glamorous 1970s decor, will add a dash of spice to any space.
BENJAMIN MOORE • 2136-40
Image Courtesy of Benjamin Moore
An undertone of grey gives this shade of blue-green a deep, soothing feel. As an accent wall, in a patterned fabric or in accessories, this shade is balanced and restful.
SHERWIN-WILLIAMS • SW 7048
Image Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams
This rich plucked-from-nature hue has a comforting hideaway vibe. We love it in the bedroom for its meditative quality. Natural pairings include pale wood and light stone colours.
DULUX • DLX1079-4
Image Courtesy of Dulux
Calm and tranquil is the mood that this light, sandy taupe-tan exudes. It’s ideal for creating a serene yet warm decor.
SICO • 6160-52
Image Courtesy of Sico
Inspired by nature, this refreshing and cheerful turquoise owes its name to the beloved North American songbird. In your rooms, it will lift your spirits like its namesake’s song!