A brave new world: home design trends for 2021

Chic: Interior designer Greg Natale's work in an art deco-inspired home uses curves. Photo courtesy of Greg Natale.
Chic: Interior designer Greg Natale's work in an art deco-inspired home uses curves. Photo courtesy of Greg Natale.

If there's one thing architects, interior experts, forecasters and leading designers agree on, it's that our collective lockdown experience will fundamentally change the way we live in our homes.

Everything from the design, to preferred materials and colours has changed dramatically and may continue to evolve as we cautiously navigate our way through the pandemic. Here's what you can expect to see a lot more of in 2021.

The rise of antibacterial materials

Sanitary practices have become an integral part of our daily routine. With an international community of homeowners and home professionals, the Houzz website has unique insights into how people are renovating their home and after reviewing its data noticed a rise in searches for automatic washbasins, touch-less flushing, and infrared sensors in bathrooms to help reduce the unnecessary touching of surfaces.

We could see similar advancements in the kitchen, with voice-activated appliances, cooktops with sensors, and the use of antimicrobial metals such as copper, brass and bronze in fixtures such as sinks and splashbacks.

Natural and rich colour palettes

Colour specialists on Houzz predict that earthy tones will be strong interior colours in the new year - think sand, soft green, warm brown and terracotta.

According to design expert Kate Walker, in 2021 we'll also continue to see colours inspired by nature, and natural materials such as wood, glass, stone, metal and plants.

Blushing peaches and soft pistachios will complement our love for natural, organic materials and are ideal for creating more intimate and welcoming environments.

The continuation of curves

Curved doorways, rounded windows and arched mirrors provide a new way to add more organic shapes inside our homes, as do decorative patterns, furnishings and accessories with rounded edges and tubular forms.

"Angles all add interest to the structure of a room, and a stunning curved staircase can add a new dimension to a simple space," said Walker. "Using a versatile plasterboard such as Gyprock Flexible, it just takes clever design and master craftsmen to bring a vision to life."

Clever small home design

Homeowners are making better use of their small space, using joinery and furniture to create functional areas.

Study nooks, and U-shaped kitchens with clever joinery will become smart ways to maximise a small space.

Adaptive large-home layouts

Meanwhile, larger homes have the luxury of playing with more modularity. Many people are considering multipurpose rooms, temporary walls that can be shifted, and inventive ways that rooms can be opened up and shut off when required.

Nature as saviour

Houzz's COVID survey in mid-2020 found our outdoor areas to be the most desirable for upcoming improvements.

In turn, architects and interior designers on the website reported a demand for designs that connect the indoors with the outdoors through green roofs, internal courtyards and garden walls.

The beauty of bricks

Homeowners like to experiment with colour and texture, usually through paint and its application, but lately people are taking that idea further and moving onto bricks.

Rather than the dated 1960s red brick, we're likely to see more attractive bricks, used externally or internally, to add robustness and warmth to the space.

BRICKS: Form and funcition. Photo: CplusC Architectural Workshop by Murray Fredericks.

BRICKS: Form and funcition. Photo: CplusC Architectural Workshop by Murray Fredericks.