Here are The Hot Home Trends for 2021

From a focus on home offices to extending outdoor spaces, local experts share their takes on the new year’s biggest trends.  
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Everyone Wants to be Comfy While in Their Comfort Zone

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Ask yourself a few questions: Where have you spent most of your time during the COVID-19 pandemic? And what have you been wearing?

Most will probably respond working at home — and wearing loungewear. Makes sense, right? Everyone wants to be comfy while in their comfort zone. The pandemic has had a similar effect on home design trends.

According to “Style Spotters” at the fall High Point Market, the influential biannual furnishing industry trade show held in High Point, N.C., as people worked, played and just stayed at home during the pandemic, there has been a renewed interest in home offices and family lounging areas — and those trends are expected to continue into 2021.

“People are also generally more attentive to interior design more now than before and I think we’re going to see an increase in interest in people wanting to make their homes beautiful,” says Amanda Bock, owner of Pittsburgh-based 412 Design Co., which specializes in E-design. “When you have to spend so much time in your home, you want it to look good, function well and feel warm and cozy.”

As for what else will be trending in the new year, we asked local design experts and beyond for their takes on the hottest home styles for 2021.



Rise of the Home Office

This one is obvious. As many dropped their commute to work — and have yet to return — more attention has been paid to the home office.

This doesn’t mean there has to be a separate office space if your home doesn’t already have one. Bock says she sees a prioritizing of room function.

“Instead of a guest room that sits untouched most days, I think we’re going to see these spaces converted into offices or playrooms for children stuck at home with the option to house guests (think sleeper sofas),” she says.

High Point Style Spotter Don Ricardo Massenburg, owner of DESiGN iNKREDiBlE LLC in Durham, N.C., says multi-functional pieces that work well in multi-use spaces will be in high demand. For example, he says smaller-scale, yet stylish, desks can easily be placed in the corner of a bedroom or family room. Modular work furnishing, such as height-adjustable top surfaces that can be used while sitting or standing also are rising in popularity.

“Regardless of whether you’re working in a dedicated office space or have carved out a little nook in another room, flexible workspace furnishings like these will help get the job done during work hours and also allow stylish living later in the day,” he notes in his style report.


Taking the Indoors Outside

Lauren Piasecki, owner of Black Cherry Design in Garfield, says there’s an uptick in clients who want to expand their outdoor spaces, including adding heaters and fire tables to their patios to keep them warm during colder weather.

“If they are having family and friends over, they’re hosting them outdoors,” says Piasecki, who attended the fall High Point Market.

Fortunately, outdoor furniture is not the old-school wrought iron or wicker of yore. Thanks to weather-resistant materials and other stylish updates, sofas and chairs meant for the outdoors could double as indoor furniture, according to Piasecki.

“Many of the fabrics and finishes look and feel like indoor fabrics and finishes, especially pieces from Bernhardt Furniture,” she says of the looks she saw at High Point. “There was a lot of white fabric that was super soft and the wood finishes were more driftwood in color, so they bridge the gap between gray and brown and blend beautifully with a very wide variety of exteriors.”

She adds that in many cases, the pieces don’t have visible wooden or all-weather wicker frames. Instead, they’re fully upholstered, giving even more of an appearance of indoor seating.

Bock sees the push for more livable spaces extending to porches, patios and yards, while interior designer Molly Singer — who recently opened her Molly Singer Home retail store in Blawnox — has seen an increase in demand for swimming pools and pool houses.

“Obviously Californians probably already take advantage of this, but in places like Pittsburgh where we have harsher seasons, people are pushing the boundaries of how much livable space they can get,” Bock says.

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In The Mood (For Color)

Expect color — particularly rich jewel tones — to be everywhere in 2021. “People want color again, which is amazing,” says Singer. “I have not been asked for a gray room in a long time.”

Singer says bold patterns, such as big floral prints and updated plaids, are on-trend; This includes wallpaper, which has been enjoying a comeback in the last several years.

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“The nice thing is the manufacturers have created these lines of vinyl wallpaper to use in kitchens and bathrooms that don’t look like vinyl,” Singer says. “I think those are really good options. It’s easier to clean and it just holds up better.”

Although Bock says the bright white Scandinavian aesthetic that has surged in popularity isn’t going anywhere, she’s also seeing a rise in dark, moody colors. The love for color also extends to the kitchen. Singer says she has been using lots of greens and blues recently, including for cabinetry.

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“I haven’t done one white kitchen,” she says.

On the other hand, you can’t beat a good neutral. Cyd Mello, creative director at Weisshouse furniture store in Shadyside, says she noted many sand and stone shades, as well as subtle creams and grays, for foundational pieces of furniture such as sofas and sectionals when she attended fall’s High Point Market.

Pops of colors came in the form of throw pillows or antique runners, she says.

“Color trends are also heading to autumnal spice tones with shades of browns, bronze, charr, ginger and greens,” she says.

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Seemingly little details can have a big effect on a room. For example, Bocks suggests enhancing plain walls and ceilings with trims and moldings, while Singer is loving the resurgence of trims — such as tassels on drapery and pillows and tape trim along the skirts of sofas and chairs — which she says adds a layer of customization to homes.

“It seems like really clean, streamlined trends are turning the corner toward more traditional applications,” she says. “I think it’s been fun, too. It’s not stuffy and old anymore. It’s contemporary and fresh.”

One of Mello’s favorite trends is the revival of Chinese antiques, which she says can work well in a contemporary setting.

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“An antique is the perfect piece to help a design open up and blend together a sleek modern design with something like a naturally dyed throw pillow or a handmade ceramic vase,” she says.

Organic shapes, such as curvy furniture, also are popular in upholstered furniture, Mello says. Besides stain-resistant performance fabrics, which work great for those with kids and dogs, Piasecki also sees luxurious velvet and thick, nubby materials reminiscent of the 1980s being big in 2021.

Yes, that’s right, the ‘80s.

Influenced by eclectic mega-designer Kelly Wearstler, Piasecki says there’s a resurgence of Reagan-era trends. But don’t panic, she’s not referring to the decade’s penchant for fussy floral prints or colonial-style knick-knacks. No, Piasecki is talking about bringing the glam.

“Think Halston,” she says. “Think Studio 54.”

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