The 2021 Interior Design Trends to Get Excited About!

January 11, 2021

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Trend forecasting is tricky business (for me) because the last thing I want is for anyone to not love their home because they were told something in it is out. So instead, look at these as more of my personal opinions, things I’m excited to see more in interiors and if you’ve got a few projects on your list this year, then see if these ideas excite you, too, and implement them!

Above all, you should LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE. Your home should reflect you and your personality and your family dynamic and the decorating and trends should only enhance how you feel at home. From my experience, my surroundings at home really impact my mood and energy, so I’m always tweaking.

Last January, I introduced you to the idea of a Modern Cottage style and that’s something that we’ve been adapting in our own house. Some of these trends fit into that and some don’t! Not every trend is for you (or me). But here’s what I predict we’ll be seeing a lot more in 2021.

My 2021 Design Trends Predictions

1. Rich Colors / Tone on Tone / Mid-tone paint colors 

As far as paint trends go, there will be a lot more color! Yay! You get to choose how this works in your world. For our home, we stick to muted tones in every color of the rainbow. Bring. it. on! Tone on Tone isn’t going anywhere, so if you want to match your walls to your sofa–do it. Baseboards and walls and trim and cabinets in all one color–chic! And I think there’s going to be a departure from HIGH contrast paint colors–the darkest dark on the swatch, to more softer mid-tones. ( via @thomsoncooke (above) and  @buildingwalnutfarm (below)

2. Traditional lighting + Tapered shades 

Ornate and traditional lighting is going to have a big moment in 2021. Think tapered shades on lamps. Patterned pleated shades. And pendants and chandeliers that feel historical. (via @pcdsackitchens)

3. Patterned Textiles

Lamp shades aren’t the only thing that’s going to pop up patterned. Patterned wall to wall carpet, upholstery, and patterned curtains over solid will be super popular! Mixing patterns is really fun and adds so much character to a space. (via @heidicaillierdesign)

via @studiolaloc

4. Smaller Scale Wallpaper

A few years ago, wallpaper started making a big comeback. And when I say big, I mean we also were using HUGE patterns. It was fun and fresh but this year, wallpaper is going back to its traditional roots and will be sporting a smaller scale. (via @home_stead)

(and @billycotton)

5. Mid to dark wood tones

Light wood has reigned supreme for a while now. From flooring to furniture–wood has been bleached to death. But now, we’re going to start seeing a lot more mid to dark wood tones, rich in color! (I’m going to say the same is true for leather furniture!) Feel free to mix these richer wood tones in with what you already have! Mixing wood tones is encouraged. Wood isn’t just for furniture or floors either, I predict we’ll be seeing a lot more wood tones in walls, ceilings and cabinetry!

(via @wildflowerhomeblog  (above) and @lisastatondesign below)

6. Patterns made with tile (instead of patterned tile)

From making intricate designs with penny or squared mosaics to a large checkerboard pattern to alternating directions or color of tile to make borders, etc–tile work is becoming even more of a work of art! While printed patterned tile is waning, using a variety of colors and tones of tile mixed to make tile interesting is trending!

(via @studiomcgee)

7. Rounded off corners and curves in cabinets, furniture, kitchen islands, countertops, etc. 

Remember a few years ago, when we all told our countertop guys–can you just made a squared off edge?! Well, I guess we can stop now. Curves are back and bigger than ever. From furniture (think a rounding sofa) to cabinets, countertops, even kitchen islands will look chic and fresh with a curved end.

( via @jeanstofferdesign )

8. A focus on millwork. Trim on Trim on Trim!

Millwork has never been out of style. It’s classic. But I’m seeing more and more and MORE of it and I love the warmth and character it adds to a space. Layer it up, or keep it simple with some box trim–you can’t go wrong.

(via @jyoungdesignhouse )

9. Mixed Materials (and metals) in a space.

kitchen via @landedinteriors

Mixed metals are always a good idea, but mixed materials are trending, too! Wood with stone and brick and marble all in one kitchen–go for it! Start adapting this idea in your home by trying to mix wood tones, with marble accents and some brass and natural stone (can be a vase or planter!) all in the same room.

10. Counter or Wall Slabs with a lot more veining. 

Bring. it. on. (via @astridreifer and @emdesigninc)

11. A free-standing look vs. everything built in.

This trend applies to tubs, bathroom vanities, kitchen islands and beyond! They will be more furniture inspired and less trimmed-all-the-way to the floor! (via @amberinteriors)

12. Contrast Trim and Cabinetry 

This trend is still going strong through 2021. White cabinetry and baseboards are being traded for something with more tone or color. So if you have and love your white walls–this trend is for you because it’s a great way to add character and color or contrast to your space! We’ve have lamp room gray on the trim in our bedroom and accessible beige throughout the rest of our home. Our playroom cabinets are painted a golden yellow and our kitchen cabinets and sage green! Baseboards are a great place to start adding some depth to your spaces.

@via @brettandkara)



These are my predictions for 2021, and maybe a little preview of what’s to come around here? Definitely! But in the end, you gotta do what YOU love. And if you love it–it’s in style. Any trends you’re really pumped about?!



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What do you think?

  1. Mary says:

    Oh my…how are you keeping your feet on the ground? To be working with Jean Stoffer must be a dream come true. Her work is incredible, your ideas are beyond so I just cannot wait to see what you two come up with. Soooo excited.

  2. Hello I want to first congratulate your work, we love successes even more ..

  3. Katie says:

    What a thoughtful, gorgeous post! I love your photo choices and thought process behind these predictions. Lovely. (And I’m obsessed with the marble in so many of these photos…)

  4. Jordan says:

    Can you talk more about mixing wood tones? Specifically wood floors and stained wood cabinetry? I see a lot of light wood floors and stained cabinetry that almost matches. How do you pick a complimentary wood tone without matching? Good combos?

  5. Josh says:

    I’m really liking the “blast from the past” embracement in all spaces. No longer do you see all new, all modern, all traditional spaces. Everything is a mix. It’s comfy, cozy, and well curated over time. The best part is seeing those awful gray on gray rooms disappear. They had no life!

  6. Julie Rossman says:

    Some of those images remind me of eras past. Not trends, but hangovers from a different decade. So don’t call them trends, just love them for what they are! I think our environment shapes a lot of how we decorate and live. I wear all black in the PNW winter, but didn’t take any black clothes with me on our winter trip to the AZ desert. All of those images look so cozy and I embrace them all!

  7. Stefanie Mead says:

    Very interesting article. The bold contrast of dark and light is a refreshing change from the gray on gray, beige on beige boring canvas. I reside in Florida and have never embraced the preconceived notion of northern transplants that we all love pastels. My home is rich in colors of land, sea and sky which work to create an inspiring background for my creative processes. I say avoid the trends and explore the vivid, the peaceful, the exciting colors that are part of us all. And if gray on gray is part of that equation than embrace it.

  8. Kristy says:

    These trends feel cozy, lived in and loved to me.

  9. Vicki says:

    We have been seriously thinking of moving to Maine and buying a historical home. Some of these trends would bring new life to a tired space and some would tuck right into what is already there and some would add some pazazz! The only thing that I am not loving is the heavily patterned stone. I think one would grow tired of the busyness of the patterns very quickly. Everything else… I love. I love how you have used some of these trends in your own Modern Cottage home.

  10. Diana says:

    I do not see trend here. Everything looks so dated. #9 has too much going on and their not a cohesive blend. At first glance #7 looks like an old school gym shower stall. There definitely will be change since covid which might be trending to comfort and maybe calming colors since the home will also be the workplace for some, interchangeable pops of color in accessories easily changed out for a quick refresh of energy but these look tired.

    • Diana says:

      Sorry. I just read my comment and I did not mean to sound harsh you don’t have to print it I see you have followers that love your work, I was just looking for latest trends that would peak my interest and your pictures look so, not new, the colors the styles, some did not even convey what you were writing. My apologies.

  11. Christina says:

    Excited about interior design trend #16, continuing the discussion around racial injustice and inequity in our society. Really looking for you to feature more designers and creators of color this year. xox

    • Kristin says:

      I would love that also! As for the design trends, I’m just getting the light woods and non-bright colors that I’ve wanted. So I may not be trendy but I do think I’ll be loving my home. ????

  12. Molly says:

    Loved everything

  13. Eileen says:

    What a wonderful informational site. Thank you.

  14. M.W. says:

    You never cease to amaze me on your blog!! I ALWAYS read it through my love letter or a swipe up. It is just so good. I love how you dive into the trend, the why, and where us came from if you will. Love how things come and go and some are timeless! Also, thanks for always encouraging your readers to love your home no matter if it is “trendy” or not, but to love it because it is our home and we love it.

  15. Alison R says:

    Love all of these. We live in a historic home (here in IF on 11th Street!), and so many of these are true classic character. We have tile patterns, warm wood, lots of curves and millwork. We left a new build to come to our one of a kind gem, and I love that people are going back to loving these classic looks that can easily be brought to new life… just like all of the historic houses down here. PS, I was in an interview with my stake president the other day and told him I was an interior designer, and he said, “Oh, do you know the blog ChrisLovesJulia? That’s my daughter!” ???? He was so proud. ❤️

  16. Emilie says:

    Reeeally into all of these – especially the freestanding everything! There are so many more options to work with when build ins can be avoided :) exciiiiiting! Thanks so much for the round up. I am just so SO glad the years of bland white everything are safely behind us, and patterns/colours/COMPLEXITY and moodiness are back.

  17. Sarah says:

    I want to say thank you so much – because of you I learned to love my builder house. And now maybe I can learn to love these espresso-colored kitchen cabinets we picked out in 2011 that I’ve hated ever since. :)

    • Keva says:

      Awww, I love my dark colored kitchen and we built our home in 2018 and was ecstatic when they were installed. Why didn’t you like yours?

  18. Kamber says:

    I’ve recognized and loved some of these same trends because many of them actually feel like we’re going back to the classic charm that shouldn’t ever feel dated! With that being said, I wasn’t loving the home I’m in because it’s very contemporary. I’m finding ways to mix that with classic historical charm and I must say… it’s BEAUTIFUL!! I can not wait to see what’s next for you all and your beautiful home!

  19. Larissa says:

    I see a whole lot of “grand-millennial” style and I’m here for it!

  20. angela says:

    I’m living for #7! When we had our kitchen done in 2017, a mistake was made and the countertops have rounded corners. I was devastated! However, since the profile is still square and we received a huge refund (over 60% of what we paid) I decided to live with it. It doesn’t bother me at all now and this makes me feel even better about it!

  21. Sarah says:

    I totally agree with all your predictions and I am HERE FOR ALL OF THEM! I usually feel bleh about trends, but this year I’m feeling like everyone is ready for something fresh and it’s bringing out some really beautiful and interesting designs. It’s like we’re all collectively ready to move on to a new era, and I love that. Let’s go!

  22. Jeanne says:

    Such beautiful trends and pictures to share inspiration!! I’m loving all the millwork and mid to dark wood tones! Thank you for sharing, always love to hear your point of view!! ❤️

  23. Leah says:

    Color! I have always kept it but happy to see all the tone on tone!

  24. Victoria says:

    Give me all of the pattern on pattern on pattern… on pattern… on pattern!

  25. Gwen says:

    Oh man that Jean Stoffer wood kitchen is what I want for yours! Very excited to see the updates on that :)

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We believe we should all love where we live.

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