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Home design trends to embrace this year

2020 completely altered the way we live and how we use our homes. The impact of all of this change will influence the home design trends of 2021. From working-from-home to pet-friendly finishes, here are 12 of the home design trends you can expect to see this year.

Working from home

One of the most significant changes for many this year was the transition from working in an office to working from home. For those without the luxury of a separate room for an office at home, this was a challenge. But it’s incredible how so many have adapted. So much so that working from home is a trend that is here to stay.
Carving out designated spaces to work comfortably and productively is one of the home design trends that will continue into 2021. When it comes to the decor of our home working spaces, more consideration will be given to lighting and the decor of our walls – especially our backdrop as, like it or not, video conferencing and virtual meetings will continue into the new year.

Gardens/outdoor living

Spending time in our gardens and outdoor spaces was one of the few pleasures we could indulge in over the spring and summer months. This time spent outdoors sparked a rise in garden transformation projects.
Houzz, the online platform for home design and renovation reported an increase in searches for things like ‘summerhouses’, ‘firepits’, ‘hot tubs’ and ‘outdoor kitchens’ this year. Several of the large outdoor furniture and garden retailers around the country reported large increases in sales of outdoor heaters, proving that gardens are not just for the summer months, even in Ireland. 
This trend for enhancing outdoor spaces is another one of the home design trends that will continue into 2021, with demand predicted for covered outdoor spaces, outdoor kitchen areas, and spaces to entertain and dine outdoors. 

Working form home

Pets/pet friendly

Adoptions and sales of cats and dogs soared this year. Many people who would have been out at work for most of the day found themselves at home, so we’re able to look after a pet. Pets also provided much-needed company for those isolated by the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. 
Pet-friendly materials for flooring and upholstery will be a consideration for more people in 2021. Boot rooms or mudrooms will also become more popular as they provide additional storage for outdoor boots, shoes and coats as well as creating space to store pet food, beds and other pet-related items.


Lockdown at home led to many looking to make their homes more comfortable. Comfort has trumped aesthetics as the number-one priority when choosing furniture is 2020. Sales of throws and other comforting accessories increased this year and will continue to be popular in 2021. 
Making our homes more comfortable also means ensuring it is warm and free from draughts. Projects like replacing windows and upgrading insulation and heating systems will be popular in the new year. Improving our homes energy efficiency is another trend that will continue in 2021.

Bathroom Design Taps

Bathroom revamps

Before lockdown, the focus when renovating was in shared areas of the homes like the kitchen and living spaces. Now, however, renovations have become much more personal. We saw an increase in small projects this year, like en-suite or bathroom refurbs, which offered a massive boost to our clients’ enjoyment of their home. 
Bathrooms, en-suites and guest WC’s are also rooms where we saw people being a little bit braver with their design choices. They chose colourful tiles, bold wallpapers and special finishes for brassware like brass, bronze and black. This trend of tackling smaller projects which yield significant results will continue into 2021. 

Working out at home

With gyms and personal training cancelled in March, many people took to exercising at home and this is another trend that will continue into the new year. Demand for garden rooms for workout spaces and home offices spiked this year and this will continue into the New Year.
Requests for attic and garage conversions also rose in 2020 with clients looking to create dual-purpose rooms for working and exercising at home. These kinds of projects will continue into the new year, and we expect to see more novel solutions for exercise equipment that fits seamlessly and elegantly into interiors. 

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A lack of access to tradespeople and more time on our hands saw a rise in DIY projects in 2020. Be it a painting project, building a treehouse for the kids, wallpapering a bedroom or something more adventurous like laying a patio, people will be more likely to tackle a home improvement project themselves in 2021.

Kitchens – cooking and dining 

The kitchen has always been one of the busiest rooms in any home, and it’s gotten even more use this year. With restaurants, cafes and gastro pubs closed, we spent a lot more time cooking and entertaining in our kitchens. It’s no surprise then that this was one of the most popular home renovation projects in 2020 and the demand for new kitchens will continue into the new year. 
Functionality and choice of quality appliances will dominate kitchen design in 2021. Clean lines and smart storage will also be popular with larder and pantry cupboards becoming a must-have feature. When it comes to the choice of finishes, durability and ease of maintenance will be critical with homeowners being much more hygiene conscious due to the pandemic. Copper finishes and fixtures will also also be popular in the new year because of their antimicrobial properties.

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WiFi – smart homes

Infrared and sensor-controlled switches and taps will become more common in our homes in 2021. Up until the Covid outbreak, this was technology associated with commercial spaces. Now, however, touch-free technology is likely to replace things like remote controls and other household appliances which tend to be germ hotspots. 
Voice recognition devices like Google Home and Alexa, which allow you to operate appliances through voice command, will continue to be popular in the new year.

Sustainability – antiques

The amplified chorus of birdsong and the noticeably cleaner air were benefits of the global lockdown – but were also stark reminders of the effect our way of life has been having on the planet. 
This awakened environmental awareness led to a desire to make more sustainable choices, especially when it comes to our homes and how we furnish them this year. There has been a growing interest in the high-end second hand, and antique furniture since March and this is a trend that we will see into 2021.

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Nature-inspired palettes will dominate 2021. Clean fresh and bright interiors will be popular for home interiors. The trend of connecting more with nature will continue into the new year and warm earth tones, like burnt umber, terracotta and sandy hues combined with soft greens like sage, pine and turquoise will all be perfect choices for 2021.

House plants

Pets were not the only addition to many households in 2020. There was also a huge increase in the number of ‘plant parents’ this year. House plants are an excellent way to bring a little bit of nature into a home. Not only do they look lovely, but they have a wealth of health benefits both mental and physical, making them the ideal antidote to the stress of being cooped up indoors, especially for those without outdoor spaces in their homes. This trend of adding indoor foliage to our homes is something that will continue well into 2021. House plants are easy to care for; they are also natural air purifiers and are proven to reduce stress. 

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Denise O'Connor

Author Denise O'Connor

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