2021 interior design trends

What interior designers REALLY think about the 2021 design trends

Trends... we have a bit of a love-hate relationship with them here at MBR! We're strong believers that a home should reflect your personality, not your Instagram feed! We love uncovering what colours and styles excite our customers regardless of whether it’s on the ‘hot list’ or not.

However....they can be wonderful inspiration and can really open our eyes to new ideas and products. What’s more - they provide a great debate in the office!

So this year, we’re keeping things democratic and handing the mic over to our wonderful community of 40 highly experienced interior designers to cast their vote. We presented them with the top 11 trends currently making a buzz and quizzed them on which are making their hearts sing and which they’d happily live without in 2021!

We’ve also taken a closer look at each trend and shared their expert tips on each style to give you plenty of inspiration to recreate it in your home.

So without further preamble, the results are in….

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1. Japandi

Image credit: Green & Mustard

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And the winner is....Japandi! This trend has been building momentum in the last few years and 2021 is expected to be it's year to truly shine. So much so that our designers have put it in the top spot as the trend their most excited to work on next year.

So what actually is Japandi you might ask? This design trend is an exciting hybrid of traditional Japanese sleek minimalism and Scandinavian clean lines. 

It's beauty is in the blending of the polished and richer palettes of Japanese design with the more rustic and neutral Scandi movement. 

"These designs are restful and peaceful after a crazy 2020!" says Victoria explaining why Japandi is having it's moment. To get the look Giverny suggests; "Think watercolours, woody tones, paper cut outs, calm clean colours with elements of Japanese floral designs."

 

2. Earthy toned schemes

Portrait blog image (48)Image credit: Carter Kay Interiors

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Beige is back! Well, sort of. Rosie explains how the earthy neutral palette has gained momentum this year: "With us spending more time at home, having that connection with nature is even more vital. Using these grounded earthy tones and incorporating plants into your scheme will help create a warm and embracing space." Something we could all do with!

But before you dust off those old magnolia paint tins, our designers have some advice to share on how to modernise this colour scheme for 2021:

Giverny: "To perfect this look layer different tones, lime wash walls and importantly - add plenty of  texture".

Olivia warns: "Contrast the ceiling to the walls with muted, earthy tones....a white ceiling just wouldn't work here."

 

3. Sustainable sourcing

Image credit: Decorilla

Sourcing sustainably has always been a factor at MBR and so we're really excited to see that it's building momentum and popularity throughout the industry. We love that our clients are more regularly asking us to source sustainable materials in their designs. 

"With more eyes on the needs of our planet we are thankfully seeing more options to source sustainably. We've always loved an upcycled option and buying quality pieces to last but now we're seeing fab pieces made from recycled materials and more conscientious manufacturing too!" says Claire

"Using more natural materials that are sustainable and will last a long time is crucial. It's worth investing in those main items to ensure they stand the test of time and reduce our impact on the earth" adds Rosie.

4. Dramatic dark walls

Portrait blog image (43)Image credit: Graham Atkins-Hughes & Abigail Ahearn

Another firm favourite amongst the MBR design team are dark bold walls. We've been incorporating them in many a design so it's great to see this trend is still strong in 2021. 

Milena: "As there is more demand for broken spaces and separate snugs, these represent the perfect option to introduce a favourite bold colour. Not just on the walls but also on the ceiling for a full wrap-up".

Giverny: "I love a bold wall! Explore your options using samples and don't just stick to one wall. A small room can actually feel bigger painted in a darker colour. Space planning will also be key to this trend."

 5. Broken plan living

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Image credit: Jo Cowen Architects 

Falling just short of the top four this year is broken plan living. But our designers had plenty to say on this trend. "Making the most of your space has never been so important - it has also never looked so good!" noted Claire

Ria: "This is definitely a Corona led trend and has seen us moving from wanting open plan living everywhere to clawing back some privacy and to be able to separate work from home."

In a recent blog post we predicted that we would see a lot more broken plan layouts in post-lockdown homes. In this new era we predict that screens, pocket doors, glass walls and modular walls will become more commonplace within existing open plan layouts.

"My favourite way to achieve the broken plan living is through pocket doors." Says Rosie, "This allows for privacy but also tucks away neatly and opens up the space when not needed."

Oliva also suggests using different paint colours within an open plan space to clearly zone different areas.

6. Curvaceous furniture

Landscape blog image (52)Image credit: Barker & Stonehouse

Rounded shapes have become increasingly popular lately in many areas of the home as a contrast to the straight lines of Mid-century design. "A revisit to classic Art Deco pieces is very in demand and it will continue next year. It is one of the best way to merge modern design within a period property, for example." says Milena. 

Here are some more tips from our designers to perfect the trend in your home:

Giverny: "Make the piece of curved furniture the feature these pieces sit within a room not pushed up against a wall."

Lucy: "I maybe wouldn't go fully curvaceous throughout a whole room design but the odd feature piece would look great to mix it up a bit!"

7. 80’s modern

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One of the most divisive trends amongst our designers! "Not my personal favourite style but would be quite fun to design for someone else!" Lucy, our Head of Design very diplomatically puts it! 

Let's face it - the 80's is a bit of a running joke when it comes to fashion and interiors. The word 'gaudy' might spring to mind before 'glam'!

But this new modern take on the era pulls all the best bits and has a great deal to offer. I for one can't wait to see our designers take on the challenge in 2021.

To nail this trend, designer Giverny advises, "Bold bright neons, fun colour pops throughout with coloured upholstery bold artworks". 

 

8. Bold pops of colour

Image credit: Emily Henderson

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"A good compromise when living with a partner with an opposing taste! He's very minimal, I am not!" jokes Gemma. 

"I love to add pops of colour in many ways depending on the client. If they are bold enough to go for a bright coloured sofa than fab but you can only go as far as you client is comfortable with." says Lucy, our Head of Design.

For a more cautious take on the trend she suggests: "Try an accent coloured occasional chair paired with a neutral sofa but with colour pops added through cushions. Another way to add bold pops of colour is through artwork or plants". 

 

9. Arts and Crafts

Image credit: Little Greene

Not quite in the bottom two but not lighting fires in any hearts of our designers either is the comeback of the Arts & Crafts style.

Our Instagram feeds in 2020 have been filled with lockdown hobbies and DIY projects.  A result of that is a renewed appreciation for the value of handmade and decorative styles.

Arts & Crafts is a style that celebrates nature, nostalgia and quality craftsmanship. To get the look in your home Giverny suggests: "Source locally, source carefully and be prepared to pay for additional quality!"

 

10. Grandmillenial (Granny chic)

Landscape blog image (48) Image credit: @amalkapeninteriors

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Sadly, at the bottom of the bunch this year comes the divisive Grandmillenial trend, aka: 'Granny chic'. It's a modern (millennial) take on traditional styles commonly seen in your Granny's home.

In complete contrast to greys and sleek, contemporary lines more popular of late, this trend embraces colour, pattern and above all - personality.

Overwhelmingly, our designers warn caution with this trend in making sure you don't cross a very fine line: "This trend works best with authenticity - trust in mixing those pieces you fall in love with and you will get a fabulous you finish" says Claire.

Ria agrees: "You can run a fine line between 'granified' and 'granny chic". 

11. Cottagecore

Portrait blog image (44)Image credit: @hillhousevintage

Sitting at the bottom this year is Cottagecore! For those new to the style - think 'Little House on the Prairie' but with Hunters. This style is romantic, nostalgic with a little touch of rustic.

There's a undeniable appreciation for the style and the feel it creates - "Cottagecore is a beautiful trend as it is full of texture, which helps creates a lovely cosy and warm space." says Rosie.

However there's an overwhelming sense that it's a bit too 'safe' and that it doesn't work for everyone: "This style is quite specific to style of property and a safe design style." notes Olivia. 

 

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