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What Are the Top Trends in Residential Design Right Now?

2020 was a year spent mostly at home. For some, that meant taking on new home improvement projects, rearranging furniture, and adding a new coat of paint to the walls. Now that it is 2021, the effects of staying at home for a year are coming to light through new residential design trends. Though residential design trends are constantly changing, 2020 has us focused on some main themes: building a functional space and creating a sense of serenity and happiness amidst a rather chaotic world. Our SHYFT design experts give their two cents on some of the top residential design trends we have seen and will continue to see throughout 2021.

Extra Private Space for Working from Home

This trend might be obvious, but the most common. As most of us started working from home in March of 2020 we were forced to rethink the meaning of a home office. One of our Senior Interior Designers, Beth Benzenberg, states “Since many more people have had the experience of working from home over the past year, along with their entire families, those able to purchase homes are looking for extra private space to work. In the past, the workspace may have been near a kitchen or in a mudroom, but with school-aged kids or college students attending school at home, and working from home becoming more regular, more people are seeking private spaces with a door that can shut out distractions.” Since many are spending 8+ hours in these spaces, it is also important to make sure they are designed with comfortability and creativity in mind. Ergonomic chairs, natural light from a window, stylish desk lights, and fun artwork are great ways to achieve an ideal private office space.

It's Easy Being Green

Green home décor is everywhere right now and for a good reason. It is very soothing and is a way to add a pop of color to your home but in a very subtle way. “In the past, people who wanted to contrast with light grey or white walls have used dark grey, black, or navy blue. Over the past couple of years or so, dark green has made a comeback as a rich comforting neutral. I’ve seen it on kitchen cabinets, vanities, walls, fireplaces, exteriors. It’s amazing!”, says Benzenberg. Since green is a mix of blue and yellow colors, it works well with both cool and warm color palettes, creating the ultimate cozy space.

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Options for Metal Colors

Cabinet hardware, door hardware, lighting, bathroom fixtures, faucets, oh my! Benzenberg states “Previously, brushed nickel ruled the world of metal finishes for a long time, scrubbing away memories of polished brass. Many manufacturers are now making their fixtures in a selection of finishes, and it is not uncommon to see a little bit of mixing within the home. My personal favorites right now are matte black and brushed or antique brass, but chrome and rose gold are also growing in popularity.” Many people think that matching your finishes is the best way to coordinate your home or kitchen, but in reality, this often creates a monochromatic and dated look. The moral of the story is: don’t be afraid to mix cool and warm tones!

Wallpaper Makes a Comeback

Wallpaper has been on the up-and-up in recent years, but it’s made a full comeback for 2021 in residential design. Wallpaper is a great way to create a statement wall or add a pop of colorful backing for cabinets or shelving. We are even seeing wallpaper being used on ceilings to add dimension and excitement to a room. We love wallpaper, in particular peel-and-stick wallpaper, because it can be a great temporary choice for

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renters or even homeowners who change their taste often. It is a low-commitment way to upgrade your living space. Morgan Cook, a Project Designer with plenty of residential design experience at SHYFT says, “Whether it be a statement plaid in a powder room or a subtly textured grasscloth in a library, wallpaper is a great way to take a space to the next level and add a dose of the homeowners’ unique personalities to their home. The popularity of the trend is enhanced, no doubt, by its prevalence in decorating and DIY shows together with the strides it’s made in terms of ease of application (and removal). With the fame of wallpaper and wallcoverings continuing to grow it’s become increasingly more accessible to the homeowner. So much so, that it can now be found at your local hardware or big-box stores.”

All About the Outdoors

Who’s ready to take 2021 outside? We are! After spending a year indoors, people are ready to invest in their outdoor space. It doesn’t matter whether you’re working with a small balcony, a sprawling backyard, or something in between. Your space could probably benefit from a few upgrades, and since those changes might result in you logging a few more hours outdoors, you could probably benefit from those upgrades, too. Outdoor furniture has gotten so great over the years that people are increasingly interested in using outdoor furniture inside for a nice transition from indoor to outdoor. You’ll see this trend in screened-in porches, garden rooms, or even partially covered yards. Another trend that is blowing up within the outdoor industry is the use of natural materials - terracotta, bamboo, and ratan to name a few. These materials are a great way to dress up and texturize your outdoor space. When it comes to small outdoor spaces like side yards and balconies, it’s important to ensure they are still functional. As lots get smaller, buildings get taller, and populations expand, many homes don’t have the large yards we are all used to. Simple additions like a bistro table and chairs, vertical gardens, potted plants are ways to maximize minimal outdoor space.

Totally Tile

Incorporating tile into the design of a home is a stylish way to breathe life into the space. With so many shapes, colors, prints, and patterns to choose from, the possibilities are infinite! This year, we’ve seen a lot of hexagon tiles. Hexagons are a great alternative to the traditional rectangle and subway styles we see used most often. With hexagons, you can even create a unique floor design!

Another trend we are seeing, especially in bathrooms, is a modern take on subway tiles by incorporating a unique layout using geometric shapes (and yes, you can mix and match) like the ones we used below in our Columbus, Ohio N. 21st Street flip.

Noteworthy Neutrals

“More and more we’re seeing neutrals set the scene for the interiors of residential homes”, states Cook. “Specifically in the architectural features, neutral tones and colors seem to be taking over, providing a pleasing backdrop for more colorful accents in furniture, cabinetry, and accessories. No fear, color hasn’t completely disappeared! But rather than bold and saturated hues flooding the walls of a guest bedroom, for example, muted and subdued tones take their place. Additionally, neutrals allow for a wider range of design styles and preferences. These colors tend to age well as they’re not typically as trendy as others and can transition seamlessly through the years, adapting to changes in seasons, trends, style tastes, etc. Therefore, they require fewer changes over time as personal style morphs and changes. Additionally, when buying or selling a home, it is often much easier for a potential buyer to envision themselves in a space with a more neutral palette throughout.”

Accenting with Timepieces

Over the last couple of years, a noticeably growing trend is the intermingling of design styles by incorporating timepieces into the home, eliminating any thought that a home has to be a single style to be cohesive and beautiful. Cooks says that “When emphasized within a mix of trendy and contemporary, these pieces can provide an eclectic flare while expressing individual personality. A pair of burnished brass antique sconces flanking a clean-lined contemporary mirror; antique landscape scenes in ornate metal frames composed within minimalist graphics in a gallery wall; or a well-worn Persian rug under comfortably modern living room furniture. What makes this trend unique and special, is that it not only impacts the home’s aesthetic but also, its story. This is a beautiful way to pay homage to family heritage or traditions with that hand-carved wood console table passed down through generations or uncovering and polishing those original-to-the-home hardwood floors, or an ode to a past trip abroad with a favorite renaissance-style sculpture or collection of books.”

Final Thoughts

Just as people have to change with the times, so do our homes. We must remember they are places of both learning and living, performance and play, and form and function. As we enter a new era in which homes need to be both luxurious, peaceful havens and productive, functional workspaces, designing within this new normal is an opportunity for us to build the perfect balance – in our homes and in our lives.


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