The 8 interior design trends that defined 2021


Let’s face it: 2021 was a journey. We started the year deep in the pandemic and by the fall we were fully immunized and back in action at High Point. Now, with the return of COVID cases, we are closing the year with a series of canceled events and a third round of vaccines.

It was a mad rush, and the trends were just as unruly. While things seem far from normal, the designs that have reigned supreme over the past four seasons prove that despite all the heartache, fear, and confusion, we can still find a way to have a little fun. From fuzzy curls to cobalt blue decor accents, here are eight looks that have provided us with endless inspiration throughout 2021.


Fluffy fabrics were everywhere, and we mean everywhere, in 2021. An old school classic that continues to stand the test of time, nubby wool adds a touch of texture and whimsy to a space. No doubt, you have used a sheep or two in a project this season, joining the ranks of designers. Jean and Christine Gachot, Amber lewis and Jenelle loves.


The clean, mid-century-inspired lines that dominated the market before the pandemic have been usurped by rolling, amorphous silhouettes this year. Although the trend for curved furniture dates back to the 1950s (when Vladimir kagan debuted with its iconic Serpentine sofa), it reappeared in 2021 as a curvaceous alternative to crisp geometric shapes, as shown in projects by Tom lawrence-levy Natural Aesthetics, Stefani Stein, and Brittany Hakimfar by Far Studio.


After a particularly stormy year, designers have focused their attention on a bluer sky to come. Sky blue fabrics and decor pieces were more popular than ever – Etsy even declared the hue its color of the year 2021 – as shown in projects by Keita Turner, Lauren Lowe by Lauren Elaine Interiors, and Alexa hampton.


After a year of hiding at home, 2021 has found us eager to find new ways to bring the great outdoors indoors. Designers Ariel Okin, Jenny norris, and Frank Architecture Kelly Morrison, Kate Allen and Kristen link provided customers with a touch of nature by using underwater wallpaper, a fixture mimicking the natural folds of flowers and mushroom pendant lights.


Exuberant, rippling shapes and patterns were all the rage last year, and it’s no surprise. After a year and a half of being on our best behavior, the designers including Kelly wearstler, Lauren Lerner of Living with Lolo, and Young Huh relied on wavy silhouettes, wavy prints and free-spirited paint-splash patterns to soften up their clients’ spaces.


Bold and beautiful, burl veneers have made a big comeback this year. Trendy in 1920s art deco designs as well as 1930s Hollywood Regency-style spaces, furniture and decor comprised of burl wood (a unique tree growth in which the grain grew so distorted) reached their peak in the 1970s and are now appearing in contemporary interiors designed by figures like Abbot Fenimore Studio Ten 25, Mimi Meacham by Marian Louise Designs, and Lisa patton and Liz dauwe by Studio White Interiors.


Slightly wavy and looking a lot like arches, scallop designs were popular in the 1920s art deco movement and currently offer designers a hint of geometric drama that still reads as traditional. Liked by Emily Jun Spanos, Jennifer hunter, and Isabelle Ladd, scalloped edges and patterns have made playful cameos in a range of sophisticated projects this year.


Sleek yet energetic, electric blue decor pieces have appeared in a host of brightly colored interiors this year. Although integrating the jewel tone into a room may seem difficult, designers love Caitlin murray black lacquer design, Chad Graci and Sarah stacey proven that when used in small doses, cobalt accents can invigorate a neutral palette without dominating the decor.

Home Page Photo: A curvaceous sofa completes this room by Nina Magon Studio | Courtesy of Nina Magon Studio