Embracing Trends in Design: 2021 Edition

January 09, 2021
Pantone COlour of the Year 2021

With the much awaited end of 2020, rather than mulling over the past we decided to look ahead into the future and see what another year into this new decade has to offer to the design industry. The very first step into the 20s was marked with unprecedented challenges that led us to rethink our life as we know it. People were compelled to bring about lifestyle changes with the increased number of hours spent locked inside homes. With this compulsion came changes to the way these homes were organised, both in terms of their functionality and aesthetic. In order to create a relaxing environment, people began decluttering, setting up home offices, and reorganising living spaces into multipurpose rooms. It also took a pandemic, closed borders and reduced imports to highlight the need for designers to go local and support the local arts and crafts community. The following up and coming design trends of 2020-21 are most likely here to stay and we cannot wait to explore them:

1. Embracing Pantone Colour of the Year:

A discussion on design trends is simply impossible without mentioning Pantone’s colour of the year. In an almost ritualistic manner, they set the tone for the year to come, providing a base for some of the trends that follow. Moving on from the Classic Blue that reflected the mood of 2020 and sought to instil a sense of calm and connection, Pantone’s colours for 2021 are the yellow Illuminating and Ultimate Gray. With these two colours, they say, “the aim is to send across a message of happiness supported by fortitude; the combination of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is aspirational and gives us hope. We need to feel that everything is going to get brighter – this is essential to the human spirit”

In terms of how the colours will be represented in interiors, while they might be contrasting in nature, they create a certain balance and add another dimension to the space. Considering the brightness of the colour Illuminating, we wouldn’t imagine it being used to paint the entirety of a room, but it might be added as a feature wall. While choosing colours for a space, a crucial factor to take into account is the overall impact created by the light reflecting off the coloured surface. This particular colour might be a popular choice in cold or gloomy areas, creating a sense of warmth and brightness, which people in warmer places would generally not prefer. Similarly, the Ultimate Grey could make a space overwhelmingly dull and gloomy if used to cover an entire room. However, reflecting the increasing popularity of the industrial interior style, it would be a great addition in the form of a feature wall. Predominantly, we imagine these colours being used as accents in the room. For instance, throw pillows, blankets and other forms of textile additions. Individuals with an affinity for a more quirky and bright style could consider adding chairs in the Illumination colour to spruce up the space. An interesting area to add the illuminating colour could be the kitchen, especially for people who like bright and chirpy environments. Kitchenware and other such objects in either of the two colours would work well and illuminating in the kitchen could add a pop of colour to an otherwise mundane space.

2. Embracing Japandi Design Style

Japandi design by finnish design shop

An amalgamation of Japanese and Scandinavian design trends, this style has been gaining recent prominence. Given the sense of calm that people are seeking in their surroundings, the muted tones and simplicity of Japanese and Scandinavian design are becoming increasingly popular in creating a stress-free environment. With an increased amount of time spent indoors and an abundance of time on one’s hands, people took to decluttering during the pandemic, with a preference for clean minimalist spaces. With minimalism being a popular trend for the past few years, there has been a rise in popularity of the Scandinavian design due to its clean and functional nature. Similarly, the Japanese interior style is also mostly minimal due to their shortage of space and a consequent tendency to design to fulfil needs and necessities. When thinking of minimalism, we mostly envision whites and greys. With Japandi style this is met by wood and is a perfect balance to add warmth to an otherwise white room. If you like a clean and sleek look, yet want to have natural elements this style is for you. 

The Japanese design also embodies the increasing desire to embrace nature and sustainability in one's interiors and decor with its use of bamboo and light wood. Likely born out of an increased awareness of the need for environmentally conscious behaviours, this style gives great importance to durable hand made furniture and skilled craftsmanship.

3. Embracing Nature

Wicker furniture and plant set up by Freedom tree

With an increase in environmental consciousness, sustainable / organic and locally sourced materials are becoming increasingly popular in interior and home decor, particularly due to the youth of today being drawn towards them. This shift is not just limited to the sourcing of organic materials, but also extends to nature inspired designs for furniture and decor items. There has been an increase in the use of materials such as cane webbing, straw, cork, plywood and bamboo. People also prefer to have more and more house plants, perhaps in an attempt to add an element of the outdoors into their homes. Particularly favoured by individuals with a minimalist or bohemian style, not only are such products kinder towards the environment, they are also aesthetically pleasing and add some much needed textures and colours to otherwise empty spaces.

4.  Embracing the Comeback of the Grand-millennial Aesthetic (Maybe?)

Grand-millennial aesthetic by Lynchburg Living

According to the 2021 Modsy Trend Report, people in 2020 were seen resorting to more traditional styles of decor, perhaps seeking comfort in the familiar, something likely to develop in the coming years as well. The increase in popularity of this aesthetic sense could be attributed to its focus on individuality and the freedom to add a ‘pop of personality’ to one’s space. It could be seen as an homage to the comfort one felt in older homes (grandparents’ houses, in the context of the western world and houses in the early 1900s, in the context of the Indian subcontinent). Moving away from the traditional norms of maximalist and minimalist design, this trend incorporates both bold and busy patterns, as well as a limited colour palette. We could see it as a “major throwback” to when interiors were abound in floral wallpapers as well as bright coloured furniture. For people who are not a fan of overwhelmingly floral prints or bright colours, certain timeless pieces from this style, such as mirrors, clocks and lighting can be incorporated to amp up a space. A modern take on a traditional style embodies the millennial essence, allowing greater freedom for personal creative expression. 

5. Embracing Multipurpose Rooms 

2020 was all about staying in rather than going out and led people to utilise their home like never before. With people being locked indoors, spaces had to transform into home offices, gyms, play areas and even classrooms, in addition to being a common living space. People took to redecorating and restyling their spaces to incorporate their various needs. As a consequence, a common trend surfacing this year is that of multipurpose rooms, equipped to accommodate those needs. A lot of people are considering ways to better use their guest rooms, living rooms and are looking to add elements that make spaces easily transferable to serve several purposes. While it’s easy to just throw in a yoga mat or a desk, with people spending an increasing amount of time here they prefer to have a clean and appropriately designed space. Temporary room dividers are also gaining prominence for the same purpose, allowing the room to be used in several ways at once. 

Nursery-cum-office by pottery barn kids

2020 definitely gave everyone a moment to reconsider, rejuvenate and appreciate and has left a lasting impact on not just people but also their homes.

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