If there’s one thing we’ve realised in lockdown, it’s that we just can’t stop primping our homes. Whether you’ve hung a load of old prints that were gathering dust or finally painted your stairs, chances are you’ve made some kind of change to your immediate surroundings during the pandemic.
With lockdown restrictions slowly easing and life edging its way back to normal, what do interiors experts predict will be on the horizon for the nation’s homes this year? Well, expect lots of colour – particularly moody blues and deep forest greens – as well as more rustic vibes in the form of cottage-inspired bathrooms and a renewed interest in upcycling old bits of furniture.
1. Cottagecore your bathroom
Traditional, country-style interiors have grown in popularity over the past year as everyone stayed home, says Lauren Foulds, product manager at Heritage Bathrooms. This year sees the trend extend to the bathroom, too. Think rustic, homely and charming.
To get the look in your bathroom, pair ditsy floral patterns with wooden floors and wall panelling. If you have room, you can even make a traditional claw-foot cast iron bath the centrepiece of your design, says Foulds. We love the contrast of old and new with vintage-style wall lights, mirrors and prints mixed in with modern, black-framed plant stands and woven baskets.
2. Wave goodbye to white ceilings
Painting ceilings a complementary colour “is a trend that is exploding in 2021”, says Rob Green, an interiors expert and co-founder of Coat Paints. Rather than opting for white, choose a coloured ceiling that can really transform the feel of a space. You might want to try having the same pale or neutral shade as the walls, or, for a more dramatic look, opt for dark walls and an equally dark ceiling.
As a design choice, contrast ceilings create drama, adds Green. “Paler walls with a much darker contrast ceiling draw the eyes upwards and focus them on height, which feels awesome,” he explains. “We’ve seen orange ceilings used to amazing effect, but also softer black shades, too.”
3. Embrace rustic features
For designer Katharine Pooley, the standout interior design trend of 2021 is rustic-inspired interiors. Think wooden beams, antique dining tables, exposed brick, stone floors, original fireplaces. “The key here is to seek out unique pieces with interesting textures, rather than items that are perfectly finished, to really recreate the rustic aspect,” she says. “You can easily source these on a moderate budget – try reselling sites or second-hand shops for some unique, well-priced additions.”
She warns against buying all items from the same era though – unless you want a home that looks like you’ve stepped back in time. “Aim to work with a few statement pieces and add in some contemporary elements to create contrast,” she says. “Add in some statement elements such as bright colours and rich fabrics to create a modern note in your space.”
4. Big fridge freezers are in
George Forsyth, of Drew Forsyth Kitchens, predicts a boom in larger fridge freezers (think American-style appliances) thanks to renewed interest in home cooking and baking during the pandemic. “New technology previously only available in commercial refrigeration is entering the domestic market, with consumers investing in appliances that help keep food fresher for longer,” he forecasts.
5. Sky blue is the hue
Sky blue is Etsy’s colour of the year for 2021, with the site reporting a 39% increase in searches for light or sky blue items. It’s no wonder after the year we’ve had – we all need some calm in our lives.
“In feng shui, blue is considered a peaceful tone that promotes relaxation and healing so it’s the perfect shade for spaces you truly want to unwind in, such as your bedroom or living room,” says Lucy Ackroyd, head of design at Christy.
She recommends adding a pop of blue to rooms in the form of cushions and throws, while keeping the rest of the room minimal and white. Weave in natural fabrics, such as jute and rattan, to create an “organic, calming ambience”.
6. Vinyl flooring – but make it luxe
Luxury vinyl flooring is becoming more and more popular, notes Rudolph Diesel, an interior designer from Rudolph Diesel London. While you might associate vinyl with a white tile pattern in your nan’s bathroom, you can now get lots of realistic wood options as well as contemporary stone effects.
Diesel notes that carpet is definitely taking a back seat with people favouring vinyl flooring and wooden floors instead. He recommends Amtico flooring which is hard-wearing, comes with 25 year guarantees, works with underfloor heating and doesn’t tend to swell if moisture gets in.
7. Painted furniture
With many people waking up to the fact they simply can’t keep buying new furniture and throwing out the old, interiors experts are seeing a trend for ‘furniture flipping’, where people take pre-owned, vintage or even damaged furniture and give it a makeover.
One of the easiest ways to give something a new lease of life is by painting it. Second-hand vintage expert Kate Beavis says finish is key, so make sure you take time to sand the item, clean it fully to remove all dust, and then prime it before you paint.
Wood primer should only be used on bare furniture. If the item has been painted or varnished before, use a multi-surface primer. For the decorative coat, keep an eye out for paints labelled for wood and metal. “The whole shabby chic off-white or muted tones are still popular in the right homes, however to be really on trend choose dark colours,” said Beavis, adding that block grey, green and blue hues are particularly popular right now.
8. Holiday-inspired gardens
Wayfair’s resident style advisor Nadia McCowan Hill predicts travel – or rather, the lack of it – will very much influence the look of our gardens this year. “As our opportunities for travel continue to be limited, we’re instead channeling our wanderlust via destination style exteriors,” she says. “A simple splash of paint is an affordable way to introduce this trend, by updating weather-worn garden furniture or even fencing.”
Try bold blues inspired by the exotic Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech or terracotta tones inspired by southern Italy, she suggests. “Opt for paints which will allow for a stone or plaster effect on your garden walls to add authenticity.”
9. Moody rooms
Dark shades aren’t just popular when it comes to painting old furniture, but also for entire walls and doors. “As of late Studio Green, Stiffkey Blue and Hague Blue have been very popular with our clients and we foresee that intense, dark colours will be trendy this year,” says interior designer Rudolph Diesel.
He notes that, due to Covid, clients have been working from home more and wanting spaces that are inviting and pleasing to be in. These deeper, bolder colours lend themselves to giving the space a “rich essence without it being depressing”, he suggests. “In light the colours ‘sing’, in dark the colours feel homely and inviting.”