Residential Design Trends for 2021

by | Jan 18, 2021

It could be said that there has never been a more dramatic shift in design requirements in one year than we experienced in 2020.  Interior design magazines and websites have commented on the diverse needs driven by working and learning from home.

What 2020 meant for Residential Design

What used to be considered solely “living space” has now become “multi-functional space”, with a lot of emphasis on comfort and versatility.

So, what to do with your space?  Are you maddened by the inflexibility of your furniture to serve as both classroom and office?  Are you struggling with a lack of private space because everyone has to occupy the common areas at the same time?  What about that sense of fatigue you get from spending so much time in the same 3 or 4 rooms?

Design trends this year seek to answer those concerns. We will look at how residential design has shifted with soothing and stress-reducing accents, as well as a new approach to making spaces multi-functional.


home design trends

Colours of the Year

First, let’s talk about Pantone’s colours of the year for 2021.  They selected Illuminating and Ultimate Grey, with reasonings that reflect the times that we live in.  Illuminating is a bright and cheerful yellow that invokes thoughts of sunshine and hope.  Ultimate Grey gives a feeling of dependability and stability – something we certainly need after 2020!

We cannot wait to see how these colours can be used in 2021 residential design! A splash of Illuminating yellow would certain make a beautiful accent in a room dominated by the neutral Ultimate Grey.

What’s in YOUR Background?


Next, let’s talk about “Zoom-able” spaces.  Let’s be honest, those first few weeks of Zoom were more harrowing. It was hard to see your own face up close, and realizing that you still needed to make sure the back of your hair was brushed! 

However, now that we’re past all that, we have seen the emergence of the “shelfie”.  Staging your meeting in front of a shelf of curated objects is now de rigueur for the home-based professional. 

home design trends

Also coming into their own are moveable screens with interesting textiles or panels that can be switched to freshen up a background that has been used over and over.

Another aspect of online meetings we all neglected at first was good lighting.  Making sure your space has several options for both natural and artificial. Direct and indirect light can reduce the amount of time it takes to prepare for one of those meetings.

home design trends

Multifunctional Spaces

Next, the change to using existing spaces in a multi-functional way.  We can all identify with the fatigue of using the same spaces over and over.  As mentioned previously, a screen that can be reconfigured in multiple shapes can also make dividing and opening up spaces a snap, and provide a much needed sensory break when some privacy is required.

Comfortable seating is a must in these multi-functional spaces, so a small investment in that may be in order.

Keep in mind lighting here too, a kitchen may need strong overhead light where a cook is working, but since it will probably double as a social centre later on, under cupboard lights can add a whole new ambiance to a much-used location.

Bring the Outdoors Inside

Finally, the emergence of biophilic design has dominated every trend in design this year.  Designs that bring the outside in are being used both to provide relief in crowded environments, and to create spaces that echo a theme from the outdoors to inside a home.  Sustainable materials in natural finishes, living plants and neutral tones have all made appearances in newly designed spaces.

home design trends

At Lesley Wong Interiors, we know that having the right look in your home is so important. Create a home that makes it a little easier to stay at home.  Get in touch today to find out how we can help you put these residential design trends into your home.

LESLEY WONG, Principal Designer

Lesley is committed to continuously keeping up with ever-changing trends and technology. But as every decorator knows, there’s no greater opportunity for learning than on-the-job experience. Lesley has worked in hospitality, commercial and residential projects and enjoys crafting customized and beautiful environments for her clients.

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