A screen creates a decorative partition in a home designed by Charu Ghandi of Elicyon

Photo Credit: Elicyon

Happy New Year! While we’re all relieved to put 2020 behind us, there have been several interior design learnings that evolved out of the pandemic that I believe are here to stay. Others are trends, influenced by the pandemic, that homeowners are adopting now to make their space more comfortable and nurturing while we live, work, exercise, educate and more within the same space. Let’s explore 10 interior design trends that we’re sharing with our clients and, of course, our subscribers.

1.) Multi-Function Homes: Creating dedicated sections of the home versus open floor plans has enabled us to do more in our homes comfortably. This encompasses intentional planning for every space in a home as well as using tools like area rugs and decorative screens (as shown above by Elicyon) to create separation in large rooms for certain activities to be done in smaller, dedicated settings. The added advantage of using a screen is that it can easily be moved to accommodate changing needs or removed altogether without any construction. Rugs, too, can be relocated without much hassle so both offer flexibility for current and long-term planning.

As one design professional noted in an article in Mansion Global, “The idea of traveling to different rooms in the home—where different aspects of your life can take place—is reminiscent of physically traveling in our ‘normal’ lives—to the office, out for dinner, to the theater.”

While professionals indeed need dedicated work areas at home that allow proper concentration for their trade, it’s certainly understandable that they also need a way to escape from work and enjoy the many other aspects of their lives. Thus, a former great room or open-floor-plan living room is now sectioned off to serve different needs, all while still embracing excellent design aesthetics. Similarly, students need an area for remote learning and homework but enjoy different spaces for relaxation.

Create a statement office at home.

Decor by Pamela Hope Designs

2.) The Statement Office
: Rather than having a home office that’s a bit of an afterthought as in the past, we’re seeing more thought going into the space used for working at home. There’s also likely to be more focus on ambience and calm in these home offices so that people don’t feel like they’re always taking work home with them (such a drag!) but rather they have a space they like that enables them to work well in their home but still have separation from work when they leave that space. I’ve been a proponent of a functioning home office for years and I’m delighted to be able to create nice work-from-home spaces for many of our clients.

Zoom-worthy backdrop with colorful bookcase

Photo Courtesy: Mansion Global & Rachel Loewen © 2019 Houzz

3.) Setting the Stage for Zoom: Backgrounds are especially important as professionals engage with new prospects and repeat clients via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet-Ups or other applications. Also consider opportunities for virtual media interviews where the entire picture matters. More attention will be given to shelf décor that is both purposeful and beautiful. Rather than just a virtual background, professionals want their backdrop to be reflective of their offerings and differentiators.

I absolutely love this rainbow backdrop of books, which could work well for everyone from an executive to a student and even a book lover who is retired. Say good-bye to the beach background unless you’re a travel agent.

spa and sauna in a Richmond, Texas home

Decor by Pamela Hope Designs

4.) Bathrooms that resemble spas to pamper yourself at home are also trending. In the photo above, we helped a client create an at-home spa and sauna that truly indulges. Ahhh… Now that’s a beauty worth relishing! Home saunas are likely to see greater popularity because, after spending so much time at home, many are looking for ways to relax without venturing from home. This interior design trend also includes enlarging showers to be “wet rooms” with more tile used throughout the room. Think of over-sized showers with lots of glamour.

exposed pipe in bathroom trend

Photo Courtesy: New Decor Trends

5.) Exposed Bathroom Pipes:
The look of exposed pipes in the bathroom under the sink is a returning trend. Perhaps this ties into the desire for a clean, purposeful look. While previously seen in older homes, this 2021 design trend embraces more elegance. If you’re able to decorate for form over function, this is certainly the way to go in the bathroom. There is another example of exposed pipes in next trend below.

6.) Buttered brass finishes are also an interior design trend for an elegant finish between the polished and matte finish previously popular. The bathroom shown below from New Décor Trends definitely uses the buttered brass for a stylish look. Another popular finish this year is matt black for bathroom pipes and hardware as shown further down.


buttered brass finishes

Photo Courtesy: New Decor Trends


matt black piping in bath

Photo Courtesy: New Decor Trends

7.) Smarter storage space is another trend for 2021, likely spurred by product shortages due to COVID. Enlarged pantries and more spacious storage in butler pantries help homeowners stock up on needed items such as toilet paper, paper towels and cleaning supplies when those products are available. Being able to store these items out of sight is important for the tidy look. This trend also is helpful to those living along the coasts since preparation for hurricane season includes stocking up.

Kitchen in black and metallic

Photo Courtesy: New Decor Trends

8.) Predominantly white kitchens, while always timeless and appealing to many, are stepping aside to make room for bolder colors such as dark blues and even black. As shown in the example above, kitchens with black counters, cabinets and plumbing fixtures are one popular choice. (The matt black plumbing mentioned earlier for bathrooms is echoed here for kitchens as well.) Additionally, hands-free faucets and appliances are being incorporated more into home design as another method of minimizing touch points to reduce the spread of germs and viruses. This trend is certainly a smart investment for the long haul.

porcelain tile for a backsplash is a trending option that is less expensive that many tiles used formerly

Photo Courtesy: Tile Bar

Exotic rare stones with lots of veins are trending for 2021. Instead of opting for a marble backsplash, choose porcelain tiles that can be used on walls to look like stone slabs at a fraction of the cost and weight. Our partner TileBar has some gorgeous options. We also love the Onyx Rainbow slab from Aria Stone Gallery as a natural option for countertops with lots of motion and color.

As we discussed with one of our current clients, if you’re planning to renovate your kitchen now and sell your home in five years or so, consider the more timeless look of a white kitchen so that potential buyers embrace the décor, rather than feel the need to update it and factor that into the purchase price of the home. If, however, you plan to live in your home for the foreseeable future and appreciate the current trends, there’s no time like the present to update the kitchen with the latest and greatest. After all, we will likely continue spending more time at home cooking for ourselves, so a kitchen area you love is worth today’s investment.

9.) Minimalism and neutrals are taking a back seat to color and a maximalism look where we focus more on function. This is understandable since the pandemic has motivated us to have needed items within reach. We’re moving away from the gray on gray look as well. Bold statement pieces like colorful seating and dramatic furnishings allow homeowners to be more expressive and add visual interest to homes where we spend much more time. The photo below shows a clever combination of bold colors to jazz up an blank slate townhouse owned by one of our clients. Furniture covered in luxurious-feeling fabric is another feature we’ll see lots of in 2021 as people crave comfort in many ways.

Bold statement pieces like vases, love seats, pillows and tables are interior design trends for 2021

Décor by Pamela Hope Designs

10.) Bold geometric shapes, tribal patterns, vertical lines and curved furniture will grow in popularity. As shown in the accent table in the above photo, geometric shapes add visual interest. Plus, who wants to stare at a plain table when you can enjoy a unique one like this. Geometric shapes are repeated in the window treatments, bar stools and sofa cushions.

Remember: If you’re looking for a Houston interior decorator or one willing to help you incorporate the best design trends for you wherever you may be, contact Pamela Hope Designs for a consultation.



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