10 Design Trends Dying Out in 2021
We asked interior designers and home design experts what trends are on their way out and what to expect next. Say goodbye to these 10 former faves.
Open Floor Plans
Because the pandemic forced many to make their home function as their office, people discovered open-floor plans aren’t as flexible as they originally seemed.
“One trend our clients are beginning to move away from is open concept,” says Spectrum Design Group owner Jeff Kaper. “It isn’t working any longer. No sound control, difficulty in furniture placement (and) lack of privacy all makes living and working difficult. Plus, you lose a lot of character when there aren’t walls.”
“They can look great in the right setting, but they can also be tedious and noisy to slide open and shut every time,” says Greenhouse Studio home and garden blogger Tina Huffman.
“I think the main drawback, though, is they don’t provide a secure close like a traditional door, which can be awkward when used in a place where you might want privacy — like on the entrance to my friend and her husband’s master bath!”
Modern farmhouse in general is experiencing a decline after the over-saturation of the market in the past few years. Elements such as shiplap, word art and rustic touches are waning, too.
Spruce Up interior designer and co-founder Sarah Bowen says minimalism’s hot streak has grown cold. “Interior designers are now prioritizing layers and a range of textures,” she says. “Gray-on-gray will soon feel outdated, cold and clinical. In 2021, it’s going to be all about the eclectic look.”
Terrazzo is still around, but it is quickly becoming dated, says Emilie Navarro, interior designer for national home decor and furnishings brand Living Spaces.
“Try herringbone instead; it’s basically chevron, but with a cool, sophisticated edge,” she says. “In soft, earthy colors, herringbone, with its charming rows of rectangles — bolder, but not as random as terrazzo — will surely fit in with the ‘natural and simple’ motifs in 2021.”
Shaker cabinets in kitchens were a response to the more ornate traditional style cabinets that came before them, explains MC Design interior designer and owner Megan Dufresne. “As an updated version of European-style flat cabinets, the Shaker style felt modern and minimal,” she says.
But like any trend, too much can become … too much. “As time went on and the trend grew more popular, these cabinets began to feel dull and lacking in personality,” Dufresne says. “We are heading back to the more traditional style cabinet and using color to bring in a new, fresh take.”
Living Spaces interior designer Bryanna Evans says that while granite may remind you of the home you grew up in, that’s precisely why it feels outdated. “Instead, try shiny quartz,” she suggests. “It’s less porous than granite and so requires less care. Also, it looks sleeker and more unique.”
Quartz comes in various patterns, colors and styles so there are plenty to choose from. But besides being lower maintenance, Evans mentions another design benefit: Décor pieces are more likely to stand out. On a granite countertop, they are more likely to get lost in the pattern.
Chelsey Brown, author of Rental Style and City Chic Decor, says metallic gold finishes became so oversaturated that they now feel gaudy. “Switch out your metallic gold skull sitting on your coffee table with a stone or fluted vase,” she says. “Textured décor is in for 2021.”
Dufresne agrees that pairing clear plexiglass and gold together in Hollywood Regency style is also on its way out. A quick update? Some iron finishes, rather than gold, will add the earthier touch everyone’s been craving.
Brown says to skip over subway tile when you’re choosing a backsplash or bathroom motif. “It was great while it lasted, but subway tile is definitely out,” she says. “So many people ended up using it in their kitchen renovations that now it looks builder-grade. Opt for colorful tile with a fun pattern instead.”
Not ready to commit to color? At least consider a larger- or smaller-scale tile, or a new shape.
“This style took off in the early 2000s,” says Dufresne. “Darker colors, accent walls, and an overall heavier feel was very popular. No more! We are overhauling this look and replacing it with clean, fresh colors with lightness and uniformity in the décor.”
Other details — Mediterranean or not — that might weigh down your ambiance include nail-head detailing on furnishings, crown molding and wood wainscoting. Removing them and using a light, warm paint will brighten and lighten for 2021.
In 2021, fast furniture will be taking a back seat. “With many people redecorating on a tighter budget, we’ll be seeing more secondhand shopping and upcycling,” Bowen says. “People will be opting for longer lasting and more meaningful pieces.”
Besides being easier on the Earth, you’ll also naturally have a more distinct interior. No more visitors saying, “I have the Ikea EKTORP, too!”