From fantastical florals to a global revolution, these are the biggest living room trends you need to know about before you set out on a redesign in 2021.
While we, at H&G, are hugely focussed on trends and have brought you the very latest looks for the year ahead, influenced by everything from catwalk fashion to the pandemic and our desire to design sustainably, we are not interested in listing fads that will date quickly.
Instead, we have focussed on timeless, elegant looks that will endure beyond this year – so that you can be inspired and decorate with confidence.
See more: Living room ideas – inspiring ways to decorate and furnish your space
Living room trends 2021
Living rooms are often one of the hardest working rooms in your home, so designing a scheme you will find welcoming, beautiful and practical is vital.
See more: Interior design trends 2021 – the 20 top looks for the New Year
1. Get creative with color choices
Reflecting the vibrant patterns and ebullient hues on the catwalk, color is set to bring new energy to interiors in 2021 – providing a much needed sense of relief and escapism in these trying times.
‘Sometimes clients are hesitant about color, believing that it will either make too much of a statement of date too quickly,’ says interior designer Rebecca Leivars. ‘One single block of a bold color can be the making of a scheme; it’s a great way to lift a room design.’
Try using a splash of color against a neutral backdrop, or a combination of colors of the same range, such as blue walls with fabrics in various shades of blue. These hues will look stunning together and add depth and layers of interest to a scheme, perhaps with an emerald green or burnt orange accent thrown in for good measure.
‘When selecting your colors, my best advice would be to look around you,’ explains Rebecca. ‘If you live in a city, stronger hues, such as reds, greens and yellows, can look grey against our grey-blue skyline. If you have the luxury of green space, then you might want to choose a combination of earthy hues that blend beautifully with the scenery, or use orange and fiery tones to add warmth to the scheme.’
See more: Color trends 2021 – the latest key trends you will see this year
2. Play with pattern
Pattern is something we can look forward to in 2021 – and is a great way to introduce character to a room.
'It can be used to define a space and change the tone of different areas,’ advises Bunny Turner, interior designer, Turner Pocock. ‘For example, you might want a bolder pattern on upholstery in a formal living area with a contrast pattern in an adjacent snug.’
The key is to start with a fabric that has a striking pattern featuring more than three colors. From that fabric, choose the colors to be used in the scheme, then select a combination of designs in that palette, perhaps a stripe, a geometric, a floral and a textural option such as a coarse linen or herringbone.
‘Consider, too, the amount of pattern on show,’ she says. ‘If you have a large patterned sofa, let it breathe by opting for plain curtains or ones lined with a fine design.’
3. Add natural beauty with wood
Out of fashion for a while, wood is now enjoying a bit of a revival.
Wood introduces a sense of warmth and character into a scheme and works equally well in modern and traditional homes.
‘We have seen a resurgence of interest in wood flooring this year, so there are now all kinds of parquet styles, extra-wide boards and different finishes available, says Sean Cochrane, creative director, Cochrane Design.
Woods with a rustic appearance are popular right now, with rougher textures and grains being a great way to give your room a lived-in look.
4. Include a mix of finishes
A room without texture can feel dull and lifeless, so add tactile surfaces for warmth and interest. This season we are seeing more and more designers choosing to create textural contrasts that will appeal to the senses, such as rough and smooth, gloss and matt, hard and soft.
Alternatively, use texture as an accent in a neutral room. Experiment with swapping accents colors for accent textures – a sharp, glossy table will stand out in a room full of softer finishes.
Use in moderation, as, just like color, including too many different textures will make a space feel too busy and unbalanced.
5. Factor in florals
The classic spring-time trend, nothing signifies the start of the new season like a floral.
The delicate but impactful nature of florals can add a new dimension to any scheme, whether traditional or contemporary.
In recent years, we’ve seen tropical and painterly florals, chintz, and oversized blooms, but for 2021, flowers have emerged with a natural feel; think poppies, buttercups and foxgloves growing wild.
Delicate, meadow-style prints are the prettiest way to add pattern and have a quintessentially British vibe; a nod to the ever-growing movement for buying local and even to the campaign to save the bee population that thrive on these species.
6. Embrace ‘broken-plan’ living
Set to define the next decade, zoning will replace open-plan in a phenomenon being referred to as ‘broken-plan.’
So what is it? It’s a design concept that moves away from completely open-plan spaces.
Unsurprisingly, with more of us spending time at home – working, eating and relaxing – we are now looking to employ the use of screens, partial walls, freestanding furniture, cabinetry and house plants to create distinct zones and nest like nooks intended for providing an escape from the rest of the home.
7. Go for a global look
International influences abound for 2021, from African weaves and geometrics to palm motifs and vibrant designs from the Americas and India.
As many of us are dreaming of lazy, far flung vacations in foreign lands, it comes as no surprise that many of us are hoping to recreate a global nomad scheme in our homes.
Expect to see exuberant patterns, theatrical wall murals and unexpected bursts of color this season and beyond...
What’s trending in living rooms?
In 2021 we expect to see a resurgence of color, pattern and maximalist interior decorating trends. The key is to contrast bright color with plenty of neutrals and natural materials, to avoid an overwhelming look.
2021 is also the year that we finally did away with the once popular open-plan space. Zoning replaced open-plan in a phenomenon that was referred to as ‘broken-plan’.
Finally, with an ever-changing and challenging political, economical and social climate, it comes as no surprise to see that nature will be at the heart of our design choices.
What are the color trends for 2021?
Playing with color is a great way to add personality to a room.
Yellow can be wonderfully uplifting, adding a fresh and vibrant feel; the trick is to use it as a backdrop to tie everything together. Having fallen out of favor in recent years, gray is another color that is making a comeback in 2021.
For 2021 this combination of colors brings the message of strength and reliability paired with the joy of sunshine filled days to come.