Interior Design Trends for 2021


What are the top looks and layouts for the New Year? Interior designers Jill Arnhold, Jenny Murphy and Kira Koldeway share the latest interior trends from the HighCraft Design Studio.

Pandemic-Driven Design

“Everyone put their living spaces to the test in 2020,” says Jill, who notes that many 2021 interior design trends were influenced by last year’s shift to a stay-at-home lifestyle.


“The pandemic really highlighted the need for dedicated offices, as well as ample workspaces for children to do their homework,” Kira says.


“Sheltering in place also brought people back to the kitchen in a big way,” she adds, noting that the cooking and baking renaissance of 2020 highlighted the shortcomings of many kitchens. “We’re going to see a lot more updates to improve kitchen layout and functionality in 2021.”


With so much together time, clients are requesting more private spaces, including ‘away rooms’ (see above), master suite retreats, and reading nooks (below).


“An open-concept design is great for spending time with the ones you love,” Kira says, “but sometimes you need a private space, a sanctuary, for some quiet time alone.”

Jenny agrees. “People are realizing that when all members of a household are forced to cohabitate 24/7, they need separate spaces to do the daily activities that help keep them sane.”


“In addition to seeing more home offices in 2021,” she says, “the demand for home gyms and expanded outdoor living spaces will be on the rise, too. People need spaces where they can join a business video call without distraction, escape to do yoga, and enjoy the outdoors in the privacy of their backyard.”

photo by LuLu and Georgia

Natural Elements

Speaking of the outdoors, “People are looking for a closer connection to the earth,” Kira says, “so we’re going to see more natural elements in home décor and interior design in 2021.”

photo by Larson Architecture Works

“We’re already seeing more rough-hewn wood flooring and beams,” says Jill. “I think the grains and knots add character to a living space, which is what people are craving right now. The saw marks, other imperfections and natural variations in the wood are friendly and appealing, making a room feel warm and homey.”


Jill says nature-inspired colors are popping up in kitchen and bathroom designs, too. “Shades of greens and blues are being used more and more in cabinetry.”

Jenny adds, “I’m still seeing a lot of super-saturated jewel tones for cabinetry carried over from 2020, including navy blue, teals and emerald greens.”

photo by Jacklyn Peters Design

The kitchen cabinets (above) painted in Benjamin Moore’s “Jack Pine” find middle ground between a vibrant jewel tone and a subtle green found more readily in nature.

photo by Crate and Cottage

Wonderful Wallpaper

“The world of wallpaper has come a long way in the last few years,” Jenny says. “There are so many fun, new trendy options available.”

photo by Crate and Cottage

“Not only are the patterns and colors of wallpaper unique and popular, but we’re seeing a ton of very creative installations.”


“While the most common areas to use wallpaper have been bedrooms and bathrooms,” Jenny says, “we are now seeing it installed in the back of bookshelves, on ceilings and in closets.”

photo by Murals Wallpaper

“The colors and patterns that are trending in 2021 vary from traditional motifs and large-scale botanicals, to contemporary geometrics and muraled watercolors.”

photo by LuLu and Georgia

Tempting Textiles

“As we continue to spend more time at home, people want a sense of comfort, relaxation and warmth,” says Jill.

photo by LuLu and Georgia

“For textiles in 2021, we’re seeing an influx of overly textural and visually comforting fabrics and materials,” Jenny says. “Many homeowners are opting for a play on all neutrals, adding visual interest through texture or subtle patterns, rather than bold pops of color.”

photo by LuLu and Georgia

“We’ve been seeing a lot of different organic textiles like fur, suede, sheepskin and leathers (or their faux counterparts) tossed in with chunky knits, bouclé and chenille. Many patterned fabrics and rugs reflect a global influence and focus on the handmade aspects that make textiles from different areas of the world truly unique.”

photo by Studio McGee

“For households with families and pets, the rapidly growing offering of performance and outdoor fabrics has been a godsend,” Jenny adds. “You can have a white sofa, and keep it white, even if you have a dog and four kids!”

Highly durable Crypton upholstery fabric (above) is antimicrobial, stain-resistant, odor-resistant, easy to clean, and made without harmful chemicals. “Crypton fabrics, and products like Sunbrella (used indoor or out), are some of my faves,” Jenny says.

photo by clé tile

Warmer Colors

“After last year, I think people are wanting to use materials and colors that bring them joy, and a bright yellow backsplash would do the trick,” Jill says.

The tile (above) closely matches Illuminating, one of two Pantone 2021 colors of the year. The Pantone Color Institute describes the lemony yellow as “… the promise of something sunny and friendly. Illuminating is aspirational and gives us hope.”


In a rare move, Pantone chose a second 2021 color of the year, Ultimate Gray, (think: concrete) to anchor the cheery Illuminating. The two 2021 Pantone colors of the year are getting mixed reviews from America’s top interior designers.

“Although I was surprised to see yellow forecasted in Pantone’s prediction, color palettes are heading in a warmer direction,” Jenny says.

Even with warmer colors on the horizon, and Pantone’s two-tone announcement, both designers are sticking to their predictions about blue and green cabinetry in 2021. “We are definitely shifting from cooler tones and color schemes to warmer colors in 2021,” Jill clarifies. “Even warmer grays.”

photo by West Elm

Welcome Matte

Prepare to see more honed and lusterless matte finishes in 2021, applied to tiles, flooring, countertops, and even plumbing fixtures. “The matte finish is often smooth and muted, which speaks to the calming Zen-like spaces people are craving these days,” Jill says. “We expect to see more rich and creamy matte tiles in bathrooms and kitchen backsplashes this year.”

Kira adds, “Natural, water-based matte finishes on hardwood floors are very in right now, too.”

photo by clé tile

Old World Charm

Ceramic tiles with handmade appeal – like these four-inch terracotta tiles in weathered white by clé – are lovely examples of glazed imperfection. No two tiles are alike, and the manufacturer claims, “If you’re tired of white tiles that are the same-ol same-ol, then this tile born from the 10th century tile-making craft … [is] for you.”

“I could see some aspects of cottagecore style show up in 2021,” Jill says, pointing to the charming tiles (above) as a good example. “Like I said before, I think people are wanting that comforting and familiar feeling to surround them at home.”

Kira agrees. “Many people want an interior design that evokes a sense of comfort and a connection to simpler times. Right now we’re seeing more family treasures and heirlooms, handed down through generations, as focal points in home design.”

Whether you build new construction, or remodel what you have, HighCraft’s experienced design-build team is here to help with your project, large or small. Contact HighCraft with questions or to schedule a free consultation.