The biggest home design trends of 2021: a year in review

UK Home Improvement

The Biggest Home Design Trends of 2021: A Year in Review

2020 and 2021 brought about a rash of home improvements. This was thanks in large part to COVID, quarantines and the lockdowns; it meant most people were spending a lot more time at home. If you want to do some work on your home, you might be looking for some inspiration – look no further. Read on for the biggest design trends of the year. 

Home Offices

Working from home is a big part of modern life. Home offices are now a necessity, Working from home is a big part of modern life. Home offices are now a necessity, so renovating an existing space within the home to turn it into a home office is one of the biggest design trends of the year.

If you do not have a spare room to utilise, there are other options such as dividing an existing space with screens, shelves or panels. Some people have even invested in a small summer house in their garden to house their home office. All you need is to choose the right interior lighting, electrical setup, and make sure it’s suitable for a range of weather conditions, and you will have a fully functioning office at the end of your garden.

Home Gyms

During the pandemic, it was hard to make healthy choices, people were stuck inside, and gyms and other businesses were closed. This then gave rise to the home gym. A lot of people began to clear out their spare rooms and turn them into multi-functional spaces; for the most part, they became a home office or a home gym and sometimes a combination of the two. You can find some weights and other gym equipment quite cheaply online if this is something that you want to look into. 

Delineated Spaces

In the past, open-plan designs were all the rage, and whilst they are not on their way out just yet, an increasing number of people are opting to close off their open spaces. This is because more people are coveting a cosier living space, and they also want more privacy within their homes. Those with open floor plans are creating different nooks which are suited to different purposes, from entertaining to working to exercising or simply a space that allows for more privacy. 

Houseplants & Indoor Gardens

During the pandemic, there was less opportunity to go outside and enjoy nature, especially for city dwellers, and so this led to an effort to incorporate elements of nature within the home. As a result, the sales of indoor plants boomed. Houseplants can have both mental and physical benefits. If you are considering investing in some houseplants, then you need to do some research beforehand as some can be notoriously difficult to look after. 

Dried flowers have also emerged as a trend this year. This is a change from the usual green and vibrant houseplants, although as mentioned above they have remained popular this year too. Dried flowers are more muted, and they tend to last longer without requiring any maintenance. From pampas grass to seed heads, their aesthetic has had a wide appeal this year. 

Rattan Décor 

In a similar vein to the houseplant trend, natural materials have also seen an increase in popularity over the last year. Rattan specifically is in demand, and it is available in a lot of different iterations. If you want to try out this trend, you are better off picking an accent piece to stand out and make an impact as opposed to trying to shoehorn rattan pieces in wherever you can. 

Gallery Walls

Gallery walls have been popular for a few years now, and there is no end in sight. However, this year there was a shift towards making the gallery wall a more meaningful and intentional design feature with elements that tie into cultural backgrounds and traditions as well as family photos. The key to a good gallery wall is variety, frame things in different materials and textures to make it more of a feast for the eyes. 

Wood-Grain Kitchen Accents

Again, this preference for natural organic materials continues—this time in the kitchen. More and more people are opting for minimalist kitchens which feature touches of woodgrain and other organic materials – specifically in their countertops. Homeowners are embracing the natural.

Outdoor Areas 

Continuing with the theme of connecting to nature, those lucky enough to have homes with gardens have embraced this outdoor space. Although play areas and spaces for children have been a big consideration for families, garden playgrounds are becoming the standard. 

For adults, a garden veranda is a popular choice. It melds the indoor and the outdoors together, and it can add value to your home too. Think about how many BBQs you have had rained out in your time, a veranda offers shelter, and it means that you can make more of your garden regardless of the weather. Companies like Nationwide Home Innovations have a range of verandas, and offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your options with you. 

Smart Home Technology

From lightbulbs to locks to home security, smart technology is invading the home in the best way possible. It makes many of your home functions controllable from your smartphone. Motion sensors and smart temperature control have also seen an increase. Smart technology can make life easier for homeowners, which is why it is one of the biggest trends of the year. 

Retro & Vintage Touches

Trends are cyclical, and this past year has seen a huge resurgence of the 70s décor style. Think funky colours, patterns, and prints. You can incorporate a retro feel quite easily, and a lot of furniture pieces are also heavily inspired by retro fashions. However, these prints might be a bit too loud and too bold; they are not for the faint-hearted!

Cosy Fabrics

As mentioned above, this increased time at home has led more people to want a cosier feeling home. Blankets, throws and pillows can make a house feel more homey as well as be an opportunity to showcase your personality. People want to feel comfortable in their homes – in every sense of the word. 


The last couple of years have taken a financial toll on a lot of people, which made home improvements difficult. Upcycling is a great way to take old pieces of furniture or other home décor that you already have and transform them into something new. Never underestimate the power of a coat of paint and some new hardware. Upcycling is also great for the environment. 

Sky Lights

Natural light is always high on the wish list of homeowners. This year more than ever before, people are opting to enhance their homes by installing skylights or roof windows, thereby maximising the natural light – even in the gloomiest of rooms. This trend can work well in almost any room, and it really makes a difference to the atmosphere of your home. 


Cottagecore first emerged as a trend last year, but its popularity has carried over into this year with no end in sight. Social media is full of cottagecore inspo pages. This look is ideal for places that have character. This style seeks to enhance period features and traditional touches such as exposed beams and brickwork or parquet flooring. Cottagecore is all about a mix of vintage and modern.

In Conclusion

Any home improvements you decide to make comes down to your personal preferences. You will have to live with them after all. However, if you are looking to make any changes to your home, hopefully, the above list has given you a good starting point and provided you with some inspiration.


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