If there’s one thing architects, interior experts, forecasters, and leading designers agree on it’s this: our collective experience of lockdown will fundamentally alter the way we live in our homes in the future. What we place importance on – from the materials we choose, to the design of our living spaces – has changed dramatically and may continue to evolve as we cautiously navigate our way through the pandemic.
Home design, decoration, and renovation brand Houzz has searched through its data in order to create this collection of materials, colours, and other home design ideas that we can expect to see a lot more of in 2021.
1. The rise of antibacterial materials
One thing we’ll definitely take away from this year is the importance of hygiene. As sanitary practices have become a life-saving routine that we’ve integrated into our daily lives, we’re seeing a rise in automatic washbasins, touch-less flushing, and infrared sensors in bathrooms to meet the desire to reduce unnecessary touching. And in kitchens, we have started to see similar intentions through voice-activated appliances and cooktops with sensors.
Professionals on Houzz are reporting a greater demand for surface coatings that are bacteriostatic (capable of inhibiting the growth or reproduction of bacteria) and antimicrobial metals. Copper and its alloys, brass and bronze, fulfil this criteria, so we expect to see more of these materials in tapware, and kitchen and bathroom fixtures such as sinks and splashbacks in 2021.
2. Artistic tiles
Many international artists have started working with manufacturers to turn these common furnishings into artform, and now this influence is working its way to Australian shores. In fact, due to COVID-19, many Australian designers have started working with more local manufacturers for their tiles and stones as – due to supply chain delays – materials from Europe may not come in time. One rising style is the use of zellige tiles, which are commonly handmade in Morocco. 2021 will see tiles push the boundaries in both shape and colour.
Bricks are back in 2021! Homeowners like to experiment with colour and texture primarily through paint colour and application, but lately we’re seeing homeowners take that idea further, moving onto bricks – with incredible results. Rather than 60s red brick we all know, or building blocks, homeowners are instead looking for beautiful bricks, used externally or internally, adding robustness and warmth to the space. In the new year, we expect to see bricks and tiles being used as vehicles of self-expression.
4. Clever small home design
This year and into the next year, we will see more homeowners making better use of their small space, using joinery and furniture to create functional areas of the home. Small spaces and awkward layouts are common pain points for homeowners, which is confirmed by increasing search terms such as “small apartment” and “U-shaped kitchen”. Designers are responding to these new demands with study nooks, and clever joinery to maximise a small space.
5. Adaptive large-home layouts
The belief in “set” layouts that can’t change and grow with a family will be revisited. Our houses will need to be more adaptable in the future. Larger homes have the luxury of playing with more modularity. Many people are considering multipurpose rooms, non-permanent walls that can be shifted, and inventive ways that rooms can be opened up and shut off as needed.
6. Nature as saviour
The lockdown certainly heightened the value we place on our outdoor areas. A Houzz survey from mid-2020 found the outdoor area to be the most desirable for upcoming improvements. Increasingly, architects and interior designers have reported a demand for designs that connect the indoors with the outdoors through biophilic design including green roofs, internal courtyards, and garden walls.
Biodesign, the creation of furniture and objects from living organisms, is another important way we will see advancements in product design and materials in the foreseeable future. Indeed, technology has advanced so much that furniture could be made using waste, bacteria, and fungi. Designers have explained that this trend goes beyond environmentally-friendly, as we learn more about how science can truly innovate design.
8. Natural and rich colour palettes
It’s not just through actual flora that we will seek to simulate a natural environment; colours will help us to achieve this too. Colour specialists have predicted that earthy tones will be strong interior colours in the new year, which include sand, soft greens, warm browns, and terracottas. On the flip side, rich reds, inky blues, and mustard tones have also been gaining popularity as homeowners look for more ways to express themselves.