These Rising Trends Will Help You Transform Your Small Space in 2021

Natural colored kitchen.

Sarah Fultz Interiors

Don’t let those tiny homes fool you: living in a small space is anything but easy. As if storing all your belongings in a shoebox-sized apartment isn’t difficult enough, 2020 has forced us to jam even more parts of our life into our homes. Suddenly, your small space isn’t just where you sleep—it’s also where you eat, work, workout, and Zoom. 

As we gear up for the new year, we hope to reconsider how we utilize our small spaces. (After all, if we’re going to be home for the foreseeable future, why not make it as efficient as possible?) To help, seven design experts share the small space trends that will transform our homes come 2021. Turns out, big things really do come in small packages.

01 of 07

Defy Gravity

Bright white office space.

Hillary Jeanne

“While some of us may be fortunate to have a devoted home office space, most of us are making the best of it with a dual purpose room: Zoom by day, Netflix by night. In order to maximize space, we’re seeing a growing trend in small scale desks with complementary shelving. The vertical height allows clients to reduce their horizontal desk footprint while offering much needed storage space to tuck away relics of the work day, creating more visual calm in their daily home lives. Plus, with a little styling TLC, it becomes a beautiful vignette of its very own.” —Heather Goerzen, creative and design at Havenly

02 of 07

Double-Duty Decor

Simple office space with black rolling chairs.

Breegan Jane

“It's apparent now more than ever that people have transitioned from working inside an office, as well as children schooling from home. For some who don't have the luxury of having an office at home or a productive place for their children to learn, this has proposed quite a challenge. Therefore, we'd expect to see offices placed into a home where we might not usually expect. For example, the conversion of a closet into a desk as well as dual function desks that also act as display shelves.” —Breegan Jane, designer

03 of 07

Floor-to-Ceiling Chic

White mudroom with built-ins.

JK Interior Living

“We're so excited to see that maximalist style is making a comeback. We've always been fans of the ‘more is more’ aesthetic, but know it can be overwhelming to pull off in a smaller space. With that said, one of our favorite tips for making a smaller space feel more grandiose (while still adding a bit of flair) is to paint or wallpaper your ceiling. This space is frequently overlooked but when given a little attention, it can truly add a show-stopping element that brings your eye upward and welcomes you in!” —Roxy Te Owens of Society Social

04 of 07

The Return of the Mud Room

Patterned wallpaper in mudroom.

LJ Savarie

“Mudrooms were once a luxury, not a necessity, but now they are de rigueur. For the 2020 Lake Forest Showhouse in suburban Chicago, Michele Frigon and I redid the home’s mudroom with coronavirus-appropriate upgrades, like a sink for hand-washing with a Brizo faucet in antimicrobial hardware, white Cambria nonporous quartz surfaces to highlight any dirt for quick clean-up, baskets to drop packages, and a jar of custom face masks in Casa by PC textiles, which were promptly snagged by visitors! In the future, I anticipate mudrooms becoming even more tricked out.” —LJ Savarie, designer

05 of 07

Whimsical Wallpaper

Blue sitting room.

KJ Design & Mortar Styling

“A small space is the perfect place to transform the walls. Changing the paint color is always a great choice, but wallpaper packs a nice punch. From bold patterns to grasscloth or leather textures, millennial wallpaper is not your grandma’s wallpaper. Don't underestimate the power of wood, either. We like to use it to add dimensions to walls in small spaces too.” —Janelle Hughes and Kim R. Williams, co-owners of KJ Design & Mortar Styling

06 of 07

Outdoor Inspo

Natural colored kitchen.

Sarah Fultz Interiors

“I think the style for small spaces will continue to head in a more clean soft look that brings elements of the outdoors into the space. I see light colors with pops of bold dramatic color being used sparingly and purposefully to create interest.” —Mark Lavender, principal of M. Lavender Interiors  

07 of 07

Pared-Back Bathrooms

Patterned wallpaper in bathroom.

Heather Banks © 2018 Houzz

“Home professionals on Houzz are recommending curb-less showers. These can make a small bathroom feel larger because the physical and visual barrier is removed and you can run one continuous surface of tile straight-through, giving the appearance of more space. Floating vanities will [also] continue to increase in popularity. According to the Houzz 2020 Bathroom Trends Study, 15 percent of renovating homeowners chose floating vanities (up from 11 percent in 2019). It’s a great way to free up floor space to give the appearance of more space and makes cleaning the floor easy.” —Mitchelll Parker, Houzz senior editor. 

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