Though 2020 was an unforgettable year in many ways, it was a big year in design too. While we're more than thrilled to be moving on to 2021, the experts at CB2 combed through the biggest design trends of 2020 and gave us the inside scoop on what to look out for this year with their first-ever design report.
Let's start with 2020: Since it was a tumultuous year, searches for "sage" were up 60%, according to CB2's report—perhaps we were trying to cleanse our spaces of all the negative energy. Mirrors were the most-searched product, while leather was the most-searched fabric. Black-and-white color palettes were holding strong, with "white desk" making up 29% of all white color searches.
But things are changing. CB2 experts are predicting individuality, maximalism, and a break from traditional color palettes for 2021.
“Color, color, and more color," Sara Khodja, Product Development Lead at CB2, tells MyDomaine. "Mineral shades are huge this year and also have a neutral air about them—making them easy to work into an existing design. Don’t be scared to mix patterns within that color palette, too. Texture is just as serotonin-inducing as color.”
Don’t be scared to mix patterns within that color palette, too. Texture is just as serotonin-inducing as color.
Keep scrolling for the full list of trends to look out for in 2021.
Bold statement pieces that play with scale and plenty of vintage accents are all going to be major in 2021. In fact, 64% of interior designers plan to include bold statement pieces, according to the CB2 report.
"We’re seeing a lot of nontraditional uses of scale in recent design work," says Andrea Erman, Product Development Lead at CB2. "A large pendant over a nightstand or a tiny cafe table. It’s a fun way to play.”
Building a Better WFH
You heard it here first: Open concept is out. With many people working from home full-time, the need to compartmentalize work and life is bigger than ever. That means separate dining rooms, plenty of office space, and maybe even room for a bar or at-home gym. Parlor-style seating is also trending. After all, it's way more fun to take a work call in different seating vignettes.
Desire for Comfort
According to interior designers, the most sought-after item in 2021 is going to be upholstery—comfy accent chairs, for example. The fabric that's most in demand? Velvet, 42% of designers say.
"The desire for comfort is nothing new, but customer choices definitely are—they simply aren't willing to sacrifice style," Erman explains. "It's all about luxe liveability in 2021."
To bring comfort to your home, consider adding textures and textiles.
“Layering pillows and throws seems like the obvious answer, but blank wall space can feel just as cold as a bare floor," Erman says. "Considering hanging a unique textile or vintage rug—it immediately enriches and warms up a space.”
Outdoor Spaces Are Majorly Trending
When stay-at-home orders hit in 2020, we all craved more of the outdoors. That will stick around in 2021. Whether it's just a small balcony or a large backyard, CB2 predicts design aficionados will invest in high-quality, design-focused outdoor furniture.
"We're treating outdoor furniture with the same level of integrity as indoor furniture," CB2 President Ryan Turf says. "It's now core to our homes—the seasonality of it has totally shifted."
Optimism Is Back
We're looking forward to things in 2021. In design, that means bringing in color and embracing maximalism so 2021 isn't the time to go small with design. According to the CB2 report, 62% of designers think mineral-inspired hues like mercury, olive, ochre, and clay will reign supreme this year. And pattern mixing is all the rage.
"With [maximalism], there really are no rules," says Matthew Williamson, Fashion/Product Designer at CB2. "In fact, the more you mix up styles from different periods and genres, the stronger the overall effect. It's about tapping into what you really love to make a space uniquely yours."
Natural Materials Are In
Before you renovate this year, consider using natural materials. will be featured in a wide range of items, including tables, art, serving ware—you name it. Stone will be featured in a wide range of items, including tables, art, and serving ware, and 56% of designers say it will be the trendiest material of 2021. Not into stone? Cast metal will be almost as popular, designers say.
Smart design is sustainable design. CB2 predicts more designers and brands will lean into FSC-certified wood, which is wood responsibly harvested from forests in a way that meets high environmental and social standards. Now that's design we can feel good about in 2021.