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7 unexpected interior design and décor trends for 2021

Interior design and décor trends may not always be as changeable as their fashion counterparts, however, things do change and when they do they look to the past for inspiration. Very few trends are new.

For the most part, trends are cyclical and whether they return in 20 or even 100 years, the chances are that most trends will resurface in some form at some point. it seems that even the most outrageous ones find a way of coming back in vogue.

Popular trends come and go - and come back around again - but there are a number of décor trends that most people assume have been relegated to historical times, a good few we never, ever want to see again and some that we didn’t expect to see again in our lifetimes.
The trends below are classic examples of styles and elements that most people didn’t expect to again any time soon – and which actually work surprisingly well when implemented with a modern twist.

Here are seven trends that are set to shake up interior design and décor in 2021.

Arches for your home

Arches are traditionally synonymous with historical grandeur but in contemporary décor, the arch is a very hot design trend right now. From doorways and windows to fireplaces, mirrors and even headboards, the curve is softening modern lines the world over.

A simple, yet graceful art form, arches can significantly elevate a room’s architectural impact and allow for flow when you want to keep spaces separate but not closed off.

7 unexpected interior design and décor trends for 2021

Go green… in the kitchen 

Many of us still shudder when we remember our grandparent’s avocado-coloured kitchens from back in the day, so the fact that sage green kitchens are fast becoming one of the biggest kitchen trends for 2021 is enough to give anyone pause for thought.

However, don’t dismiss it out of hand. Although the two shades aren’t that different, sage is a green that works. Whether its paint, cabinetry or tiles, the hue is popping up everywhere, adding warmth, depth and a touch of drama to the heart of the home.

Wallpaper is making a comeback 

Traditional wallpaper from back in the day was often, admittedly, the stuff of nightmares, but the new designs are a far cry from what used to be on granny’s walls. Some designs are so beautiful that they are used as a replacement for paintings and other works of art to adorn a room.

Removable wallpaper is also trending right now as it allows you to update a room more regularly at little cost.

7 unexpected interior design and décor trends for 2021

Granny’s style gets a millennial update, enter grand-millenial

Whilst we all know that trends often do make a comeback, one design aesthetic no one ever expected to come back in style was their grandmother's living room.

However, with a millennial twist to the traditional look, the result is much less stuffy and formal than the rooms you might remember from childhood.

The updated style retains the old-school design trends like skirted tables, patterned upholstery, floral wallpaper and richly stained wood furniture but, by mixing in several modern elements, the result is warmly nostalgic and comfortable yet not at all kitsch.

7 unexpected interior design and décor trends for 2021

Look to the country with cottage-core

In a similar vein to grand-millenial, cottage-core harks back to yesteryear but with the focus on country-inspired ideals such as rustic finishes, traditional patterns and classic craftsmanship.

Influenced by classically-styled, interiors, a return to domestic crafts and a new found love for staying at home and cocooning, it’s all about creating a cosy and comfortable haven for your family.

To achieve the look and feel, layer up busy patterns like florals, opt for rich colours to complement a neutral base palette and focus on your home’s traditional details. And yes, wallpaper is also very much a part of this trend.

7 unexpected interior design and décor trends for 2021

Join the joinery movement 

Another décor trend from the annals of history, decorative joinery is making quite a comeback. In terms of materials, decorative trends show wood as the main material in décor and, whether it be ornate and flamboyantly decorative or elegantly intricate like Chinese joinery, decorative joinery will add a subtle layer of interest to your décor.

7 unexpected interior design and décor trends for 2021

Bring the spa to your home 

Being pampered at a spa has always been seen as one of life’s indulgent treats and the perfect way to relax and de-stress. However, since the advent of Covid-19, many people feel that level of pampering might just be a little close for comfort and we are seeing more and more people installing spa features into their bathrooms at home.

You don’t have to go to great expense to add a little luxury to your bathroom and you don’t have to do it all at once. Add a steam function to a shower area or upgrade your shower head to one with multiple settings. Spring for fluffy new towels, incorporate houseplants and flowers into your bathroom to bring life into the room and add calming scents (essential oils, scented soap, and lotions, scented candles).

7 unexpected interior design and décor trends for 2021

When it comes to interior design, most trends have a fleeting shelf life, only lasting a season or two before being replaced by the next hot new fad. It can be costly, time-consuming and even disruptive to update your décor every time a new look takes your fancy.

The trick is to know when less is more and to incorporate timeless elements into the décor to create a space that is current without needing to be completely redone every couple of years but that also only requires certain items to be changed as and when they go out of style or you just feel like a change.

About Yael Geffen

Yael Geffen is the CEO of Sotheby's International Realty South Africa and a member of the board. Geffen has a BA in Communications and Economics and a Master's Degree in Integrated Marketing and Communications Strategy.

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