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2021 Design Trends

    2020 has forced us to all refocus our efforts inwards…specifically toward our homes. We now expect them to work harder for us and our families than they ever have, and it is this evolution that has had the biggest impact on design trends for 2021. Here are three main design trends I see ahead.

    Zen-like Spaces

    The desire for zen and “spa-like” spaces have gained major traction in the past year. It comes as no coincidence that Benjamin Moore named Aegean Teal as its colour of the year with its tranquil and serene nature. At my company Louis Duncan-He Designs, we’ve had more clients than ever ask for spaces that are designed to make it virtually impossible to carry any remnants of the day’s stressors into them. Popular zen trends will include:

    • Soft pastel and spa-like colours: think teals, soft greens along with gentle blush and earth tones.
    • Natural Textures: incorporating elements like unfinished wood , touches of rattan and wicker are all perfect and harmonious accents to further heighten the zen vibe
    • Beautiful Botanicals: We all yearn for a connection to the outdoors…we will see a lot more green (both real and fake) in homes. They can refresh our air, brighten our moods and contribute to a sense of accomplishment in seeing daily growth.

    Statement Spaces

    With so much monotonous indoor time, we all yearn for spaces that inspire us and make us feel something. In addition, the inability to travel has led home owners to venture outside of their creative comfort zones in order to replicate those missing experiences. Statement trends will include:

    • Wondrous Wallpaper: gone are the days where wallpaper equals the tired bedroom walls at your grandparents house. With so many fabulous and chic options available, wallpaper is a cost-effective way to completely alter the ambience of a space
    • Meaningful Millwork: there are so many ways that millwork can bring a feature wall to life. Think panels, shiplap, wainscotting or even a custom designed pattern.
    • Dramatic Colours: just as colour can be used to calm the senses, it can also be a transformative catalyst for renewed inspiration (e.g. Pantone’s colour of the year Ultra Violet). Bold and dramatic colour choices are no longer tied to singular feature walls. Entire rooms along with kitchen cabinets are being revived with bold punches of colour.

    Multi-functional Living

    As a result of the majority of schools and the workforce being brought indoors, commingled spaces have transitioned from a want to a requirement. We’ve all had to drastically rethink how our spaces need to function . Our dining rooms need to double as offices and living rooms are now classrooms for children. Some of these trends will include:

    • Customized Design: living room fireplaces built-ins, floor-to-ceiling shelving and creative storage solutions are all long-term investments that will drastically improve how spaces both look and function.
    • Transformative Furniture: the internet has provided access to so many types of multi-functional furniture pieces ranging from fold-up tables that transition into desks to a single stool that transforms into a bench. Homeowners want pieces that are versatile and adaptable.
    • Dining Room Revival: the dining room and kitchen are often the hearts of the home. It’s where we gather, connect, eat and now also work. In 2021 will see a renewed focus on dining rooms that make an impact.

    Regardless of the multitude of design trends we’ll see ahead in 2021 as a result of this past year, the common denominator is that they’ll need to elicit more joy, spark additional growth and ultimately make us feel safe. That’s the magic of the home, It’s the one area we can have control over in a world that seems to have lost control.


    Designer Louis Duncan-He is the Creative Director and Principal of Louis Duncan-He Designs. This notable Calgary, Montreal based boutique design firm offers complete residential design services throughout Canada. With a distinct timeless perspective, they create unified authentic designs. @louis.dhe

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