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Sheltering in Place Influences Design Trends

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

Being home for months on end has had both positive and negative outcomes. As we start a new year and winter settles in we continue to see more and more people focus on making their homes cozy and livable. From simple decorating changes to full on renovations, see the trends that are changing our homes in 2021.

Out with gray

Gray tones have had their moment now for several years but are now on the decline. They are being replaced by warmer whites, supplemented by warm color palettes. These are cozy, reassuring colors that psychologically provide comfort and familiarity. Instead of chic “ripped from a design magazine” interiors, people are opting for a casual layered aesthetic.

Tip: If gray is still your “go to” color, look for warmer grays or “greiges” to add a cozy vibe.

Natural and organic

Natural wood and rattan are making their way back into homes. Rattan headboards, tables and side chairs began to appear in 2020 and are now a full-on trend. This is a trendy, young vibe and Is best used as one or two pieces in a room, mixed with other boho chic materials. Natural woods are making a big reappearance as countertop material in kitchens again signaling a huge shift from the very popular all white kitchen.

Tip: If you love your white kitchen but want to experiment with this trend, try a wood tray or bowl. Or add wood chargers under your white plates.

Bathrooms go high-tech

This year’s Consumer Electronic Show featured a plethora of technology for the bathroom. After the toilet paper shortages of 2020, sales of bidets and smart toilet seats skyrocketed. Also hot are touchless faucets that are more sanitary in the family bath and showers with all sorts of options – from color therapy to steam to music.

Tip: Much of this technology can be challenging to integrate into existing bathrooms but is ideally considered for a full renovation of your bath. A smart toilet seat is a good introductory product.

The new most important room of the house: The Office

We could never have imagined needing an office for every adult and a classroom for every child within the confines our home, but many of us spent a year adapting to these changes and finding whatever space possible. As many businesses continue remote work spending on making home offices more attractive and productive continues. Bold colors, wallpaper and unique lighting are all finding their way into new workspaces.

Tip: For those without a dedicated room, consider an upgraded shed or even the addition of an ADU to add value to your property and give you the workspace you require.

Death of the open floor plan?

It’s not likely we will all be putting up the walls we worked so hard to remove, but new home buyers are looking for more defined rooms and more separation of spaces. Cozy spaces where the family can be together are still highly desirable, but so are private spaces for alone time. As some families have sheltered in multiple generations, this type of separation is even more important.

Tip: Look for unconventional ways to use your space. A window seat can become a study nook. A closet can be converted to an office that can be closed away. Think about unique room dividers like classic barn doors or temporary screens to divide spaces.

It will be interesting to look back on this year and see what design artifacts remain once we are released back into the world. What will not shift is our desire to shape our environment to fit our changing needs - regardless of the trends.

Originally published in the February 2021 issue of Napa Spotlight

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