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The top 5 emerging design trends for 2021

Considering we’ve passed the mid-way point of 2021, it’s time to take stock of the biggest emerging trends of the year

By Vogue UK | July 28, 2021 | Trends

Picture: Unsplash

In a year where normal has not quite been restored yet, our homes are still as important as ever. A place to work, rest and play—often at the same time—the continued pause on international travel for Australians combined with eye-watering real estate prices means there’s never been more interest on the home.

It’s a trend that extends beyond Australian borders, too. “In a year where the home took centre stage, one of the great shakes we have seen in the interior design industry is an emphasis on creative spaces,” says Alec Watt, CEO of Accouter Group of Companies (AGC). With one of AGC’s brands, design studio A.London providing a range of interior design solutions for luxury rentals and property developers, Watt is well-versed in spotting global interior trends. “There’s no escaping trends and whilst you shouldn’t feel the need to live by them, there’s no denying that everything designed for our spaces is influenced by a wider trend,” he adds.

Below, he shares a few of his insights into the emerging trends of 2021.

1. Natural, earthy finishes and saturated paints

“Earlier this year, in the UK, Dulux released its 2020 colour of the year, Tranquil Dawn. At A.London, we have forecasted that this serene colour palette will continue well into 2021,” says Watt. “Try using comforting and inviting shades which are delicate to the eye.” He also suggests including warm paint tones that include off whites, ivories, creams and warm greys, and using “light timber, teak, patina and matte tones to create more layers and a welcoming atmosphere. Choosing these colours also provides the space with an elegant and sumptuous feel.”

2. Biophilic design—at one with nature

“With the majority of 2020 and 2021 having been spent indoors, people are bringing nature inside,” says Watt. “Connectivity to the natural environment has been proven to lift moods and boost mindfulness. As a result, the focus in interiors will be on bringing the outside in to our living spaces, and making sure the air we breathe is fresh and full of oxygen.”

On top of improving air quality, Watt suggests implementing an organic colour palette and incorporating features like a retractable glass roof into the home—an addition perfect for summer.

3. Desire for craftsmanship

“At A.London’s core, we encourage craftsmanship and artisan-made heirlooms over quick-to-ship products that will be thrown away with the next design trend,” says Watt. “However, we believe that sustainable and ethical design is becoming more than just a trend. In 2021, we’ll see a continued increase in demand for the expertise of these skilled craftsmen and producers.”

Focusing on buying pieces from “a drive-able radius”, doesn’t just beautify our homes, it also serves to reflect the incredible talent within our communities and around our country.

4. Best of the zest

“As featured in one of Pantone’s Colours of the Year 2021, citrus colour schemes and palettes are on the rise,” says Watt, referencing the sunshine brightness of Illuminating. “Lemons [are] said to symbolise love and friendship, and they’ve emerged as a key trend to brighten your home. From pale sherbet to deep honey, the spectrum of shades coincides with summertime, evoking energetic and optimistic overtones.”

“The trend is not limited to paint palettes either. In smaller, homeware-sized doses, citrus ornaments, art and furnishings can bring an element of joy to your living space.”

5. Functionality in focus

“After the pandemic forced the population to sequester inside for a year, many discovered their homes were not as functional and beneficial as they originally believed,” argues Watt. “As demand moves from formal décor to comfort, a key trend to emerge out of 2021 is the focus on functionality.”

He suggests assessing what you need to get out of your space and how you want to feel within it—and it needn’t be drastic either—the simplest changes can make the greatest impact. “For example, if you’re using your space to work, opting for cool-toned light bulbs will help maintain focus.” Save the warm-toned light bulbs for your bedroom, “they create an element of calm, helping you unwind and relax.”

Written by Yeong Sassall.

This article originally appeared on Vogue Living Australia.