The Best Home Decor Trends Of 2021

If you found yourself rethinking just about everything when it came to your home decor this year, you're not alone. With the COVID-19 pandemic still impacting just about everything, it's easy to understand if you started hating all your decor choices, from your area rug and living room couch to what towels you had hanging up in the bathroom. Being at home so much more often than we're typically used to has made a lot of us switch our decor up — after all, keeping your space both dynamic and homey is a tall order.

Of course, a lot of us have been turning to social media for home decor inspiration, because who isn't scrolling through TikTok and Instagram during every work break? As such, hot home decor trends have hit the social media platforms, inspiring many of us to make a bulk Amazon order for all things on brand. From trendy planters to green velvet couches to new kitchen cabinet paint colors, so many of us have replaced small items or renovated entire rooms from floor to ceiling. With the year coming to a close, it's no wonder we want to revisit some of the best home decor trends of 2021. Bonus: a lot of them are here to stay.

Ceilings were an important part of home design in 2021

Have you ever walked into a hotel and noticed the amazing detailing? Everything — from the choice of sofas to the intricate flooring — is intentional, but have you made the point of looking up? Chances are an amazing ceiling was also featured. One 2021 home decor option was to bring some character to your ceilings. As noted by Apartment Therapy, the ceiling — or the "fifth wall" — shouldn't be overlooked, as adding some amazing tiles or even a fun wallpaper can really liven up just about any space. 

If you have a rather plain bedroom that, for instance, features light-colored flooring and white walls, why not add wood detailing on your ceiling for a dramatic effect? If cottagecore is more your style, throw some delicate floral tiles up there. The impact certainly won't disappoint, and you'll be on trend as a result. Tiffany Skilling, the owner and designer of Tiffany Skilling Interiors, told Apartment Therapy of this trend, "A ceiling detail can be the difference in taking a design from ordinary to extraordinary." So opt for some renter-friendly wallpaper or peel-and-stick tiles, and take your simple spaces to the next level.

This once-trendy home design is not the best option for everyone

If you consider yourself a home decor expert, the term "open concept" should trigger your spidey senses. When the heart of the house — think kitchen, living, and dining — all exists within one larger footprint, that's an open concept. It allows all the primary functions of the house (that aren't bedrooms and bathrooms) to exist in one large space. But according to Architectural Digest, the open concept home decor trend is sort of going out the door, and in order to stay on top of the latest home designs, you should start considering adding a couple "plus rooms" to your house.

Ricardo Rodriguez, a Boston-based real estate agent, told AD that due to COVID-19 and the changing demands of the home, he's started working with designers to add "amenity" and "plus rooms" to homes that can be used as office spaces, at-home gyms, Zoom school areas, and more. While the open concept style certainly lends itself to "improving traffic flow, increasing access to shared light, and allowing for multifunctionality and versatility," according to Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group design officer Elisa Orlanski Ours, 2021 proved that the decor style needed tweaking.

2021 home offices were light and neutral

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we scrambled to establish a home office. And while some are still working from their couches, a lot of us have settled into a spare room desk setup that doubles as a great at-home office. If you're lucky enough to have an established working space and you're looking to stay on trend, then look no further — we have all the details you need to know to make your at-home office the envy of your Zoom colleagues. 

According to MyDomaine, home office decor trends for 2021 largely fall on the side of neutrality. Think calming colors, smooth textures, and bright lighting — all necessary components for keeping your at-home office space as zen as possible. Osin Oshinowo, an architect and designer, told MyDomaine that at-home office decor trends should take the form of "nature and neutral," and if that screams your language, then try to incorporate "aquas, greens and greys," as well as "light walnut" into your office setup. If you want a little bit of pattern, Oshinowo suggested a "calming patterned wallpaper to radiate natural and artificial light." Remember, zen is key.

You can thank TikTok for the cottagecore trend

If pressed flowers, old books, and "Evermore" mean anything to you, chances are have loved the cottagecore home decor trend of 2021. While the cottagecore aesthetic hit the scene in 2020, it firmly took hold in 2021, and luckily for its fans, the aesthetic isn't going anywhere. Native Trails Home noted that due to TikTok, Instagram, and other social media platforms, the cottagecore trend reached the masses. What's more is that the trend of incorporating floral-printed pillows, vintage books, dripped candles, and old record players into your home is only getting more popular, so feel free to really invest in this look and lifestyle. 

So why has cottagecore decor become such a staple in home trends? According to The New York Times — yes, The New York Times even hopped on cottagecore and wrote an extensive article about the trend — the style is the result of "nearly a decade" of interior decor trends that fell on the side of "whitewashed walls, monstera plants and bland midcentury reproduction furniture." As a result, warm colors, soft textures, and lived-in pieces like repurposed coffee tables and bookcases are key in staying on trend and being comforted by your daily surroundings.

2021 saw a lot of vintage furniture

If you're looking for trendy home decor options that are unique, turn your attention to vintage items. What's new on the decor scene isn't always better, and if you're down to spend some time at flea markets, you could turn your home into an enviable display of repurposed decorations. The year 2021 proved that people are opting for vintage decor to bring a unique twist to their homes, and as noted by Vogue, the secondhand decor market is only increasing with time. 

Last year, Chairish — a vintage retailer — had a 60% increase in sales. Similarly, 1stDibs — a collectibles website — saw a 23% increase, while Kaiyo (who call themselves the "Thred-Up for Furniture") saw triple digit growth over just a couple of months. What's more is that Statista reported that the "furniture resale market" will most likely see an increase of 70% by the year 2025. This proves that the trend of vintage decor isn't going anywhere. So next time you want cool bookends, unique candlesticks, or want to go all out and get a new armchair for the living room, try opting for a vintage piece — you won't regret it.

Maximalism provided the best option for expressive home decorators

When we think of past home decor trends, we think of mid-century modern and minimalism. Those trends, however, are being replaced with maximalism — quite literally the exact opposite of minimalism. If you've never found yourself gravitating towards all-gray kitchens, concrete floors, and pure white furniture, then maximalism is certainly for you. The decor trend has only grown with time, so it's safe to say that investing in this decor style will pay off big time. 

Designer Courtney McLeod told Apartment Therapy, "Maximalist design is all about expressing your individuality and unique perspective. Maximalists don't care what the 'Joneses' will think; they design for their own joy, incorporating well-considered and bold color palettes, interesting prints, statement lighting, and curated accessories." McLeod went on to explain that maximalism decor can create "a bold and interesting mix," so if you are a creative individual with an eye for unique design, embracing maximalism is a great way to stay authentic and on trend. Try incorporating a colorful couch, pop art-inspired paintings, bold lamps, and fun lighting to bring maximalism to life in your own home.

People brought the outdoors inside

If you're determined to bring the outdoors inside, do so in style. According to Architectural Digest, the 2010s saw a "bless this mess" approach when it came to indoor plants. Due to the farmhouse look that took hold, indoor plants (and pretty much every knick-knack) were placed in mason jars. If the trend made its way onto your Pinterest wedding board, it's safe to say that you were a sucker for the mid-2010s trend that now just looks cringey. 

According to AD, that style is "quickly going out of fashion," but what should you be replacing it with? The experts said that a "less is more" approach hits the perfect balance between trendy and functional, and the more tapered-down plant aesthetic is easier to maintain. Inspired by the "Japandi" home decor trend — which is a mix of Japanese and Scandinavian styles — the 2021 indoor plant look caters itself far more to potting options that are "sculptural" and have a design life of their own.

Who didn't want a green velvet couch at one point?

From the soft textures of cottagecore to the loud colors of maximalism, 2021 has had a home trend for everyone. But one home design detail that has been included a number of different aesthetics has been colored furniture, and if you're a fan of Pinterest, then you know where we're going with this. Yes, if you had a living room or cozy nook that needed a comfy sofa, chances are you looked at a velvet couch in a gorgeous green hue — and we don't blame you. 

Green and "jewel-toned" couches became all the rage in 2021, because why settle on a gray or brown couch when you could spice up your living room with a gorgeous pop of color? According to Apartment Therapy, green couches, in particular, had "a moment" this year, in part because of the "magical" and "ethereal" vibes that came with such a choice. Green couches were definitely a 2021 choice, but if you're worried about investing in this trend, don't be. It's not going anywhere for a while, and if your decor aesthetic tends to stray on the bohemian side of things, your sofa choice will last for years.

Shaker cabinets have been all the rage

You can tell when a house was built just by looking at the cabinets, or at least people who are very in tune with home decor can. Kitchens built in the early 2000s have very distinct cabinet moulding, and you can bet that a cherry or walnut wood was used. If you're in one of these said kitchens and are just desperate to change the look of your kitchen, look no further than Shaker cabinets, a specific cabinet profile that became all the rage in 2021. 

According to Apartment Therapy, Shaker cabinets are narrower than your typical kitchen option and feature "more streamlined edges." What makes them a fabulous choice for your home decor as well is that the trend isn't going away in the near future, so you can invest your money without feeling wasteful. "Flat panel cabinets and Shaker cabinets are both classic styles that aren't going anywhere anytime soon, but one trend we're loving and implementing a lot lately is the slim Shaker door style," Cathie Hong, the owner Cathie Hong Interiors, said, adding, "It's the perfect blend between modern and traditional, and we're all for it!"

Homeowners opted for super stylish flooring

Just as we told you that the home decor trends of 2021 probably made you look up at your ceiling, you should also look at the floor — home decor is a lot more than what you put on your bookshelf or hang on the wall. Apartment Therapy noted that people were paying more attention to flooring in 2021, because why opt for shag carpeting when your floors can become an integral part of your home's aesthetic? If you're looking to replace the floor of your bathroom, for instance, why not opt for a fun patterned tile? All you need is some tile sheets from the hardware store, grout, and patience (or a professional because sometimes the pros need to handle projects like this). 

Designer Max Humphrey told Apartment Therapy of the flooring trend, "You can get a graphic look using really inexpensive tile installed in creative ways," meaning that this trend is kind to the eyes and bank account. His sentiment was echoed by fellow designer Whittney Parkinson, who said, "In the coming year, I see the continued use of tile patterns in utilitarian spaces that have the capacity to pull it off."

Modern country design has been the best of both worlds

If you find yourself struggling to identify what home decor style is for you, you might want to consider mixing two different aesthetics together. Look no further than the modern country vibe, a fan favorite of 2021. Don't think of pure farmhouse when you hear modern country, but don't envision the sleekest, most modern lines, either. According to Decoraid, modern country is "an idyllic classic" that meshes these two decor styles together perfectly, creating a look that's perfect for couples who have differing tastes or individuals who can't be summed up with just one kind of design. 

To create this trendy decor style for yourself, you need to include a couple basic elements. To get that farmhouse look, you have to incorporate some wood pieces — think a wooden coffee table or media center that has an earthy, warm tone to it. You could even look for a housing option with wooden beams, or you could add wooden baseboards to your walls. From there, you have to mix in the modern style — think neutral paint colors and simpler lines. Together, the cool decor tones of the modern and the homey vibes of the farmhouse will blend perfectly.

People brought the beach into their homes

Every 1990s kid can remember that one family who had a beach-themed bathroom — it was like the basic requirement for any family home, with jars of seashells on the countertops and pictures of the Great Barrier Reef. If you love the beach and want to incorporate that passion into your home, but don't want to invoke the truly awful stylings of anchors, starfish, and seashell-shaped towel hooks in your home, opt for the trendy coastal theme instead. 

As reported by Forbes, 2021 saw an increase in the coastal decor trend, not only because the style is pleasing to the eye, but because it creates an "open and airy vibe" that is indicative of vacation; after all, who hasn't wanted to leave their home for a vacation to paradise pretty much every day during the pandemic? Designer Amy Leferink told Forbes that while the coastal decor look has been around for some time, its increased popularity suggests that the trend is only on the rise. "It is meant to evoke a feeling of being near the water — bringing the relaxation, ease, and casual vibe of waterside living to everyday life," she said. Sounds like a good reason to a dreamy, beach-inspired paint color!

Open shelving provided a fresh kitchen style

Raise your hand if you have loathed putting away dishes. Not only is it just a pain to bend over the dishwasher, but opening and closing every cabinet in the kitchen is equally annoying. However, there's a solution that just so happens to be a trending decor option, as one of 2021's hottest home decor options is open shelving (and we love it in the kitchen). As noted by HGTV, open shelving has been incorporated in home projects for a while now, but the trend "doesn't seem to be showing any signs of slowing down." Bonus, there are a couple of different ways you can go about open shelving. 

If you aren't sold on the idea, HGTV suggested just taking the doors off your cabinets to "ease" into it. If you don't like it, you can always just pop the doors right back on — no one will be the wiser. But if you love open shelving, opt to keep the doors off entirely or better yet, get your upper cabinets removed and replace them with shelving that serves both function and style. You can't go wrong with this one.

Kitchens in 2021 were all about contrasting cabinets

There is quite literally nothing, in our opinion, more powerful than a fresh coat of paint. If you're feeling desperate to switch up your decor style, why not just make a quick trip to the local hardware store and grab a new swatch of a trendy paint color? Transforming any space with a paint brush is fairly easy in comparison to other home decor projects, and it can be quite fun. If the kitchen is the area of your home that you're dedicated to switching up, you're in luck, because there is a home decor trend of 2021 that can be accomplished with a couple cans of paint, some drop cloths, and an old t-shirt. 

As noted by Apartment Therapy, one of the best home decor trends of 2021 is the contrasting kitchen cabinet design, meaning upper cabinets are painted one color while lower cabinets are painted a different color (or kept in their natural wood tone). Designer Erika Marini said that the combination makes kitchens more dynamic, making the heart of the home dynamic and intriguing. "White kitchens are classic and timeless, but there's something so fresh about mixing materials, finishes, and different styles of cabinetry," Marini said. So, why not pick out two kitchen cabinet paint colors to inspire creativity and get to painting?