Top design trends to expect post-pandemic

If there’s one thing that’s constant, it’s change. This has never been more apparent than over the last year. So what are home buyers and homeowners looking for this spring and throughout 2021?

We looked at data, talked to trend-watchers and asked agents across North America for their best insights to help you stay on top of what’s now, and what’s next, in home décor and design.

There are a number of relevant trends and must-have design elements that will be useful as buyers, and homeowners, navigate 2021 and figure out how to optimize their spaces for the days ahead.

These design trends are especially relevant right now:


1. Kitchen After a year spent cooking at home, more homeowners have brushed up on their culinary skills. Now they plan to upgrade their kitchens to match their newfound passion for sourdough and TikTok pasta recipes. They’re looking for additional storage space for newly acquired mixers and bread makers as well..


2. Baths Bath upgrades reflect the fact that everyone is home at the same time. That’s probably why a double-sink vanity is the No. 1 most desired feature on buyer wish lists.

In addition, upgraded showers and added storage were top-of-mind along with heated flooring.


3. Outdoors Outdoor living is one of the most important upgrades for homeowners and buyers — though the particular features they’re looking for vary. Firepits were the most popular upgrade in colder locations, along with screened outdoor spaces. In other markets, year-round outdoor kitchens were the most desired enhancement.


4. Energy efficiency With so many people working and learning from home, homeowners are seeing massive spikes in their utility bills and usage, making energy-efficient home upgrades a major focus. Windows, increased insulation, and energy-efficient systems and appliances are favored projects.



Insights from The Plan Collection

According to The Plan Collection, an online resource for home design and floor plans, homeowners and buyers are looking for home design that is expansive, versatile and comforting. Their designers have identified the following trends that are poised to take over post-COVID:


1. Goodbye, open concept. Hello, multifunctional spaces! Instead of the wide-open spaces we’re used to, home design plans are now focusing more on self-contained “flex” spaces designed to provide additional space and privacy. These can be used as needed for home offices, remote learning and active play spaces like playrooms, gyms and lounges.

Along with these multifunctional spaces, homeowners are leaning toward multifunctional furniture designed to do double duty. “For example, when a home includes both an eat-kitchen and a formal dining area, a family can replace an expansive dining room table with a drop-leaf option to make room for a reading nook or office space,” according to Plan designers.


2. Double kitchen islands Plan identified double kitchen islands as a trend to watch, even in smaller spaces. These provide additional storage and versatility, especially in homes where the kitchen may be in use while family members are also working remotely or completing classwork for online learning.

According to Plan, double islands make it possible to abandon the traditional kitchen table in favor of a more flexible secondary space.


3. Expanded garages Plan found that garages can work in a variety of ways as natural gathering places that are sheltered but still allow plenty of outdoor access and fresh air.

Newer garages often have hobby or workshop space built in, offering plenty of space to work on everything from gardening to building projects. In addition, a garage space is an excellent alternative for outdoor entertaining space in inclement or chilly weather.


4. Activity spaces Flex spaces dedicated to the kids, including “kid nooks” nestled in small corners of the home, offer both the privacy kids need along with the ability for parents to keep an eye on them.

Parents are turning little-used formal dining rooms, open loft spaces and small office spaces near the kitchen or mudroom into child-friendly spaces with plenty of school and craft supplies. This offers kids a sense of independence and ownership, and teaches them valuable organizational skills.


5. Enhanced accessibility Plan identified enhanced accessibility for wheelchairs and elderly residents as an important potential trend. As more families choose to keep elderly parents with them in the home and the large cohort of baby boomers choose to retire in place and stay in their family home, there will be an increased need for spaces that are easier and safer to navigate.


Wayfair Professional Design Trends to Watch

According to Rebecca Breslin, design manager for Wayfair Professional, “Our homes have been our sanctuaries, offices, schools, and everything in between for the last year. When thinking about renovating, homeowners are looking for creature comforts, soothing spaces, and design details that speak to their personal taste.”

Here are the design elements she sees on the horizon:


1. Matte treatments get their time to shine Breslin and her team have seen a “steep rise in popularity for matte black fixtures and finishes.” They are also looking at warm pops of color in matte bathroom and kitchen finishes, including matte brass light fixtures, matte colored vanities, and warm porcelain tile in baths.


2. Industrial design gets a warm upgrade While Breslin says that industrial design is still popular, including open shelving and metal accents, it has been made cozier with warm woods, earth tones, and warmer metals like bronze.


3. Pattern mixing gets extra playful Pattern mixing involves choosing a bold pattern, then layering in more subtle patterns in complementary colors along with natural textures like wood and stone finishes.

For example, homeowners may want to choose a bold patterned tile or wallpaper then add a finer pattern on the floor, plus a textured light fixture and accents with pronounced wood grain finishes.


4. Smart appliances Breslin says that smart features can be added at a reasonable price, including touchless kitchen faucets, which is a popular upgrade. In addition, smart refrigerators with family hubs are in demand both for their energy efficiency and convenient apps like a family calendar, shopping list or photo display.

— Inman News