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Bye-bye cool grey, hello colour: The home design trends every 2021 buyer should know about

Elaine Verdon of Leo + Cici shares her trend predictions for the year to come.

IF YOU’RE BEGINNING to plan your first home, you’re probably flipping through magazines and pinning beautiful images on Pinterest. You’ll probably be weighing the top trends against more classic styles, wondering which features will have long-lasting appeal.

In order to tackle the trend side, we chatted with with Dublin-based designer Elaine Verdon of Leo + Cici, to find out her predictions for interior design trends we’re likely to see in the coming year.

Verdon prefaced her trend tips with the acknowledgement that 2020 has been a strange period for most – and a year like that is bound to affect how we think about interior design.

“Our homes have never been more important,” she says. “They’ve functioned as our entire world — office, school, restaurant and social space.”

So where to start with designing your 2021 home? Verdon shares her advice…

1. Opt for long-lasting pieces

shutterstock_1309145173 Shutterstock / fizkes Shutterstock / fizkes / fizkes

Counterintuitively, one of the top interiors trends is, in fact, to buck trends altogether, according to Verdon. “Now more than ever, long lasting quality is key,” she explains. “The theory of buyings things ‘that will do for now’ is gone, as we want longevity within our homes to function from a practical perspective.”

This long-lasting trend is paired with an interest in locally sourced and sustainable products, according to Verdon, because they are “unique and not too trend led.” The pandemic has certainly led many people to make purchases that will help Irish businesses survive and hopefully thrive, and long-lasting, local and sustainable pieces fit that bill.

2. Stick with natural elements

Again, the pandemic restrictions have made their mark and that mark is going to be felt well into 2021. “After spending so much time outdoors, we reignited a passion for the natural world and it will have a major impact on patterns and colour in our homes,” says Verdon.

“Botanical and floral patterns, and colours that change with the season are really popular.” Earthy tones are on the rise too, she explains: “Warm greens, deep reds and slubby browns, they’re comforting and welcoming — just the tonic for 2021.”

3. Skip cool greys and whites

shutterstock_1368848021 Shutterstock / Photographee.eu Shutterstock / Photographee.eu / Photographee.eu

Cool, bright colours have long marked the safest and most popular choices in interior design, but they are about to lose their top position to “more colourful hues that bring comfort and joy,” says Verdon. Instead, she suggests many homeowners are starting to turn in the other direction, “embracing colour and pattern on all walls”.

4. But look for bohemian details like floral and fringe

In addition to brighter colours and patterns, Verdon says bohemian interior design is making a comeback:

Famous for its sense of freedom and individuality, watch out for traditional details like floral and fringe with a contemporary twist. 

And who doesn’t love a bit of fringe?

5. Skip heavy curtains and blinds


As we spend more time in our homes, especially in the daytime, we’re looking to lighten and brighten rather than keep sunlight out. Verdon suggests that more people are making lighter window covering choices: “Heavy curtains and blinds are on the way out, let that light in!”

6. And focus on lighting

Doubling down on the light in our homes, Verdon says lighting fixtures are more important than ever too. “Lighting is so important, often overlooked at the start,” she says. “It’s such a crucial part of the design from a functional and aesthetic perspective.”

If you’re choosing new lighting for your first home, she suggests mid-century lighting with a contemporary edge. “Just keep it simple but use widths or drops to add impact.” (See this one for inspiration.)

7. When in doubt, invest in art

Finally, Verdon counts art as another top trend that homeowners are investing in more and more. “Art brings colour, texture and warmth to a space,” she explains. “Framed correctly, it will last a lifetime.”

More: How to plan a timeless interior that won’t date your home>

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