Home with black front door.

2021 Home Decor And Interior Design Trends To Adopt Now

Morgan McBride5-Minute Read
January 11, 2021

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As every pontificator is busy creating a list of up-and-coming themes in pop culture and news, what’s happening in the world of interior design for 2021? Whether you’re buying a home that’s crying out for updating or you’re working on some elements of staging to present your property in the best possible light for potential buyers, here are some 2021 home decor trends you should have on your radar.

Grey living room with yellow accents.

Ultimate Gray And Illuminating Everywhere

We’ll start with the 2021 “Color of the Year,” decreed on an annual basis by the Pantone Color Institute, which chooses a color it expects to see reflected in industries such as home furnishings, fashion, product packaging and industrial design. Pantone actually selected two colors for 2021: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating.

Ultimate Gray is described by Pantone as solid and dependable, the color of pebbles on a beach. After a tumultuous 2020, Pantone suggests that we need a dependable, steady color that will stand the test of time. This cool, medium-toned gray is really easy to work into any style of home decor and is very neutral and usable.

Ultimate Gray makes an excellent whole-house paint color, interior or exterior. You could also color-match this shade for a sofa or even paint a large piece of furniture in your home. Ultimate Gray will flow with almost any existing color scheme!

Illuminating is, in contrast, an extremely bright yellow. Pantone describes it as bright, cheerful, and the color of the sun. This color was selected to symbolize positivity going into the future after a noticeably negative-toned 2020.

This is a really bold color for home decor but can definitely bring happiness and joy to your space as pops of color in accessories, accent walls and art. While you could pair this bold yellow with neutrals to let it truly shine, it also pairs well with other bold colors. For example, Pantone released the color palette “Aviary” which includes Illuminating paired with a hot pink, bright cobalt, and vibrant turquoise. If you love color, this could be an excellent source of inspiration for your home in 2021. 

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Rustic wood kitchen counter.

Rustic Touches

Rustic decor has been on trend for a while and it will continue to shine in 2021. To keep it current, focus on incorporating rustic decor with a more modern flare. Decor styles that follow this trend include cottagecore and modern farmhouse. It’s easy to take a rustic style of decor and give it your own personal touches to make it fit your home.

Traditional rustic style includes a lot of natural elements, including raw wood and stone. To modernize this style, add furniture with sleek, clean lines and cut down on the clutter. Adding contrasting elements, like metal light fixtures or hardware, can help modernize the rustic vibe, too. Stick to a neutral color palette and layer in lots of texture with pillows, throw blankets, rugs, and accessories to complete the look. Rustic decor has a lot of leeway, so have fun with it and experiment until it really feels like you.

A spacious, open area with skylights and plants.


Sustainability is more than just a passing trend, but it is really starting to influence home design. There are many ways in which homeowners can incorporate more sustainable and eco-friendly materials into their living spaces. Focus on re-using instead of buying new as well as decorating with more natural elements to really achieve this look.

A major way to decorate sustainably is to purchase vintage or secondhand furnishings and decor. This keeps these old pieces out of the landfill. Secondhand items could be painted, reupholstered, or repurposed for a new, more modern look. Many vintage pieces were painted in the last 5 to 10 years to match the trends at those times. If you can get your hands on a piece with good bones but a bad paint job, consider stripping the paint to reveal the more currently trending natural wood underneath.

Boho bedroom with orange bedding and wicker lamps.

Neutrals And Earth Tones

Along the lines of a modern rustic style and sustainable furnishings, neutrals and earth tones are really having a moment. Neutral paint colors and upholstery fabric are always a good long-term investment. If you want to pull in trending colors for rugs, furniture, or accessories, consider earth tones like rusty orange, chocolate brown, forest green, or deep golden yellow.

When selecting earth-toned decor, look for more natural finishes, as well. Matte is more on trend than high-gloss. Look for vases and lamps with a mud-like, rough pottery finish. Incorporate nubby, textured fabrics. Don’t use any satin or glossier paint, instead sticking to a flat sheen.

Small, wood kitchen table with plant and coffee cups.

Light Wood Furnishings

Dark wood is definitely out of style and light wood is having its moment. While gray tones like driftwood have been on trend for the past few years, more neutral natural wood is what’s really currently hot. If you have furnishings that are stained darker, this is the time to pull out the sander and the wood stripper and get to work. Leave the natural wood underneath raw or just seal it with a matte sealer for best results.

Alternative light woods like rattan and wicker are also really trendy. These woods really lend themselves to a boho chic look. Keep them natural and pair them with other neutrals and natural materials for a really 2021 vibe.

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Coastal blue and white living room.

Oceanic Inspiration

People around the world are missing their beach vacations and that is translating over into home decor. Given people’s general inability to take tropical getaways due to the pandemic, homeowners can incorporate colors, furniture, and decor pieces into their interior design plan for 2021 that create a calming, ocean-inspired or even tropical-themed atmosphere in their living space.

You don’t want to decorate with seashells and “beach house” signs to achieve this look. Oceanic colors include muted but deep teals and blues paired with natural tans and off-white. Resin art that looks like waves on the beach is a gorgeous way to bring the sea into your home. Choosing brass hardware is another more subtle way to give a nod to the nautical in your space. Small touches can go a long way to getting the calming, oceanic look of this trend.

Woman in orange reading, surrounded by plants.

Adult Craft Rooms

Many people are still quarantining at home and are, frankly, bored. Crafting is a great place to turn when you want to channel that boredom into fun productivity. Homeowners can focus on creating a dedicated space for creative projects as part of their 2021 interior design.

When selecting a craft space, decide if you want it to be separate or open to the rest of your living space. If you tend to leave supplies out for days or weeks at a time, you might want some separation or at least hidden storage for the mess. Focus on creating a flat, open workspace with tons of lighting, and decorate the walls with things that inspire you to get creative!

Cozy living room with grey couch and white fireplace.

Houseplant Haven

Indoor plants have been popular for a while, but being stuck at home during the pandemic has encouraged many homeowners to branch out beyond the basics and invest in more unique and interesting houseplants. As you accumulate more plants that all need to share the same precious sunny windows, you need to get creative about displaying them.

To best let your houseplants shine, showcase them in a variety of ways. Consider hanging plants from the ceiling, placing pots on plant stands and shelves, and adding a few taller trees to give a variety of dimension and heights. You can even create an entire indoor garden! And, if you truly have a black thumb, there are a ton of beautiful faux plants available at reasonable prices. Nobody has to know!

The Bottom Line

In general, 2021 style is going to be a return to natural elements. Focus on natural toned wood, stone, and plants to really achieve this look. And if you’re feeling bold, bring in pops of bright yellow to bring on the hope and optimism for the new year. Be sure to check out more homeowner tips on the Rocket HomesSM blog.

Get a professional opinion.

Find local interior decorators to help on HomeAdvisor.

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Morgan McBride

Morgan McBride is a DIY-lover and home decor enthusiast living in Charleston, South Carolina. She has been blogging at CharlestonCrafted.com alongside her husband since 2012, where they empower their readers to craft their current home into their dream home through the power of DIY.