Residential Architecture & Interior Design Trends for 2021

Morgante Wilson Architects

Dec 21, 2020 - 5 min read

Residential Architecture & Interior Design Trends for 2021

Us, trend followers? Hardly! At Morgante Wilson Residential Architects, we’re more about being innovative and timeless than following trends. Even so, we love to look ahead and share the residential architecture and interior design trends we think are going to be big in the coming year, based on what our clients are into, the suggestions they’re willing to take, and the things we notice more and more of them asking for. And with that, we present to you our top six home design trends list for 2021:

1. Layered warmth is in

We see both residential architecture and interior design becoming more textured and more layered, and moving away from clean and minimal. Our clients are asking for more upfront integration between architecture and interior design. The way this plays out is that instead of purchasing a bookcase and placing it against a finished wall once a house has been built, we’re planning ahead and designing built-in millwork. Same function; completely different approach. That’s the type of layering we’re talking about. It’s not about adding tassels and trims to fabrics. It’s about layering in window seats and recessed display niches rather than buying a chair or a shelf. And we’re doing it more often than ever before.

2. Less gray and more color

Have you noticed all the peacock blue that’s around these days? How about the deep mustard yellows? Color is definitely one trend on the upswing. Maybe it’s an antidote to this long, dark winter of a year that’s mercifully coming to an end. Or maybe the pendulum is simply beginning to swing in reaction to the neutral gray interiors we’ve all been living with and looking at for more than a decade. Either way, we won’t go so far as to say gray is over, because we will always love a beautiful, warm gray, and the way it can knit design schemes together. But we’re definitely beginning to see renewed interest in color, whether on its own or as a spark to a gray-based palette.

3. Kitchens that go beyond white

This one may surprise you, because we all know there’s nothing more classic, or more timeless, than all-white kitchens. But that’s precisely the point. They’ve become so ubiquitous, we’re finding our clients are suddenly more open to other ideas. That, and they’re yearning for warmth and simplicity. They do not want to expend the effort necessary to keep an all-white kitchen looking pristine. The thing is, in an all-white kitchen, everything looks out of place unless it’s in its place. That’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself, if you really just want to be able to relax in a more livable space. And so we’re suggesting – and our clients are agreeing to – unique finishes such as vinyl-wrapped cabinets, faux finishes to mimic various woods, and combinations of wood and paint together. They’re also embracing a much richer palette.

4. Lighting as art

You may recall lighting was a trend we first identified last year. We’re including it again this year because it continues to gain steam. Our clients have grown beyond the notion of lighting as art to the point where they’re now taking lighting so seriously they’re hiring lighting designers to ensure greater control over the quality and amount of light in their homes. This is a real acceleration. We’re also seeing an ever-growing number of transitional and contemporary lighting choices even in the most traditional homes.

5. Inside-outside connections

Inside-outside connections is another residential trend we’ve talked about in years past. But right now, it’s become an honest-to-goodness movement! No matter where they live, people desire connections to nature now more than ever before. We think this is partly due to the restrictions we’ve all endured this past year due to COVID-19, but it goes far deeper than that. This past year was tumultuous in so many ways; people are seeking comfort and safety in nature. We want to look at trees and grass and big blue skies, and so floor-to-ceiling glass will continue to gain traction. Better yet, we want to walk right through a room and find ourselves outside with a good book under shading branches. We want to wiggle our bare toes in the cool blades. We want to feel the sun on our faces while we wait for the oven to warm.

6. Permanence in housing

Our final residential architecture and interior design trend for 2021: we see more permanence in housing than ever before. Even our youngest clients are viewing their homes as 25-year landing spots. They’re thinking ahead – way ahead – and requesting one-level homes, or two-story homes with elevators. They’re building handicapped adaptability into those houses, too. We’re blocking for grab-bars during the construction phase, knowing those bars likely won’t be installed for a couple of decades. But the infrastructure is planned for and incorporated now, so that when the time arrives, everything is simple and seamless. Now that’s a trend worth following!

Read other blog posts below that are related to new ideas and trends in residential architecture and interior design from award-winning Chicago architects Morgante-Wilson: