The home decor trends that will be popular in 2021, according to interior designers

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  • On Wednesday, Modsy released its Trend Report for 2021, which predicts what home decor trends will be popular in the coming year.
  • Experts think that people will embrace comfortable and traditional furniture to make their homes more welcoming, as well as natural-looking materials and lighter wood.
  • Sustainable and affordable designs are also becoming more popular.
  • Designers are expecting to see more color in homes in 2021 as people tire of a neutral color scheme. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Like anything else, home decor evolves. And although the bigger shifts are more noticeable over longer periods of time, there are typically new trends that enter the design space each year. 

To help people keep abreast of these trends, Modsy releases an annual Trend Report full of predictions of what will be popular in people's homes in the coming year. 

Insider spoke to Modsy's vice president of style, Alessandra Wood, about the trends people will embrace in 2021 and why they're making people feel at home. 

Comfort and tradition became a big focus for people in 2020, and that's going to continue in 2021.

"We think that the old-school, Pottery Barn vibe, which was oh-so-popular in the 1990s, will be making a strong comeback," Alessandra Wood, the vice president of style at Modsy, told Insider. 

"People are spending a lot more time at home and looking to add layers of functional comfort to their space," Wood added.

For instance, if you had a formal living room for years, you might be trying to think of ways to make it a more inviting and functional space.

"Overstuffed furniture, softer curves, and traditional styles that you can count on always looking the same provide comfort and support for many during these unprecedented times," Wood said. 

You can embrace comfort and tradition by bringing simple, rounded furniture into your home.

"Look for sofas, sectionals, and armchairs that have a comfortable look and feel — something that you could really curl up on and binge-watch TV or read a good book," Wood advised people who want their homes to be more comfortable.

"Choose furniture pieces that lean less minimal or mid-century, and instead are more traditional, with simple decorative carvings and knotty wood surfaces," she added, like the simple chairs in this dining room. 

People are embracing bold wall colors.

Neutral wall tones have been all the rage the last few years, with color coming from paintings or maybe an accent wall.

But Modsy predicts bold colors are going to fill entire walls in the coming year.

"We think this trend is really inspired by people's disconnect with the outside world and a yearning to create a home that has a bit more flair and personality," Wood told Insider. "Looking back at a few golden eras of home entertaining, such as the Victorian era or the mid 20th century, people decorated their homes with bold and intense color palettes."

"Perhaps as we lead lives that are more centered at home, we too are turning to more bold statements via color," she added.

Wood also pointed out that restaurants or hotels often have colorful walls, so people might be trying to re-create that effect at home. 

If you want to add color to a space in your home, make sure you're thoughtful about which room and what color you choose.

Although it can be fun to go bold with your walls, you'll want to consider how the color you choose could impact how you feel in a space before you paint. 

"Intense colors in bedrooms or offices could influence your mood when trying to work or sleep," Wood pointed out. 

"Pick a space where you will not feel overly impacted by an intense color palette, such as a living or dining room," she said. 

People are going to embrace lighter woods in 2021.

"Whether it's Scandinavian blonde or a more rustic light oak, we're seeing lighter-toned wood replace medium and darker shades," Wood told Insider. "This color wood is uplifting and easy to design around creating a slightly more modern look, even in cozy and comfortable spaces."

Modsy thinks the rise of light tones is a result of people's newfound love of minimalism, which is found in Scandinavian and Japanese decor.

"Marie Kondo taught us to edit and keep only what we love, and our culture's move towards great sustainability supports having less but better-quality pieces," Wood said. "Living in a space with a minimalist vibe creates a sense of zen as there's literally more room."

A light wood reinforces that feeling of more space, as the hues create the illusion of a bigger room.

You can buy lighter-toned wood items no matter what decor style you like.

Whether you have modern sensibilities or want your home to look like a rustic farmhouse, light wood can work for you.

"No matter if you're leaning towards a Scandinavian or rustic style, when it's time to choose pieces of furniture, lean for lighter-toned woods as opposed to dark wood, metal, or lacquer pieces," Wood told Insider.

People are gravitating towards the "grandmillennial style" as a welcoming, unique vibe for their homes.

The grandmillennial style combines modern design with the decor you might expect to see in your grandparents' home — and it's about to take over the interior design space.

"From elements of cottagecore to crochet, we've seen this rise into fashion in 2020 and think it will be stronger than ever before," Wood said of the style's role in 2021.

"This trend is all about younger generations who love design and decor that we might culturally view as 'old lady' or 'grandma-ish,'" Wood said. "It hinges on classical design forms and patterns, historic architecture, and, of course, 'brown furniture.'"

"Just as people are looking for traditional styles to soothe the uncertainty of the world, the grandmillennial style offers similar comforts," Wood said of why it's winning people over. "This style, however, pulls from classic design styles, leaning into antiques, busy patterns, and preppy elements such as ruffles."

Grandmillennial is also an appealing design style because it's affordable and eco-friendly in practice.

The style hinges on antiques, which makes it sustainable and more affordable than buying new furniture.

"This style feels attainable and under the radar, as Victorian and neoclassical styles have not been part of trending design movements, so these antiques are often a deal — especially considering their build quality and the inherent sustainability factor of buying secondhand," Wood told Insider.

"For young professionals, buying these old pieces is a great way to make their budget go further while purchasing something that will last a lifetime," she added.

Wood recommends making trips to flea markets and antique stores to find one-of-a-kind items that can transform your home. 

Much like in the world of fashion, the '80s are making a comeback in 2021 home decor.

Although comfort and tradition will be big in 2021, the modern look that became big in the '80s will be popular too. 

"Interior design suggested one's success through new, modern shapes and materials," Wood said of the home decor of the 1980s.

Angular shapes, glass and stone materials, and Art Deco are hallmarks of the style. Those formerly modern shapes have become retro, which is why people like them now.

"Just as antiques are a bargain, for the past few years, furniture and decor from the 1980s have been easy and inexpensive to obtain on secondhand marketplaces," Wood told Insider. "As the style comes more into the forefront, authentic pieces will command higher prices, and we'll start to see mainstream retailers offering their own modern takes on the style."

You can give your home an '80s look using a contrasting color scheme or modern furniture.

The decor of the '80s had a very specific kind of popular furniture, which can immediately set the tone for your home. 

"Look for some hallmark '80s pieces such as a glass dining table with chrome or marble base," Wood advised. "Incorporate lacquer, glass, and marble into your decor via accent pieces."

The colors you choose for a room can also give it a retro feel.

"Opt for high contrast color schemes such as black and gold, or muted palettes that include mauves and dusty rose," Wood said of the colors that best suit an '80s-themed room. 

People will also be buying pieces that have a natural look for their homes in 2021.

Rather than choosing harsh decor, people are embracing materials that have a more natural look. 

"We're seeing a softer, earthier look come out to play, filled with natural materials such as cane, jute, leather, ceramic, plants, and other organic fibers," Wood told Insider. "These spaces feel more tied to nature and have a calming effect with oodles of texture."

Like the grandmillennial style, Wood thinks the love of the natural look comes from an interest in sustainable decor.

"People are starting to think more and more about the environmental impact of home design, and many natural fibers are sustainably produced without leading to deforestation," Wood said. "As fast-fashion extends its reign over furniture and decor, we're seeing pushback and a desire among our customers to shop sustainably and invest in quality pieces they can keep for years."

Wood said that layering textures and shopping smartly make it easy to create a natural look in your home.

The natural look relies on distinct pieces creating a cohesive vibe, so it's smart to layer fabrics and textures in your home if you want to incorporate the style. 

"You might layer a wool rug atop a larger jute rug, and add a cane or rattan chair to the space," Wood gave as an example. "Pile pillows and throws atop the sofa to create softness and fullness in the space."

"Look for materials that are certified sustainable by their manufacturers to ensure that you're buying pieces that you believe in," she added. 

You can read Modsy's full Trend Report for 2021 here.

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