2021 Houzz Home Design Predictions

Emerging trends in kitchen lighting, color schemes and ways that the COVID-19 pandemic is shaping the future of home design.

  1. The Multi-Zone Kitchen. A traditional three-zone “work triangle” setup in the kitchen creates an efficient connection between the fridge, sink and range. But many homeowners want their kitchens to emphasize a variety of other tasks and allow for other cooks as well. In response, homeowners are working with designers on Houzz to add more touch points to that triangle shape and create additional work zones. This “work trapezoid” might include dedicated areas for baking, prepping and chopping, or separate stations for snacks, drinks or homework.
  2. Stylish Sconce Lighting. Lighting can be like jewelry in a kitchen, and homeowners on Houzz are showing interest in swing-arm and other sconce fixtures, which can add some adornment while providing needed task lighting around a sink or range. A sconce also brings in a sculptural element above eye level and adds a bit of shimmer from its metal finish, two details that can help break up walls of cabinets or tile. Plus, a swing-arm sconce is a good solution for adding accent lighting to open shelves to highlight objects on display.
  3. The Rejuvenating Bathroom. With the right features, a bathroom can help reduce stress. In fact, two in five homeowners (41%) who renovated a master bathroom say they rely on their new space for rest and relaxation, according to the recent 2020 Houzz Bathroom Trends Study. A soak in the tub or a long hot shower usually does the trick, but some homeowners are rejuvenating with steam showers, aromatherapy shower heads and bathtub fillers that can hold a cup of tea or glass of wine.
  4. Oversize Rectangle Tile. There are a lot of reasons to consider large rectangular tiles in a bathroom. Fewer grout lines means less cleaning and less visual clutter. Plus, the large-format tile can help visually expand a small space. We’re seeing large tiles used in a variety of classic patterns, such as herringbone, stacked and brick. If you’re considering large rectangle tiles for the bathroom floor, professionals on Houzz recommend going with a matte finish, which provides some slip resistance.
  5. Browns and Beiges Bounce Back. In conversations with designers and builders on Houzz, a trend that came up again and again was a renewed interest in shades of brown. Warm taupes, beiges, sands — basically any earth tone is surging in popularity. Some designers say the trend is an evolution from popular whites and grays of recent years, and that brown as an accent color works well to bring warmth to a palette heavy with those colors.
  6. Hardworking Home Offices and Nooks. This year, many of us discovered just how functional our homes really are as family members of all ages sought out productive spaces for remote work, video meetings, schoolwork and other tasks that previously took place away from home. This trend of remote work will continue in 2021 and homeowners will double-down on creating efficient dedicated offices, work nooks and backyard cottages.
  7. Video Conference-Worthy Backgrounds. This year, many people found themselves crafting aesthetically pleasing backgrounds for video meetings. Through the help of Houzz inspiration photos and pros from the Houzz community, homeowners have discovered the art of a good vignette. Well-hung artwork, pops of color, good lighting, a little greenery and objects of different sizes can create a stylish backdrop for a meeting, but also make our homes more enjoyable to be in.
  8. Rethinking the Open Plan. Perhaps no other design element was put under the microscope this year more than the open plan. Anyone who had multiple family members attempting concurring video meetings in an open layout quickly saw the disadvantages to a lack of walls. The open plan isn’t going away for everyone, but many people are considering sliding doors or partitions that can close off rooms for much-needed privacy.
  9. The Year of the Pergola. Homeowners on Houzz are looking to extend usable living space to outdoor areas. If you want to create an inviting outdoor living space, you’ll likely need shade to do it. And a pergola is a relatively quick and affordable solution. These simple shade structures, which can be built and installed in a day or two, provide adequate shade for dining, lounging and other outdoor activities.
  10. Rise of the ADU & Backyard Cottage. As mentioned, many people who found themselves in households of competing video meetings and school activities desperately sought private space to work, exercise or relax. In fact, a recent Houzz study found that one in eight homeowners felt their home lacked a dedicated work space or exercising area (13% and 12%, respectively). A backyard cottage or accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a great solution for adding that kind of dedicated space. These standalone structures are used as home offices, gyms, meditation areas or as extended living spaces to house relatives or kids who had to stay home from college due to the pandemic.
Houzz is the leading platform for home renovation and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish. Houzz is available on the web and as a top-rated mobile app. Houzz is a registered trademark of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit houzz.com.

The “U.S. Bathroom Trends Study” is an online survey fielded to U.S. Houzz users between June and July 2020. n=1,594.