Trends in the homewares market have been duly informed by the persistent, lingering and insidious threat of the Covid-19 pandemic. Home is where we’ve been this year, and home is where, it appears, we’ll be staying until further notice. Spending so much time at home has provided us with the opportunity, pursued or not, to assess what it is that we really need from our homes to improve our lives. We have had the chance to consider how our spaces, both before and during the pandemic, can be reconfigured or enhanced in some way to make our daily tasks and routines easier and more pleasurable.
Having put the question of 2021 homeware trends to some top industry spokespeople, the presiding forecast for the New Year seems to be (no drumroll necessary) homeliness. What we want from our homes is a sense of escape from the outside world; a cocoon closeness to protect and comfort us. As Emma Deterding, the founder of Kelling Designs and KD Loves (www.kellingdesigns.com) puts it, “with the vast majority of us spending more time at home, there has been a big shift in people redecorating to refresh their homes, making sure that they are a true reflection of their own personality, whilst being cosy and safe spaces.” The 2021 home is a place that works for us in personal and professional capacities. It must manage our emotions and fuel our productivity. It must have its own personality and uniqueness, helping to fulfil its purpose as an active participant in its relationship with its owner as for many, homes have provided the sole source of physical company this year.
In particular, the kitchen, which will continue to act as the hub of home-centric activity, will adopt a more characterful look. “Character kitchens,” as coined by Julia Steadman, the head of operations at kitchen company, Brandt Design (www.brandtdesign.co.uk) will be the popular choice amongst renovators and redecorators in search of kitchens which reflect personal taste, character and lifestyle. “The most desirable kitchen designs of 2021 will combine purpose and personality,” says Steadman, adding, “traits which will encourage an appetite for more highly curated kitchens that are 100 per cent original.” Founder of Ledbury Studio (www.ledburystudio.com), Charlie Smallbone, who also founded Smallbone of Devizes over 40 years ago, agrees, saying, that one thing alone is clear about the future of kitchen design in 2021: “Personalisation has been gathering momentum for the past three years and I can only see this strengthening in 2021.”
Tom Howley, the design director of his eponymous bespoke kitchen company (www.tomhowley.co.uk), also believes that kitchen design trends will be led by their increased usage over 2020 and into the New Year. Howley says, “our clients are looking for personal, considered kitchens that work in multifunctional ways to chime with the kitchen’s heavier footfall over 2020 and into 2021. Wide or even double island counters are very popular, as well as comfortable seating options alongside the more traditional island bar stools.”
Unsurprisingly, bathrooms will follow suit in terms of comfort, familiarity and personalisation. James Stevenson, the creative director at Imperial Bathrooms (www.imperialbathroom.com) has reported an increase in the demand for bathrooms that offer authentic custom design elements. Stevenson says, “as the bathroom continues to become more of a deeply personal space next year, it will play a vital role in providing the ultimate place to decompress and luxuriate in, meaning value-adding accessories are climbing to the top of the bathroom wish list.”
Lucy Ackroyd, Christy’s (www.christy.co.uk) head of design, believes that this wish list will be populated with fluffy towels to rival any five-star hotel in the absence of travel in 2021. “If you want to bring the hotel feel to your bathroom, the first step is investing in the right product,” she says, adding, “choose high-quality cotton towels to provide absorbency, durability and a desirable texture.” Jo Ross, Sheridan’s (www.sheridanaustralia.co.uk) general manager of design, says that the personalisation of your bathroom should extend to your towels and that such “desirability” depends on your lifestyle. “Never underestimate the power of the perfect towel for you,” says Ross. For example, busy families might benefit from towels in different colours, people who use harsh skincare products may wish to use a white towel to avoid any discolouring, and a lightweight, fast-drying towel that’s highly absorbent will compliment a more fast-paced lifestyle.
Finally, the bedroom. New-season bedroom trends are grounded in a nostalgic, restful, vintage feel for the ultimate escape from the increasingly virtual world we have come to inhabit. Graham & Green’s (www.grahamandgreen.co.uk) colour and trends specialist, Paula Taylor, puts this down to “a turbulent environment of political and social unrest, causing us to yearn for designs which reflect our values of authenticity and relatability.” Taylor predicts a surge in heritage prints and natural motifs that inspire a sense of calm and balance. Nina Tarnowski, founder and designer for Woodchip & Magnolia (www.woodchipandmagnolia.co.uk), agrees. She adds that “there is a rising demand for vintage design wallpaper and fabrics as customers look to add character and warmth to their homes.” Where bedrooms are concerned, she recommends “layering vintage homewares with modern elements in a complementary colour palette for a balanced and cohesive scheme.” The brand’s recent wallpaper collaboration with Pearl Lowe has a stylish, nouveau-Georgian feel, featuring floral cameos, tendrils of wisteria and allusions to avian Chinoiserie. Sign me up.
Another way to add some stylised, vintage charm (and new levels of comfort) to your bedroom is with oversized accessories and furniture. “Adding an upholstered headboard is a great way to start,” believes Martin Waller, the founder of Andrew Martin (www.andrewmartin.co.uk). “Borrowing this design element from boutique hotels around the world will add a new dimension of comfort and style to your bedroom,” says Waller. “Look to the Firmdale Hotels for inspiration on using brave colour and pattern and have fun coordinating your headboard with wallpapers or throws. Don’t be afraid to choose a more outlandish style as this only adds more character. See it as art above your bed,” he adds.
A final note on the 2021 bedroom concerns its inherent and necessary multifunctionality for many people. “With the majority of people needing more flexibility at home as our work and personal spaces fuse,” says Charu Gandhi, founder of design firm, Elicyon (www.elicyon.com), “decorative screens are useful to help break up an open plan space and create rooms within a room.” She adds, “Cleverly designed and placed, a screen can create layers of privacy without closing off a space completely. Screens are also a great way to add a decorative pattern or movement into a room.”