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5 Big-Picture Home Design Trends Taking Off Right Now

A look at Houzz search data reveals emerging trends that signal what’s ahead for home remodeling and decorating

It’s no secret that if you want to know what’s popular right now, just look at what people are searching for online. Think of it as a modern-day version of reading the tea leaves. We recently looked at searches on Houzz from April to June of 2021 and compared them with searches from the same time last year to see how home design interests are changing. What a difference a year can make.


Luxurious decor, the color green, swimming pools and dedicated spaces for work, art and exercise are just some of the trends taking off. Here you can glimpse more of what homeowners are interested in now — and get an idea of what homes might look like in the very near future.


1. Dedicated Activity Spaces


Over the past year, many people’s homes became something of a mini village. The local gym, bar, theater and office turned hyperlocal as people made room to accommodate these activities at home. It’s a major shift in how people think about their homes and one that probably isn’t going away anytime soon.



The ability — or requirement, in some cases — to work from home accounts for perhaps one of the biggest recent changes in home design. On Houzz, searches for “home office” jumped 108% year over year.


There are many ways to carve out space for a dedicated home office area. Consider converting a spare bedroom or a portion of one. A standalone shed or ADU might be better for your situation. Or you might need just a little nook by a window for a laptop.

The design-build firm Benvenuti and Stein created this beautiful Chicago workspace in an open-plan living room. The wood-wrapped half wall provides a sense of privacy and hides office clutter from the living area and the dining room on the other side.


In addition to creating space for physical health, many homeowners sought to carve out personal space for creative hobbies that support mental well-being. Houzz searches for art studios leapt 875%.


For the sewing studio shown here in Portland, Maine, Kaplan Thompson Architects designed a well-insulated structure made from locally sourced Eastern white pine. Wood fiber insulation made from sawdust and wax pairs with triple-glazed windows to help the studio reach 70 degrees in the winter without any heat on.



2. The Color Green


Green is having a moment — and not just in one area of the home, but in several.


Searches for green kitchen cabinets were up 829%. Jordan Design-Build Group used a green-blue color for the lower kitchen cabinets in this renovated 1930s bungalow in Washington, D.C. A reclaimed-wood island top and refinished original white oak flooring complement the welcoming color.


“I think green is trending for a few reasons,” color consultant Jennifer Ott says. “First off, after years of whites, grays and cool blues being popular, it seems folks are moving more toward warmer hues. Green bridges warm and cool, so it’s a good transition between the two. It works well with white and gray but also tans and creams.


“Also, organic botanical motifs are really popular right now in fashion and interior design. Green is an obvious color pairing, especially when combined with natural woods and fibers, which are also popular in home decor right now.”


Searches for “green tile bathroom” were up 771% year over year. ProPacific Builders used a beautiful green picket tile in this San Diego bathroom, creating a complementary backdrop to all the brass finishes.


Houzz searches for “green accent chair” climbed 754%. MMI Design reupholstered these two Houston living room chairs in a striking green velvet fabric.


3. A Focus on Decorating


Renovations to kitchens and bathrooms command a lot of the home design conversation. But decorating seems to be experiencing a particular boom in interest.


Searches for home accents increased a whopping 2,417%, while searches for decorative accents rose 799%.



4. Flexible Design


As mentioned earlier, homeowners are looking to get more use out of their homes. Interest increased in flexible furniture and other design details that create multiple functions within a room.



A swivel chair is a great flexible design detail that gives users the ability to shift position toward or away from elements in a room. Searches for swivel chairs were up 1,922%.


Another flexible design feature is nesting coffee tables, up 194%.


Searches were up for other flexible design features as well, such as “TV armoire with pocket door” (2,259%), “nesting side tables” (1,918%) and “daybed sets” (867%).

5. Swimming Pool Design


Several factors probably led to a cannonball splash of rising interest in swimming pools in the past year. Many gyms with pools and local community pools were shut down for at least part of the pandemic, along with other public outdoor activities. That likely caused many homeowners to look to their backyards to create inviting outdoor experiences at home. Plus, swimming pools are just fun.



Searches for pools with water features, like those arching over this Phoenix pool by MTH Design Group, rose 797%.


Searches also increased for “rectangle pool” (576%), “lap pool” (269%), “infinity pool” (214%), “plunge pool” (73%) and “geometric pool” (70%).


See the 2021 Houzz Emerging Home Design Trends Report

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