Living room trends 2021 – top styling tips and trends to inspire

From the new maximalist trend to the wall shades you need to know about for the year ahead
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  • As we get closer to leaving 2020 behind and embarking on 2021 a new set of living room trends offer all the inspiration needed to give living rooms an upgrade. Whether that’s redefining the entire space with on-trend green paint shades and investing in this season’s so-now bouclé sofas, or simply upgrading soft furnishings with the latest bold and brave looks.

    The top new trends have something for everyone. You can choose the tranquil, relaxing back-to-nature looks that see you incorporating earthy colours and succulents or get creative with the maximalist vibe, from multicoloured rugs to mix-and-match soft furnishings.

    Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong because it’s all about self expression and making the most of the space you have for 2021…

    More inspiration: Red living room ideas – curl up with this comforting and vibrant colour

    Discover the top living room trends for 2021

    1. Multi-functional space

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    Image credit: IKEA

    Multi-functional is the watch word for living rooms in the new normal. Now that our homes are doubling up as offices, gyms and pop-up bars, clever storage ideas are a must. A storage ottoman will provide space to store gym equipment, or office supplies. While a fold down desk will allow smaller spaces to be transformed into home offices with minimal disruption.

    As we move into 2021, we’re expecting people will be looking for versatile pieces of furniture and flexible storage units that work across the home, creating seamless clever combinations for a range of needs and solutions,’ explains Rosheen Forbes Commercial Activity & Events Leader at IKEA UK & Ireland. ‘These functional, beautiful and personal solutions also create a sense of calm, which is particularly important at the moment when we’re spending more time indoors.’

    2. Statement rugs

    living room trends 2

    Image credit: John Lewis & Partners

    ‘Hard flooring will continue to remain popular in homes across the country next year,’ shares David Snazel, Buyer at Carpetright. That means that making a statement will continue to be left the rugs and runners.

    ‘Layering the two materials injects an additional level of comfort under foot whilst providing a way to introduce colour into the room and delineate spaces; particularly in open plan rooms. Consider big and bold prints with large scale pattern and bright colourways to create a focal point in the room,’ David advises for styling this trend in your home.

    3. Blue sky thinking

    Living room trends

    Image credit: Benjamin Moore

    ‘Whereas previously, neutral tones have been the most popular for living rooms, soft and versatile shades such as rose pink and sky blue have seen a surge in popularity for the coming season,’ explains Helen Shaw, director of Benjamin Moore UK. ‘Blue works perfectly in busy spaces where you look to form a sense of tranquility, such as a chaotic family living room.

    ‘Blue is one of the colours that require our eyes to do little-to-no adjusting, which will help to create a feeling of restfulness and harmony in the home. Not only does the shade bring a sense of calm, but it is also vibrant, injecting more life and energy into a space than a more traditional neutral tone.’

    4. Opulent Grandeur

    Living room trends

    Image credit: Sofa.com

    ‘Opulent Grandeur continues where it left off in 2020, but it’s now moving towards opulent lighting and occasional furniture, and velvet remains a key fabric choice,’ explains Nina Findley, Director of Trading for Home at Homebase. ‘In
    upholstery, greys and blush are still popular along with rich navy blues and emerald colours.’

    Investing in a velvet sofa is a great way to get the look. However, if you’re not ready to take that plunge, opting for a velvet cocktail chair or glamorous lighting fixture will offer affordable updates to your living room.

    5. Down to Earth schemes

    Living room trends

    Image credit: Heal’s

    ‘As we step into the new decade, freshen up your lounge and build a tranquil, fuss-free scheme with a clean, nude palette,’ suggests Kris Manalo, senior upholstery buyer at Heal’s.  After the announcement of ‘Brave Ground’ as the Dulux colour of the year, neutrals are back with a bang. This season mixes neutrals with pops of colour, with rich, earthy shades adding personality and depth.

    6. Keeping things green

    Living room trends

    Image credit: Little Greene

    ‘Green is the true colour of nature, it is one that we associate with the tranquillity of the outdoors – making it an ideal hue for relaxing areas of the home,’ says Ruth Mottershead, marketing director at Little Greene.

    ‘For a restful living space, consider using green on all walls for a cosy, wrap-around feel. Sumptuous jewel tones like Jewel Beetle and Puck bring warmth and impact to a room and are complimented with furniture painted in rich tones like Chocolate Colour.’

    7. Bring the outside inside

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    Image credit: Sofa.com

    ‘In 2021 we’ll also see the continuation of bringing the outdoors in, especially as we spend more time at home,’ shares Nina Findly at Homebase. ‘Expect our rooms to be full of succulents which are easy to care for, and larger leafy plants which add a sense of escapism, calm and relaxation to our living rooms.’

    You might want to add some gardening shows to your TV programming, to help nurture your green thumb.

    8. Escape to the country with a modern twist

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    Image credit: Sofa.com

    ‘Modern country is a strong trend we have been seeing throughout 2020 and we expect it to continue well into next year,’ comments Claire Wilks, Designer at sofa.com. As a result of lockdown, our customers crave the touch of outdoor, country living and we wanted to design pieces that would be a mix of country styling but with a modern flair.’

    ‘Cue our new Patrick unbuttoned, stripping away the traditional tufting, we wanted a refined silhouette. It’s the Chesterfield sofa of the 21st century, perfect for those looking for a traditional design but finished differently, with a contemporary take. 

    9. Express yourself with classic florals

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    Image credit: Farrow and Ball

    The classic floral wallpaper is staging a comeback in our living rooms. However, it is just sticking to the walls, it it covering the ceiling too.

    ‘Small and somewhat traditional floral patterns like the classic Jasmine connect us back to nature and make us feel protected, especially when taken over the ceiling,’ explains Joe Studholme, Farrow & Ball colour curator. ‘For the more contemporary living room, Amime wallpaper with its organic weave is a perfect choice, especially when teamed with darker woodwork.’

    10. Add texture with Bouclé

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    Image credit: Heals

    The trend for this nubby textile took off in 2020, and shows no signs of stopping.  Embrace this fabric and opt for a bouclé statement piece like a sofa, or tip your toe in the trend with a textured cushion.

    ‘Contrast is important when adding this soft fabric to your space,’ explains Emily Dunstan, Home Accessories Buyer for Heal’s. ‘A plain, no-frills wood table will also help balance out the glam vibes these sofas can introduce. Dark paint colors will also make ivory bouclé material really pop.’

    The top living room trends for 2020

    1. Strip the look back to nature

    Living room trends

    Image credit: Amara

    ‘There is a real surge for the love of texture and organic type materials. Such as rattan and cane that can give interest whilst using feel-good fabrics to create a warm, unique and inviting atmosphere to your bedroom,’ says Sam Hood, Co-founder & Creative Director at Amara.com.

    2. Shine a spotlight on lovely linen

    Living room trends

    Image credit: Habitat

    ‘Over the last few seasons bright velvets have dominated sales of upholstery at Habitat, however in the last few months we’ve seen an emerging trend for linen-finish sofas, which are rapidly increasing in popularity and topping our bestsellers lists,’ explains Laura Burnett, Junior Buyer for Upholstery at Habitat.

    ‘Giving a more relaxed, informal feel, linens in more neutral colours (natural, grey, stonewash) are having a moment. With customers focusing on using calming materials in the home, looking at more oversized sofas such as our Askem design that tap into the current ‘cocoon’ trend in upholstery with generous cushioning to emphasise relaxation and escapism from the outside world.’

    3. Mix and match maximalism

    Living room trends

    Image credit: John Lewis & Partners

    ‘Individuality will remain at the forefront of design for 2020,’  says Philippa Prinsloo, partner and head of design, Home at John Lewis & Partners. ‘As interior enthusiasts look for ways to breathe new life into their rooms without a complete overhaul, carefully selected mix and match accessories will offer the opportunity to have a little fun and inject personality.
’

    ‘In addition beautiful and affordable timeless pieces, that consider material and shape, will be popular as shoppers balance value and provenance with style and design.’

    4. Thinking pink

    Living room trends

    Image credit: Benjamin Moore

    ‘Rose pink is increasingly a popular choice for a range of living room styles,’ says Benjamin Moore‘s Helen Shaw. ‘Soft and dusky pink hues can flatter any space and reflect our renewed desire to use blush tones in grown-up spaces and introduce more colour overall into our environment.

    ‘A refreshing alternative to other warm neutrals such as cream or beige, rose pink is soft enough to flatter a multitude of looks, but bright enough to add a burst of joy into a room, reminiscent of a decade blooming with potential. ‘

    5. Fabulous fluting and sumptuous curves

    Living room trends

    Image credit: Sofology

    ‘Fluting emerged as a big trend last season and we are confident it will continue into the next few,’ says sofa.com’s Claire Wilks.

    The experts over at Sofology agree. Suzy McMahon, Sofology’s buying director, says curved and fluted shapes will be key living room trends going forward. She explains, ‘We’ve seen curvaceous furniture grow in popularity as an inviting alternative to the angular lines of more traditional pieces. In particular, there’s been a shift away from the more formal arrangement of two sofas facing each other in favour of more relaxed, curvaceous shapes that provide both comfort and ample space for entertaining. ‘

    She adds, ‘With flowing lines, scalloped edges and beautiful fluting, our Perle sofa is a standout example of curved design. We love the vibrant finish of the plush velvet, and the striking high set tapered legs.’

    6.  Desert charm

    Living room trends

    Image credit: La Redoute

    ‘Earthy tones will be a prominent trend this season,’ informs Liz Mason, brand manager at La Redoute.  ‘Natural textures such as rattan and woven jute, plus desert shades such as terracotta, sand and beige will all be popular as we aim to create natural, grounding environments where we can truly disconnect from our busy lives.’

    7. Braving bold colours

    Living room trends

    Image credit: Zoffany

    ‘We’ve all began to decorate with more confidence,’ says Peter Gomez, Lead Designer at Zoffany. ‘We’ve become braver with darker hues and are not afraid of making a brighter statement, either. There seems to be a more sophisticated way of using related tones to create a layered and sophisticated interior, whether that’s through painting ceilings or decorating all four walls the same colour.’

    He goes on to say, ‘Try a rich, on-trend deep green like Zoffany’s Huntsman Green, which perfectly represents the connection with nature trend that’s so on-point right now.’

    8. Creating a sense of calm

    Living room trends

    Image credit: French Connection 

    ‘There’s a definite trend towards cleansing the interior palette with a calming, woody, natural relaxed look,’ says a French Connection spokesperson. ‘With simple lines and ethnic vibes but washed over with a peachy almond warm glow referencing a sunny relaxed climate.’

    ‘French Connection has introduced some key statement pieces to set the scene, and accessorised with calm textures and pretty textiles in highlights of rose and cool mint.’

    9. Factoring in on-trend vinyl flooring

    Living room trends

    Image credit: Carpetright

    You’ve probably considered vinyl for your kitchen or dining room, but possibly not your living room? It’s time to think again as this easy-to-maintain material is having a resurgence. Pair it with a neutral scheme to create a so-now raw look.

    ‘Designing a white or neutral scheme doesn’t mean you have to decorate rooms without flair and personality,’ says David Snazel, Carpetright buyer, hard flooring. ‘Start with a simple plain base, on walls and floors. Layer in a variety of textures, shapes and materials like on-trend jute and rattan – to add interest and keep the room from looking too stark. Opt for easy to clean flooring, such as vinyl and laminate, to ensure it remains immaculate for years to come.’

    For green inspiration read: Green living room ideas – redecorate with the colour of the season

    So there you have it, all the trends to inspire your living room decorating projects for the year ahead.

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