We can’t be the only ones who are ready to say farewell to 2020—and never look back. For us, one of the underrated parts of entering a new calendar year is getting to forget a few tired design trends that have become a little too familiar.

It’s not that we don’t love open floor plans and ochre—it’s just that, after the year we’ve had, we’re ready to fully embrace a fresh start. We hope that these six alternatives help you do the same.  

Goodbye: Sunset shades Hello: Sage green

Photography by Brittany Ambridge

Next year, instead of pale pink, burnt orange, and mustard, we see a verdant hue on the horizon. Using the dusty shade on kitchen cabinets or walls does the work of 100 houseplants, but without the regular waterings. 

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Purple Noon Rug by Cold Picnic, Coming Soon ($165)
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Goodbye: Tigers prowling through gardens Hello: Snakes 

New Yorker staff writer Helen Rosner recently named the catty motif on Twitter, and now we can’t stop thinking about its replacement: snakes. As our executive creative director, Kate Berry, proves, the slitherers can look undeniably chic on an upholstered headboard. And in this Tennessee bathroom, a serpentine wallpaper sets a naturalistic scene. 

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Serpents Cashmere Pillow, Saved NY ($500)
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Goodbye: Recessed lighting Hello: Statement pendants

It’s time to swap out the recessed lights that came with your home. Sure, it’s a sleek minimalistic look, but we’re ready for some drama via pendants. Is it a chandelier or is it art? We say both. Bonus points for a project that doesn’t require a demo

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PH 5 Pendant Light, Louis Poulsen ($996)
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Goodbye: Sweeping open-plan layouts Hello: Cozy walled rooms

Because if the pandemic has taught us anything about our at-home lives, it’s that we all need a little alone time. In a Zillow survey, 27 percent of respondents would consider a move just to have a place with more individual rooms that provide privacy for work and play (and hide the mess from guests, when we have those again). 

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Tiered Cecilia Screen, West Elm ($349)
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Goodbye: Bulky built-in kitchen cabinets Hello: Freestanding furniture

Photography by Laure Joliet; Styling by Kate Berry

Custom cupboards are great for storage, but we hope that a breezier look takes over in 2021. Think: bookshelves holding plates, sofas at the dinner table, and credenzas that would look just as stylish in the living room.

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Desmona Sofa by Selamat, Burke Decor ($2895)
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Goodbye: Uncomfortable seating Hello: Puffy chairs

Sure, a metal or plastic chair looks cool on Instagram, but when you’re using it as a WFH chair for several hours every day, it isn’t always the most kind on the behind. We prefer ones that feel like you’re on a cloud or modular floor cushions meant for fort making. Comfort is king!

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Puffy Lounge Chair by Faye Toogood, Hem ($2399)
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Our Winter Renovation issue is here! Subscribe now to step inside Leanne Ford’s latest project—her own historic Pennsylvania home. Plus discover our new rules of reno.