Published on December 10, 2020

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

Sage green wall in front of bedPin It
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. 

Goodbye: Tigers prowling through gardens
Hello: Snakes 

Snake wallpaper in a modern bathroomPin It
Photography by Katherine Thewlis

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. 

Goodbye: Recessed lighting
Hello: Statement pendants

Statement lighting fixture in a entrywayPin It
Photography by Seth Smoot; Styling by Rosy Fridman

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

Goodbye: Sweeping open-plan layouts
Hello: Cozy walled rooms

Cozy room with wood paneling on ceiling and wallsPin It
Photography by Mariko Reed

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). 

Goodbye: Bulky built-in kitchen cabinets
Hello: Freestanding furniture

Sofa as part of a dining room setupPin It
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.

Goodbye: Uncomfortable seating
Hello: Puffy chairs

Cozy soft chair in a white living roomPin It
Photography by Seth Smoot; Styling by Rosy Fridman

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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