Home Sweet Home – Part 7 – Trends for 2021–What’s Out, What’s In?

We walk a fine line when determining what’s hot and what’s not, whether it be in the fashion industry or the building business. As you will see in the blog below, trends come and go, oftentimes quickly. Much of what makes a house a home is personal selections and these need not succumb to the latest trends. So, if remodeling or building is in your near future, it is always wise to be aware of current trends, but don’t let them dictate your choices. A home that reflects your individual style, and makes you smile, is considerably more important than incorporating the latest designer fad…

Summer-Ready Outdoor Living
Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer. For many, this was the first holiday without being locked down. Will this year be a repeat of the staycation of last year or are folks apt to start traveling again? For many who were either remodeling or moving last year, this is also an opportunity to enjoy their new or upgraded homes to the fullest. Outdoor living has been gaining in popularity for years, but demand has surged in the past year – particularly for remodels.

Not all trends are applicable to every market, price point, or jurisdiction.
I’ve put together an informal list of trends and whether I think they are on the way out or not. It’s important to note that having these in your existing home is by no means a bad thing! But for new home builders, now might be the time to start thinking about which trends have gone stale in the home. Let’s dive in.

I can hear the “Boos” already. Sorry, but I’m just not a fan. As a working mom, I could not imagine my kids artfully placing our dishes on the “display” shelves just right. And no one wants to see my mismatched cups and glasses. But even if you happen to be far more organized than me (admittedly a low hurdle to clear), let’s talk about maintenance. Open shelves with glassware mean the glasses will get dusty. Open shelves next to the cooking surface will be greasy as heated oils vaporize and cover adjacent surfaces.

I have seen some beautiful kitchen islands, especially in blue. While I always try to advocate for more color, eventually, every other house on the street will have the “2019 blue” island. When we were selling our last house, the realtor insisted we remove the red tiles in our backsplash because it appealed to too narrow of a market (a good move, in retrospect). I think keeping the cabinets neutral or earth toned and adding color in the accessories or backsplash might be a better long-term solution. But perhaps you disagree? Maybe I’m calling this one a bit early?


A few years ago, I made the argument that barn doors were fabulous. It turns out they were a fabulous fad. This fun trend that helped sell many homes may be coming to an end as working and schooling from home families have discovered the acoustical short falls of barn doors. They offer visual separation but lack acoustical separation. Barn doors had their moment in the sun, but it is quickly becoming a turn-off in the market.

Built-In Grill

Ah, this is a trend that’s here to stay. Residential lighting has made leaps and bounds in the past 5 years, with no sign of slowing down. I still remember a builder bragging to me about the number of recessed cans he was putting in his home. Granted, it was better than ceiling-mounted fluorescent fixates, but it sounded like he was building a surgery center with the number of lights. Of course, we are seeing great examples of playful pendant lights in more rooms than we’ve seen in the past including bedrooms, offices, bathroom and of course over the island. LED strip lights above, below and in cabinets also come into play.

Don’t start ripping out those barn doors and blue island just yet if they happen to be in your current home. Enjoy these features as long as they make you happy, as I did with my red backsplash. But those of us in new construction need to be looking forward to create the next must-have in the home.


Adapted from Housing Design Matters Blog