There is no denying that the year 2020 has wrought several changes in people’s lifestyle and general outlook.
While some of these changes have limited movement and freedom to some extent, the bright side is that they have also forced everyone to focus on the things that really matter.
And that is what people should be going into 2021 with – an emphasis on sustainability, hygiene and an appreciation of simple beauty. Here are some trends unfolding this year.
1. The home as a social place
Gatherings at home are a trend that is set to stay for a while: Your home is clean, you do not have to wear masks and your friends can stay for as long as they want.
Make your home more comfortable for gatherings by investing in furniture that is designed for groups of people, like an extendable dining table or flexible seating options.
If you are about to renovate, consider opening up the space more so that people can move around more freely.
2. Stone composite surfaces
Also called engineered stone, composite stone looks very much like its natural counterpart, but is in fact compressed slabs.
Countertops made of composite stone usually stand up well to the test of time, since their non-porosity makes them stain-and mould-resistant (read: easier clean-ups).
One option is the Black Tempal collection by surfaces supplier Caesarstone, whose complex layers were inspired by the night sky and ocean tides.
“With more time spent at home and in kitchens, home owners need a hardy and hygienic surface that is easy to maintain,” says Ms Vivian Feng, head of marketing, Caesarstone South East Asia.
3. Growing your own greens
All eyes are on indoor gardens and growing your own produce this year, thanks to an increased awareness of food security issues last year.
Luckily, it is easy enough to start growing your own veggies indoors with systems like Click and Grow Smart Gardens.
For those with small spaces, how about a vertical garden? Walls of greenery do not take up much room, but inject plenty of verdant life into the space.
4. Wes Anderson-style pops of colour
Safe palettes are on their way out and vibrant hues are in.
You do not have to go all out, though. Add splashes of colour to your home by giving a feature wall a fresh coat of paint or bring personality with colourful throws and cushions.
These touches help to introduce colour into the home without needing major renovations.
5. Zakka-style living
Homes have never quite been the same again after people spent so much time in them during the pandemic.
Achieving extreme levels of organisation has become a tad overrated and quite impossible to maintain.
Enter zakka-style living – the Japanese concept of embracing a mishmash of things that spark joy, but in a relaxed and lived-in manner as opposed to minimalist, pristine order.
The concept of zakka manifests itself differently with each individual – whether it is displaying your beloved art collection or having a jumble of plants all around your living space – but its defining factor is that the items you surround yourself with are things that truly resonate with you.
6. Elegant, simple LED lighting
Clunky, utilitarian ceiling lamps are out and minimalist lighting in the form of smaller, energy-saving fixtures is in.
Smaller units help to set the stage for a clean, streamlined look, drawing the attention to other design elements like statement furniture instead.
Opt for LED bulbs, which are energy-efficient and give off less heat.
Mr Joseph Ho, co-founder of lighting company Sol Luminaire, says: “Bulky units are a thing of the past, with interior designers looking to have clean ceilings incorporated into their designs. Smaller units also give an illusion of a bigger space.”
7. Clean water
Kitchen appliances with an emphasis on hygiene are becoming the norm.
Water-filtration systems, in particular, are a great investment as they can perform several functions like removing contaminants and providing hot water at the desired temperature.
These days, water-filtration systems also come in compact sizes that do not take up much space on the kitchen countertop and are often easier to maintain due to tankless systems (which prevents build-up of bacteria) and self-cleaning functions.
8. Natural fabrics
Fabrics made from natural materials like cotton, linen and silk have been steadily gaining popularity over the last few years and they are set to take centre stage this year.
These have a lighter ecological footprint compared with synthetics and are easier to recycle too. Not only that, natural fabrics tend to be more breathable and kinder on the skin.
So, the next time you are choosing bedlinen or a cushion cover, plump for natural over synthetic.
9. A sense of nostalgia
Even as people move into a new year, many designers are looking to the past for inspiration.
Nostalgic elements like terrazzo and Peranakan tiles are making a comeback in otherwise modern homes, and there are tributes to local heritage in designs like the NDP 55 collection by Grafunkt and Onlewo, which features two ottomans that resemble the benches in public housing estates.
• This article first appeared in the December 2020 issue of Home & Decor, which is published by SPH Magazines.
• Get the January and latest issue of Home & Decor now at all newsstands or download the digital edition of Home & Decor from the App Store, Magzter or Google Play. Also, see more inspiring homes at www.homeanddecor.com.sg