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Hot design trends to watch in 2021

The emphasis will be on sustainability, hygiene and an appreciation of simple beauty

There's no denying that 2020 had wrought several changes in our lifestyle and general outlook.

And that's what we're going into 2021 with - an emphasis on sustainability, hygiene and an appreciation of simple beauty.

Here is our take on what design and style trends are going to be hot this year.


Fabrics made from natural materials like cotton, linen and silk have been steadily gaining popularity in the home over the last few years, and they are set to take the stage in 2021 when it comes to bed linen and cushion covers.

These have a lighter ecological footprint compared to synthetics and are easier to recycle too.

Plus, natural fabrics tend to be more breathable and kinder on the skin.


Plenty of kitchen appliances with an emphasis on hygiene popped up in 2020, and we see them becoming the norm for homeowners.

Water filtration systems, in particular, are a great investment, since they can perform several functions like removing contaminants and providing hot water at precisely the right temperature for sterilisation.

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.


Clunky, utilitarian ceiling lamps are out, and minimalist lighting in the form of smaller, energy-saving fixtures is in.

Smaller units like Sol Luminaire's Mini series 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.


Our homes have never been quite the same again after spending so much time there during the pandemic.

Achieving extreme levels of organisation has become a tad overrated, and frankly 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 according to 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.


Safe palettes are on their way out and vibrant hues are in. You don't 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 in personality with colourful throws and cushions.

These touches help to introduce colour into the home without having to undergo major renovations.


Also called engineered stone, composite stone countertops look very much like their natural counterparts, but are in fact compressed slabs.

These usually stand up well to the test of time, since their non-porosity makes them stain- and mould-resistant (read: easier clean-ups).

This article was first published in Home & Decor Singapore (


All eyes are on indoor gardens and growing your own veggies and produce this year, thanks to increased awareness of food security issues in 2020. Luckily, it is easy enough to get started with systems like Click and Grow smart gardens.

For those with small spaces, how about a vertical garden? These walls of greenery do not take up much room but inject plenty of verdant life into the space.


Even as we move into a new era, many designers are looking to the past for inspiration.

Nostalgic elements like terrazzo and Peranakan tiles are making a comeback as features in otherwise modern homes, and we are also seeing tributes to our local heritage in designs like the NDP 55 collection by Grafunkt X Onlewo, which features two limited-edition ottomans that resemble the benches you see in public housing estates.


Gatherings at home are a trend that is set to stay for a while: Your home is clean, you don't have to wear masks and your friends can stay for as long as they want.

Make your abode more comfortable by investing in furniture designed for groups of people, such as an extendable dining table or flexible seating options.

If you are about to do some renovation, consider opening up the space so that people can move around more freely.