Top interior design and decor trends for 2021

Living Well | Miranda Tay | Posted on 11 January 2021

Interior design experts predict this year’s hottest home decor and colour trends.

2020 was the year we stayed home. Confined to our personal spaces by the coronavirus pandemic, we turned inwards, seeking connections in safe, meditative spaces – a trend that is set to continue in the coming year. 

“Our home as our sanctuary became more important than ever in 2020, a place to feel secure, happy, content and comfortable,” says interior designer Lisa Hannaford. “As a result of spending more time at home people have had time to consider updates to achieve this, either more affordable decor and furniture or full renovation projects.” 

At the same time, the home office has become increasingly important, says Lisa. “It’s become a focus and a more considered element to the home.”

Below: Dulux Colour Forecast 2021– Reset palette. Stylist: Julia Green. Photographer: Armelle Habib.

Dulux Colour Forecast 2021 – Reset palette. Stylist: Julia Green. Photographer: Armelle Habib. Art above fireplace Womens Business II – limited-edition print by Natalie Jade; and at right Morning Pool limited-edition print by Charlotte Taylor via Greenhouse Interiors.


Top interior trends for 2021


In 2021, colour will play a key role in uplifting mood, adding a sense of restored balance and harmony, and in delineating spaces. 

“Comfort and connection are the most important factors in making a house feel like your home,” says Andrea Lucena-Orr, colour and communications manager at Dulux. “Colour is such a wonderful, cost-efficient tool for helping to differentiate space.”  

Decor trends

Your home office is the star

Functional office spaces continue to star in 2021. “You absolutely need to be able to switch off from work and go into relaxation mode. That’s the challenge with our new remote working situation,” says Lisa.

If you don’t have a separate room for a study or office, she recommends investing in a built-in desk and shelves with a concertina door so you can close it all up at the end of the day. Or try a textural sheer curtain to screen work from living areas. 

A comfortable work chair that harmonises with your decor is essential for a considered working-from-home space. “A lot of our clients also like adjustable desks so they have the option of working standing up, allowing for better comfort and flexibility,” says Lisa. 

Inside out

We couldn’t go out much in 2020, so we brought the outdoors in (more indoor plants anyone?), and we’re not about to stop. “The extension of our living space to the outdoors isn’t new, but it’s now more important than ever,” says Lisa. 

She suggests investing in pieces that allow you to use your outdoor space more comfortably, such as modular sofas and a dining table big enough to fit the whole family. It’s also worth creating an area for outdoor remote working, so you can mix up where you work, weather permitting. 

Inspired by objets d’art

This year we’ll be on the lookout for beautiful art and objects that “inspire us and motivate us”, says Lisa. “They help finish a space and inject more colour into the home.” 

But she says a back-to basics vibe prevails. Look for artisan-made, ethically produced and perfect-imperfect products. Simple, elemental patterns with a natural aesthetic are an antidote to a challenging year. 

Customisation will be also be popular. “We are getting requests for bespoke joinery to add adequate storage and make it feel like a properly designed extension of the home,” says Lisa.  

Dulux Colour Forecast 2021– Retreat palette. Stylist: Julia Green. Photographer: Armelle Habib.

Dulux Colour Forecast 2021 – Retreat palette. Stylist: Julia Green.
Photographer: Armelle Habib. Artworks by Casey Freeman artist. Available via Greenhouse Interiors.


Dulux Colour Forecast 2021– Reset palette. Stylist: Julia Green. Photographer: Armelle Habib.

Dulux Colour Forecast 2021 – Reset palette. Stylist: Julia Green.
Photographer: Armelle Habib. Artwork on the wall – Anthurium II by Kimmy Hogan via Greenhouse Interiors.


Dulux Colour Forecast 2021– Nourish palette. Stylist: Julia Green. Photographer: Armelle Habib.

Dulux Colour Forecast 2021 – Nourish palette. Stylist: Julia Green.
Photographer: Armelle Habib. Katie Wyatt Artwork via Greenhouse Interiors.


Colour trends

Let the sunshine in

Pantone’s two colours of the year, Illuminating (a vivacious yellow) and Ultimate Gray, aim to inject positivity while encouraging resilience – and Dulux has interpreted these colours for their 2021 forecast.  

“Yellow is an optimistic colour which brings light and reflection, signifying hope and looking towards a brighter future,” says Andrea, who suggests Dulux’s Very Cashmere shade as a handy interpretation. Meanwhile she says Dulux’s Diffused Grey suggests “strength and longevity, and gives us a natural association from stone, slate and rock”. 

Andrea recommends using the yellow in smaller areas in homes in Victoria, for example in soft furnishings, a painted wall or nook, or as a front-door colour. The grey looks good as a main wall colour or trim, and with its subtle warm undertone will work well with most colours. 

Be soothed by neutrals

Soft neutrals and earthy greens will also be popular in a year when so many of us crave calm and wellbeing. They are the basis for Dulux’s Nourish palette, with colours that can be used both inside and outside. Andrea suggests Dulux’s Warm Neutral, a soft natural shade with a warm tan undertone, which adds a nurturing feel, and is ideal as a main wall colour for a living space, bedroom or even the exterior of your home.

True blue hue

Blue is synonymous with a sunny day and the ocean, while projecting a tranquillity – and it features strongly in decor trends for 2021. Feel like cocooning? Dulux’s Retreat palette has a key mid-tone blue, Five Fingers Peninsula, amid earth-based hues. “It’s a gorgeous muted blue with a pared-back look,” says Andrea. “It can be used on main walls or the master bedroom, or in soft furnishings, layered with whites and neutral colours.”

In contrast, Dulux’s Reset palette takes blue in a brighter, more joyful direction. “One of the highlights is Daintree, a gorgeous deep blue/green, a perfect feature colour for walls or in nooks,” says Andrea. 


Below: Dulux Colour Forecast 2021 – Nourish palette. Stylist: Julia Green. Photographer: Armelle Habib. Wall hanging on right – ‘Dakota Wall hanging’ by Three Queens Interiors via Greenhouse Interiors. Artwork above fireplace – Little Vase via Castle and Things.