Alexandra Nord and Helen Westlake, Creative Directors of interior design and architecture studio Millier, reveal their predictions for the design world as we approach 2021.
Nature & Sustainable materials
The importance of nature in the home is a trend that has really endured across the past year and one that we see continuing into 2021. Using natural materials and craftsmanship to give people a sense of connection to nature is more important now than ever given how much time we are spending indoors. Natural pieces can also help to warm a more contemporary scheme and break up harsher, cleaner lines. Colours and textures of these pieces should follow the seasons; we see clients selecting more textural greens and autumnal oranges, deep plush velvets for autumnal inspired interiors and think green palettes will continue to prove popular.
Foliage, whether real or faux, can help to bring the outside in; plants for balconies, terraces, window boxes and kitchen herbs are simple pleasures that provide vibrancy and colour, along with bountiful health benefits including natural air filtration and a sense of calm.
In terms of materials, natural will take precedence over synthetic; natural wools and cottons don’t have to be expensive and are widely available. We often look to the qualities of nature when creating our interior design schemes; using restful, relaxing and textural materials, muted tones and touches of texture and organic patterning can contribute towards creating calm spaces that promote natural energy.
When it comes to our design footprint, we expect clients will specify a preference for low-energy, minimal waste materials – how far have items come from and how sustainable are they? These types of considerations are pushing us to seek out new and eco-friendly suppliers, such as Sirimiri a new luxury British linen brand made from beech tree pulp. We see a shift towards supporting local artists and artisans, considering the environmental impact of importing pieces in, especially with Brexit around the corner.
With regards to architectural design, we continue to look at elements such as bathroom fittings that have undergone testing to demonstrate that they do not cause waste or undue consumption. We always propose energy efficient household goods; dishwashers and washing machines, also electrical charging points for cars and expect this to become a key design consideration in 2021 alongside quality, aesthetics and cost.
The use of ‘firelight neutrals’ as base palettes, a shift away from overused grey tones. There will be a greater desire for earthy tones and connection to nature in our homes; terracotta, ivory, parchment, rust, ochre – rich warm welcoming tones over cold and stark. Paint tones include Little Greene’s latest ranges, Dulux’s colour of the year ‘Brave Ground’ and Graham & Brown’s Colour of the Year ‘Epoch’, a very non-threatening berry shade of plum.
Pieces with more of a handmade, handcrafted finish will be popular in the coming months – such as ceramic earthenware, rustic-finish vases and textural artworks that aim to soften the space while still keeping the areas that they occupy neat and well dressed. Soft and handmade natural materiality is key, but with a move away from the casual ‘shabby chic’ aesthetic to more formality.
The Lived-in Look
Softened edges and items with character, patina and history will be more popular than ever next year. 2020 has reminded us of the importance of our homes and the need to feel totally absorbed in spaces that comfort, protect and welcome us. The lived-in look where nothing is too crisp and pristine.
Whether it’s a large furniture piece or textiles, it is worth committing to truly personalised pieces for your home; the perfect fit for you that is made to last. Exclusivity and diversity is the expression of curiosity and ambition; we think that there will be a definite move towards finding smaller, up and coming suppliers, a more diverse group of designers and artisans. We will be actively sourcing more from smaller, less well known designers in 2021.
Adaptable Furniture, Screens & Light
Flexible spaces are becoming essential as our homes shift to include multiple facets of life. A sense of space and light is always an aspiration when designing a home, however fully open plan living doesn’t always suit family life or the various functions that a space might need to perform. Adaptable furniture is therefore becoming increasingly popular; desks that easily fold away for example or a clever piece of joinery that hides a work or play space. Bi-fold doors are an easy way to add flexibility by sectioning off rooms. Decorative perforated screens made of fluted or fabric glass can add an extra layer of atmosphere to the space by creating diffused and dappled light effect, whilst clever placement of mirrors can manipulate the shape of the space to make it seem wider. We have recently used this technique in home workout spaces to section off a studio within a gym for private training, or to section off larger rooms into smaller, more intimate spaces.
The use of adaptable lights, both natural and artificial will come into play in 2021. Lighting design will be even more appreciated as it is used to help create different moods within the same space, making it adaptable for different functions (eg. a lighting setting that can turn a room from yoga studio to home study at the flick of a switch).
We have seen a big shift in the way in which clients want their home gyms to be designed. The focus for many of our clients has shifted from high energy consuming, super high tech home workout rooms to much more meditative spaces with a real focus on wellbeing and reflection. We recently designed a calming yoga room for a client as an alternative to a ‘basement gym’, a much less energy consuming, reflective space where they could completely unwind and de-stress. We used Swedish ‘pendant’ hanging moss, a Japanese-style daybed and tactile fabrics to create a sense of calm, a dedicated room in the home that enables you to instantly decompress. Whether it be yoga, meditation or an ambient reading nook surrounded by candles, the creation of a low-energy, wellness-enabled spaces is here to stay for 2021.
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