The hottest home trends so far in 2021 are truly back to the future – fuelled by nostalgia for the simpler times and busier colours of the 70s and our enduring adoration (still) for anything and everything Mid-Century.
We’re seeing “a retro resurgence in furnishings, fixtures and colour choices by homeowners and designers”, according to Vanessa Walker, editor of Houzz Australia & New Zealand.
“With so many renovations under way in New Zealand during a global timber shortage, we’re at the precipice of where new architectural concepts are materialising in home designs of this age.”
Here are some trends to look out for this year and next.
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* Terrazzo: Why this 500-year-old decor trend is still hot
The return of feel-good furnishings
Right now we’re seeing designers and architects manifest a wave of the 70s – in building forms from curves to rounded panelling, arches and sunken rooms.
Following suit, soon we will experience a resurgence of the style return in feel-good furnishings.
Be prepared to see decor including tufted cotton, fringed bedspreads and floral bed linen in ’70s colourways, such as russet offset by soft pastel-like hues.
”There is a bit of a 70s vibe coming through,” Resene colour consultant Brenda Ngatai told Stuff last year.
But unlike the chocolate brown living rooms of 70s childhoods, the colours coming in are “warmer, browny-pinks, like washed-out terracotta”.
It’s hip to be square
While organic shapes are perennially popular, we’re seeing more square tiles appearing in fashion-forward kitchens and bathrooms. An aesthetic that lends itself to linear conformity but also zellige-style in variations of colour, glazes and rippled surfaces.
More and more, hip squares will take form in tiled furniture, in particular benches, side tables and coffee tables.
The 500-year-old terrazzo trend is still running hot.
Terrazzo and porcelain terrazzo-look tiles are still growing in popularity.
The phrase ‘terrazzo bathroom’ had one of the highest search volume surges on Houzz in 2021, compared to the same period in 2020.
Often terrazzo is used as a playful touch, a way to instil a sense of movement and personality in a space.
“Key to understanding the enduring appeal of this 15th century cost saving measure – what better way to use up all the left-over expensive bits from building a palace? – might lie in recognising it as a precursor to modern sustainable building materials,” wrote Stuff‘s Kylie Klein-Nixon.
Meanwhile, Kiwi interior design guru Alex Fulton says it’s this combination of 20th century glamour, Mid-century utilitarian charm and durability that’s key to the allure of terrazzo.
“There’s so much variation with it. It’s a subtle way to add colour and a bit of movement into what can be quite sedentary spaces, like floors, or kitchen tops, or bathrooms.”
Terrazzo is derivative of mosaics, a costly, time-consuming process that involves setting the stone and glass elements into a space, pouring white or coloured concrete over them, then grinding and polishing the surface to a shine.
Like any product or style that becomes a trend, terrazzo has been watered down. That’s why terrazzo tiles, small decor objects like planters and cushions, and Marmoreal – which comes in easily cut slabs – are everywhere.
“You can get anything in a terrazzo pattern,” says Fulton. “It’s now popping up in wallpaper, laminate, timber finishes, tiles. I’ve seen it in furniture, coffee tables and side tables.”
Originally, terrazzo was used in big institutional spaces like offices and shopping smalls. The method wasn’t really a home trend, but like a lot of the styles coming back into fashion right now, it had a 70s revival.
The slim shaker
Shaker cabinets are a favourite of renovators who want to retain the character of an old home, but combine this with every new kitchen mod con to get the best of both worlds.
They’re now getting a ‘slim’ shake-up to ever so slightly modernise the classic look.
This version of the trend features a flat centre panel and square-edged border – but with finer, narrower frames and with recessed handles or subtle finger pulls. Compare the picture above to this kitchen by Christchurch designer Davinia Sutton, that was part of a full refurbishment of an early 1900s family pied-à-terre home.
Sutton has used traditional shaker cabinets that are noticeably wider and have statement handles.
The ‘slim’ shaker solves what has long been a design conundrum, how to have a streamlined contemporary kitchen with just enough detail to give it a sense of place in period homes.
Wallpaper as texture
Wallpaper is making a comeback, but not as the hero of the room.
Interior trendsetters are using wallpaper as the base layer of their living spaces, and curating mixed-material combinations of artworks, furniture, and soft furnishings that pull their patterns and colours from an accent wall.
To get this bold layering trend right in a living space, you might need the profession eye of a designer or decoration.
Design guru Evie Kemp adores a feature wall done right, and for the right reasons.
“The purpose of the feature wall is mixed. There’s most definitely a “bang for your buck” element to it, especially when it comes to wallpaper. Covering a single wall is a lot cheaper and easier than a whole room. It also often involves a lot less effort,” she writes.
“You can use them as a way of using a pattern or colour that might be overwhelming if applied all over, but makes a stunning statement that you absolutely love.
“They give a room focus and structure, drawing attention to where you want people to look and away from the bits you don’t (in theory), and they can be used to define a space, especially in open-plan living.”
Curved, cut-out or coloured, the rise of artisanal bricks and using brick materials in creative ways are being more readily integrated into New Zealand architecture.
“Architects are creating far more unique and interesting home facades, this trend will cement itself as a modern 21st-century exterior style,” said Walker.
Breeze blocks like the ones above are a reference to Mid-Century Palm Springs that bring a vintage vibe to the exterior of the home.