We’re all ready to throw 2020 down the garbage chute. Here are some home design trends that should be tossed out with it.

Let’s be real - we all became real familiar with our homes in 2020. 

As time spent at home increased, so did the collective desire to experiment with our environments. In the interest of our sanity, it was imperative that our living spaces were, well, livable--and not just in the “drop your grocery bags, take a shower, and go to sleep” way, but in the “this is now my living space, office, gym, and bar” way. 

Prodded along in large part by the COVID-19 pandemic, the global online home decor market is set to grow by a projected $249.9B by 2027. That’s a lot of bar stools, art, and fake plants!

We at Sparetoolz love to see this kind of BDE (Big Designer Energy); but “kid-in-a-candy-store” syndrome when shopping online for home decor is definitely a thing. 

Rattan nightstands? Sure! Palm print pillowcases? Hell yeah! Impulsively demolishing the cabinets and installing open shelving? Sign me up!

HALT. Step away from the “Add to Cart” button. Just because there are countless enticing interior design trends out there doesn’t mean that some of them aren’t overused, outdated, or just plain inefficient for your space. 

Here are 6 interior design trends that we think shouldn’t survive into 2021.


On-trend modern living room design featuring all white decor

(Image Source)

All-White Interiors

In a time when minimalism was taking the world by storm and everyone and their mothers seemed to be Marie-Kondo-ing their living spaces, one particular trend rose to the top of the budding minimalist’s design preference list: the all-white interior

The all-white trend was originally meant to signify a simple, clutter-free lifestyle. Many people bought into the aesthetic, entertaining visions of an airy, modern space free of chaos. What many adopters found, however, is that all-white interiors are sterile, devoid of personality, and highly impractical. 

White couch...tables...floors. What do those attract? 



Scuff marks. 

In reality, the minimal, mess-free all-white space is only achievable if you’re willing to commit to 24-7 cleaning and dusting, or if you can pay a cleaning crew regularly. The maintenance is even harder if you have kids or pets. 

Even if you live alone, you’re doomed to paranoia whenever a guest sits on your couch with a glass of red or pulls a chair out from the dining room table and drags it across the floor. In short, all-white interiors can make you nervous about living

In fact, more and more people are adopting the maximalist trend. Rather than whitewashing their space, they’re filling it with colorful objects that genuinely spark joy

Closeup of Marie Kondo Sparks Joy meme, here to represent trading stark minimalism for joy-sparking decor

 (Image Source)

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is completely free of chaos--so ditch the all-white look and let your space be perfectly imperfect.  


Neon Lighting

Neon signs hadn’t had such a moment since the 1980s--until 2020. No longer relegated to cheap motels and dive bars, neon lighting has found its way into the living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms of Millennial homes everywhere. 

When the neon sign trend first appeared on Instagram and Pinterest feeds, it was new and different enough to be tongue-in-cheek. People loved it as a flashy pop-art statement against a contemporary or mid-century modern background - a display of personality through glowing calls to positivity or, like...Notorious B.I.G. quotes

The issue with made-for-Instagram trends is that once the novelty fades away, you’re left with something cliched and, dare we say, borderline kitsch. 

Be honest - are you truly going to enjoy that Live, Love, Laugh sign above your bed for another 5 years? Lighting it up in neon doesn’t make it any less groan-worthy. 


Industrial Everything

The industrial design trend first emerged as a sort of DIY experiment. Designers turned old factories into loft apartments and public spaces, as a way to repurpose buildings that were otherwise abandoned. That catapulted a trend that exploded into every modern apartment faster than you can say “Edison bulb.” 

2020 made us all realize that we want our spaces to feel like a warm hug. (People-hugs have been in short supply, after all.) With the world feeling a bit bleak and more unpredictable than usual, it’s more important than ever for our homes to feel like a comforting, lived-in sanctuary. 

Therein lies the problem. All the usual features of industrial design - exposed brick and concrete, metal light fixtures, visible piping, long panes of glass - can feel cold and harsh, like you’re living in a warehouse rather than an actual home. As a result, many designers are ditching industrial design in favor of warmer tones and natural materials like rattan.

Still don’t want to give up entirely on Industrial? Incorporate smaller elements throughout your space as part of a warmer design style--maybe brass faucets are a nice touch, or a ladder bookshelf with a metal element and, okay, maybe one or two Edison bulb lamps.

Classic industrial living space with exposed aluminum ductwork, hard surfaces could use some comforting cozy accents


Wood + Gas Fireplaces

More homeowners are starting to think about the environmental impact of their home’s design and operation. Although wood-burning and gas-powered fireplaces have been a signature of the Cozy Home for ages, the truth is that they contribute to CO2 emissions and, without proper ventilation, can be dangerous for indoor air quality. 

Nowadays there are far more eco-friendly fireplaces--ones that run on ethanol or electricity--that don’t produce toxic fumes. They’re also far easier to install than conventional fireplaces because they don’t require connecting with a chimney or gas lines. 

Want the pinnacle of environmentally-friendly options? Add a faux fireplace to your living room or bedroom setup for the most drama and the coziest vibes, with the least effort. (Need a tool for that? We got you.)


Traditional Kitchen Islands

Has this ever happened to you? 

You visit someone’s place for dinner and they direct you to sit at their cool, contemporary kitchen island. You walk over and pull up a chair, only to realize that it’s a highly uncomfortable bar stool with little-to-no backrest. You spend the entire dinner hunched over your food, legs dangling like awkward noodles below. 

It bears repeating that impracticality has no place in our homes after 2020. With so many dining tables and breakfast nooks being repurposed as WFH desks, kitchens are stepping up their dining game and becoming even more multifunctional. 

Low on space? Cantilevered kitchen islands have a multi-height design, with a level designed specifically for preparing food while standing and another level that drops down to perfect dining height. 

Faux Plants

2020: The Year of the Plant Parent. Urban and suburban dwellers alike bonded over their love of plants, and the mental peace and wellbeing these green children bring to their space. 

Many are choosing to ditch their artificial plants for the real deal. While artificial plants require less work, they don't provide the same mental health benefits as owning a live, growing plant; and, let's be honest, we could all use a bit of a mental boost nowadays. 

With so many different urban garden ideas to choose from, there’s truly something for everyone!  

(Plus, we can no longer use the excuse of “I just don’t have time to water them.”)

Live houseplant sits in thick old book atop round marble accent table


Do you agree or disagree that these trends should be put to rest? What are your favorite trends for 2021? Let us know on Twitter @sparetoolzapp!

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