A hopeful new year has dawned and it’s time to look to the future. What will design consumers and clients be searching for in 2021?

Design directions are increasingly being moulded by our collective response to the challenges of technology, the pandemic and the environment. UK Trend Futurist Victoria Redshaw from Scarlet Opus has delivered the Design Trends Forecast at Decor + Design for the past six years. Here are snapshots of her four key themes for 2021, including ‘on trend’ furniture picks from some of our past and present exhibitors at Decor + Design, as well as other prescient furniture and textile designers…


‘Earthbound’ Trend – Outdoor Furniture (& Textiles in Feature Image Above). Image: Scarlet Opus

As technology encroaches further on our lives each year, many of us are experiencing a need to reconnect to the earth and embrace the universal values of being human.

The Earthbound trend celebrates the fundamental qualities of our natures. Ancient cultures, rustic minimalism and mysticism are interweaved. Earth meets the night sky in a colour palette of neutrals, terracotta and metallics. Furniture shapes are curved and sculptural, and textile patterns are inspired by celestial bodies and the traditional work of indigenous peoples. The latter should always be incorporated respectfully and collaboratively.

The Dulux 2021 Colour of the Year – Brave Ground – is a perfect reflection of the Earthbound trend.


Shapes from the ‘Belonging’ trend. Image: Scarlet Opus

‘Belonging’ taps into our need for an identity, in a world in which old constructs are being challenged. It searches for an understanding of our cultural heritage, discards social mores that are no longer needed and embraces those which are more aligned with modern thinking.

At the centre of this trend is cultural exchange (rather than misappropriation). It supports local craftspeople and small studio artisans, and the social impact of design is fundamental. The colour palette is bold and positive, while textiles are shaggy with overstitching and weaves.

Force for Good

Be a ‘Force for Good’ with recycled materials. Image: Scarlet Opus

Concern for the environment is set to resurge in 2021, with a focus on design that is better for the planet. To be a radical Force for Good, both designers and consumers need to start asking more of their products.

“Buy well, buy once,” as Vivienne Westwood famously said. Using recycled materials means a rawness and naturalness that was largely absent in 20th century design. As consumers become more comfortable with irregularities and imperfections, designers and environmentalists are pushing the boundaries of invention with design which minimises waste.

The colour palette incorporates many green hues – but yellow will also be a major focus in 2021, with Pantone selecting Illuminating and Ultimate Grey as their 2021 Colours of the Year.

Traceability is a major consideration, as are products that have a second life and can be reused. Consumers should be asking themselves key questions:

Image: Scarlet Opus


The fourth and final trend is a gentle response to our evolving relationship with technology and Big Government. Privacy and surveillance have become major issues, as have a lack of trust. There is an innate need for our homes to be emotionally defensive, to possess a softness which caresses and nurtures our frazzled spirits. Expect overstuffed furniture and circular shapes in ’21, plus materials like copper which are known for their anti-bacterial properties.

The 18th edition of the Decor + Design show will take place at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre from 15 – 18 July 2021. Register your interest here to join a stellar line-up of exhibitors. Subscribe now to receive updates on the world of design and a notification when visitor registration opens.