7 Home Design Philosophies That Will Dominate in 2021

2020 was a definitive year for everyone, and as result, philosophies emerged that will shape home design in 2021. This past year, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic redefined how we interact with our family, friends, coworkers and communities. It also transformed our relationship with our homes. For some, this led to a monumental break-up with our home, evidenced by the onslaught of those searching for a new abode. Shutdowns left many scrambling to create home offices, homeschool spaces and home gyms, and also tested our sense of personal space.

To help shine light on the future of home design and anticipated trends for the new year, we enlisted Drees Architecture Designer Paige Foss. Paige shared, “As we roll over to a new calendar year, our trends are greatly impacted by the realities of 2020.”

She added, “We are mid-pandemic today, but as we look forward to post-pandemic life, here are some of the spaces people will praise as we invest in our homes, and (hopefully) emerge and re-engage in our communities.”

1 | We wouldn’t make it without our home office.

Emerging Home Design Philosophies That Will Dominate in 2021 | Drees Homes | The Bennett Study
The Bennett Study

When the pandemic began, there was a hasty rush to set up workstations at home as people pivoted from their norm. Now that we’ve had time to marinate on the idea of working from home, it is clear the home office is going nowhere anytime soon. These setups will offer space, privacy, and video conference-worthy backdrops and lighting. Paige stated, “The aesthetic of these spaces is very different from home offices of the past. The new space will be uncluttered and more minimalist. They will offer storage areas to tuck away and hide the tools of the trade when not in use.”

2 | This is my hobby/craft/office space.

Emerging Home Design Philosophies That Will Dominate in 2021 | The Brynlee II Family Ready Room | Drees Homes
The Brynlee II Family Ready Room

Multi-functional went to a whole new level in 2020 and made everyone rethink how we use our rooms. It’s totally okay for pocket/niche spaces to serve more than one purpose. Look out for lots of creative storage and design solutions to customize these pocket spaces to serve double (or more) duty.

3 | So many spaces to ______________.

Emerging Home Design Philosophies That Will Dominate in 2021 | Drees Homes | The Belleville Pocket Office
The Belleville Pocket Office

Now that we’ve all had a taste of what it’s like to work from home alongside another remote-worker or learner (and many times, both), open floor plans needed some remastering. Paige noted, “While the open floor plan is still a desirable feature, homes in 2021 will highlight the open concept, tethered to a host of other spaces that offer greater livability as we balance beauty, privacy and functionality.” These support spaces (e.g., a pocket office, gameroom, bonus room, etc.) may be greater in number, but rooms may be more modestly-sized than in years past.

4 | Here is where I cook every. single. day. And I love it!

Emerging Home Design Philosophies That Will Dominate in 2021 | The Violet Kitchen | Drees Homes
The Violet Kitchen

Kitchens have been the heart of the home for a while, but 2020 shifted that heart to also be the hub. With more meals than ever created and served in our homes, the kitchen’s importance isn’t wavering, but some of the aesthetics might be. When speaking to the kitchen changes Paige expects to see, she shared, “White is softening to creamy hues and warm tones. Texture still reigns supreme as people balance all the sleek and modern surfaces that are required for the workhorse of a home. And lastly, large islands used to be a wish list and quickly crossed the line into a must-have. If the hub has a fulcrum, it’s the island.”

5 | My kitchen just wouldn’t function without my working pantry.

Emerging Home Design Philosophies That Will Dominate in 2021 | The Lynmar II Working Pantry | Drees Homes
The Lynmar II Working Pantry

Those open kitchens are a thing of beauty, and if we didn’t have them, we wouldn’t have been able to make all those quarantine munchies. As we cooked more and sought to spice it up, home chefs have acquired gadgets, gizmos and groceries galore. The pantry is officially the new overworked assistant of the kitchen. And decking it out with cabinetry, shelving and a work surface complete with the ability to “plug and play” all those handy new appliances make it not only a thing of beauty, but utterly functional … and that’s something worth swooning over.

6 | … and here is our own personal park!

Emerging Home Design Philosophies That Will Dominate in 2021 | The Kaitlin Kitchen with Connecting Outdoor Living Area | Drees Homes
The Kaitlin Kitchen with Seamless Connection to the Outdoor Living Area

Restrictions born out of the COVID-19 pandemic forced us all to re-invest in our own personal outdoor space. And 2021 won’t see that trend fade. A visual connection from the main living areas of the home with abundant glass and large sliding glass doors will keep us connected with the outdoor spaces we have created as we continue to let the fresh-air flow.

7 | I’m so excited about the aesthetic changes we have made.

With all our time indoors, we’ve looked at those walls with a renewed sense of purpose. Paige shared, “Our homes came alive again in 2020, and a lot of our spaces needed a little glow-up.” Interior design got a new life this year, and industry experts are predicting some old design trends will move out, as others move on in.

Bring the Outdoors In

Emerging Home Design Philosophies That Will Dominate in 2021 | The Rowland Family Room with Floating Shelves | Drees Homes
The Rowland Family Room

As we all got back to basics, we rediscovered some primal habits, and with it, our love for all things green and alive. And what better way to refresh a space and brighten your mood than by adding house plants.

Create Zen Spaces

Emerging Home Design Philosophies That Will Dominate in 2021 | The Rowland Study with Desk | Drees Homes
The Rowland Study

As the chaos surrounded us, we all went searching for ways to make life calmer and more comfortable. Incorporating peaceful vibes in our indoor spaces will be popular this year. Look for lots of natural light, creamy tones, earthy and warm colors, pops of brightness, and organic textures. They will all find their way into our homes via walls, fixtures and finishes. On this one, Paige said, “Forget minimalism, this is more like maximalism!”

Seek the Organic

Emerging Home Design Philosophies That Will Dominate in 2021 | The Rowland Family Room with Fireplace | Drees Homes
The Rowland Family Room

Organic isn’t reserved for a boho and earthy vibe any longer. Look for lovers of traditional and modern aesthetics to embrace light and neutral palettes, matte and brushed fixture finishes, and texture via materials.


With the experiences of 2020 behind us, we have all emerged with a new perspective as well as hopes and dreams for our living space. Ultimately, it’s important to design a home that speaks to the rhythm of your everyday lifestyle and creates a foundation to set your family up for success.

To learn more about building your dream home, visit dreeshomes.com.


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