If you had to choose any word to describe this year, "chill" would not be it. The same can be said for many of 2020's biggest home decor trends. You may have thought that such chaotic times would drive people into a more calming direction, but in general, it was largely the opposite — most of what's grown in popularity throughout the past several months has proven that, with so much dreariness in the outside world, people want their homes to be anything but.
That, coupled with some serious neutral overload from the previous few years, resulted in the rise of all things bold in 2020 that will only continue to trend into the new year. "As much as I love a bright white monochromatic interior, I think the days of super-neutral spaces are nearly behind us," says Lauren Cox, manager at online interior design service Havenly. "We’ve seen our fill of tone-on-tone living rooms, and I think 2021 will bring out our needs to showcase our design personalities through other more bold, colorful, patterned means."
Those who like a more soothing space weren't completely forgotten about in 2020, however. "While I love high contrast — even stark — design, I think the market was ripe for something softer this year," Adele Beiny, founder and CEO of design and inspiration platform Life's Looking Good, tells TZR in an email, saying that round-edged furniture with "a bubble, almost cloud-like appearance" was one of the year's most prominent trends. "This development is ironic since 2020 can hardly be called 'dreamy,' but this furniture has helped brighten my days."
For more of the year's most noteworthy decor highlights, keep scrolling — five 2020-approved trends (plus a few expert predictions for 2021) are ahead.
We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
2020 Decor Trend: Bold Colors
According to interior designer Emma Beryl, the embracing of bold color schemes has been a major trend as of late. "Since people spent more time indoors in 2020, it was more important than ever to create interesting, vibrant, inspiring spaces," she tells TZR. "I had a lot of fun this year with color and found that my clients were very willing to take risks and go bold with color even in larger furniture pieces."
It's a trend she hopes will continue, since she says bold shades tend to age more gracefully than neutrals. "I think it's really fun to commit to a bold color palette. People have a fear of getting tired of bold colors in their homes but I actually think neutrals over time have much more potential to feel stale."
And though you might think said "bold" shades meant loud and bright hues, according to Cox, many of the non-neutral colors she saw everywhere this year were actually quite soothing. "On a micro-level, this year was filled with warm earth tones like saffron, olive green, misty blue, and other colors that promoted abundant happiness and relaxation at home."
2020 Decor Trend: Wallpaper Everywhere
Along with those bold colors, says Megan Hopp, the founder and principal of Megan Hopp Design, bold patterns saw a major surge in popularity in the form of wallpaper. "I of course am always a wallpaper user — but this year I actually had clients asking me right out of the gate if I was open to using wallpaper in certain areas of their homes versus the other way around!" she says.
And in 2020, its use got a lot more varied: "I did find the opportunity to use more [wallpaper], and in more creative ways," Hopp continues. "Papering not just walls, but ceilings, doors, and cabinetry, too!"
Like many of the past year's other decor trends, Hopp largely attributes wallpaper's growing popularity to a pervasive need to embrace, well, more. "We went through a long period of all white everything — and frankly I think we just burnt out. People are ready for color, detail, and richer, more complex design," she says.
2020 Decor Trend: Rounded Edges
As Beiny tells TZR, 2020 brought furniture with rounded edges and an almost cloud-like appearance. "We also saw a change from the stark, hard lines of the contemporary styles we’ve seen in the last few years," she says. "The new, round-edged pieces are still very contemporary, but the softer lines provide a gentle and serene appearance."
One popular piece that featured this trend? "Curvy conversation sofas," says Shelby Greene, an interior designer at Living Spaces. "Since the pandemic, our homes have become spaces of comfort and are more meaningful. Curved sofas are nostalgic of an old era but also allow for a cozy room situation."
Those rounded edges also appeared in the form of arches "everywhere," says Hannah Pobar, the founder of styled home rental platform Home Studio List. "Whether a door, window, or painted on a wall, an arch adds focus to an otherwise simple design," she tells TZR. "It just adds a little visual excitement!"
2020 Decor Trend: Instagrammable Moments
"Designing a space with an Instagrammable moment, or particularly artistic vignette, is something that I'm seeing more and more — and loving," says Pobar. This comes as no surprise, she continues, since social media and the internet have changed how people relate to everything in the world.
"As the world becomes increasingly influencer-obsessed, curating the perfect space in your home for photos (or for your budding side hustle home decor influencer account) is definitely top of mind," she says, explaining that she's even done this in her own space by creating a reading nook based on the proximity of the window. "Being an incredible source of natural light, it's the perfect selfie spot."
2020 Decor Trend: Mixing Old & New
Gone are the days of buying everything from one store — 2020 was the year of getting thrifty. "One-stop-shops aren't as interesting or meaningful as sourcing one of a kind piece from many places," says Greene. "It brings in the fun of decorating!"
Cox echoes this, saying she's noticed a huge focus on taking what we already own and making it new again. "I’ve seen an uptick in incorporating antique art, traditional furniture, and silhouettes combined with modern color palettes and updated accessories and accents in all parts of the home."
According to Greene, there's a reason for this. "We took more time to make the home comfortable, exciting, and different than the average 'perfect' interior," she says. "Mixing in old pieces to give your home more interest and experimenting with different layers of style gives your home a great representation of your lifestyle and personality."