Multi-zone kitchens, upgraded lighting, and oversized rectangle tiles are among the trends sweeping home design in the new year, according to home design website Houzz. The online resource recently released the following 10 trends it expects to get hotter in 2021.

Multi-zone kitchen

© Noble Johnson Architects 

1. The multi-zone kitchen. Kitchens traditionally use a three-zone “work triangle” setup with a connection between the fridge, sink, and range, Houzz notes. More homeowners are adding touch points and creating additional work zones. Houzz refers to the trend as a “work trapezoid,” which might include dedicated areas for baking, prepping and chopping, or separate stations for snacks, drinks, and homework.

Sconce lighting

© Margaret Wright Photography 

2. Sconce lighting. Interest is growing in swing-arm and other sconce fixtures. Besides adding to decor, sconces have the benefit of adding task lighting around a sink or range, Houzz notes. “A sconce brings in a sculptural element above eye level and adds a bit of shimmer from its metal finish, two details that can help break up walls of cabinets or tile,” Houzz notes. “Plus, a swing-arm sconce is a good solution for adding accent lighting to open shelves to highlight objects on display.”

Rejuvenating bathroom design

© Margaret Wright Photography 

3. Rejuvenating bathroom design. Bathrooms are being designed to help reduce stress. Forty-one percent of homeowners who have undergone a bathroom renovation say they wanted their new space to evoke more of a relaxing vibe, according to the 2020 Houzz Bathroom Trends Study. “Some homeowners are rejuvenating with steam showers, aromatherapy shower heads, and bathtub fillers that can hold a cup of tea or glass of wine,” Houzz notes.

Oversized tile

© Jesse Young 

4. Oversized rectangle tile. Large rectangular tiles can help visually expand a small space, and fewer grout lines means less cleaning. Houzz says the larger tiles are being used in several classic patterns, such as herringbone, stacked, and brick. Houzz designers recommend using a matte finish on bathroom floor tiles to reduce slipperiness.

Brown and beiges

© Darlene Halaby Photography 

5. Browns and beiges return. “Warm taupes, beiges, sands—basically any earth tone is surging in popularity,” Houzz notes. “Some designers say the trend is an evolution from popular whites and grays of recent years and that brown as an accent color works well to bring warmth to a palette heavy with those colors.”

Nook in living room

© Lauren Andersen 

6. Home offices and nooks. Homeowners are creating efficient spaces for offices, work nooks, and even backyard cottages as remote work grows and likely remains elevated in 2021.

Bookcases

© Rachel Loewen Photography 

7. Video conference-worthy backgrounds. Homeowners are feeling the need to have an aesthetically pleasing background for their video meetings and are discovering the art of a good vignette, Houzz notes. “Well-hung artwork, pops of color, good lighting, a little greenery, and objects of different sizes can create a stylish backdrop for a meeting but also make our homes more enjoyable to be in,” Houzz notes.

Open floor plan

© Rachel Loewen Photography 

8. Open floor plan scrutiny. “Perhaps no other design element was put under the microscope this year more than the open plan,” Houzz reports. “Anyone who had multiple family members attempting concurring video meetings in an open layout quickly saw the disadvantages to a lack of walls.” While this trendy floor plan isn’t likely to go away, many homeowners are considering sliding doors or partitions that can close off rooms for privacy.

Pergola

© Rikki Snyder 

9. Pergolas. To extend usable living space, homeowners are turning their attention to the outdoors. To create an inviting outdoor space, they’re adding pergolas, a relatively quick and affordable solution, Houzz notes. These structures can add shade for dining, lounging, and other outdoor activities.

Cottage

© Jesse Young 

10. Backyard cottages and ADUs. For more privacy, some homeowners are adding a dedicated area to their backyard that’s separate from their main home. “A backyard cottage or accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a great solution for adding a dedicated space,” Houzz notes. “These standalone structures are used as home offices, gyms, meditation areas, or extended living spaces to house relatives or kids who had to stay home from college due to the pandemic.”