The pandemic has left many people craving warmth and comfort in their homes and looking to integrate innovative products and design trends that promote a healthy well-being. To better understand the impact of these changing consumer desires, the team at Moen enacted an in-depth research project to glean insights into homeowners’ evolving design priorities in 2021 and into 2022.
The results of this effort are presented in the 2021 Moen Design Trends Report, featuring insights curated by Danielle DeBoe Harper, Moen’s senior creative style manager, and Jessica Birchfield, principal industrial designer, Trend Strategy.
Upgrading to Touchless Technology
Moving into the future, touchless solutions are on the rise. While devices with hands-free on/off activation have been around for some time, current products are taking this idea a step further, offering many more ways to control and personalize the use of a device without ever having to touch it.
“In light of the increased focus on hygiene during the pandemic over the past year, it’s not a surprise that hands-free solutions in the home are becoming more popular,” said Birchfield.
Ramping Up Visual Cleanliness
Taking care of mental well-being is increasingly important to consumers, with many moving to incorporate design elements that help reduce anxiety by minimizing clutter and mess.
An example of this trend is the rise of the scullery or pantry kitchen. These small kitchens, used in addition to a main, larger kitchen area, can conceal the mess of cooking, baking and dish washing, plus create an open floor plan for entertaining or other kitchen activities. Coordinating kitchen accents with functional space, such as by choosing a healthy balance in materials between a faucet and countertop, is another way to embrace visual cleanliness in the home. By creating visually pleasing, but useful, organization, homeowners can optimize small spaces and encourage peace of mind while in the kitchen.
DeBoe Harper and Birchfield also have observed that consumers are moving towards materials and surfaces in kitchens that are easier to keep clean such as quartz and quarzite over high-maintenance marble.
“Not only are these materials easier to maintain, when chosen in the right color scheme, they also can help boost a visually clean design,” said DeBoe Harper. “For instance, by swaying towards countertops in lighter shades of off-white with graceful veining, homeowners are able to brighten spaces while showcasing a sleeker design aesthetic.”
Incorporating Layered Neutrals
Growing in popularity and branching off visual cleanliness, layered neutrals create a homey environment that can still feel elegant and timeless – and is in keeping with a hygiene-conscious space. By focusing on less color and bold accents, you can brighten up the room giving a more unified, clean design style.
“A layered neutrals effect can be created with different shades of whites or by mixing whites, grays and wood tones,” said DeBoe Harper. “For a slightly bolder, more modern take, accentuating a layered neutral with black accents gives a distinctly more contemporary appeal.”
Reducing Clutter with Warm Minimalism
“Warm minimalism” uses warm textures and matte finishes to breathe new life into otherwise sparse environments, helping a space appear less cold or severe but instead feel cozy and visually clean – all accomplished without adding unnecessary or distracting elements.
“Warm minimalism is all about limiting what is in the environment to what is truly useful or providing an organic accompaniment. You can accomplish this by reducing the number of accents such as throw pillows or blankets and incorporating greenery like plants throughout the space,” said DeBoe Harper. “Another effective way is through choosing the right color palette and paint, such as using lime wash paint in warm, yet light-toned colors like greige and other earth tones to give the walls subtle movement and natural textures.”
The idea of minimalism also is driving the movement of technology to a supportive role working in the background. In fact, according to the New Home Trends Institute, “Tech will become more silent and more predictive, working in coordination with the rest of your tech as an invisible butler.” While technology – especially smart home devices – continue to resonate with consumers, those embracing warm minimalism will look for ways to integrate them seamlessly into their designs.
The connections between life in the post-influenza-pandemic era of the 1920s and today’s life with COVID-19 is popularizing the trend of 1930s vintage glam.
“As we approached the 2020s, our team predicted the up-and-coming revival of Art Deco and Art Noveau influence, which has only been accelerated by the atmosphere of almost post-pandemic life in the 2020s,” said DeBoe Harper. “Consumers are ready to express their desire for a hopeful future full of vibrant and saturated materials and finishes, taking inspiration from the elegant details, geometric patterns and mixing of black, white and metallics found in 1930s.”
While the saying typically goes “less is more,” in this trend’s case: more is more.
“Maximalism isn’t for those who like to play it safe,” said DeBoe Harper. “It’s about showcasing your self-confidence and creativity. However traditional the choices are, they’re layered in a way that conveys your willingness to push boundaries.”
Unlike traditional maximalism, which layers on colors and pattern, today’s maximalism is focused on loading on the character with pieces that have a distinct appeal and point of view. Often, this trend is associated with a luxe aesthetic, laying in elements that have a perceived higher value or unique quality to them. Bold tile pattern is a great entry point to this trend.
After the intensity of the past year, the trend of playfulness is becoming more popular. This trend brings out the unexpected through color and pattern coming together to create happy, smile-inducing spaces.
“Design doesn’t have to be serious,” said Birchfield. “Playing with cheerful, bright colors, geometric shapes and happy accessories can add some levity to your space. Starting out small in a powder room or the kids’ bathroom is the perfect way to test out this trend.”
Soothing and Serene Spaces
Taking a cue from the outside environment is a new theme related to environmentalism called “biophilia.”
“Biophilia is the human desire to commune with nature,” said DeBoe Harper. “This means adding more architectural elements like larger windows and doorways, or adding an outdoor kitchen. This trend pushes us to blend the boundaries of indoor and outdoor spaces.”
Creating a serene space does not have to involve a major renovation and even little additions can help make a space feel more natural.
“Simply adding more plants into your home is an example of how to incorporate biophilia into your designs on a smaller, more affordable scale,” adds DeBoe Harper.
Nothing says nature like the color green. In fact, the trend of incorporating the color into design elements is continuing to grow.
“We’ve been seeing a surge in the demand for the color green over the last 18 months,” said DeBoe Harper. “The color has skyrocketed and it’s being incorporated in everything from cabinets to wall colors and upholstery. Experimenting with a color that brings us back to nature is a great way to transform any space into a serene retreat.”
Another way to bring the outside in, without committing to a green paint color or couch, is to incorporate foraged branches as sculptural pieces and decorate with plants and flowers.
“Get creative,” notes DeBoe Harper. “Leaves, branches and flowers are nature’s décor. Adding these simple pieces is an easy way to connect with and incorporate nature into the home.”