Interior design trends in 2021 and throughout the 2020s will be centred around wood furnishing. Interior design will emphasise earthiness, eco-friendliness and warm cosiness. Dark and light wood tones are combined in a relaxed way to add layers and interesting details.
Interior design can create different atmospheres, improve the use of space and create empowering environments. Read the perspectives of three different interior design influencers on the interior design trends that will shape the 2020s.
Here are interior influencers' picks for today's Top 3 interior trends
MillaAlftan, Interior Designer, @millaalftan
- Woodblocking in many forms and innovative ways
- Ecological values and awareness of product origin, domesticity
- Creating cosiness and warmth with natural materials and shades and, to a large extent, the authenticity of materials
"In the 2020s, the emphasis will be on cosiness, authenticity and warmth - whether in materials or colours."
Linda Baki, Interior Designer, @lindabakidesign
- Sensory friendliness, which is particularly important for woodburning. We also want to bring the surrounding nature into the interior of the home by using authentic materials.
- Environmentally friendly material choices and natural materials for surfaces and furniture
- Scandinavian bohemian interior design, combining old and new, second hand items
"Woodburning has been popular in Finland for a long time, but now it is particularly popular because of its ecological and sensory friendliness."
Miia Salmi, Interior Design Influencer, @oma_koti_valkoinen
- Natural materials in surfaces, furniture and textiles
- Bold combination of different wood tones
- Earthiness and humanity in materials and colours
"We want to bring nature into the home more strongly through natural and authentic material choices. By combining new and old, layers and cosiness are created."
Interior trends 2021 and throughout the 2020s
It's easier to understand today's interior design trends if we look back a few years.
In Finland and other Nordic countries, interior design trends throughout the 2010s were centred around white, grey and black. There was even a certain clinicality to the décor, which emphasised the cleanliness and modernity of the home. Materials and the values they represented were not given the same attention as they are today, with ecology and sustainability being major themes outside of interior design.
The change between the 2010s and 2020s is well illustrated by the idea of a shift from a disposable culture to one of longevity and timelessness, boldly combining new and old. Coziness, warmth and naturalness are the big interior trends of the 2020s. Light shades such as straw, beige, pale blue and peach are all the rage.
Light shades are combined with spicy darker and deeper colours such as terracotta, burgundy and various shades of brown in chocolate and coffee. Often, interior design trends come alive through contrasts. When light shades are popular, they are gradually broken up by darker shades, until darker shades take over and overtake light ones.
In any case, when looking at the current trends in interior design, you can't help but notice the popularity of woodwork.
Why is wood so popular?
The popularity of wood is due to the fact that it combines all the current interior design trends, from the colour scheme to the wood. Among the individual interior trends, the most popular at the moment are wooden ceiling mats and wall panels, which create acoustics, light and interesting details.
Interior design influencers highlight the five main reasons for the popularity of wood.
Wood represents the current megatrend of ecology and sustainable development. Not only does wood have a very small carbon footprint, but it also absorbs carbon dioxide from the air as it grows. The recyclability and malleability of wood underline its ecological credentials and good values. Wood is a sustainable material that will last from one generation to the next if well looked after. Wood can also be customised to suit current interior design trends by treating the surface of the wood to the look of your choice.
"Wood has a very long lifespan, and wooden surfaces often survive from one generation to the next. Wood surfaces can be easily renewed by sanding and refinishing."
- Milla Alftan
Naturalness and authenticity of materials will be a big interior design trend in 2021. Not only materials but also colours have changed from white, black and grey to more natural and rich colours. People want to bring nature into the home because it creates an authentic, cosy and warm atmosphere. This earthiness is also reflected in textiles, with natural materials such as cotton and linen becoming more popular.
The knots and the nuances of heartwood emphasise the naturalness of the wood and make it a human and personal material. The clinical, monochromatic and knotless panel surface has started to give way to a natural and authentic wood surface.
"The earthy tones add softness to the space and the real wood surfaces create interesting details, lights and shadows. Wood grain is allowed to show and the natural vibrancy of the surfaces is a welcome element."
- Miia Salmi
There is a growing desire to support domestic companies. This is why the origin of the product plays a greater role in the purchase of furniture and in interior design choices. Finnish products and materials are also of high quality, which is associated with long life and sustainability.
In addition, our tradition of wood construction combines perfectly with today's interior design trend, which boldly combines new and old.
"We want to give more support to domestic companies. There is a growing sense of values behind interior design choices, with a focus on domesticity, localism and a preference for unique craftsmanship."
- Linda Baki
Practicality has always been a priority in Finnish homes. We have four wonderfully different seasons, which place their own demands on home maintenance and materials. Wood stands the test of time because it is durable, easy to care for and reusable. Wood is easy to keep clean, which is why it is an increasingly popular material for wall surfaces in hallways, toilets and kitchens, for example.
"Finns have always wanted homes that are very practical and easy to maintain. Surfaces should be easy to clean and materials should be durable. Over time, small dents will appear in every material, but they won't show up in a wood with nuances in the same way as they would in a stone surface of the same colour. In addition, wood can be sanded or refinished to a near-new finish."
- Milla Alftan
5) Sensory friendliness
People want spaces where they feel good. Touching wood has been shown to lower stress levels and heart rate, as well as improve mood. This is due to the way electricity, light and sound travel through the tree. Wood prevents resonance and wood materials can be used to support comfortable acoustics. In terms of light, wood refracts warm wavelengths of yellow and red light. This is why wood is perceived as a warm material.
The variations in stress levels also seem to be influenced by the electrical conductivity of different materials. For example, contact with aluminium, cool plastic and stainless steel at room temperature caused an increase in blood pressure as a stress response in the body. Touching a wooden surface, on the other hand, did not cause a similar reaction.
(Source: Muilu-Mäkelä R., Haavisto M., Uusitalo J. (2014). Effects of wood materials in interior applications. Metla working reports 320.
"Interior design trends are now strongly influenced by real materials and the desire to bring nature into the interior. The natural tones and nuances of wood bring warmth and cosiness to interiors, while its acoustic properties create a more balanced sound environment in the home.
People want spaces and homes where they feel good. It is also the starting point and goal that guides all my interior design. The sensory friendliness of wood is second to none in that respect."
- Linda Baki
Decorating trends in different areas of the home
The kitchen is one of the longest-lasting and most expensive purchases in your home. It's worth planning and designing your kitchen carefully, thinking about what you want it to do and who will be using it. For a family with children, cleanliness and safety are important, while a single person's kitchen is more important.
Natural wood is making a strong comeback in kitchens. Wood is increasingly seen in kitchen furniture in the form of wood veneer and solid wood, as well as in the form of paneling in partitioning. Wood is an excellent way to spice up and create beautiful details in Scandinavian-style, minimalist dark and light kitchens. Large plank tables also remain popular and are now increasingly available in darker shades.
The natural look of the kitchen is enhanced by choosing warm metallic tones such as copper, brass and rose gold for taps and metallic decorative items. Read more about kitchen decorating here.
You can decorate the walls and ceilings of your kitchen entirely with wood, because wood is a long-lasting material. What makes wood durable is its ease of maintenance, as it is easy to maintain by sanding and refinishing. Large wooden surfaces also help to maintain a fresh indoor climate in your home, as wood absorbs humidity from the indoor air. During the dry winter months, moisture is released, so indoor humidity fluctuations are less pronounced. Please note that wood is supposed to absorb moisture from the air in order to stay healthy. This is by no means a negative thing that is often associated with moisture in materials! Read more about decorating a kitchen-living room here.
When decorating your kitchen, it is also essential to look at the home as a whole. Where is the kitchen in your home? Do you want to keep the kitchen as a single space or divide it into an island? With an island, you can divide the space and block the view from other rooms in your home to the kitchen. The kitchen then becomes more of a space in its own right. You can also enjoy breakfast around the island or use the island to create more storage space for your dishes.
Decorating the living room
For many interior designers, the living room is their favourite room to decorate. This is because the living room is where personality really shines through, as it's where comfort is by far the most important factor. In the kitchen or bedroom, for example, practicality must be taken into account on a completely different level, without forgetting comfort. In the living room, there is no similar pressure on practicality; you can create a living room that looks exactly like you with the right colours, finishes and furniture. Read here for 7 tips on decorating your living room.
Often, the living room is decorated on the TV's terms. The TV is on one wall, the sofa on the other and a coffee table in between. But there are many other ways to decorate a living room. Instead of a TV, you can choose another accent element to create a decor around. These elements could be a striking rug, a large shelf, a chest of drawers, an effect wall or even your favourite poster. The possibilities in the living room are endless, with plenty of floor space, but you can also use the walls and ceiling. You'll find that bold solutions are ultimately the most stylish ones.
The most popular individual interior trends at the moment are wooden ceiling mats and wooden wall panels. Their arrival has been particularly noticeable in living room interiors, but they are also used in kitchens, bedrooms, utility rooms and toilets. Wooden wall panels can be used to create very striking and individual solutions: instead of beautiful wallpaper, the wall that is the focal point of the home is now a vertical, horizontal or herringbone panelled wooden effect wall.
"I think the VIRE panel is a beautiful interior panel. It creates beautiful effects in every room. My other favourite is Siparila's KOO4 panel, which has a wonderfully clean and elegant design language."
- Linda Baki
From loose furniture in the living room, chests of drawers and coffee tables are increasingly being bought as recycled or refurbished second-hand items. Wood also appears in sofas and armchairs, for example as oak legs. In living room textiles, natural materials such as linen and cotton are currently in vogue.
You spend a third of your life in the bedroom. That's why it's important to make it comfortable and supportive of sleep, because a comfortable and relaxing bedroom is where you get a good night's sleep. It reflects positively on everything you do during the day.
The bedroom differs from other rooms in that the bed is clearly the dominant feature. None of us wants to compromise on the size of the bed, even if the size of the room is reduced. When floor space is at a premium, colours, lighting and surface materials create the atmosphere. Effect walls, wooden bed headboards and small details are common ways to add atmosphere to a bedroom.
Linen and cotton are the most popular textile choices for the bedroom at the moment because of their naturalness. In terms of colour schemes, bedrooms are being decorated in warm natural tones such as beige and straw.
The bedroom ambience is made cosier with warm wall panels, while the acoustic properties of wood panels also help to soothe the bedroom's acoustic environment. The delicate green air plants and eucalyptus branches add a Scandinavian freshness to the bedroom.
A wooden panel bed headboard is an easy way to give your bedroom a new and modern look. A wooden bed headboard is a beautiful single element in your interior design, but it also soothes the atmosphere in your bedroom. Today's interior design trends make a strong case for the herringbone bed headboard in particular. Find out here how to build your own wooden headboard.
Decorating damp rooms and sauna
The toilet is one of the smallest, but most used rooms in the home. A cosy and carefully decorated toilet creates a sense of cleanliness and freshness throughout the home. Yet it's only in the last decade that a lot of attention has been paid to toilet design. Today, we see the most delightful toilets, which are a pleasure to look at. Not many people would have thought they would have heard that a decade ago.
Also bear in mind that the toilet is such a small room that it can usually be decorated with scraps left over from a larger room. With small wooden details, your toilet will look fresh and cosy.
One of the latest interior design trends in recent times has been the arrival of wooden wall panels in utility rooms and toilets. The wooden effect wall adds a lot of warmth to an otherwise tiled and cool space. Wood is also becoming increasingly popular for fixed furniture surfaces.
Warm metallic shades such as brass, copper and rose gold are used not only for kitchen taps but also for taps in humid areas. They add a cosiness and earthiness to the space more than chrome faucets.
The interior design of the sauna must be done carefully to ensure that the wood can withstand the demanding conditions of the sauna. Materials must be properly surface treated to dry and stay clean. You can read more about the right choice of materials here.
The white colour is ideal for small saunas. White creates light and space. The STRUKTUURI sauna panel is a stunning, pure white panel without the creamy tinge usually associated with wood.
The pearl shade brings a mystical atmosphere to the sauna, fulfilling all the current interior design trends. The surface of the STRUKTUURI panel, finished in pearl shades, sparkles tactfully under the effect of light and is sure to leave no one cold.
A warm pearl brown softens the brown tone and elegantly highlights the spruce branches and scalloped pattern.
Summary - interior design trends 2021 and throughout the 2020s
The use of wood in interior design is by far the biggest interior design trend in both public spaces and households today. Wood is being used boldly on all surfaces in the home.
The growing popularity of wood is due to the fact that it combines all the major interior design trends of the moment: earthiness, eco-friendliness and warm cosiness.
"The unprecedented popularity of wood has been a really good trend in interior design, because I think the underlying value of wood is beautiful. I hope that in the future, woodwork will not disappear from Finnish homes, but will instead be used more boldly around the home. The possibilities of wood are endless and it is easy to customise its appearance, sometimes even after installation." - Milla Alfan
"Interior design trends come and go, but I believe that wood panelling is here to stay in Scandinavian interior design. Especially at the moment, woodwork is clearly more popular than before, and homes are becoming more and more wellness-oriented, also through sensory-friendly spaces. So I believe that woodworking will continue to be a winner, especially as more new products come onto the market and people are encouraged to use wood in more ways." - Linda Baki
"The earthy tones add softness to the space and the real wood surfaces create interesting details, lights and shadows. Wood grain is allowed to show and the natural vibrancy of the surfaces is a welcome element. Ecological materials and closeness to nature are the major interior design trends of the new decade around the world. Beautiful wooden surfaces make interiors atmospheric and inviting." - Miia Salmi