2021 Home Design Trends

We made it! There’s nothing like a clean slate, and we’re ringing in the new year the best way we know how – by freshening up our homes. 2020 was the year that caused us to change how we think about our abode. We are using our space as our office, school, restaurant, and gym. The Mountainwood Homes design team weighs in on the trends they are most excited about, from organizing to adding more color.

Vibe Shift

“I feel a shift from modern geometric lines to more traditional and balanced rooms,” says Heather Wood, owner and designer at Mountainwood Homes. “We’re seeing mixes of patterned fabrics with global influences, warm woods in beams, floors, and paneling bring much desired character. People are craving cozy environments with layers of light.”

There’s also a shift toward more traditional leaning décor and natural materials like rattan and wicker.

Rooms to Update

The kitchen and master bathroom have always been hardworking spaces especially now as we’re all spending more time at home. These two rooms remain the most popular to remodel because they impact everyday life. A poor functioning kitchen layout or failing appliances can make cooking a drag. The master bathroom has turned into the perfect spot to escape after a full day of togetherness.

While the shower is still the focus in the master bathroom, the bathtub is making a comeback as people are looking for ways to enjoy relaxing ‘me’ time.

Now more than ever, project scopes have spilled into other areas of the home besides the kitchen and bath. Homeowners are reconsidering their rooms in new ways to accommodate the shift to work and learn from home. Dedicated or flex spaces for home gyms, homework areas, or a quiet place to take a phone call are in high demand.

Less Open Layouts

This extra time at home has had some homeowners less excited about an open floor plan. There are pros and cons to wide open spaces depending on your family dynamic. An open plan makes it easier to keep an eye on children, but you cannot escape the noise. Since many of us are working from home and conducting at-home learning, it is important to create separation to accommodate both activities, so they don’t interrupt each other.

Ever wonder what your coworkers are thinking about your home? If you’re frequently on virtual calls, turn on your webcam and do a quick edit of the background.

“The backdrop behind your work area should be something interesting and pretty for all those Zoom calls,” Heather added.

Covered patios and expanded outdoor living spaces continue to be popular projects, especially in the Northwest. Have you put your travel plans on hold? Create an oasis in your own backyard. According to House & Home magazine, there continues to be a spike in sales of patio heaters, gas firepits, and an increased demand for pools (up by 161%).

Outdoor covered patio with glass accordion door
The covered outdoor living area connects to the inside with an accordion, glass door at a custom home build in Southwest Portland, Oregon.

Bold Color Trends

Color continues to be the unifier in paint, flooring, countertops, or wall tile.

“We’re seeing more warm, earthy colors and less cool gray tones or white on white palettes,” says Darby Sargent, designer at Mountainwood Homes.

This infusion of color is exciting for designers everywhere.

“Wave goodbye to white and gray after 15 years of prominence,” Heather adds. “It’s time to scream out with color and let yourself be heard and inspired.”

Warmer colors, like Pantone’s Illuminating yellow Color of the Year means hopefulness, positivity, sunshine and fun but is a more cautious choice than red and orange. 

“Pale, pinkish blush is a color that pairs well with grey and white,” Heather adds. “It is stunning with brushed bronze metals and copper accents—beautiful in a bedroom or on a dining room wall or ceiling.”

Each year, paint companies come out with their color trends and yearly palette. This year, Benjamin Moore’s Color the Year is a lighter take on classic teal with Aegean Teal (2136-40) along with other warm and welcoming colors such as Amazon Soil, Potters Clay and Silhouette.

Benjamin-Moore Color Palette 2021

“Color is always personal and depending on preference, regional or geographical influences,” says Jean Johnson, designer at Mountainwood Homes.

More than ever, clients are open to painting their cabinets in colors other than white and gray.

Cabinetry Gets Colorful

Cabinetry can transform a space with added functionality as well as design impact. From door styles, layouts as well as interior storage solutions, cabinets set the stage for every project. Cabinets are a big decision. Not only are they a big piece of the remodeling or building budget, but they are also visually prominent in the space.

“We are still seeing painted cabinets as the preferred choice to lighten up most kitchens, however the color choice is where we see fun personalization taking place,” Jean adds. “Kitchen islands in a different color or in a stained wood adds variety, especially in a large kitchen.”

Walnut and sapele woods are good ones to consider if you want to make a statement. Newer contemporary cabinet finishes such as high-gloss are gaining popularity for bathrooms, mud rooms and built-in desks for kids’ study areas.

“Painted cabinets are still in,” ensures Krieg Kjer, our cabinetry trade partner with Cutting Edge Custom Cabinets. “My wife picked blue, green, and white cabinets for our house, and they look great!”

Designer Vicki Enger has noticed a shift in her client’s preferences toward bold colors for cabinetry.

Bold Cabinets in Our Projects

“At our Oregon City project, we painted the built-in buffet a Basil green color (SW 6134) with a finish on the cabinets,” says Vicki. 

Green Painted Cabinets
Under Construction: Painted Basil Green buffet cabinet

“The master closet walls are painted Delft (SW 9134), which is one tone lighter than Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year. It looks beautiful with the closet system finish of Karuna Ash. Plus, it’s a perfect complement to the spa colors of the master bathroom,” Vicki adds.

Closet storage

Not sure you want to commit to one color? Use two.

“We are using Summer Nights (777) by Benjamin Moore on the kitchen base cabinets and island at one of our Portland projects,” says Vicki. “It’s a beautiful dark blue color – not navy – that looks great against Oxford White on the uppers.”

Painted Cabinets in Kitchen Remodel
Under Construction: the lower cabinets are a bold blue while the uppers are white.

“Deep greens and blues great for bookshelves and cabinetry,” Heather adds.

“I love green cabinetry – especially with brushed brass accents,” adds Darby.

The mix of painted and warm woods for cabinets is popular. “There’s nothing like a hand-finished look that appears old and feels comfortable,” Heather adds. “Use interesting cabinet hardware in rich metals to bring character into the kitchen.” 

Storage Galore

There has been an increased focus on organization to keep things in their place. Whether you’ve binge-watched Get Organized with The Home Edit on Netflix and got inspired to tackle a pantry refresh or have organized your mudroom for your back stock of paper towels, organization is always in style.

Our clients have been adding more and more large drawers for pots, pans, plates, and bowls.

Heather mentions that in the kitchen, customized pantry, food, and appliance storage solutions are on the rise. Is your freezer overflowing? Adding an extra freezer has surged in popularity.

Extra Fridge in Butler Pantry
The butler pantry behind the kitchen has an extra refrigerator, freezer and appliances.

“If possible, hide or panel your appliances in the pantry so they are plugged in and ready to use as opposed to pulling them out from a hard-to-reach lower cabinet,” suggests Heather.

Clever organizational ideas aren’t just for the kitchen. In the master bathroom, consider built-in storage, such as dressers to keep pajamas, lingerie, jewelry, and workout clothes convenient while getting ready.  

Surface Trends

“Quartzite has now become a popular natural stone for countertops,” Heather says. “It has the elegance of marble but is denser. It has incredible movement with the veining and beautiful colors.”  

Quartzite Countertop

Quartz is still popular for a contemporary look.

Quartz Kitchen Countertops

Homeowners are interested in easy-to-clean and anti-bacterial surfaces due to the pandemic.

Textured Tiles

Tiles trends are learning toward more patterned and textured tiles and away from the 3×6 white subway to a softer, handmade look.

“We are seeing a lot of bold patterns and colors,” says Nicole DeHaan, showroom manager at Contract Furnishings Mart in Beaverton. “Geometric, floral stamped looks and 3D relief tiles for walls are all big go-tos for a unique look that offers a very custom feel.”

“We’re seeing more intricate patterns on walls and tiles and more ‘granny chic’ floral patterns,” Darby adds. “Plus, there are more vintage and art deco details.”

Granny Chic Tile Backsplash
Photo via Style Me Pretty

Designer Sierra Lemieux has been using large-format porcelain tiles with a stone look in many of her client projects.

“Modern organic continues,” says Sierra. “Materials inspired by nature that feature natural and matte finishes continue to be popular choices.”

Modern Great Room with Windows
Tile flooring was used throughout the modern custom home we built in Southwest Portland.


New lighting designs include sculptural, open-style fixtures that don’t block the view. For instance, integrated LED fixtures are starting to build in a replacement module so you don’t have to replace the entire fixture in 8 to 10 years. Installing bath vanity sconces either vertically or horizontally continue to be popular. Similarly, brands continue to expand their fixture finish offerings to stay competitive. 

Modern Entry Light Fixture


Luxury Vinyl Tile or Plank are very popular flooring choices. They’re kid and pet friendly and easy to clean. Brands are constantly improving the wood plank screen techniques to look more realistic.  Many strong brands keep the product competitive and varied. Tile designs are mimicking stone, concrete and linear textures for more contemporary settings. Solid  and engineered hardwoods continue to stand the test of time.

Looking Ahead

“I feel that in 2021, we will be more apt to not play it as safe,” Heather says. “Let your bottled-up personality shine through design; It’s time to make your statement!”

The design team at Mountainwood Homes works with many clients who have different projects, styles, and personalities. In other words, we’re constantly seeing a variety of materials, products, and concepts come to life. 

Do you have home remodeling projects you are considering completing this year? Curious how to infuse the latest design trends into your outdated home? Reach out to our team to discuss what’s possible for your kitchen, bathroom or whole house remodel.