If you’ve been spending all this extra time in your house this year, and haven’t felt a startling urge to replace everything you own—I’m at once in awe and completely jealous of you. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time painting, rehanging shelves, replacing framed art, scouring Facebook marketplace for furniture to flip, and doing lots (and lots) of Tik Tok research.
One bright spot of pacing around our homes day in and day out? So many cool trends have bubbled to the surface this year, from the practical (regrowing veggies), to the superfluous (squiggly furniture), and more people than ever have taken an interest in making their homes feel… homey. Below, we’ve gathered some of our favorite decor and DIY trends from the past year, as well as some we’re still not sure about. Feel free to change our minds, though!
If you hadn’t heard of the husband-and-wife duo behind McGee & Co design firm, their 2020 Netflix show may have changed that—and their work might look familiar. Shea McGee’s signature is layers upon layers of soft, neutral textures, working in modern, vintage, and farmhouse-y elements, blended seamlessly for a traditional but current feel.
Table lamps, who? Why take up space on your nightstand when you can install a lovely little light right above it? I’ve been seeing sconce lighting everywhere this year, made 100 times easier with this Tik Tok trick to circumvent any electrical work.
Moody Portrait Art
Have you been seeing lots of people decorate their walls with paintings of people who look long-dead, too? They’re all. Over. The. Place. They almost always look like a character from The Grapes of Wrath, and seem to have Haunted Mansion-style eyes that follow you around the room. As someone who loves creepy and unconventional art, I absolutely adore this trend., and hope it stays forever.
We’ve sung the praises of dried florals once, twice, a thousand times, but that won’t stop us from doing it again. This year, we saw pampas grass, delicate eucalyptus, bunny tails, wheat, and more in every possible iteration—fluffed out of oversized jugs, tucked into bud vases, and arranged artfully in bouquets. They’re even better because they last for months and months (maybe even years!) as opposed to the week or so you get with freshly cut flowers.
One of my favorite DIY discoveries of the year? A nifty little trick to turn mismatched glass, plastic, and ceramic items into textural “terracotta” pieces that look like they’re plucked right off the window display of your favorite home store. Acrylic paint, baking soda, and a paintbrush are the only supplies needed to completely transform your stash of recycled bottles and jars.
Squiggles and Curves
All things curvy and squiggly have been dominating the home accessory market this year, from stacked porcelain planters to bendy taper candles and sculptural, curvy furniture. The approachable but modern lines of these items elevate more traditional spaces, and balance the look of a vintage collection with just the right touch of contemporary.
Okay, so this one isn’t exactly a home decor trend, but it did happen in lots of homes, so we’re including it. Scallions, lettuce, carrots, avocados, and more were all turned into DIY hydroponic gardens to regrow fresh veggies in a time where we truly didn’t know the next time we’d be able to get to the grocery store. It’s a trick I’ve carried with me through the summer, and I’m glad it stuck for many reasons—not least of which the potential for another quarantine.
Earlier this year, we were elated to discover the tile we think has pushed subway tile to the backburner for good. It’s not that we don’t love the classic, clean lines of subway tile, it’s just that we were aching for a little shakeup. Moroccan zellige tile is just that: it’s a rough-hewn, irregular, handmade tile with endless glaze and size options, making it the perfect textured neutral or a stunning accent.
Less of a specific element and more of a general movement, “CottageCore,” i.e. the aesthetic centered around cottage-style living and the food, fashion, and decor that might come along. Some examples of the trend in practice are: flower-adorned focaccia, intricate tiered skirts, delicate pies, fresh-picked wildflowers, vintage floral patterns, and so on.
Spray Foam Mirrors & Tables
This one went viral on Tik Tok under the moniker “cloud mirror,” and so naturally, I was intrigued. The DIY is really quite simple: just spray some foam insulation around the outside of a mirror and let it puff up and cure. The problem is, it looks like... spray insulation foam on a mirror, and not much else. I’ve also seen side tables covered in this method, and aside from the practical aspect (how does one put anything firmly down on this?), the look just doesn’t do it for me.
80s & 90s Patterns & Colors
There’s a lot to love about the design trends of the 80s and 90s—I mean, Memphis Design, of course—but there are some that have resurfaced lately that might be better left in the past. Checkerboard in a small scale can be quite overwhelming to behold, and the neons and pastels common in these decades can grow tiresome quicker than more traditional colors. Oh, and another thing: why is laminate and formica furniture back? I’d much rather see a return to solid wood than more veneer, but I digress.
Yet another TikTok viral DIY—square-tiled side tables with contrasting grout. Perhaps it’s just that this kind of piece would look totally out of place in my home, but I’m not totally sold on these. They’re definitely part of the resurgence of 80s and 90s decor, which again, doesn’t fit in with my aesthetic. I sure love watching people make them, though.