Mushroom motifs, rattan furniture, and macrame holders are only the beginning.
If your space doesn’t look cozy, trendy, and ready for the internet, Gen Z does not want it. This generation sees potential in every single room and will spend an entire weekend transforming their spaces with hacks from TikTok, cute products from Etsy, and seriously cool finds from the thrift store. They’ve not only defined and refined 2021 home decor trends, but have let them take over every inch of their bedrooms, bathrooms, and backyards.
The best examples of this may live in the #HomeDecor tag on TikTok. It really is a hub for inspiration, ideas, and how-tos. In this corner, Gen Z shows the world how they turned their bathroom into a spa with twisty candles and coasters and how they lined their ceiling with LED lights to take their room from boring to a beautiful spot to meditate. It’s where terms like "cottagecore" came to life and unique products from Amazon have found their calling, too.
Whether you’re a proud Gen Zer yourself or a millennial with a side part, you can take something major away from these home decor trends and how Gen Z has put them into play. Some are more casual and made for a minimalistic, earthy space like fashion and beauty expert Aspyn Ovard’s bright and airy home. Others are more colorful and playful like lifestyle vlogger Linh Truong’s cute abode that features a neon sign, strands of greenery, and an art collage.
To put them into play yourself, we here at Elite Daily asked experts from Target Home, Etsy, Houzz, and more to define the 2021 home decor trends that are taking over Gen Z spaces, and then sourced some products that’ll seamlessly work the trends into your space. Here are all the trendy details you need to know:
We only include products that have been independently selected by Elite Daily’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
The first trend to take over Gen Z spaces is unexpected and unique lighting. This trend goes beyond the basic "lamp with shade," and includes LED light strips that can be attached to your ceiling, an orb table lamp ($40, World Market), and even swing-arm sconces.
Mitchell Parker, senior editor of Houzz, notes that "lighting can be like jewelry in a kitchen" or any room of your house. It can make a space more stylish and accessible. Parker says the swinging sconce in particular works to highlight "objects on display." In a Gen Z space, a sconce can illuminate a shelf of well-loved books, or a cozy study spot.
Target Home style expert and stylist Emily Henderson notes that "fluting" is all over social media right now. Fluting looks like a bunch of thin cylinders placed next to each other and can be found primarily on side tables, candles, or glassware.
"It’s simple but feels modern and really fresh," says Henderson, adding that fluted pieces provide "the perfect amount of texture without being too loud." Fluted cups or a fluted end table ($115, Target) in particular would be timeless additions to any space.
In the year 2021, themes from the ’60s and ’70s are making the strongest comeback. Etsy trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson says it’s a result of Gen Z’s strong desire to escape to a "bright, simpler time" and express themselves. "It comes as no surprise that this year’s home decor trends that are popular among Gen Zers pull inspiration from other vivid and expressive eras," she says.
Mushroom motifs may be the clearest indication of this new-old era in home decor. In its 2021 home decor trend guide, Etsy notes there’s been a 371% increase in searches for lamps and 902% increase is search for pillows and pillow cases that are inspired by mushrooms. Among these products, there are also mushroom trays and mushroom spoon rests ($26.25, Etsy).
Rattan furniture typically features intricate weaves like in a wicker chair, table, or shelf. This style of furniture has "made a big comeback," according to Henderson, because it offers a lot of texture. It can make any piece more interesting and playful, especially when paired with a set of coffee table books, a tiny plant in a colorful vase, or a bright interior.
According to Google’s search data results, Henderson is not wrong about the comeback. In the last month, searches for "rattan" reached a record high in the United States. Rattan chairs and headboards were the most popular sub-terms, followed by dining chairs, mirrors, and beds.
If you’re looking to add a rattan detail to your bedroom, this rattan nightstand ($269, Urban Outfitters) is a great pick. In addition, a rattan organizer or magazine holder can add this trend to a home office without making it the focal point.
Self-expression often comes in the form of art. Some Gen Zers may look for art prints on Etsy, Society6, or RedBubble that pay homage to their interests and personality. Then there are many others who are picking up a paintbrush and deciding to create the art themselves.
"Creativity was put into full force last year," notes Henderson. "People are taking their skills to their walls," even as the world begins to inch out of quarantine. They’re buying DIY paint kits ($28, Etsy), and tackling creative projects with their friends on FaceTime and Zoom.
This specific decor trend is adding to the "eclectic home" and "maximalist lifestyle," as described by Pinterest Senior Insights Manager Swasti Sarna. According to Sarna, Pinterest has been seeing a huge surge in searches for decor, "as Gen Z wants to keep their newfound love of the home but enter a maximalist lifestyle." This lifestyle consists of bright colors and bold looks, all of which can surface in DIY art.
Gen Z is bringing the ’90s back with checkered prints. You can find a checkered print on a bath mat (CA$110, New Classics), living room rug, or a set of hand towels draped in a Gen Z kitchen. In its trend guide, Etsy calls this fun-loving print "gingham’s modern cousin," and notes that it has increased in searches by 889%. It’s best paired with bright colors.
According to Johnson, squiggly decor such as twisted candles or wavy mirrors ($76, Etsy) are totally "inspired by mid-century modern silhouettes." Like mushroom motifs, they represent the need for self-expression and escape in Gen Z spaces.
In its 2021 trend report, Etsy noted that there’s been a whopping 28,236% increase in searches for wavy candles and an impressive 5,296% increase for wavy mirrors. Google also found that the search term "squiggly mirror" spiked by 450% in the past year in the United States. These results affirm these fun accents are not only worth playing around with but also here to stay.
When you first sit on a boucle couch or chair, you’ll instantly understand why Gen Z is here for the chunky furniture trend. This type of furniture is cozy AF but doesn’t push style to the side. Henderson says it’s cool and chic, and that boucle is the fabric for 2021.
"Nothing says cool, modern, and Gen Z like a chunky yet chic piece of furniture," she says. Not to mention, these pieces can make your space more functional, which is extra important now that so many are working from home.
Parker recognizes the ongoing need for a stylish and suitable space: "Remote work will continue in 2021," he says, stressing that it’ll be the time for many to "double down" on creating a nook or office. Complete yours with an easygoing, aesthetic, and adorable boucle chair ($499, Article).
Gen Z — and even other generations who have taken to home decor and renovation during the pandemic — wants every inch of their space to work for them. This includes the tiny balcony connected to their city apartment or their lush backyard where they usually hang out with their dog.
These spaces, despite being used more often in the spring and summer, are an extension of their living space and can add value to the Gen Z lifestyle. Crate and Barrel’s vice president of product design, Sebastian Brauer, says its customers are prioritizing this space and renovating it with comfortable, functional, and sustainably made furniture.
"Something we are seeing customers value more [is] this idea of making your outdoor space as comfortable as your interior living room," says Brauer, adding that people "want to be able to create that feeling of easy living" and "relaxation."
Of course, it can be expensive to renovate your outdoor space with fresh and innovative furniture. Start with tie-dye pillow covers ($16.80, Etsy) or other accessories that prioritize comfort.
If you’ve been scrolling through the home section of TikTok, then you already know that macrame is in. This art form — which consists of knots thoughtfully tied into intricate and useful designs — is being used to hang plants, fruit, and add something unique to an otherwise-boring wall.
Michaels Makers’ Crafty Lumberjacks, aka Dennis Setteducati and Andrew Boza, note that macrame is another old trend brought back to life, and that it’s functional and stylish: "What’s old is always new again."
Google’s search data saw a 3,200% increase in the term "macrame knot guide" in the past year in the United States and notes that "macrame plant hanger tutorial" is considered a breakout term, since it’s been so popular.
Clearly, people are willing to learn the craft themselves, but you can also shop for macrame pieces if you’d like to add the trend to your home fast. A macrame fruit hammock can be a super natural detail in a kitchen, say Setteducati and Boza. A macrame plant hanger ($32, EcoVibe) can also free up space on your countertops.
Astrological and witchy themes are inspiring Gen Z and giving them something to believe in that’s bigger than themselves. In home decor, these themes come to life through plants, candle holders shaped like the sun ($59, Jungalow), and prints of the moon phases.
Sarna notes witchy bedroom aesthetics are up 42 times from last year. Likewise, Melissa Wagner — who does creative and design work for Havenly — notes she’s seen Gen Z embrace suns, moons, stars, and their astrological signs in their home decor, too.
"We’ve really seen Gen Z gravitate toward astrological decor, as they tap into the natural world and let it inspire," she says.
Home decor isn’t just what you hang on the walls in your home or the lamps you pick out to light up a room. It also includes all the items you use on a daily basis, like cookware, glassware, or dinnerware.
These items can express your personal style with their color palette, shape, and detailing. (Think: There’s a huge difference between a sleek, square plate with no edges and a teal one with imperfect edges.)
Gen Z is primarily picking out "organic" ceramics, since they’re new, unique, and look like they have a personality of their own. Wagner says this is a result of "artisans pushing the boundaries of pottery." As they create new designs like this blue static cup ($36, Yowie), Gen Zers continue to scoop them up and add them to their ongoing collections.
On the same note as organic ceramics, Gen Z is opting for a more chill and fun approach to glasses. To complement the colorful and expressive spaces they’ve created, they’re all about colored glassware that looks good on the internet and IRL.
"It’s a fun way to add a bit of an elevated flair," notes Wagner. She stresses that glasses are usually seen as utilitarian. Gen Z mixes things up with fluted acrylic glassware ($22, West Elm).
We may have to thank influencers for the hat wall trend that’s showing up in Gen Z spaces in 2021. Fashion bloggers on both YouTube and Instagram — including Ovard — have made a hat wall a focal point in their photographs and home decor videos.
Mary Cornetta and Margaret Henfling from Sort and Sweet NY say this trend can serve multiple purposes in your home. "It’s not only a functional way to store cumbersome or large hats, but it becomes art for your space."
To bring the trend to life, start by adding hat rack wall hooks ($26, Amazon) to your chosen wall, making sure they’re spaced far enough apart for hats to comfortably hang. Then add your hats!
Gen Z is facing the world’s challenges head-on. From climate change to social justice, this generation organizes, educates, and pushes for a brighter future for all every day. Self-care is an important part of their routine, as it can help to recharge their body and soul in times of monumental stress — however that stress may present itself. Enter the rejuvenating bathroom.
This space is where the Gen Z self-care routine can begin and thrive. It can look like a bubble bath with candles and a bathtub caddy ($45, Etsy) that’s holding their favorite book or a steamy shower followed with thoughtful journaling.
Parker notes that in the 2020 Houzz Bathroom Trends Study, 41% of homeowners said they rely on their newly renovated bathroom for rest and relaxation. Gen Z is hopping onto this trend as well.
Bar carts have remained a staple in young people’s homes over the years, as they’re easy to decorate, perfect for entertaining, and make any space feel elevated. In 2021, Gen Z is hopping on this trend and using bar carts to display glassware, drink supplies, and adorable coasters.
Cornetta and Henfling note the piece is great for decluttering your cabinets, since items are out and about. HomeGoods style expert and interior designer David Quarles IV says you can also make the piece less noticeable in your home, however, if you’d like it to be more functional than stylish.
You can buy a foldable bar cart, which can be put away when it’s not in use or dress up the piece up with a dispenser ($13, Walmart) that serves drinks for you.
According to Quarles, the dispenser "is an awesome way for you and your guests to enjoy a refreshing beverage without having to miss out on the outdoor hang session while making drinks for guests."
Sarna says that sage green is "the most popular color amongst Gen Z for the home." This very natural, inviting, and cool color is up 32 times in 2021, according to Pinterest’s insights. Google’s search data says that interest in the term "sage green" is also up on its platform, reaching a record high in the United States in the past year.
The easiest way to add the shade into your home might be to put up a sage wall collage kit ($18, Etsy) in your bedroom, and purchase sage towels for your bathroom. You can even brew a cool glass of iced matcha to add this color into your life.
Light academia rooms look and feel like a daydream. They can feature lots of neutral colors and pale pastels, in addition to art that reminds you of a museum. You may find a bust on an entry table, a vintage, gold-framed mirror on a dresser, or a speckled bud vase ($45, Sam Lee) in the corner of a home office.
According to Sarna, this studious, curated, and free-spirited style is up 15 times in searches on Pinterest right now and is another welcome escape courtesy of Gen Z.
In line with the maximalist lifestyle is grandmillennial decor, which may remind you of an episode of Bridgerton. This style wouldn’t be complete without "frills, tassels, upholstery, and cushions," according to Sarna, but also has a modern twist to match the forward-thinking nature of Gen Z.
Think, floral wallpaper ($198, Society Social) on an accent wall, paired with bouquets of flowers, and the unexpected lighting we mentioned earlier on. This type of space is curated, but so comfortable to live in, and is more than ready for its debut on TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, or Zoom.
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