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Most of the year ahead looks likely to be spent at home again, so make sure you’re keeping your surroundings fresh and inspiring


After reflecting on some of the design drivers for 2020, Cape-based interior creative and behaviour specialist Kim Williams predicts some of the top trends that we’ll be taking into the new year.

Natural touch

“Looking back, the trends that stand out for me in 2020 are intertwined with our need to reconnect with nature, to find comfort, beauty and engagement in our homes and workspaces, given that we spent the year disconnected from each other and the world,” says Kim. “Bringing nature into our spaces provides us with a kind of visual comfort.” Having natural elements in our homes is also said to affect our wellbeing, which makes it a clear choice for the year ahead.

“The concept of biophilia embraces connecting with nature on all levels. From organic materials to earthy tones and colours, natural elements permeate our spaces as we try to recreate a connection with nature,” she says. Kim believes biophilia will evolve into mindful living, with the use of natural and organic materials motivating us towards better, more sustainable choices.


Simple and modern

Embracing simplicity and brightness, and blurring the line between indoor and outdoor living, Kim believes our outdoor lifestyles make this trend particularly relevant for South Africans. She sees this trend incorporating ceramics, woods and texture into our space while keeping rooms simple and elegant. “It’s a modern, clean and fresh approach that will evolve from the combination of wanting to connect with nature but in a simple uncluttered way,” she says.

Meaningful colour

Colour will still play a big part in our lives this year, and we’ll continue to be mindful of our colour selections. “As a medium, colour is extremely powerful, and I hope that we’ll see a lot more boldness, akin to what we saw in the 80s, in 2021,” says Kim. Soft hues and colours create a sense of comfort and connection, while bright tones bring excitement, and contrasting shades create impact. “By mixing and matching objects from various decades, the impact is reminiscent of art-deco trends and style. The use of colour will be about creating those experiences and being very specific about how you design colour into your space.”

Playful living


Continuing in the footsteps of maximalism, one of last year’s top trends, this year playful living encourages us to mix and match bold colour, textures, patterns, and unconventional shapes. “It’s about what lies beyond functionality and invites us to explore and play,” says Kim. The trend will incorporate pop culture from the 80s and 90s and is all about weaving creative and fantastical elements throughout our homes to create optimism and joy in our spaces. “It’s about creating new realities in our home and workspaces, so we can evolve our living and our thinking.”

The new world of work

With the work-from-home movement entrenched for another year at least, homeowners will be making sure that their home offices fulfil their necessary functions – and that they make them feel good at the same time. “What’s clear is that people are prioritising their happiness within a space, and that casual, playful, and flexible workspaces facilitate a sense of wellbeing, creativity and therefore productivity,” says Kim. “So, as we go into 2021, comfort, happiness and fluidity are set to be our guiding factors as the lines between our homes and our offices blur.”

Rethinking ownership

Materialism is on the decline among the up-and-coming generations, and many are rethinking ownership. Kim predicts that we’re no longer going to have a product-driven environment but rather a service-driven one. “This is likely to present in design services, such as being able to rent furniture and rotate it out as the seasons and styles change, rather than having to buy and keep pieces. It will also be a way of embracing a more sustainable recycling perspective,” she says.

The sound of silence

Spending so much time in our homes means that we’ve become increasingly aware of noise distracting us from work – whether it’s coming from outside or within the house. “It’s important to understand the impact of white noise in a home environment where you’re in a work-from-home model and how it affects your ability to work and be,” says Kim. “Even in workspaces, as we become more mindful, the need for silence will play more of a role in the way we design.”


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