How to Decorate Your Room in The Most Popular Styles For 2021

How to Decorate Your Room in The Most Popular Styles For 2021
Scandinavian, Retro Modern, Contemporary and Japandi!

So 2021 has rolled round and although we would much rather forget 2020, believe it or not trends in Interior design have still evolved. Naturally, due to the pandemic, there has been a shift towards craving a more holistic approach to our homes. Our decorating likes have become centred around health, wellbeing and a feeling of security and sanctuary.


Although the most popular decorating styles for 2021 are still very similar to previous years. 2021/2022 see’s a softer approach and a more natural interpretation of thee popular styles. 

First Up: Scandinavian

First, let’s talk about a style that I analyze a lot on my website because it’s just such a catch-all design that literally anybody can do. The Scandinavian style is so diverse and can really suit the aesthetic of any household. It’s clean, it’s simple, it’s functional… and it’s perfect for cold weather climates, when all you wanna do is cozy up with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book.


Saying that though the lightness of timber and cool colour pallets, also lends itself to breezy and calm summer interiors.

The Characteristics' Required When Decorating In a Scandinavian Style.

Scandinavian countries have a lot of wood around, so it’s not surprising that this style employs a lot of hardwood flooring. We’re not talking about deep mahogany flooring or wood with a bright, almost orange hue. And wall-to-wall carpeting? Forget about it! Instead, this style usually employs wood, like pine, which softens the light and makes the space more, well, spacious. Not to mention, the sight of wood reminds us of the forest, so there’s your element of nature.


The Scandi style, chairs, tables, and storage spaces all have simple lines that are light in colour and material. Notice how there aren’t a lot of sharp edges? That’s because Scandi furniture tries to emulate nature, which never develops pointed corners.

As such, make sure to add furniture in your room that have smooth or otherwise inconspicuous edges. Pay attention to the lines, too. You want nice, clean lines that aren’t complicated or flashy. When you have clean lines, your eyes are free to focus on the beautiful accessories and it becomes a great foundation for the rest of your room.

The Scandinavian style may be a sort of minimalism, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a few accessories! In fact, this part of the design adds to the hominess and cosiness of the space, and makes you feel like you’re in your own personal art gallery. Great accessories include clear glass baubles, simple photo frames, indoor plants, flowers, and metal sconces for ceiling lights. 

To add texture and subtle colour to your Scandi interior, you can decorate your furniture with colourful accessories like throws and pillows with simple geometric prints and pops of colour. It’s fun to use wool and fur to make your couch and bed cosy to the max!


This might be the most obvious part of the Scandinavian style. I’m sure you’ve noticed how bright and white everything is! That’s because there are two elements at play here.

The first is light. In Scandinavian countries, wintertime brings only four hours of light per day! Since natural lighting is best, make sure to ditch the heavy window treatments and go with sheer curtains instead. Ceiling and floor lamps also tend to avoid lamp shades that prevent light from reaching every corner. Scandi light techniques make use of the light-colored furniture and soft wood or laminate flooring to spread across the room.

The other element is colour. White and other light hues are primarily used when you don’t want to bring attention to something in the room, or when they are used as a foundation for an accessory. Earthy colours are best, but you’ll want the occasional pop of colour, like sea green or turquoise, to balance this out.

Retro Modern

Some people call this “mid-century modern design” because it uses all the greatest parts of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s time periods. The only difference between those designs of the past and the Retro Modern style is the incorporation of Scandinavian values, like simplicity and clean lines

The Characteristics' Required When Decorating In a Retro Modern Style.

Furniture in this style should give a good silhouette and be uncomplicated. Materials often used are plastic, acrylic, Formica, leather, matte, and marble. Think: low streamlined seating and plastic shell chairs. You want to emulate the 60’s and 70’s bohemian-type living while being conscious of clean lines.

The Retro Modern style’s most important aspect is colour! Just like with the 70’s cultural revolution, colour and creativity reach its peak in this design. That’s not to say that you should go overboard… but this design definitely gives you more creative freedom to express yourself in colours and patterns than other minimalist designs.

The vibe you should be going for is fresh and poppy, using retro-colours like deep mahogany, bright yellow, and orange for your showcase furniture. Keywords to focus on here: think happy! Don’t think: kitsch. Avoid overcrowding the space with colour and pattern

Unlike the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s we no longer need or like thick heavy curtains. Try and keep your rooms from becoming too heavy by keeping the windows treatments light and airy. Simple blinds or neutral linen curtains work best with this scheme. 

The furniture and patterns can also become quite heavy, so keep your walls and floors light and neutral in colour. It will balance everything else nicely.

You can really have fun with your accessories with this style. Vibrant and graphic prints, colourful vases and stylish art pieces. This style lends itself to unique furniture pieces and creating a fun and energetic filled room for people to socialise in.


This is a relatively new trend that has emerged for 2021. It is fundamentally a mish mash of Scandinavian minimal and Japanese artistic styles. Lines are simple and clean and spaces are de-cluttered and balanced.

It is calming, minimal, functional, warm and quickly becoming a  favourite style to decorate in.

Both the Japanese and the Scandinavian have an appreciation for fine craftmanship and for pieces that are built to last. They both hold great respect for nature and prefer to use materials from the natural world. The colour pallets represent this as well, with cool blue’s, greens and clean whites. Along with rich earthy terracotta’s and oceanic inky blues, the Japandi style is more about the aesthetics of furniture, rather than technology. 

The Characteristics' Required When Decorating In a Japandi Style.

Firstly de-clutter, de-clutter and de-clutter. Put away things that are not needed on a regular basis.  

You are going for a simple and minimal look here, so choose just a few beautiful photo’s to display in simple timber frames. Rather than a hoard of frames all different sizes and finishes. Keep book shelves tidy and not over stuffed. Put magazines away and only keep a couple of beautiful coffee table books out. You get the picture – strip everything back to create a more calming and restful space.

Keep all your house plants real and look after them.

This is up to you really and what kind of feeling you are wanting to create in your space.  If you are wanting a calming, restful and quite breezy and light vibe. Then keep with blonde or ash timbers and (depending on your natural light) go for off whites, pale blues and pastel colours in your fabrics.

If you are wanting more of a contrast and a slightly more dramatic feeling, choose warmer timbers and introduce black accents, inky blues and deep greens , but also throw in some light neutrals to balance things out.

Keep your furniture pieces organic in shape and natural in it’s materials. The pieces need to be functional and have clean lines. Upholster in linens, cottons and any natural fabrics. So do away with those tassels! 

If you have existing furniture pieces, then they can be painted  chalky neutrals for a more Japandi look and feel. Change over your cushion covers to work in with your new scheme or purchase loose covers for sofas. 


This is a real standout feature when decorating in a Japandi style. 

Timber, timber, timber. Light washed out timbers or dark grey’s either work just as well and is entirely up to you. Just remember to create a little contrast in the rest of your design choices to compliment the floor. Otherwise you can end up with a very washed out look, or dark and dingy look. 



Finally we move on to a more contemporary style. This style is probably the most ambiguous style to really y pin point. This is mainly because everybody has a different take on what a contemporary style can be. Some feel it is a strong look with clean lines, high polished surfaces and all modern appliances. Where as some feel it is just a word used to describe styles of ‘the now’ 


They style I am going to distinguish here is very modern, high end and well suited to perhaps warehouse spaces, modern town houses or urban apartments. That’s not to say you cannot use this style if you don’t live in any of these! Not at all, but it gives you a visual starting point to really grasping this style.

The Characteristics' Required When Decorating In a Contemporary Style.

Sleek lines are the key when decorating in this style, think chic and modern. Designer classics like the La Corbusier chair or the Barcelona chairs work really well. Similar to the Japandi style the furniture is functional and un-cluttered, minimal cushions and throws. The finishes tend to be a metal of some sort, high polished chrome, bronze or coppers all look fantastic. 

The shapes tend to be quite boxy and low lying, almost cube like and could be mistaken for art pieces than a homely sofa. Marble side and coffee tables, glass and polished stone are all favourites when trying to re-create a contemporary space.

The pallets tend to be quite neutral and cool. The white and greys will have a more blue pigmentation rather than a yellow, so will create a crisp finish. Charcoals, cool grey’s, navy’s and emerald greens are all favourites and create a sophisticated pallet. That is not to say pastels and warmer colours cannot create a contemporary pallet, but they will be off-set with cool neutral walls and floorings. 

It is all about creating a sleek and minimal space that is functional, yet beautifully designed.

Unlike the more homely and warming styles, decorating in a contemporary style does not require an abundance of accessories, soft furnishings or artwork. Rather it is about carefully selected pieces that are stunning and displayed in optimal places. For example a designer vase or a collectable art piece. Quite often these pieces will bring in some colour and be the focal point of the room. They will be lit accordingly and displayed to their full potential.


Let’s also not forget with this style, the emphasis really is on well made and designed pieces. This also goes for all of the appliances and mod cons. So quite often they too become part of the accessory’s, as they are quite stunning to look at.

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These have to be some of my favourite styles to work with and I must say the most favoured and asked for amongst my clients.  There are of course many more, Bohemian, Eclectic, Classic Country just to name a few! The trick is to really get clear with what will work in your space and what you like. There is no point in having a super slick dining area, that becomes highly impractical when you have two toddlers and a dog.  You can also mix and match styles to suit the way you live or different peoples style requirements.

If you need help with this check out the following blog: 


In this blog I have just touched on the basic principles of designing in these particular styles.  Which is great if you are just exploring different styles, or needed a few pointers to help you on your way. However If you are wanting a more comprehensive and hand holding approach, then check out my course on Udemy, link below 🙂


The course goes into detailed steps on how to create each style and more for bathrooms, bedrooms and living rooms. It is all laid out for you in easy to follow steps, complete with tons of inspiring pictures and ready made colour pallets ….which always helps 😉 


In the meantime keep checking back as I am always blogging about the new and wonderful trends that are emerging in this crazy but wonderful world of interior design, not to mention the DIY tips and tricks. 


Until Next Time

Debbie x

PS: If you would like a more hands on approach to some help while you take on your interior design projects. Then head on over to Udemy and check out our new mini-courses! These have just been launched and are already proving to be a hit!

At the minute we have:


”How to select the perfect paint colour for your home …every time”

This easy to follow system is the exact same system I follow when selecting the perfect paint colours for my clients. I have just laid it all out for you in a very easy mini course. It honestly takes all of the stress out of choosing paint colours!  




”How To Decorate In 2021’s Most Popular styles”

A complete break down into how you can successfully decorate, style or design in the  most popular styles of 2021 and beyond. 

Both courses come complete with a workbook or style guide, so you can get the most out of the course and see amazing results.


Due to the incredible feedback we have been getting, we will be publishing more mini courses soon, so keep checking back and I’ll keep you updated 🙂 


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