Mad About The House: Kate Watson-Smyth’s interiors predictions for summer 2021 and beyond

As an award-winning interiors journalist, blogger at Mad About The House and author (Mad About the House Planner is out 18 March), Kate Watson-Smyth knows a thing or two about what’s around the corner for the world of home decor. And after such a tumultuous year that saw us spend more time inside our humble abodes than ever before, it’s no surprise that what we want and need from our homes has changed – arguably for good, in some instances.

Kate Watson-Smyth

Using new insights from Heal’s, which found that the last 12 months has made us reconsider the design and functionality of our homes, as well as investing thousands in their interior and exterior spaces, Kate talks us through her predictions for the interiors trends for summer 2021 and beyond, so you can make that big purchase or design change with confidence. Here’s what she had to tell us…

Kate Watson-Smyth’s interiors predictions for spring-summer 2021:

In a year like no other, the extended time spent at home has forced us to re-evaluate our interiors, and as a result our relationship with where we live has evolved. We barely used to see our homes in the daylight, often heading out to work first thing in the morning and returning after dark to have supper, watch a bit of television and go to bed. So for many people, the lockdown was the first time they had really had to interact with their interior design choices on a daily basis.

On the one hand having this time to really look at our spaces has forced us to think much more deeply about not only what our homes look like, but how they make us feel. And a better understanding and appreciation of how our homes can support our mental health and well-being is a good thing to have come out of all this.

We know that colour can have a transformative effect on mood with some people wanting bright colours to give them energy and others wanting to use warm calming neutrals to promote a feeling of relaxation. Lockdown has led many of us to start examining our reaction to colour and given us more control – if zingy shades energise you then match the colour to the room – in other words – use them in the kitchen and keep the softer shades to the bedroom and living room.

The survey from Heal’s found that home is where we feel happiest and has led so many of us to focus on ways to create a sense of sanctuary. Half of us are now thinking about how to create relaxing spaces rather than thinking only about how they look.

With warmer days approaching, and with lockdown restrictions easing, it’s expected that many of us will be making the most of our home both indoors and out. So if you’re considering investing in your home, here are my recommendations on where to focus.

Prediction 1: Indoor out

The last 12 months has taught us how vital outdoor space is to our mental health and so it’s no surprise that a fifth of people surveyed have invested in theirs since the start of the pandemic. For years we have talked about bringing the outside into our homes, however I believe that we will now see a switch, to taking the inside out. Social distancing and the reassurance that being outside gives so many of us, means that al fresco meetings will remain top of the agenda this summer.

With that in mind, think of your garden as another room – remember to prioritise comfort as well as style when choosing outdoor furniture and accessories, you want to be as comfortable outside as you are in.

outdoor bench

Petra Outdoor Bench Dark Grey, £399, Heal’s

Adding occasional chairs and lamps, plus shelves for storage and displaying plants all offer a sense of familiarity and can also be quickly updated to suit the season. Also consider building an outdoor fireplace – rather than a firepit which blows smoke everywhere – so that you can use the space all year round.

Prediction 2: Soothing sanctuary at home

In terms of what we’re seeing inside the home, the research from Heal’s revealed that 41 per cent of people are now opting for soothing, neutral colours. This year, our homes have had to become our offices, school rooms and living spaces and, at times, day-to-day life has felt frantic, so this desire to create a tranquil scheme makes sense.

side table

Pawn Side Table, £299, Heal’s

As we start to move back into some sense of normality, it’s the ideal time to look at how we can incorporate these calming shades into our homes. Creating a consistent scheme will add a sense of cohesion at home and neutrals offer the perfect backdrop to then use a few favourite colours as accents. This can be continued outdoors with colourful side tables and outdoor rugs, which can then be echoed inside with cushions and throws.

Prediction 3: Multifunctional spaces

It feels like the future of working for many of us is flexible, with a couple of days in the office and the rest at home. However, this can lead to a sense of loss of space and a feeling that our homes are somehow smaller now that we’re having to accommodate a dedicated work area.

To regain this, it’s really important to zone our spaces and create definition between work and home life. Brands are recognising this now and we’re beginning to see more design-led multi-functional pieces that are both practical and aesthetically pleasing.

walnut desk

Reveal Desk Walnut, £949, Heal’s

People want a desk that looks good in their living room after the working day is finished. We’re also seeing super stylish sideboards and dressing tables doubling up as desks, so that people aren’t loosing valuable space, or having to sacrifice on aesthetics. Well-designed storage is definitely worth investing in and can adapt to suit your needs, whether that’s somewhere to file your work at the end of the day, a place to tidy the toys away each night or a homework spot for the kids.

Prediction 4: Investment pieces

I believe that we are seeing a real shift away from trends: the last 12 months have given us the confidence to make our own choices of furniture and colours that we want, based on what we need from our homes and not what is dictated by fashion. Our priorities appear to have shifted from a focus on the aesthetics of our homes to one of creating spaces where we can relax.

outdoor 3 seater sofa

Eos Outdoor 3 Seater Sofa, £1,745, Heal’s

We’ve known for some time that people are looking to move away from fast furniture, with many making bolder decisions and opting to invest in special wish list pieces that will last for years to come. My prediction is that people will continue to make more confident choices and opt for well-designed pieces that will stand the test of time.