The coronavirus pandemic has affected many aspects of life, and interior designers are taking note. In the webinar “Where Will 2021 Take Interior Design?” Rhonda Peterson of Rhonda Peterson and Associates in Atlanta said 2021 is heading into some different areas.
Peterson took part in the educational seminar, which was offered during the summer Las Vegas Market. The biannual trade show at the World Market Center bucked 2020 convention and held its Aug. 30-Sept 3 event in person, however, its series of educational seminars were held online.
“Because so many of my clients are quarantined in their homes, they have become more thoughtful about their space and what will work for them,” she said. “They want a more comfortable environment to support their new lifestyle brought on by the coronavirus. Before all this happened, I would suggest a number of different design ideas, but now I’m following their design ideas.”
Peterson said another factor heading into 2021 is e-commerce.
“In the past five years, e-commerce has taken off and there is so much more design information available to the public,” she said. “Now add in that people are watching HGTV and assorted home improvement shows daily, and I’m discovering that they’re doing many things themselves. They see something on one of these shows and that’s what they want.
“The problem is they watch these shows and think a room can be redesigned in one hour when in fact it takes much longer. There is a misconception of how long proper design work can take.”
Peterson admits there are many good ideas on television, but it is becoming more challenging to suggest a specific design process because homeowners have become aware of websites that can deliver home furnishings in a week.
“If I was redesigning a room,” she said, “I might suggest a certain sofa or chair, but it would take a month or more to arrive. I have learned to become more patient with my customers.”
Eneia White of Eneia White Interiors in New York City said design has become more demanding because the home has become so much more important.
“People want what they see online or on television and want it replicated in their own home,” she said. “It may not always be best for them, and I need to tell them that. They are not able to shop on their own because of the quarantine, but they remain confident I can find what they’re looking for.
“This is making me work differently and do more research. Before the coronavirus, I used to attend all the furniture shows and physically touch and examine all the home products. Not today. I’m now asking companies to send me samples that I can study. At the same time, my clients are willing to wait for just the right piece, and they’re willing to pay for it. Their home is their sanctuary more than ever, and they want it just right.”
Trends for 2021 are heading to more layering of textures, fabrics and patterns that create more intimate and comfortable spaces. This may include area rugs that overlap one another.
“The current environment is calling for high-performance fabrics for wear and durability that will expand the life of furniture pieces,” Peterson said. “We’re also seeing wicker chairs with rattan and cane details. These warm features fit in with modern, contemporary or traditional furniture. It’s not necessarily casual, but it is more comfortable and cozy.”
Peterson said traditional furniture remains popular as families are learning to value and appreciate what is familiar to them.
“I’m seeing customers who want big bulky pieces that are heavily carved,” she said. “There’s a psychology to this as we need a place where our minds can relax and stay away from what is going on outside our home. This pandemic has made us take stock of what is important.
“When it comes to interior design, people are realizing that it doesn’t take a lot of money to make a home special. You just need to know what you want, and many times it’s only a few things to perk up a room.”
According to White, her clients say the kitchen is the most important room to redesign.
“The kitchen is always number one because that’s where everyone congregates,” she said. “The family room is second. Even if you only change out a few cushions or one piece of furniture, you have done something that’s important.
“Or you can really step out and create a new one-of-a-kind-space with different colors and prints and patterns because, after all these months in the home, your family may be tired of seeing the same colors, prints and patterns.”
Peterson put a sobering thought to where 2021 will take interior design.
“My interior design comments today might be different next month considering all the turmoil we’re going through right now,” she said. “That’s very daunting to think about. This unusual time has caused everyone to slow down and value what we really want from our home.”