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Warm, Organic Tones Rising in Popularity During Pandemic

Pandemic has homeowners gravitating toward warm tones and materials

December 01, 2020
wood kitchen with blue accents

By Magryt | Adobe Stock

Whites and grays have reigned supreme for years now, but brown and tan accent colors have made their mark during the pandemic thanks to their ability to add warmth to a space. 

Stuck inside, homeowners are turning toward biophilic design and warm tones to bring serenity to the home, according to NAHB. Introducing natural, organic materials such wood and plant-inspired decorations can bring the feeling of warmth that homeowners crave. 

blue room with brown tones

By Vadim Andrushchenko | Adobe Stock

A way to add warmth to modern styles

“It makes sense when you consider the proven power of nature and natural elements in design,” said Sue Ridgeway, Director of Marketing at Lita Dirks & Co., an interior design and merchandising firm based in Greenwood Village, Colorado, in an NAHB design post. “Organic, natural materials incorporated into design can reduce stress, blood pressure and anxiety, as well as enhance a sense of wellbeing.”

In line with Ridgeway’s observations, Houzz has found that earth tones are in for 2021. Houzz says that designers on its platform see the increase as an “evolution from popular whites and grays of recent years.” Though white and grays remain popular, earth tones are a way to bring warmth to the palette during these stressful times. 

A change in pace for home design trends

The turn toward organic designs marks a huge shift for the industry. In the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s 2019 design study, it found that “natural/organic” ranked just 10th on the top design styles. Now members surveyed for the study ranked it in the top three design styles that they expect to increase in popularity over the next three years. 

wood house modern with clean lines and a fireplace

By Andriy Bezuglov | Adobe Stock

 “This combination feels more European in style and scale, with clean lines, minimal detailing, the warmth and texture of natural finishes, and larger windows to bring the feeling of the outdoors inside,” NKBA says in a press release on 2021 design trends. Now, the association is predicting it to make a huge leap in rankings, while traditional designs fall in popularity. 

“We expect designs for both the kitchen and bath to continue trending toward a more modern, organic feel that is both streamlined and adaptable,” Bill Darcy, CEO of NKBA, says. “The kitchen has long been the heart of the home. But especially during the pandemic, it has emerged as the most prominent, multitasking room as well.” Besides a trend toward the organic, Darcy says he expects this to result in a rise in multi-season, outdoor living spaces, larger kitchen island hubs, and increased functionality. 

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