2021’s top home design trends, according to house design and build experts

The impact of the pandemic on home design is likely to be profound and long-lasting, suggest house building experts, with home gyms, offices and retreat spaces seen as must-have priorities.

The biggest home building trend for 2021 is for fully fitted-out gyms. With the need to exercise at home now seen as a priority, the team at luxury home builder Oakbridge Bespoke report that clients are keen to extend well beyond the traditional space for exercise bikes and running machines. Indeed, high-end buyers want all the trapping of a professional gym, including mirrored walls, rubberised floors and dumbbell areas.

But as we hear, there’s also a boom in home bars.

Home bars are being taken seriously – and we approve

Inevitably high on the list of home trends for 2021 are dual purpose rooms, driven by changing family dynamics. Oakbridge Head of Design Michael Clifton says that home-working and home-schooling have made office space a key design development.

These include both his and hers office setups, plus dedicated children’s workspaces, all within sight of the home’s main living space or kitchen.

Also trending in 2021 home design are retreat spaces; wellness rooms that provide an oasis of calm and quiet are a welcome luxury – “These spaces are often notable for their absence of digital distractions, emphasising that sense of escape from connection with the world.”

Interestingly, Oakbridge also notes a trend to create separate bathrooms for guests and family members to use.

Representing an entirely new area in home build design, is the need for high-tech filtration and ventilation systems, obviously reflecting homeowners’ desire to do all they can to keep their homes virus-free. 

Also trending in 2021 home design are retreat spaces; wellness rooms that provide an oasis of calm and quiet are a welcome luxury…

2020 saw the rise of the home office – now a home design staple

To learn more about 2021’s home design developments, TLR spoke with Michael Clifton, Head of Design at Oakbridge Bespoke…

What are the golden rules when it comes to designing a truly multifunctional living space?

Fixtures and fittings need to be chosen carefully in these spaces. As an example, consider your floor choices – a timber floor could be used in a study, or a gym. But porcelain or carpet would be poor choices for this mixed use, being either too fragile or difficult to keep clean.

Window and door positioning, and avoiding the middle of walls, is probably the most important consideration in a new build to enhance the floor area. Make sure this is considered when thinking about how you position furniture and storage in the room.

Definitely look to have storage built in to walls, so as not to impinge on free floor area. This both maximises the floor area of a room and ensures flexibility for the future.

Finally, for maximum flexibility you want a square room, so no nooks, crannies or alcoves – as this can make it more difficult to layout the space.

Has the need for fitness ousted traditional relaxation spaces like home cinemas or media rooms?

We aren’t seeing an ousting, but the importance hierarchy of these rooms has changed. Customers still want both a gym and home cinema, however, the gym has taken priority when it comes to space and budget. Whereas the cinema rooms have taken a back seat!

Has the home bar made a comeback?

Yes! We are certainly seeing a change in clients requirements. Dry bars used to be the most popular choice, whereas now the demand for a fully kitted out bar with fridge, dishwasher, sink and even beer pumps are in demand.

Bathroom design in 2021

Are there any no-nos when it comes to home design?

I always say that it’s more efficient to build a house, if you have the plot size, over two floors rather than 3 or 4 floors. By doing this you eliminate the unnecessary additional transition space needed for the additional floors, such as staircases and hallways, therefore creating a functional and pleasant space to live in.

Always make sure that you aren’t giving over too much of the floorplan to corridors or hallways. Make sure that your plan is proportional, as there’s a fine balance between rooms and transition spaces.

And finally, make sure you listen to your designer. We are the experts! Come armed with ideas and be open to discussing the way you live and spend time in your house. What are your aspirations? Your designer will be able to connect with you over this journey. It’s very personal, so open communication is key.

What one word sums up modern home design?


Oakbridge Bespoke have been building luxury homes Hertfordshire and the Home Counties since 1993. For more, visit them online here

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