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The penthouse dining room at the United Building on University Avenue, top, is rich in texture and its grey colour palette is right on trend.IMAGE COURTESY OF DAVPART

As we continue to work our way through the pandemic, trying to get a sense of what the future holds, interior designers are already looking forward to 2021, and how feelings of uncertainty, stress and anxiety are translating into home interiors.

Consumers are looking more for a sense of calm, security, wellness and a feeling of grounding, designers say.

With people spending more time at home, in the seemingly permanent trend of working from home, more individualization will be a focus. Interior design won’t be as much about providing a framework of one style or another. It will be less about what is trending at the moment. Rather, personalizing one’s space and having an environment that reflects personal taste and preferences will be more popular.

“The pandemic has left a permanent change in the way we are designing homes,” says Brian Gluckstein, principal designer at Gluckstein Design Planning Inc. Gluckstein has worked with the developers behind Armour Heights Developments' 89 Avenue and North Drive’s 10 Prince Arthur in crafting bespoke luxury residences. He says that a lot of what designers project will be trends for 2021 were already being incorporated into the designs of those two projects.

Gluckstein says a lot of his clients, some of whom are running multinational corporations, are doing so from home, or at their cottage or a vacation home.

“I have clients who are going to spend two-three months in Florida,” he says. “They would never have done that before. They would be flying back and forth.”

Purpose-built, designed home offices are now becoming paramount.

“So you are not spreading papers over the kitchen table,” he says. “These are spaces where you can close the door, and go in, work, then get out of there and stop working. There is no longer just a desk in a corner. Offices are the focal point of the design, and all the technology that is needed with that, [such as] multiple computer screens, teleconferencing, all of it.”

Home gyms are popular as well, because many people aren’t in a hurry to go back to the neighbourhood gym. Equipment such as Peloton and the Mirror workout system are high tech, slick and state of the art, bringing fitness trainers and studio classes into the home.

In response, designers are creating spaces for more than just a treadmill in a corner. For luxury homes, these are exercise and wellness spaces that might have a bathroom next to them, or a steam room, or a massage table.

Gluckstein says interior designers now keep in mind these permanent changes and work to create feelings of relaxation and calm.


Light oak floors and bleached woods, such as in a kitchen and dining room of North Drive’s 10 Prince Arthur, above, enhances the feeling of space that people are craving right now.IMAGES COURTESY OF NORTH DRIVE


"Clients that are spending more time at home want bright spaces,” he says. “So it’s lighter colours, lighter finishes. Light oak floors are the big trend now – very European, Nordic, bleached woods, natural oaks.”

Dawn Chapnick, principal designer at Dawn Chapnick Designs, says homes will become more integrated living spaces going forward.

“Designers will need to dig into our creative juices to blend spaces for work, living, exercising, learning and more into functional zones,” she says. “The end goal is creating shared living spaces while still allowing each person privacy areas. The ‘hybrid home’ will be the new normal.”

People will be looking for versatile pieces, such as sliding doors, and movable or foldable furniture. Sustainability will also be a consideration, so expect to see natural elements such as woods, woven wickers, earth tones, stones and plants in design.

“Combined with these biophilic designs, statement pieces will be on the scene more and more, to add depth and to add authenticity to a ‘collected feel’,” she says. “Items like oversized art, big bold case goods like oversized furniture items, and vintage and antique pieces. This creates a story of nostalgia.”

Also, you can expect to see bold kitchens and bathrooms that showcase graphic artwork, as well as patterns on floors, rugs and wallpaper, which add drama and dimension. Fixtures will shine in such metals as brass and copper.

Brian Woodrow, senior designer at Tomas Pearce Interior Design Consulting, says his company is in active discussions now with the development community on many large projects about how best to react to the pandemic and changes in lifestyle. One of those projects is the United Building by Davpart Inc. on University Avenue at Dundas Street.

“Space has always been a luxury but, with our new reality, it’s also becoming a necessity,” he says. Finishes that are not only beautiful to look at but also durable and easy to clean are priorities.

Woodward says trends will be colour palettes of rich smoky hues of grey, blue, bronze and nickel.

“Colours such as deep navy, charcoal, greens, fresh whites and warm metals will be moving to the forefront,” he says. “Blending colours and materials to create moods and welcoming spaces is a wonderful exercise and allows us to flex our imaginations and create unique environments.”

And, not surprisingly, touchless technology for the home, such as keyless entries, hands-free faucets and automated lighting, will become increasingly sought after, Woodward says.


Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.