Katharine Pooley’s Top 10 Home-Decor Trends For 2021

We asked Internationally renowned designer Katharine Pooley to identify the top 10 home-decor trends in a post-pandemic world.

As the world now looks to home as a place of sanctuary and comfort, there’s a greater interest in the environmental impact of residential design and a stronger desire to create a sense of indulgence and relaxation at home that’s on a par with the very best hotels and private clubs, says London-based Katharine Pooley. Ever since founding her own business in 2004, the former banking executive has gone on to win multiple international accolades, publish a book in partnership with Assouline, and establish herself as a globe-trotting decorator to the elite spanning North America, the Middle East, Russia and China. In addition to her studio in Chelsea, she has a standalone home accessories boutique in Knightsbridge as well as a showroom in Doha, Qatar.

Her team of 45 interior designers and architects take on projects encompassing architectural design, interior design, property development and even product design. Some of her most high-profile projects include the five-year renovation of The Clarence at St James House, and the complete refurbishment of a historic Hyde Park residence. Pooley, who’s lived in Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore, shares the top 10 home-decor trends that will take our homes by storm in the next decade.

Colourful, large-scale contemporary art

“I’m using a great deal of large-scale contemporary art in residential interiors now as clients look to personalise their homes, and add visual interest and colour in a joyful way. It’s been a stressful year, so I find uplifting and peaceful abstract paintings most popular. Large-scale art creates a ‘wow’ effect and represents an intelligent investment during times of economic fluctuation.”

Hand-painted botanical wallpapers

“I’ve created some incredible, timelessly elegant interiors recently in Europe and Asia, where the bed headboard was framed with an artful display of hand-painted silk wallpaper in a contemporary interpretation of a classic chinoiserie design. It’s most glamorous when created using a tonal palate where subtle colourations emphasise the artistry of every brush stroke.”

Impactful feature staircases

Top 10 Home-Decor Trends

“A noticeable trend in luxury residential interior design is the inclusion of grand sweeping staircases. Clients realise that in both contemporary and traditional interiors, nothing impresses more than an architecturally awe- inspiring feature staircase leading to the main entrance hall. Usually clad in marble and featuring an original design for the balustrade metal work, they’re something I love to design, as they set a luxurious tone for the rest of the property.”

Games rooms and home cinemas

Top 10 Home-Decor Trends

“With lock-down restrictions and the resulting closure of private members clubs, restaurants and bars, there’s a growing trend in luxurious residential design that incorporates large spaces for entertaining and relaxation. I’ve just completed a seven-floor home in London with two subterranean floors that feature a games room with a billiards table, large bar, home cinema, ping-pong table, and cards table for playing poker.”

High-impact chandeliers in natural finishes

“Chandeliers are no longer confined to the ‘single pendant with faceted crystal droplets’ parameters of old. The best and most luxurious now boast a modern and stylish design aesthetic. Often abstract or sculptural in shape, these chandeliers feature beautiful natural finishes like rock crystal, alabaster or porcelain. This way, they transform the space in which they’re hung and are an exceptionally memorable talking point.”

Exterior terraces and balconies

Top 10 Home-Decor Trends

“The past year has shown everyone the universal importance of having generous and spacious homes – especially with large exterior spaces. Especially popular now are large terraces that incorporate with infinity pools, fireplaces and seating areas wherever possible to maximise living and entertaining spaces outdoors.”

Large “his and hers” walk-in dressing rooms

Top 10 Home-Decor Trends

“My clients invariably travel a great deal and have wonderfully large clothing and accessory collections that reflect the many different seasons and locations they visit and live in. A personally designed walk-in wardrobe to house and display these collections is therefore a must-have and a growing trend. A Katharine Pooley bespoke dressing room usually features intricate joinery, a mixture of open and closed storage, a beautiful contemporary chandelier and an elegant dressing table or central island. A ladies dressing room is most usually designed in soft-toned luxurious finishes like bleached sycamore or birds-eye maple with inset polished metal and mirror panelling incorporated throughout. A gentleman’s dressing room tends to be darker, with more masculine detailing in gunmetal or bronze.”

Large wine display rooms and joinery pieces

Top 10 Home-Decor Trends

“So many of our clients take pleasure from collecting special vintages of wine and champagne. And they like to display their collections in original bespoke rooms with joinery in unusual and interesting finishes. This is an example of highly personalised, one-of-a-kind customisation — a client can be sure no one else will have the same design.”

Feature fireplaces

Top 10 Home-Decor Trends

“We look to our homes for comfort in a time of uncertainty and regardless of climate or location. An open fire is comforting and gives the home a heart and a central focus. Recently I have designed and installed contemporary, sleek marble-clad fireplace walls as well as more traditional marble and stone mantle pieces. Depending on the architecture of the property in question, either design will add depth and richness to an interior.”

Spa-like luxury bathrooms

Top 10 Home-Decor Trends

“Clients are also looking to replicate the spa experience at home, be it with the addition of large swimming pools, treatment rooms and specialist gyms or just by renovating existing bathrooms to give them a luxurious spa-like feel. I’ve noticed a growing trend for beautiful large- scale book-matched slab marble for bathrooms, especially light-coloured Italian marbles like Calacatta Oro or Milas Lilac, which have dramatic and linear veining.”

Images: Courtesy of Katharine Pooley


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