Ranking America’s Most and Least Favorite 2021 Home Trends: Survey

Home renovations and decor are anything but constant in the United States, with new ideas and fads coming and going just as quickly as they do with clothing and hairstyles. In 2021, we saw all kinds of trends emerge in the home space, both from a renovation and a decor standpoint and we can rest assured that in 2022, home needs will change and decor preferences will come and go.

The team at Review Home Warranties is always keeping an eye out for trends in the home space to understand and serve homeowners better. So we decided to take a look back at a year’s worth of home trends and ask Americans to rate their favorites and the ones they’d like to leave in the past. Using round-up lists of the most common home trends of the last year, we asked Americans to rate the trends they’d love to bring into 2022, and which they’d like to see left behind.

America’s Most and Least Favorite Home Renovation Trends

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First, we took a look at the most common home reno trends throughout 2021. The trends we asked survey participants to rate included outdoor fire features, turning guest bedrooms into offices, investing in large kitchens, installing smart home technology, and opting for closed concept floor plans. We asked them to rate each renovation trend on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the least desirable and 10 being the most desirable.

Here’s how they ranked from lowest to highest desirability:

  • Installing smart home technology (5.71 out of 10)
  • Closed concept floor plans (5.82 out of 10)
  • Turning guest bedrooms into home offices (7.54 out of 10)
  • Investing in large kitchens (7.84 out of 10)
  • Outdoor fire features (8.38 out of 10)

Surprisingly, installing smart home technology was the lowest-rated trend, scoring just a 5.71 out of 10. It’s possible that the saturation of technology in our lives is reaching its peak when it comes to comfort, but more likely, the home tech available today is still under development and isn’t as enticing as it could be.

Interestingly, all four generations surveyed scored this home renovation under a 6, with females across the board scoring it under a 5 and males scoring between 5 and 6.

In a close second at 5.82 out of 10 was closed floor plans, which involves entirely walled-off rooms rather than an open concept that allows free conversation and connection between people in different rooms.

There was a slight divide among generations when it came to this trend, with Baby Boomers and Gen Xers scoring it over 6 and Millennials and Gen Zers scoring it well under 6.

Several decades ago, closed floor plans were far more popular when entertainment was more about keeping clean and tidy spaces for your guests and not allowing them to see areas that weren’t quite as appealing — like kitchens that were in use or private bedrooms. Over time, the appeal of being able to connect with guests regardless of how the rest of your home looked became more important, so this might account for the divide among generations.

Turning guest bedrooms into offices scored just over 7.5 out of 10, and this was still on the heels of the COVID-19 outbreak when working from home was still a popular and necessary option. This trend may take a downturn in the future.

Investing in large kitchens scored a 7.84, but the most popular home renovation of 2021 was outdoor fire features, with an impressive 8.38. This trend was beloved nearly equally across all generations. It’s clear that creating a comfortable outdoor atmosphere that is usable across many different seasons is important to Americans of all ages and backgrounds. 

America’s Most and Least Favorite Home Decor Trends

Next, we surveyed participants about fifteen of the most common home trends in 2021. Check out how they ranked below: 

Home Decor Trends That Likely Won’t Last in 2022

Seven of the fifteen home decor trends scored under a 5.00, which means more of our survey participants thought they should go. 

Here are Americans’ least favorite current home decor trends: 

  • Acrylic furniture (3.00 out of 10)
  • All-white interiors (3.50 out of 10)
  • Statement ceilings (3.89 out of 10)
  • Nautical motif (3.92 out of 10)
  • Statement wallpaper (4.51 out of 10)
  • Contrasting cabinets (4.65 out of 10)
  • Curved furniture (4.94 out of 10)

At the bottom of the list, scoring just a 3.00, was acrylic furniture. Acrylic is relatively strong, but it scratches easily. The impracticality of the furniture likely didn’t help its ratings. The overall ratings were slightly higher among Millennials and Gen Zers, but this is very likely a trend that won’t last.

Close behind acrylic furniture was all-white interiors, scoring just 3.50. This trend was disliked among the four generations equally, but it was scored nearly an entire point higher by men than women. Men seem to favor minimalism as an aesthetic choice, as well, which may account for their more streamlined decor tastes. 

Statement ceilings and statement wallpaper both scored under a 5.00, coming in at 3.89 and 4.51, respectively. This trend has been around for quite a while and might be here to stay, especially because both were increasingly popular with the younger generations. Between these accent walls and ceilings was the nautical motif, scoring 3.92. This trend scored higher with older generations than younger ones, so it’s likely on its way out.

Contrasting cabinets and curved furniture were the last two decor trends to score under a 5.00, coming in at 4.65 and 4.94, respectively. Contrasting cabinets scored about equally across the board by age, but curved furniture was scored almost two full points higher by Gen Zers than by Baby Boomers. This is one relatively unpopular trend that might become a bit more prevalent going forward.

Home Decor Trends That Are Probably Here to Stay in 2022

Eight of the fifteen 2021 home decor trends we surveyed participants about scored over a 5.00, indicating that they could be popular in 2022 and beyond as well.

Here are Americans’ most favorite current home decor trends: 

  • Gray kitchen interiors (6.80 out of 10)
  • Oversized desks (6.79 out of 10)
  • Tuscan kitchens (6.45 out of 10)
  • Minimalism (6.15 out of 10)
  • Open kitchen shelving (5.48 out of 10)
  • Painted arches (5.41 out of 10)
  • Moss walls (5.13 out of 10)
  • Sliding barn doors (5.06 out of 10)

Sliding barn doors, a staple of the “rustic chic” decor trend that has persisted for years now, came in at just 5.06.

Closely behind barn doors were moss walls, a trend that somewhat recently became popular for accent walls in bathrooms. Moss walls were scored significantly higher by women than men, and participants who fell under “other” gender scored moss walls at an impressive 7.50. Scoring a 5.13 overall, this is one somewhat surprising home decor trend that could be here to stay.

Painted arches came next with a 5.41, followed by open kitchen shelving at 5.48 to complete the list of decor ideas that fell below a 6.00.

Kitchen cabinet colors and wall color trends fluctuate reasonably often, so while gray kitchen interiors are the most popular and likely the most enduring decor trend of 2021 based on our survey, it will very likely eventually give way to another kitchen paint or stain color in the future.

Insights & Conclusions

After looking at twenty total trends — five renovation trends and fifteen decor trends — one thing is certain: homeowners in America are passionate about their living spaces regardless of age and gender. While some of these trends could be here to stay, the underwhelming scores of others indicate that they more than likely won’t be here for long.

The overall least popular and likely least-enduring home trend of 2021 was acrylic furniture, scoring an unimpressive 3.00 out of 10. The most popular trend throughout 2021 was outdoor fire features, a renovation fad that was popular across all generations and beloved by people of all genders.

Interestingly, most of the trends were equally as loved or hated by men and women and people of all ages. However, there were some trends that stood out in their ratings by a specific gender or generation.

The most considerable discrepancy between genders was the nautical motif, which was scored nearly 1.2 points higher by men than women.

Several trends revealed an even more significant discrepancy between generations. Oversized desks, painted arches, curved furniture, and statement ceilings were all scored around two full points higher by Generation Zers than Baby Boomers. This shows that these trends could increase in popularity in the near future when the younger generations begin to buy homes and decorate for themselves.

Renovations and decor choices typically improve the value of your home, especially if you choose those that are increasing in popularity and will be desirable when you’re ready to sell.

Methodology

We conducted a survey of 1,005 Americans over the age of 18. We asked individuals to view a list of the most common home trends, in both decor and home renovation, and rank them on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most desirable.

To create the survey, we analyzed lists of trends on various home improvement and home decor sites to assess what trends designs and contractors were seeing. We then developed a list of the five most common different home renovations and fifteen most common home decor options using Houzz, NAR, Insider, and Apartment Therapy as sources. 

We then compiled this information and sorted the responses by age, gender, and generation to find meaningful insights into home trends that were prevalent in 2021.