Condos are a big part of the Boston lifestyle. In a city hemmed by the ocean on one side, with a shortage in available housing units, developers are building upwards instead of outwards—and that means apartment-style condos are rising in popularity. What does the interior design look like? There are lots of trends emerging for 2021. Here are some of our favorites!

1. Lighting as Much for Decoration as Illumination

This is a big trend that will be growing more popular in 2021. Whether through lamps or carefully selected chandeliers, lighting serves a dual purpose in the modern condo. It’s meant to both illuminate and decorate, usually through creative designs and finishes that make light fixtures catch the eye. While recessed lighting will still be popular, statement pieces to accompany them are also the norm—and they’re typically strategically placed in order to not only be eye catching but to highlight certain parts of the room to which you’d like to draw attention. For example, in bathrooms, concealed lighting behind mirrors or beneath the vanity serves to not only light up the bathroom but also add a bit of style, too.

2. Color Schemes Favor Light and Fresh

Modern apartment design—particularly in places like Boston where interior spaces might be smaller than average—focuses on keeping finishes light colors. This comes with a big advantage in that light colors reflect a lot of light, which makes rooms feel more spacious. White is a timeless classic that will always be in style, and for 2021, it’s also looking like cool light gray tones will be popular, too.

3. Black and White Color Schemes Will be Popular, Too

Black and white color schemes have been trendy for a while—as illustrated by the continuing popularity of things like tuxedo kitchens. This is expected to remain true for 2021, although in condos and smaller spaces, the current trend emphasizes using small amounts of black to pick out details among white and light gray color schemes. This can mean black stools at a gray kitchen island or black pendant lighting in a room designed in shades of white and gray.

4. Minimalism in Design and Décor

This trend is expected to become a big one for 2021, and for much the same reasons why light colors are becoming more popular. Minimalism focuses on using fewer elements, usually simplistic in design, to decorate and furnish interior spaces. People love it for the clean, classic look—and also because this design style by default minimizes a cramped or cluttered feeling, which is a huge plus when you want to make smaller spaces feel bigger and more open.

5. Functional Rooms Overtake Formal Rooms

One trend that is fading, particularly in condos, apartments and other smaller dwellings, is the idea of the formal room. This means that things like formal living rooms or formal dining rooms are on the way out. The trend that is replacing these spaces? Functional areas that are useful every day and not just when entertaining. Expect more eat-in kitchens or living rooms that combine family entertainment along with a cozy place to host your friends.

6. Closed Storage is Making a Comeback

In recent years, open storage has been extremely trendy. This means things like shelving where the contents stored on those shelves are as much decorative as they are functional. In kitchens, the old trend included glass doors or open shelves that displayed dishes, mugs and other useful items. Today, however, the concept of closed storage is coming back. This means that rather than making your tools, dishes and other useful things part of the décor, designers will be looking at ways to install cabinets and other hideaway storage fixtures in order to keep clutter confined behind closed doors.

7. Cottagecore is the New Buzzword

With so many people staying at home these days, a surprising new trend has emerged, it it’s one that will continue to grow throughout 2021. It’s called “cottagecore” and it’s all about making interior spaces cozy and artistic. To pull off the look, designers are using vintage elements like carefully chosen antiques as well as comfortable throws, pillows and other textiles to create spaces that invite relaxation.

8. Easy Cleaning is Key

This is perhaps another trend borne of the pandemic. More people staying at home means more cooking at home and more making messes at home. With that, many are concerned with the ability to sanitize and disinfect easily. People are looking more and more for surfaces that are easy to clean. This means high gloss in the kitchen, smooth floors that can be mopped in a minute, and uncomplicated designs that won’t require hours to scrub bits of dirt out of nooks and crannies.

9. Closed Floor Plans are Back in Style

Open floor plans were huge for a long while, particularly in apartments and condos where space was already limited. The idea was that opening up the kitchen, living and dining areas gave all three a bigger sense of space. Here again, however, the new stay at home and work from home lifestyle has caused a shift in trends. With the kids home all the time, and with work happening in the home office, people are looking for more privacy—and that means walling off some areas of the home in order to get a break from others and to limit distractions.

The past year has caused a lot of changes to our lifestyles, and that is definitely reflecting in condo design trends for 2021. However, there are still a few classic trends—like minimalism and color schemes—that will be rising in prominence, too. The things listed above are likely to be the big ones for the coming year!