From biophillic design and organic textures that feed the soul to hybrid workspaces that improve flow and mobility, 2021 is a time of big change. Navigating a post-COVID world in business means adapting to employee needs, and it all begins with making your office inviting, attractive and functional.
The main theme is people, with people-centric office design ideas set to be the most successful. And when we talk about success, the metrics to cherish are staff wellbeing and team engagement. Maybe even retention if you’re looking at the long-term picture.
If you’re ready to transform your office décor, here’s what’s going to be relevant in 2021/22 and beyond.
The indoor office garden
Plants are the elixir of life, and many studies prove that they have the power to make people happier as well as more productive. That’s a win-win for employers and their employees. Which is why more and more brands are exploring natural office design ideas and organic office décor.
One forward-thinking company in Yorkshire has even started giving staff an annual £10 plant allowance, which is a great way to create an interactive office design experience that benefits everyone.
Just the sight of nature in the workplace can improve your team’s mood and self-esteem, increase attention restoration, and reduce stress by lowering heart rate and blood pressure. Even better, plants can purify the air and remove nasty toxins, which is a great benefit to physical health.
But natural interiors can come in many forms, including biophillic wallpaper or wall art. So you can achieve the same awe-inspiring greenery without a green thumb.
When it comes to choosing live plants, succulents, cactuses, palms and trailing plants are especially popular in 2021, and there are many hardy, low-maintenance options for busy people.
Plants in the office don’t have to be potted either. Get creative and build a stylish moss garden, a living flower wall, or a vegetable patch to encourage healthy eating at lunchtime.
The breakout room (expanded)
To nurture collaboration, companies have to break down silos and that usually means removing walls (both the physical and metaphorical kind). But an open plan layout with a funky breakout room isn’t enough to achieve your interior design goals.
If you really want to make the most of your space, comfort and creativity across the entire premises is key. Think cosy nooks for independent working, colourful seating areas for brainstorming, chillout zones for recharging, and office furniture that don’t tie people down to one single workstation.
Modern office interiors in 2021 celebrates hybrid working, with desk-sharing as a core theme. Your entire office should be like a big breakout room, so one of the biggest focuses for a post-COVID workplace will be seating.
Stools that double up as side tables (and can be moved around the office) are a great way to build a collaborative culture, and inviting armchairs and plush sofas provide an alternative to traditional desk-working.
(Concrete Stool by Young & Battaglia)
It’s all about breaking down those barriers, flattening the hierarchy and giving people a voice. Furthermore, a less rigid office layout will increase staff mobility. Without continuous movement, the body slows down its metabolism and blood circulation, plus blood sugar can rocket. Adding movement into the day keeps your team happy, healthy and more productive.
So stop thinking in terms of maximising the number desks and chairs you can fit into a space, and create a modern day designer studio your team can flourish in.
The use of organic textures
Textures is a big one for 2021, and we’re going to see a lot of organics at play. From luxe marble surfaces and natural wicker or rattan to wall murals that mimic wood panels, there are so many ways to make texture pop in the office.
There’s also a shift to sustainable thinking this year, so investing in high-end pieces that last a lifetime, going hard on decorative accessories instead of refurbishing, and even a bit of upcycling to make your budget go further.
According to interior designer Kathryn Ireland, who spoke to Vogue:
“Real decorating is back in—colours, textures, a mix of old and new. Repurpose things. Shuffle artwork around. Move furniture to another room. Re- accessorise what you have rather than starting over. Keep the pieces that have meaning."
Faux cowhide is also having a revival, providing another way to add texture, depth and dimension to workplaces. For an eco-conscious, cruelty-free approach, faux is the way to go, and your employees will thank you for it.
Rugs in general are a great decorating idea for adding exciting, stimulating and cosy textures to your business space, and there are many rubber-backed rugs that have non-slip qualities to adhere to health and safety.
Office design ideas that turn light into main features
Any office design ideas that are driven by natural or artificial lighting are going to be popular coming out of COVID. As many businesses plan their recovery roadmap, productivity will be top priority, and supporting the circadian rhythm is one way to make people more industrious.
In 2021/22, we’ll see glass walls and skylights becoming a thing, indoor/outdoor working spaces, large open plan offices, and considered lighting fixtures that bring both practical and aesthetic value to workers.
Natural light is key in building this office design concept, as sunlight boosts vitamin D, improves sleep patterns and keeps mental health disorders like depression at bay. But artificial lighting plays an important role too.
For instance, colour temperature can set the mood. While warm yellow lighting can enhance a lunch spot by making it relaxing, cool blue and white lights can help people concentrate and stay alert. And from a design point of view, bold pendant lights or stylish floor lamps can be perfect for making a style statement.
(Cauldron Pendant Lamps by Young & Battaglia)
Today, lighting is very much a visual accessory, not just a functional fixture. So beautiful lights, lamps and wall fittings are worth investing in. Not only do lights keep work stations well-lit, but they’re a vital part of any office décor, and can transform your office from drab to designer.
With some companies already having stripped back on resource in 2020, it makes sense to support the return of the workforce by making business interiors completely people-centric. With lighting, you can make sure your most valuable asset, your workforce, is performing at its best.