Workplace Design Trends For 2021

Open plan is both a trend and a necessity

Image: Yellowtrace

With social distancing here to stay for the foreseeable future, spaces will need to be bigger and more open to avoid the spread of the nasty germy stuff. Minimise risk to your employees at the same time as providing a lovely, airy space for them to be productive in. Could a wall be knocked down? Do you need to consider moving to a different space? Does everyone need a desk or could you minimise the space these take up and provide other breakout areas? Reconfiguring a floor plan can be tricky but can also work magic on a previously stuffy office.


The colour forecast says nourish, reset and retreat, and I think we’re all on board with that!

Image: Dulux

Dulux have released their colour forecast for 2021 and it focuses on three palettes: nourish, reset and retreat. They’re all fabulous and I have no doubt we’ll be seeing the sage greens (this one’s already popular), energetic reds and stormy blues all over our feeds soon. When it comes to the workspace, considering the reset palette could be a great way to start the revamp process. This one is all about uplifting colours that revive and promote a sense of renewal. You can read more about colour here and here. The palette focuses on soft wall colours, against natural timber, styling with pops of russets, terracottas and teals (a coincidence that these are my brand colours? Maybe, maybe not ;)).


Bringing the outdoors in

Image: Yellowtrace

This one isn’t a new trend for home or workplace, but it’s never been more relevant. After being cooped up for so long, especially in Melbourne, we’re all craving that outdoor, fresh air feeling more than ever. The token fiddle leaf fig won’t cut it anymore guys. Consider ways to bring nature inside, in a bigger way. Could you create a green wall a la Craig Milran? What about styling your courtyard to perfection and replacing the tiny door with some gorgeous bi-folds? Natural light is another big one – is there anything worse than being stuck in a grey office with those awful downlights all day? Windows should be a focus; perhaps moving some things around will make the most of existing ones, or maybe you need to consider where more could be added.

Eco-friendly choices aren’t just a nice-to-have, they’re a must-have

Image: Yellowtrace

This year has really brought home the impact that humans are having on the planet and between ‘rona and David Attenborough, there’s not much room left to excuse poor workplace choices when it comes to the environment. Bringing plants in as per above is an easy and aesthetically pleasing way to introduce more oxygen into the atmosphere. What about recycling? Or upcycling? Rather than going out to purchase new furniture, consider giving what you’ve got a makeover, or shopping vintage. Same goes for any wood you might use in a refurb, and reducing your carbon footprint with smart building choices.

Home Sweet Office

We’ve all gotten used to the creature comforts of home during the work day. Your team will be looking to enjoy aspects of this at work, too. How can you make the space more comfy? Furniture choices come in here; perhaps you go for the couch that is just asking you to sink into it, rather than the more corporate looking option. Rugs can add an instant touch of homeliness – I wrote more on that over here. Have a think about the aspects of WFH that you’ve enjoyed most this year and consider which parts can be integrated into your office. It might be helpful to think about your interior as a lounge room or space in your home, rather than work. I have a feeling this trend will extend into workplace cultures and processes too, which would be a lovely silver lining of the pandemic (who’s got a better word for pandemic…?).


If you need help with layout, styling, colour, or project management of a bigger refurb, you know where to find me!

What next?

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For more information on classic colour schemes, talk to our team at pru@studiofwrd.com.au

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