Wisconsin Interior Design Trends in 2021

Wood floors contrast with lighter walls and cabinets

Wood floors contrast with lighter walls and cabinets for a fresh look. Tall ceilings and unobstructed views between the great room and kitchen also give the feeling of more space.

2020 changed a lot about the way we work, play, and connect. It also changed the way we design our homes. Our clients are making house design decisions based on the expectation that they’ll be home a lot more often than before.

Let’s take a look at the design trends in new construction and where we believe the industry is headed in 2021 and beyond.

Open Floor Plans

Wide open floor plans are more popular than ever. It’s easy to see why. When people spend more time in their homes, they want more space in the common areas. They don’t want to feel cramped or like they need to hide out in their rooms to get personal space.

Families with younger kids want their children to have room to play and horse around without getting underfoot. People appreciate being able to prep dinner in the kitchen without missing out on what’s happening in the living room. Large kitchen islands have plenty of room for dinner prep AND homework.

High Ceilings

Natural stone fireplaces with wood mantles

Natural stone fireplaces with wood mantles are one way people are bringing nature inside for 2021 interior design trends. Rich accent colors in textiles pop against white walls for a fresh, open and airy look.

Clients are looking up when designing their floor plans — way up to their ceilings. Higher ceilings, nine feet and more, open up the feel of common spaces and bedrooms. They can make even the smallest rooms feel big and open. In bedrooms, it’s especially popular to finish the look with trey ceilings and unique crown molding, which create visual interest and a higher end look.

Bringing Nature Inside

Color choices in 2021 are both outdoorsy and vibrant, and we don’t see that changing any time soon!

After rediscovering a love of nature in 2020, people have been doing more to bring the outside in. We’re seeing nature being brought into homes with selections focusing on wood floors and natural stone fireplaces. Bathrooms are also seeing the natural look as people choose river rock and stone tiles in their showers and back splashes.

Also trending in 2021 are natural wood kitchen cabinets, which is a marked change from the all white painted look that has been so popular in recent years. Most of our home owners are still going with lighter wood colors to maximize the feeling of openness and natural light.

High Contrast, High Quality Wood Floors

Wood floors in the main areas are still classic choices, as are exposed and stained wood beams in the ceiling. Our homeowners tend to choose wood floor colors that contrast with the rest of their design elements-—such as darker floors with white trim or light wood cabinetry. Most of our home owners still prefer white trim and white doors rather than a stained maple trim throughout the rest of the house.

Fresh & Clean Colors

White and light grey walls are still popular, especially here in Dane County. Keeping the walls white not only opens and brightens rooms, but it gives homeowners more flexibility for future interior decorating. After the rough year we had in 2020, people are making their homes feel cheery, warm and welcoming with pops of vibrant colors in tiles, art, and textile accents.

White walls with touches of nature remind us of the Scandinavian design aesthetic, which is fitting considering the Scandinavian heritage we celebrate in our area.

Big Windows with Black Trim

We definitely love our sunshine here in Wisconsin! That’s why so many home builders are opting for big windows that let in as much natural light as possible.

Many people are looking at black windows and then wrapping the exterior of the window in a metal wrap. When opting to go with black windows, the windows must be fiberglass instead of vinyl so the product will last. Fiberglass windows are more expensive, however, if a customer really wants the black window look it is a must do. We use Pella 250 windows in our custom home builds because of how durable and strong they are.

Bathrooms: To tub or not to tub

River rock and pebble tiles

River rock and pebble tiles are popular in Wisconsin custom showers.


All our homes include 2-3 bathrooms, with a large master bath. More home owners are opting for walk-in showers with separate tubs. Some are skipping a soaking tub altogether! They use the extra space in their bathrooms to create a large 2-person walk-in shower. Some decide to put the large walk-in closet in the master bathroom instead.

Those who are on “team tub” choose a large soaking tub with interesting architectural accents, like claw feet. Jetted tubs are a little less popular than before, but we are still installing a good number of them here in Wisconsin.

Subway and glass tile remain popular in bathrooms, with people more willing to experiment with bold designs and colors than before. We like how light bounces off glass tiles and enjoy seeing the creativity of our homeowners in these spaces.

Bonus “Flex” Rooms in 2021

We’ll say it again: 2020 changed the way we view home. Now, home is also where we go to work, where we workout, and even where we go to school. Because people are doing so many other kinds of things at home that they used to do elsewhere, they’re changing the way they use their flex rooms.

Full Bathroom Without Tub.

We’re regularly seeing people exchange these:

  1. Dining room –> Home office
  2. Guest room — > Home office
  3. Movie room –> Home gym

What’s Next?

While we certainly don’t expect to be home quite as much in 2021 as we were in 2020, we, like many others, rediscovered our love for our homes and our desire to make them a comforting, personal and unique space.

What do you think — will you go with the trends or against them? The beauty of designing a custom home with us is that you get to make your design decisions, and we help you make them work!

Contact us today to make your dream custom home a reality.