How the Pandemic Changed Interior Design

Posted by jiana zheng on

The COVID-19 pandemic changed interior design as we knew it. Millions of people around the world spent more time at home over the last two years than they probably ever have before. Whether they quit their jobs to start freelancing, transitioned to a work-from-home structure with their corporate job, or became stay-at-home parents, their homes suddenly became more than just a place to eat, relax, and sleep.


People became eager to decorate their homes in a way that exudes personality, comfort, and function. With the rise of TikTok, we also see homeowners and apartment renters adopting and cycling through trends quickly.

As such, Millennials and Gen Z have created a unique interior design trend: individualism.


HGTV shows like Fixer Upper popularized the farmhouse chic style while a desire for clean lines and bright spaces spurred a minimalistic takeover. Now that TikTok creators are showing off their sage green kitchens, neon-splattered living rooms, and wallpapered bathrooms, homeowners and renters seem to have permission (from people other than Chip and Jo) to bring their unique personalities to interior design.

For example, “cottagecore” gained popularity last summer, which looked like sun-drenched homes filled with fresh-cut flowers, neutral tones, and antique furniture. Similarly, decorators have taken a liking to “dark academia” — moody homes filled with books and, once again, antiques.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are Y2K style lovers who till their homes with neon lights, furry furniture, and bold patterns. In that same vein, there is “maximalism,” which usually boasts bright colors, patterns painted everywhere you look, and the funkiest décor pieces you could imagine.

At this point, it’s difficult to say if there are new trends, no trends, or just more visibility into design preferences that have always been around. TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube have essentially allowed interior decorators — professionals and enthusiasts — to have their own home improvement shows. Some of the more popular creators have millions of people tuning in every day.

interior design colorful home decoration

  • Redefining Interior Design

Previously, people were stuck with a handful of television shows that told them the “best way to decorate your home” and why (i.e., open spaces for entertaining, shiplap for dynamic walls, pale color schemes to open up small spaces, etc.).

Today, those same people can open up their phones and gain access to hundreds of thousands of design preferences, complete with tips and tricks for saving money and making concepts renter-friendly.

Additionally, there are increasingly more places to buy unique home décor. While Target and Amazon are still very popular places to buy decorations and essentials, many people want to support small or eco-friendly businesses. In many cases, these alternatives offer higher-quality pieces that aren’t replicated in massive quantities.

Is it safe to say that design trends are “out of style”? Perhaps not. However, social media platforms allow people to gain more inspiration and rethink the boundaries of interior design.

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