Whilst we don’t want to wish our lives away, most people working in hospitality are constantly looking ahead to 2021 when hopefully we will see more positive times. To help hospitality businesses prepare for a return to some kind of normality, the team at ABDA has been exploring design trends we can expect to see in our industry over the next year. The research project also considered what impact the pandemic has had on hospitality designs of the future.

ABDA explored colours, counters, lighting, furniture, sustainability, operational activity and customer experience. They have used their expertise and insight to create some stunning and creative designs and highlighted the key takeaways hospitality operators can build into their business. Seven key words summarised the design trends we will expect to see in 2021 and these were:

  • Community
  • Sustainability
  • Experiential
  • Escapism
  • Tech
  • Adaptability
  • Bold

The ABDA design team has illustrated their thoughts on what venues could look like in 2021 to demonstrate how these trends can be easily implemented into new or existing venues. This includes a café/bar concept which is a warm, bright and inviting space where customers can have a break from the norm. During the day it is a relaxed community social space, and, in the evening, it becomes a bar and restaurant. The space aims to bring people together and build on social distancing, bubbles and support networks. It includes an area to showcase community arts to provide consumers with a way to relax. Communal furniture is used for dining but also for craft events where schools, local care residents and charity groups can come together. Community art is something that lifted people during the pandemic, and it is something that is expected to stay as we’ve learnt to appreciate these little things so much more. The use of bold colour in this concept fits with trends we are seeing across cities such as the New London Fabulous project.



ABDA predict we will see a lot more touchless technology in 2021 and it is also expected that consumers will want a higher use of microbial fabric with hard services which are easier to clean. Future designs will need to be adaptable as COVID has highlighted that most industries and sectors were not pandemic proof. Flexibility is going to be absolutely key so businesses are ready to adapt to whatever situation may be thrown at them. COVID has made people more aware of what they put in their bodies and emphasis on healthy options is more important than ever. With households feeling the pinch, going out is going to become much more of a treat and consumers are going to be looking at the overall experience so it is much more memorable. Consumers are also expected to crave that feeling of bringing the outside inside as this is known to have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing. This can be achieved through adding more plants, using wildlife prints or natural materials so people feel closer to nature. ABDA created a conceptual design showing what a sustainable hotel would look like if it incorporated 2021 trends.



Director at ABDA, Claire Smith said “Once hospitality is fully re-open the appetite for this sector is going to be huge. During the pandemic we have been offering practical advice that can be quickly and easily implemented by any hospitality business right now as well as helping those planning for the long-term. Our research is available for all those working in hospitality, so simply contact us via our website or social media channels to request your copy. Many of the ideas include simple and small tweaks to an existing venue so they don’t need to be costly but will show consumers you have really taken note of what they want and expect. Make sure you are ready to capture that excitement and interest in your restaurant, bar, café, hotel, garden centre, staff restaurant, event catering or school meals service in a post-pandemic world.”

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