Add some blue: We’re all seeking tranquility these days, and blue is the perfect hue to create a serene and soothing home, according to Better Homes and Gardens. (Photo: Dreamstime/TNS).

With the pandemic still looming large, we’re facing a long slog at home during the winter months ahead.

If that prospect fills you with gloom, consider it an opportunity to make some changes to your home so that it feels more inviting, enjoyable and functional.

End-of-year trend reports and predictions for 2021 are full of ideas that homeowners can tap into to spruce up their spaces. Here are a few, culled from various sources:

Add some brown
White and gray have been the ubiquitous go-to color palette for interiors in recent years. But warmer neutrals, including brown and beige, are starting to make a comeback, according to the 2021 Home Design Predictions recently released by Houzz. Warm taupes, beiges, sand and other earth tones are surging in popularity, according to designers and builders that Houzz queried. It’s time for the pendulum to swing. And brown as an accent color can help bring some warmth into white and gray spaces, which can read as chilly, especially during a Minnesota winter.

Add some blue
We’re all seeking tranquility these days, and blue is the perfect hue to create a serene and soothing home, according to Better Homes & Gardens. The magazine’s trend forecast for 2021 includes “Ocean Hues,” with shades ranging from deep inky blues to soft aqua.

Gain some privacy
The open-concept floor plan, so popular in recent years, was put to the test in 2020 as multiple household members struggled to take part in concurrent video meetings and classes without walls to muffle the sound. If your home has an open plan, consider adding sliding doors or partitions that can help block noise and create a sense of privacy.

Upgrade your home office
When the pandemic began, many workers hastily set up makeshift workstations at home. The trend of remote work will continue in 2021, Houzz predicts, and homeowners will seek ways to create more efficient dedicated home offices, work nooks and even backyard work cottages.

If your home office isn’t getting the job done, now’s a good time to invest in some enhancements, such as a more comfortable chair, better lighting or a better system to organize and contain paper clutter. Video conference-worthy backdrops also are trending. If yours is lackluster, add a piece of artwork, a pop of color, good lighting and a little greenery, Houzz suggests.

Go retro
What’s a “Grandmillennial”? It’s a youthful fresh take on “granny decor,” according to HGTV, and it’s trending as a reaction to modern minimalism. Get the look and the feeling by incorporating a few touches often associated with Grandma’s house, including cozy accents, pretty florals, ruffles and nostalgic throwback details such as needlepoint.

Soothe your stress
Bathrooms increasingly have become spaces for rest and relaxation, according to Houzz. You can make your bathroom soothing and hangout-worthy by adding a few spalike amenities — a steam shower, an aromatherapy showerhead or a bathtub filler or other attachment that can hold a cup of tea or glass of wine.

Upsize your tile
Large rectangular tiles are trending for bathrooms, according to Houzz. Big tiles mean fewer grout lines, require less cleaning and create less visual clutter. Large-format tile also can help a small space feel bigger. When using large tile on a bathroom floor, choose a matte finish for slip-resistance.

Create a destination space
With recreational travel a distant memory, many are craving that getaway feeling at home. Interiors inspired by “Distant Shores,” especially tropical locales, will be popular in 2021, according to Better Homes & Gardens magazine. Infuse a room with tropical brights, lush flower or foliage prints and beachy accents to create a space where you can refresh and recharge without leaving home.

Exercise your green thumb
Houseplants have made a comeback during the pandemic, and their popularity will continue into 2021, according to HGTV. Refresh your air and brighten your mood with some live flora. Or go all out and create a trendy “living wall” of plants.

Have some fun
With fewer diversions available to us, due to the pandemic, at least we can turn our creativity loose on our homes. Interior designer Taniya Nayak recently teamed up with Frog Tape to develop five home trends for 2021, including “Play Hard,” which incorporates cheerful hues, lighthearted accent pieces and bright textiles, to create a sense of fun at home. DIY projects, such as painting bold geometric patterns on an accent wall or hand-painting planters, “add an element of joy,” said Nayak.

By Kim Palmer, Star-Tribune (TNS)