Ready to start the year off with a bang? We reached out to 15 of the most inspiring interior design professionals to get a sense of what trends to expect for winter 2020.
It's All About You
Sometimes when we’re looking to trends for inspiration, we end up following the masses and forgetting the most important rule of design: It should reflect your unique personality and life! One of the biggest trend designers are expecting? Eschewing trends in favor of design you truly love.
If we spent our time buying up every single “on trend” item without thinking about it, we’d end up with an obnoxious amount of items that serve no use. “I’m a big believer that beautiful surroundings are an important part of living every day intentionally, and that design should not only be beautiful, but also functional,” says Shea McGee from Studio McGee. This means no more pieces that are lovely to look at, but take up more space than necessary.
“Incorporate this trend by styling homes with dual-use items like baskets that can be used for both storage and decoration, and stools that can be used for sitting or as a landing place for your bath time essentials,” McGee says. Think about your daily life and how different pieces can enhance your lifestyle. And above all, McGee reminds, select pieces that “speak to you in 2020!”
Anyone looking for an interior design revolution? Lori Dennis, of Lori Dennis, Inc., says that “an overarching theme has emerged: Embracing the unconventional. There’s a bit of a rebellion going on in interior design right now.” One way this is showing up? A bit of a maximalism revival, which encourages people to let their inner creative flow in all the bright and dramatic ways, such as “wall murals and wallpaper in bright prints and poppy color palettes you wouldn’t necessarily associate with winter,” Lori explains.
Another way homeowners are putting themselves first? Reclaiming their space. “They are designing entertaining and communal spaces they will actually use,” Dennis says. “Instead of the formal dining room, for example, perhaps turning it into a prep kitchen, or a wellness/meditation lounge, or a reading room is a more productive use of space.” Whatever you decide, make sure that it’s a functional and useable home for you – after all, you live there!
Lori Dennis, ASID, LEED AP, leads the top interior design firm in Los Angeles and is a speaker, bestselling author, and star of HGTV’s The Real Designing Women. Her firm specializes in luxury, high-end interior architecture and healthy living. A multiple award-winning designer, Lori has been profiled in magazines, websites, and TV on six continents, including Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, LUXE, Dwell, People, New York Times, House Beautiful, Coastal Living, Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
If your home is lacking on the natural light, or perhaps you want to be able to change the vibe of a room with the push of a button, the Balance Design Team insists LED lighting is the answer. “LED lighting has been around for a long time, but recently, these options have been much more stylish, affordable, and accessible.”
These lights can run along doorframes, crown molding, and even underneath bedframes if you’re looking for unique options. If you want to incorporate LED everywhere for its environmentally friendly features – after all, it’s a “sustainable source of light that uses minimal energy” – newer designs offer a modern look, “whether [they’re] recessed into the ceiling or hanging down a two-story stairway.”
The wide variety of highly customizable looks that LED lights can offer means they’re making waves in 2020, since their very design encourages you to be a little more bold and unique with your aesthetic.
Balance Design Team
Since inception in 2002, Balance Design has found that careful listening and collaboration create the most original yet timeless and authentic interiors. Utilizing environmentally sustainable materials, local artists and craftspeople, hand-knotted rugs, and unique furnishings, Balance Design is a collaborative team of creatives and analysts working together to provide you with not just beautiful designs, but the chance to be an integral part of a memorable and enjoyable experience.
Even though we’re entering a new decade, not everything is about “new” and “fresh.” In fact, one of the biggest trends we’ve noticed is the desire to repurpose the old and give it a new life. While this can certainly be about the aesthetic of vintage revival, plenty are making the decision to upcycle because it’s the practical and environmentally friendly choice.
Annette Vartanian’s A Vintage Splendor blog is all about welcoming back the old in new and exciting ways, so she had plenty to say on this topic. According to Vartanian, the rest of the world is finally jumping on the train that she’s been conducting for the last few years. “Longtime readers of my blog know I’ve always shopped for vintage furniture to furnish my home. I’ve been seeing vintage furniture and décor popping up more and more and I’m here for it!”
But before you run to the nearest antique store and start grabbing items at random, there is a system to styling with vintage. “By mixing old with new, spaces better reflect the personality of the owner and how the space is used,” Vartanian says. Shopping vintage is “also a more sustainable option, which is something more consumers are aware of and are making a priority.”
Perhaps you’re looking for ways to embrace this upcycling trend without breaking the bank; Beth Woodson and Kristy Woodson Harvey from Design Chic have some tips. In addition to creating warmer spaces, “the beginning of a new decade also means looking back, and that feeling of nostalgia will almost certainly lead to family heirlooms and antiques making their way into design schemes.”
Want to combine vintage and modern? Ask family and friends for vintage pieces with which they’re willing to part! This keeps with being a conscientious consumer while also making the process more personal. Not to mention you’ll have a killer space – aim for a “layered, collected look” overall – that everyone can enjoy.
Beth Woodson & Kristy Woodson Harvey
Beth Woodson and Kristy Woodson Harvey are behind Design Chic, a member of the Design Blogger Hall of Fame and winner of Amara's Best Luxury Blog. Design Chic has been seen in Traditional Home, House Beautiful, The Huffington Post, Domino, and The Washington Post, among others.
Millennials are often referred to as the “wellness generation,” but it’s not just 20- and 30-somethings that are looking for healthier, happier lives. Michele Ranard, from the Hello Lovely blog, explained how revitalizing vintage pieces can have a direct impact on our lives. “[This season] is likely to embrace aspects of wabi-sabi imperfection with weathered, distressed, and patina-ed objects. Such imperfect interiors promote simplicity, easy, and slower living. They are also a balm for so much ‘plugged in’ and virtual everything.”
Another way old and new are meeting? Ranard mentions “edgy, industrial urban design elements will still have a presence, but an earthy, organic mood brings calm when skies are grey.” This means pairing your modern aesthetic with older pieces in warmth, earthy tones is going to be right on trend.
Hello Lovely is a décor inspiration blog by professional writer Michele Ranard, with lovely interior design inspiration to create timeless and tranquil rooms. Decorating ideas, renovation stories, and designer spotlights feature French country, farmhouse, and shabby chic style. More than a collection of home decorating tips, the décor site invites you to say, "hello" to a more peaceful milieu at home.
In today’s technology driven world, Americans are used to spending more and more time attached to our screens. If you’re looking for a bit of an escape, why not bring nature indoors? If this sounds like a treat to you, you’re in luck: Several design experts anticipate a greater appreciation of Mother Nature in the near future.
Our obsession with the natural world isn’t just because modern technology has become so important to us. In fact, we’ve always been obsessed with technological developments; that’s why the idea of bringing the outdoors in has been a near-constant focus (think Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the transcendentalism movement, and the recently-coined “biophilia”).
This could be why “mid-century modern is back in the design world,” says Brittany Bailey, of Pretty Handy Girl. “Winter whites are still going strong, and are especially popular when paired with natural elements.” For a beachier take if you’re used to warm winters, think about terrariums with white sand that can be placed on bookshelves and tables.
Looking for something more industrial? “Brushed gold (or brass) is a growing trend in kitchen and bath plumbing fixtures,” Bailey says, so don’t feel like you have to shy away.
There are plenty of opportunities for a unique approach to incorporating plant life and greenery into your home décor. Think about “unique displays, like asymmetrical garlands and bouquets of dried branches or greenery,” says Suzannah Stanley, of Create/Enjoy. The easy access to supplies – just head out to your front yard or local park – often makes décor from natural elements a fun DIY.
For those not as inclined to craft, embrace “more natural colors and materials like stained wood,” giving a warm look to your overall space. And if you want to push back against the return of color, Stanley says she’s “seeing bone and ivory [coloring] instead of pure white all the time.”
Suzannah Stanley is a DIY home décor and improvement blogger (Create/Enjoy) and podcaster (Your Home Story podcast). She’s currently renovating her second fixer-upper home, a historical 1937 Tudor revival in her hometown outside Portland, Oregon, where she lives with her husband and toddler. She calls her style “modern traditional” and loves mixing old and new, contrasting pieces with soft textures, and historic touches with modern lifestyle updates. Her designs are always affordable and often feature creative DIYs.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed about where to start, start with a specific material. For Amy Marohl, that material is birch – but don’t just grab a branch from the nearest tree and staple it above your entryway. Instead, “[combine it] with greenery to give a rustic and ‘homemade’ look. [Try] having a birch bark basket holding greenery on your coffee table … [or] hang wood slice ornaments that still have the birch bark on the outer round.”
For a family-fun craft or to add a personal touch, “these wood slices can then have beautiful words burned into or hand-painted on them,” Marohl says.
The Return of Color
If you’ve seen the all-white kitchens and heavy reliance and neutrals and thought, “This really isn’t for me,” then 2020 is your year! Color is making a comeback in big, bold ways – moody tones, bright fabrics, and saturated colors are all expected this year.
Want to go for a sophisticated statement? Carla Aston, from DESIGNED w/Carla Aston, has you covered, predicting colors that would typically evoke a pensive and somewhat foreboding energy. But before you build your own version of Dracula’s castle, Carla isn’t talking about a return of the dark and gothic.
“You know, the pendulum swings in design, and we’re overdue for a big directional change in style and color While a white kitchen and house is always good for resale and appealing to the masses, I’m betting on darker shades and more moody interiors coming our way.” Need some examples? Think “vivid shades of green … [and] Pantone’s Classic Blue.”
For the bright and bold, look to Becky Marshall of Flipping the Flip for inspiration. As she explains, it’s “time to put color fears aside and jump right in.” If you’re not completely up to date on all things interior design, Pantone announced their Color of the Year for 2020: Classic Blue. Pair this with the trend of “neutrals mixed with bold, contrasting elements, [and] there’s something for everyone … geometric patterns are popping on artwork, fabrics, and accessories.”
Bring brightness and cheer into your life; “the weather may be cold and dreary, but the trends are hot and a visual feast,” Marshall says.
Becky Marshall is the author of Flipping the Flip, a tip-filled blog documenting her journey of undoing everything done by a house flipper and turning her house into a home. A DIY’ing Thing Maker, she has a vast resume spanning theater, television and film, interiors, and architecture.
According to Linda Holt, of Linda Holt Creative in Boston, it’s important to remember that even if you’re not trying to make a bold statement, color should play a big role. After all, Classic Blue is “certainly not a controversial pick, but an easy color to live with and incorporate into the home.” Not a fan of blue? Go with the color that works best for you; there really isn’t a wrong answer. “Deep pinks, greens of every hue, yellow, rich reds, and even purple are all gaining traction with designers,” Holt says. “Look for deep, saturated color making a comeback in 2020.”
Linda Holt, of Linda Holt Creative, launched her interior design business in 2011 after a 25-year career as one of Boston’s top commercial headshot photographers. Her photography clients sought her out not only for her ability to make them look their very best, but for her skill in having their personality shine through the lens. Today, she applies those very same principles to designing rooms that not only look beautiful, but also reflect the unique personality of the homeowner and their family. Linda is a contributing writer on trends and design for Merrimack Valley Magazine, and writes a blog called Focus on Creativity.
Using texture to liven up a space and change a room’s overall aesthetic is nothing new – just think about 2019’s obsession with all things velvet. If you’re a fan of throws, mismatched pillows, upholstery, and other fabrics, let yourself run wild this season.
The colder months and shorter days have all of us searching for warmth in our homes; Carrie Ypma, of Ideas for the Home by Kenarry, recommends embracing that feeling. “Make your home extra cozy with tartan plaids or simple patterns. You can use cable knit, flannel, or wool fabrics to also add more warmth and texture to your home through blankets or throw pillows,” she says.
However, Ypma says warmth isn’t just about having more blankets; it’s also about the colors around you. She recommends a warmer palette for décor around your home, and if you want to add color to an accent wall, go with a deep, saturated hue.
Carrie is the chief writer, crafter, and cook at Ideas for the Home by Kenarry. She’s an optimist by nature and enjoys sharing recipes, trying new craft ideas, planning for parties and events, and organizing and decorating. She and her husband, Kent, live in Michigan. She also loves hiding away in a castle she created under her stairs, reading to her two young boys, and helping guests plan vacations at Sunshine Villa at Glenbrook Resort, their short-term vacation rental home in Orlando, near Walt Disney World.
If warm, earthy palettes aren’t your thing, Megan Morris, of MHM Professional Staging, LLC, says to look to that Classic Blue we’re going to be seeing so much of in the coming year. “It’s an excellent winter color that will remind you of the evening sky just before the sun fully sets … it’s also an easy color to match with your curtains, pillows, and other accessories.”
But while it’s fun to follow trends, sometimes we want to take a hard left and go a little bit over-the-top with some ostentatious designs. The best room to let your inner creative take over? A powder room or half bath. “These smaller spaces can be a great opportunity to let your personality shine through design.” Partner those deep, moody tones with heavily printed wallpaper “in a unique bathroom design that will get your guests talking.”
One piece of advice we love from Megan? Using dark colors along the trim and door to break up the busy wallpaper. After all, as Morris points out, “the more texture and shadow you can create, the better!”
Bringing in textures doesn’t just have to do with fabrics (though we all love a good blanket). Marilen Montenegro, who runs Philippines-based Marilen Styles, has some advice on incorporating more unique feels. In addition to the typical knits and wools, add in “natural fiber like bamboo and linen, spruced up with other materials from nature such as wicker, light colored wood, and rough stone.” Not only does this satisfy any desire you may have to bring nature indoors, but will also create a visual and tactile difference to your place that you and guests will appreciate.
But while important, Montenegro says these textures shouldn’t be your only focus. “This winter, safe, neutral colors are back, but will only work best when enhanced by texture.” If you’re not going with the bold colors this season, adding texture is perfect for helping those neutrals pop in their own way.
The start of a new decade and has everyone excited for change, and these trends are sure to bring it. What’s got you most excited to revamp your look – and life – this year? Tell us in the comments below!
Mia Zozobrado joined Builders Digital Experience (BDX) in 2019 as a content writer. A graduate of Southwestern University with a degree in English and a board member of the Writers’ League of Texas, Mia is passionate about the written word and making connections.