30 Design Trends You'll See This Decade
Our top designers and editors predict what’s in, what’s out and which design trends will rule the ‘20s.
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Bold Design, Bold Color
In the past decade, interior design has been all about a clean — almost sterile at times — slate. But the trends are shifting and the new roaring '20s will be packed with a lot more attitude. "We're over the safe neutrals and love it when our clients empower us to go bold with spirited hues and bespoke furnishings," said Krista Nye Nicholas of Cloth & Kind. "There is no better way to make your home distinctively your own than with some custom pieces — like this art installation we recently designed, fabricated and installed in our West Palm Beach Chic project — or with the unabashedly confident use of colors that speak most to you and your family," she added.
"Sustainable design and sustainably made products will reign," said HGTV shopping editor Laura James. Laura is all about trends in the commerce world and knows what products are hot and on the rise for 2020. "For example, we'll see natural materials everywhere from cane furniture to weighted blankets made of TENCEL™ Lyocell, which is derived from wood pulp."
While minimal styles ruled the 2010s, Laura hinted that the new decade will be less about the style of minimalistic furniture and more about the lifestyle and practice of minimalism. "I predict Japanese and Scandinavian cultures will influence design trends and the items we bring into our homes this decade," she said. "I think we'll strive for clutter-free homes and more intentional spaces that make us feel calm and remind us of nature."
Back in Black
Even if you don't know Brian Patrick Flynn, you've seen his work. Flynn is the interior designer for HGTV Dream Home and our other amazing giveaway homes. He strives to make these prizes feel like a home while incorporating the latest and greatest in design. And from what Brian has seen in the design community, he says big changes are coming. "White on white rooms dominated the 1990s and the early 2000s, and since the pendulum always swings the opposite direction, I think black on black or charcoal on charcoal spaces are going to become increasingly popular," he said.
Minimalism hit the past decade with gusto and, like Laura James, Brian predicts that minimalism won't go away completely. But it is evolving. "Right now, this millennial-triggered minimalism phase we're seeing, it's all about having way less things, but having the right things," he said. "I think this is going to continue, but it will sway away from the super sculptural, negative space-centric postmodernist type of minimalism to something a little warmer, with an Americana edge."
Millennial pink may have ruled the last half-decade, but there's a different pink about to make a big comeback. "It's been thirty years since mauve was considered highly desirable," said Brian, "so that means it's about time for it to come back. In the next few years, I can see furniture brands and wallcovering showrooms offering this pinky-purple hue in all different shades and tints through different patterns and textures."
Practicality Over Bling
"I would say that smaller spaces packed with character and architectural interest will be the way most homeowners are going to lean and that super-extra-large houses are going to be less desirable," said Brian. "Instead of people longing for a big house with tons of space, I think the dream circa 2020 is a charming home just big enough without any wasted square footage." And that’s the exact mantra Brian put into his family's small vacation home in Iceland seen here. The kitchen is small but efficient. And packed with tons of charm.
What's old is new again and last year we saw several '70s trends resurface. Even wood paneling. "For so many years, heavy wood-paneled walls were considered dated and were often the first thing gutted from a home," said Brian. "Nowadays, I think the entire idea of wooden wall paneling has evolved into something much lighter and organic, and I think we're going to see a lot more of it in fresh ways."
Our editor Camille Smith is the go-to person in the office for all things trends. She travels to design shows, works with designers and design companies and always knows what's up and coming months before most. So, what does Camille say about the 2020s? "Heading into the next decade, I see design shifting away from the minimal all-white neutrality that has come to define the modern farmhouse and Scandi styles and instead embracing maximalism via pattern layering and (yay!) color. After all, design should be fun and what could be more engaging and creative than approaching any space, whether indoors or out, as a chance to play. Let your imagination run wild and combine colors and patterns that make you smile. Life's stressful, home should be your happy place."
Nothing is off-limits with the new trend toward dark paint — even doors! Amy Weaver of Terracotta Design Build is a big fan of dark doors, both inside and outside. "The hardware pops," she said. "I love this timeless, classic look."
Shop Local, Design Local
The 2010s saw a rise is local pride and support, from eating food grown locally to shopping small businesses over big box stores. And Cavin Costello of The Ranch Mine says that movement is coming to the interior design world, too. "I believe in the 2020s we will see an emphasis on locally inspired design similar to the food and restaurant industry that shifted away from national chains and reinvented itself in the 2010s by focusing on locally inspired dishes and ingredients," he said. "A focus on reinterpreting local design for the modern world will elevate the character of our cities and towns by showing the rich history and diversity of our country while also being energy and water-wise, as most local traditions and styles were born out of necessity. This renewed focus on local design will end the myriad of global trends that have damaged the sense of place in our communities, and open up a world of countless new designs that are about people and place."
Fast fashion has affected the design industry, too, with more big box retailers producing budget-friendly options quickly. But the result is a loss of quality and designer Joe Human of Designs By Human says the pendulum is swinging back to quality and attention to detail. "Now this shouldn't really be a trend, but unfortunately in years past everything was how fast can we make things happen and for how cheap," he said. "Not that that sentiment has gone away, but there is more of a desire to have things built with more of a story and with more detail — adding back in architectural elements or taking the time to lightly restore them rather than stripping them away."
Less Disposable Goods
"Similar to craftsmanship, the desire to have real furniture in your home is more appealing now," said Joe. "This has always been a desire for our high-end clientele for sure. The fast fashion generation is still wanting fast fashion, but wanting to incorporate a few things with history in them."
And with a new push for quality, handmade items, there's a departure from the super-simple, modern designs of the past decade. "With a call for detail there is more desire to bring back the history of a home," said Joe. "Still incorporating classic lines with modern lines, but with more of a nod to more color, more furniture and less simplicity."
Several of our editors and designers say bold color is on the horizon this decade and Joe agrees. "I don't ever see the classic white kitchen going away for good, but there is an uptick in colorful kitchens with mixed materials," he said. "Utilizing different door styles and detailed profiles has been a wonderful, refreshing thing to hope for! Don't get me wrong, I love a good white kitchen and have done my fair share of them, but it is nice to include other materials into the heart of the home."
High Polish, High Gloss
Chalk paint and matte finishes have dominated in recent years, but Ili Hidalgo-Nilsson of Terracotta Design Build says that's all about to change. "As wonderful and comforting as it has been, I see white-painted brick and shiplap diminishing in popularity," she said. "I notice our clients opting for sleeker, more stylized designs, with high contrast in color, gloss and polish."
Dark Stained Wood
And with that bold color, comes a shake up in cabinet colors — specifically cabinets. "Here is my take on white kitchens," said John McClain of John McClain Design. "I think in essence, they are timeless. White is a color that never goes out of style (look at 99% of the trim and doors in every interior), but with a new trend towards darker, moodier and almost sexier colors, kitchens are bound to be in the mix for a new go-to color. Think charcoal grays, rich, deep blues, and even dark stained wood such as dark walnut. These shades will cause any kitchen to feel elegant and sophisticated."
Deep Color Palettes
"On that same note," John added, "deep color palettes will emerge again in wall colors, furniture, area rugs and even tile. Home is a sacred place that needs to wrap its arms around you, and these deep colors only facilitate that theory."
John also predicts the bits and pieces of geometrics we've seen in the past year and decade will become a major design influence in the 2020s in fabrics, furniture design, lighting, tile and more. "Geometric patterns are satisfying because they add a sense of architecture and geometry to a space," he said, "thus making the most nondescript rooms interesting." John also added that these patterns are great in rental apartments with little to no architectural embellishments as they create temporary architecture.
Bye Bye, Shiplap!
And as for what's out in the 2020s, John says one of the most coveted design trends of the decade is out. "OK, I'll probably get banished to designer purgatory for saying this, but I think the next decade is the time when shiplap will finally sail away," he said. "I'm not saying it’s not a good design element, but it's been overdone and overpopularized as a quick and easy way to add style to a room. I feel it's our job as designers and tastemakers to make the public aware of alternatives to mainstream design ideas. There are so many other great wall treatments that provide interest and also feel like a conscious design decision such as amazing wallpapers, paint treatments, applied moldings and tile."
Comfort + Durability
Today's families are pushing for more durable products. And companies are listening. "Gone are the days when a sofa isn’t meant to be sat on, or worse, covered in plastic like Aunt Milly," said John. "Home furnishings are actually being used rather than being show pieces. The best part of this new movement is that home furnishing companies and fabric manufacturers are increasing their inventory of available fabrics that meet all of the requirements of a busy family. Soon, we won't even have to ask if that chair can withstand a three year old or a dirty dog paw, we will just know that they automatically will." Looking for a durable rug right now? Check out our review of the popular Ruggable rugs.
Just like the new wave in bold, dark color, metallics in decor and hardware are following suit. "In the past 10 years, brass has made a big comeback," said John. "Will it stay? Yes and no. I think we will see more sophisticated versions of brass, such as matte finishes and black undertones. I also forecast an increase in new metals such as dark polished nickel and varying shades of chrome. I love to mix all of these metals in a room (sparingly and selectively of course) to make it feel collected and layered."
Formal Dining Rooms Are Back
The 2000s so far have been all about repurposing rooms or knocking down walls to make more casual spaces. But John says the formal dining room is coming back. "Let's face it, the world can be a crazy and scary place," he said. "I predict a return to sit-down family style dinners around the dining table and actually in the dining room. These moments of solitude are sacred for listening and interacting with each other, without the noise of cell phones, social media or the news. More and more families will embrace the good old days of real interaction and will find it nourishing and almost necessary for a balanced life."
Real Vintage Over Retro
Mad Men-esque furniture dominated the design world in the 2010s, but most of it wasn't even vintage. Several big box brands and furniture designers produced brand new pieces that looked just like the old stuff. But designers Holly Conlan and Gabby Eisenhart of Wake + Loom say faux vintage is being replaced by actual vintage. "A mix of antique, traditional and new seems to be making its way forward," they said. "We feel like there’s been a heavy lean toward new pieces that reference the past decades, but now a refreshing take on that is to mix those clones of the past with actual vintage pieces. The old and new are playing together nicely."
Gray Walls Are Out
And if there's one thing both Holly and Gabby do not want to see in the 2020s, it's gray walls. “No more gray walls!” they said. "It’s boring and it’s over."
Whimsy Is Back
The minimalist movement brought with it a stoic vibe, but Gabby and Holly say this design personality will change in the 2020s. "There’s sort of a cool escapism in terms of the shapes that we're seeing," they said. "A lot of conceptual shapes that represent innocent and playful vibes." Holly and Gabby said it's all about all things soft, from unconventional contours to rounded legs to curved edges. "But yet, at the same time, there's room for the dramatic as well," they added. "Bold and colorful fabrics and papers are making their way in."
"We think cool tones are going away and more bold and earthy colors will be in," said Holly and Gabby. That shake-up in color will affect a room's mood, too, especially family rooms and high-trafficked rooms. "Anything too perfectly polished we see going away as well."
Millennial pink has been everywhere for the past half-decade and HGTV Magazine editor Caroline Alkire says it will have to share the spotlight with another pastel. "While I hope and pray that millennial pink never goes out," she said, "I do think it may have to make some room for bright baby blue."
Caroline also hinted that the design world as a whole is moving away from hard lines and embracing lots of curves. "I'm going to say lots of arched curves," she said. Even HGTV Magazine's editor-in-chief Sara Peterson has her eye on this retro-chic arch pictured. But Caroline said the trend will be way more than just wall decor. "You'll see it in wall murals, of course, but also furniture." She's got her eye on these curved barstools from Crate & Barrel.
Bye Bye, Terrazzo!
"I think that while we're still seeing terrazzo and terrazzo print everywhere, it may have finally run its course by the end of 2020," said Caroline. "Which is fine with me because I'm a little tired of it." But while this groovy style is out, she added that another '70s item is in. "Three words: vintage mushroom lamps."