2020 interior design trends are a bit all over the place but there’s so much pretty stuff to love this year. Living room trends for 2020 are especially warm, cozy, comfortable, and livable. Oh, and blue. Lots and lots of blue.
Interior Design Trends 2020 – A Return to Traditional Lines and Classicism…
…but with a twist. We’re not talking 80s traditional (you can have your chintz and toile, but leave the bows behind). We’re seeing spindles and toile alongside Roman and Greek influence and flashes of traditionalism and classicism in transitional and contemporary house design. Even newer farmhouse interiors are getting an update to farmhouse modern. We’re using less herringbone in favor of big slab and large scale tile marble (microscopic grout lines, please).
Clutter and dust-catchers are not making a comeback, though. Layering is thoughtful and deliberate, and there’s plenty of room for the minimalist, as well. Some of the hallmarks of classicism in the design sense are proportion, simplicity, and restraint. We can combine them all with a contemporary, clean-lined interior that includes traditional accents.
To get the look, think clean, not too cluttered (or very carefully editing if you’re filling it to the brim); transitional, contemporary, or mid-century neutral-ish backgrounds; and an unexpected traditional accent like an old painting, bust, architectural piece, furniture piece, or fabric. (Spooled chairs and spindled, black toile and ticking – these are a few of my favorite things…)
Shop the Look – Traditional Details & Classicism
Interior Design Trends 2020 – Patina and Provenance
Patina (signs of age and use) and provenance (the story behind a piece) have always been desirable to antique dealers and collectors. Lately, interest in them is making its way into the mainstream. More people are decorating with things that have a history or tell their personal stories.
From family heirlooms to flea market finds, childhood treasures to travel trinkets – things that mean something and bring interest are getting the shelf space this year.
Shop the Look – Patina & Provenance
Cozy, Casual Textures
Remember when I said we’re leaning traditional but not going all-in on formal? Don’t even consider leaving cozy hygge-inspired warmth behind in favor of hard, pretty things that are just for show. House design in 2020 is cozy and comfortable, even with (or in spite of) the nod to formal. We’re out of patience (and, often, space) for rooms we don’t use and furniture and accessories that aren’t either functioning in or bringing joy to our lives. With all the uncertainty 2020 has brought us, the concept of hygge has become more central in my home and family than ever.
Shop the Look – Cozy, Casual Textures
Interior Design Trends 2020 – Quality, Function, and Sustainability Over Quantity
These are principles I try to employ in everything I design and do. Our ever-shrinking world makes it easier than ever to source beautiful products that are sustainable, long-lasting, and useful.
Thoughtful design and attention to needs and workflow, whether a space is residential or commercial, are paramount. Workflow, family needs, and processes should dictate design; style should be imposed after. That’s not to say style should be abandoned; quite the opposite. I strive for designs that are so distinctly personalized to occupants they feel instantly comfortable in them.
To incorporate these concepts consider fewer items, sustainability, and better quality. People are seldom disappointed to have less stuff. One easy tip is to use durable outdoor fabrics inside so they wear better. Old school plastics and vinyls have given way to beautiful textiles that can easily work inside and are so simple to clean.
Consider furnishings that are well made and do double duty, as well. A desk with closed storage, a bar cart with storage underneath, or a bed with hidden storage are all useful and mean less furniture overall. Things that serve more than one purpose will give you more room to move and empty space around the carefully-curated things you love to look at.
Lastly, it’s never been more satisfying to find joy in the everyday. Dishes, silverware, pens, desks, purses, makeup brushes, bed linens, furnishings – these things should make you feel happy or content when you use them. If they don’t, consider a change.
Make it a goal that everything you purchase brings you joy. When you buy less and buy better, you buy less often and find joy in the everyday. This is intentional buying – live without an object in the space until you find the one you love.
Shop the Ideas – Quality, Function, & Sustainability
Furthering the notion of quality versus quantity, I leave room for future finds in the spaces I decorate. Rather than a perfectly balanced decorating scheme, leaving room for things found over time that are uniquely suited to clients’ (or my family’s) wants and needs. I like to hold space for art, occasional chairs, accent tables, rugs, etc. unless a client already has things they love to fill them.
Now, more than ever, there’s no requirement to fill your home right away. Take the time to source, make, or wait for things you truly love. The empty space and anticipation of the perfect object to fill it will bring more joy than a placeholder.
Farmhouse Decor Looks Back to European – English, French, and Italian
In America when we think “farmhouse,” we tend to think Magnolia. I love Joanna Gaines and hope that with the new network, we’ll be able to really explore the depth and breadth of her talent. Her farmhouse stuff is pretty, but I love what she does with midcentury and other styles. Perhaps her new network will take over creatively where HGTV left off when real estate took over. A girl can dream…but I digress.
Before Magnolia, modern farmhouse, and farm charm, there was just plain farmhouse or “country” decor, and most of it cued off French, English, or Italian farmhouses and Early American interiors. This year, rural and suburban decor, as well as farmhouse-leaning urban decor, is moving away from “farm charm decor” and “modern farmhouse” and toward a more traditional European-influenced country aesthetic. Emerald and shamrock greens are having a big year, as is Classic Blue, the Pantone Color of the Year for 2020.
Don’t mistake European country aesthetic, though, for the faux-Tuscan and chintz-drowned rooms of the past. Instead, think thoughtfully-edited European-inspired interiors that place value on natural materials, traditional fabrics, patina, and provenance.
One easy way to invoke French country is with toile, especially in updated patterns; we’re seeing lots of pattern repetition for those bold enough to cover a room in one pattern. I’ve always been a French country devotee and lover of all things toile, so this is my happy place. This year’s interpretation is lighter than traditional European country designs of the past, and far less crowded, but at the same time much warmer and cozier than the shiplap and white farmhouse looks we’ve grown used to the past several years.
Additional European Details in Contemporary and Midcentury Designs
European influence won’t be reserved for traditional interiors, contemporary and midcentury will see European details in clean lines and curved, stylized details.
Shop the Look – European Farmhouse & Modern Details
Bringing the Outside In by Decorating with Nature and Natural Materials
More than ever, many of us are looking for ways to bring nature into our homes. From old-school atriums to screened porches and conservatories; indoor plants to kitchen herb walls and houseplants; I’m not choosing just one, I’m doing it all. The closer I feel to nature on the inside of my home, the more grounded and calm I am. It makes the air seem lighter and we know having plants inside is healthier.
I’m the product of generations of farmers. As a young child, I learned to walk along behind my overalled grandfather’s mule-drawn plow dropping seed potatoes over acres of field. I grew up on a chicken farm with one Jersey milk cow and a mule. In spite of that early training and the fact we live where I should be able to grow almost anything, I am a wretched gardener. I have no instincts when it comes to plants, I need things that aren’t fickle. Fiddle leaf figs and ficus have not been my friends. I’m considering pothos and trying some citrus and olive trees inside this year.
I’ll be doing a kitchen herb garden as well, all advice is welcome. I can’t seem to keep basil alive outside, so I’m hoping inside will be more forgiving; I have found rosemary and mint grow about anywhere. My mother has gifted me her Meyer lemon, which I shall try not to kill this year, as well. The pressure is a bit much right now, finger’s crossed…
We bring in outside elements by using sustainable, natural materials and skipping chemicals, as well. When that’s not an option, nature’s pattern can evoke the same moods. And friends, there’s no shame in the faux game. I don’t go to Pottery Barn for many things but their faux floral game is strong. This faux cherry blossom arrangement below is made with their branches that are on clearance at the moment.
Another way to bring outside in is through the beautiful work of landscape artists. Landscape art is so trendy right now, and knowing the story of the painting and artist ups the cool factor even more. Do your research.
Shop the Look – Bringing the Outside In
Interior Design Trends 2020 – Layered Repeat Patterns
Repeating patterns are huge this year. From wallpaper to paint stencils to fabrics, floors, furnishings, and art – repeating a pattern in the same or different scale will look fresh and fun. You can go with traditional or modern, large or small scale; one pattern and lots of it are key.
Here’s a great article by Grace at Storied with some beautiful single pattern designs.
One-color rooms should not be confused with a monochromatic interior where the majority of the room is filled with things in the same color or slight variations of the same color as the walls and trim. This year, we want furnishings and accessories to contrast as much as possible with their surroundings.
A one-color room simply means the walls, ceiling, trim, and, sometimes, the floor are the same color, allowing furnishings and accessories to take center stage.
If this appeals to you, 2020 is your year. I employ it carefully; only if there’s zero architectural interest in the room and the ceiling height and room proportions are conducive. If I need to remedy any proportions with color, it won’t work. I don’t recommend this tactic if there’s desirable architecture in the room as it will take away from architectural details. However, if you have things you don’t care for in your architecture and want to make them fade into the background, it can be a great strategy.
Interior Design Trends 2020 -Kitchens
Light, but Not White
This year, designers are toning those stark white kitchens down to warmer, but still light colors. I personally won’t paint a white kitchen off white unless it needs updating anyway. If you feel the same, you can get the look without drastic measures. If you have a cool white kitchen and want to capitalize on this trend, simply change out your lighting to warmer bulbs and fixture shades.
Look for “soft white” (2,700-3,000 Kelvin or 2700k-3000k light) or “warm white” (3,000-4,000 Kelvin or 3000k-4000k light) or check out amber bulbs if that’s your thing. Stay away from anything higher than 4,000 Kelvin and “bright white” or “daylight” bulbs.
Go with warmer tones around the room through fabrics (especially window coverings), furnishings, and accessories to reflect that warm light. It’s a great time to consider switching your can or recessed lighting for something gorgeous if it makes sense to do so – instant pendants make it easy. You’ll get the effect of warmth with ease and in another season or so when the bright white is back, your road back will be an easy one, as well.
If color is your thing, you’ve got the design green light in the kitchen in 2020. While a unique island isn’t a new thing (they’ve become almost timeless) having brightly-colored or dark-toned cabinets in your kitchen is a bit daring. Be sure you’ll love it even when it goes out of style or can afford to change it if you don’t. I almost always encourage clients to stick with neutrals on high-ticket items like cabinetry, but if it’s your thing and makes sense for you, by all means, go for it!
Whether you’re looking at neutral, dark, or bright kitchens if you want some yummy inspiration check out the kitchen portfolio at deVOL. I love their designs and the careful eye to detail they put into all their interiors. Another of my favorites is Jersey Ice Cream Company, designers of some of the prettiest kitchens I’ve seen.
Interior Design Trends 2020 – Home Color Palettes
We know a blue color palette is timeless, so it never really went out of style but it’s having a major moment this year, not only in the usual traditional interiors but in more contemporary ones, as well. Much of that attention is thanks to the Pantone Color of the Year 2020 “Classic Blue,” but anytime design looks toward Europe, some bright blues will come into play, as well as timeless dark British greens.
In addition to the standard blue and white color palette, dark navy or classic blue is a great way to anchor or accent a room if black isn’t your thing. My designs always have grounding black or dark charcoal elements somewhere, and navy can serve that same purpose. Especially in neutral schemes, a pop of dark is a welcome distraction for the eye.
If black isn’t your thing, consider some deep or classic blue or darkest green accents to provide a bit of relief in monochromatic or neutral schemes. It’s a great trick to easily update those modern farmhouse interiors, as well, and make yours stand out from the rest. Navy blue and deep green both look fantastic in farm charm decor and farmhouse (one or the other, though, don’t mix them right now).
Shop the Look – Classic Blue Color Palette
Contrast is King
Monochromatic is out, but if you already have it you’re well-positioned to capitalize on the contrast that is so hot right now. You can simply update by adding contrast around the room. Dark accessories against a light background and vice versa provide the high contrast interiors that are a 2020 interior design staple.
Again, don’t rethink everything if you’re not remodeling – shop your house and pull together some contrasting things or grab some chalk paint (you can even make your own to increase your selection, but I love Annie Sloan). I’m gearing up to make a run through our house with either matte black, Amsterdam Green, or Oxford Navy, I haven’t decided yet.
Shop the Look – High Contrast
Interior Design Trends 2020 -Accessories
All the Wallpaper
Removable wallpaper isn’t a new thing, but it’s getting exponentially bigger so the selection is so much better this year. My hands-down forever favorite is Loomwell wallpaper. I’ve appreciated their designs for a long time and recently started an affiliate relationship with them. I’m using a ton of their products in our rental remodel this summer and I can’t wait to show them to you.
For just a little more than big box, the quality is so much better. Particularly if you’re renting, I don’t recommend trusting your walls to the cheap stuff. If you use our coupon code FOODFABRIC, at Loomwell, they’ll give you 15% off.
As to pattern, it’s lots of florals this year in all sizes. If you’re feeling bold, take the wall pattern and carry it to the fabrics, stencils, and vinyls in your room as well. I’m seeing designers forego the accent walls this year in favor of wallpapering whole rooms or ceilings as accents instead. High-contrast accent walls are rarely something I recommend and find distracting, though I sometimes make exceptions for a child’s room, headboard wall, or office setting. I usually stick to smaller rooms when wallpapering in larger patterns, in a larger room large pattern overwhelms me a bit. My favorite is a huge pattern in a small bathroom or large closet, it makes such an impact.
Of course, you can go with traditional wallpaper, as well, for a more permanent solution. Just be sure you have it installed professionally or know what you’re doing – it’s an expensive material to waste and so messy if you don’t have an organized system for hanging it.
Move over, fiddle leaf fig, there’s a new tree in town. The olive tree is a beautiful alternative that’s coming up quickly. Though you can grow them inside, given the warnings around the web and from my nursery, I’ll be going faux with this one. There are some gorgeous fauxs, see the samples below. (As we’ve discussed, my gardening skills are numbered and specific.)
It’s important to also care for quality faux plants so they last and continue to look real, as well but they are quite forgiving. (Real ficus trees? Not so much…)
Shop the Look – Olive Trees
Antique Art Pieces
Antique art is everywhere, no longer simply the stuff of galleries and collectors’ homes. I’m so excited for this trend, and the trend toward small art pieces in the kitchen, as well. Landscape artists in particular will be so popular this year and it’s getting more difficult to find them in my favorite haunts.
I love old art pieces and spend hours scouring flea markets and antique malls for deals on them. If you’re looking for affordable ones, those are the best places to source them, but if you don’t have the time or desire to do so, you can find antique art online in several places, as well.
You can also visit auctions, they give me a bit of anxiety but many of my colleagues love them.
Shop the Look – Antique Art and Landscape Artists
With the emergence of shelves in the kitchen, art naturally followed to style them. Even if you don’t have shelves, you can hang tiny art pieces on the backsplash with Command hooks for the same effect. I’ve even seen art hung on pantry doors and the like, but that placement seems odd to me so I don’t employ it.
I try to hang art in every room, whether it’s local artists, a family painting, my own work, or collected pieces but I especially love it in the bathroom and kitchen where it’s a little unexpected. Obviously, don’t hang priceless collections in a kitchen or bathroom, but keep an eye out for fun pieces that work there and be sure your framer knows your intended placement. Again, look toward the landscape artists to really capitalize on this trend.
Shop the Look – Kitchen Art and Landscape Artists
Rugs as Art
Almost everyone loves a pretty rug, but this year we’re putting more thought into rugs that evoke feeling and/or tell stories – rugs as art are becoming more prevalent, and they don’t have to be super expensive. You’ll pay more for detail and quality, but I’ve tried to include examples for every budget. If none of these work for you, IKEA often gets pretty artsy with rugs, as well.
Shop the Look – Rugs as Art
Interior Design Trends 2020 – Handmade and Personal Touches
These can be tricky because you don’t want to go too kitschy unless that’s 100% your thing. Whether you DIY, use family heirlooms, search flea markets and antique stores, or hit Etsy for new handmade things, bringing a personal accessory or furniture piece ups the cozy factor in any design significantly. Handmade isn’t just for casual interiors, there’s a place for it in formal rooms, as well.
Don’t forsake quality, find things you love that are well made. It’s infinitely better to wait until you find something that speaks to you than to fill space with something that doesn’t. Here are some handmade goods that will give you a fresh look that’s in line with 2020 interior design trends. Check out this list of Etsy sellers to get you started, and our list of places to buy fabric online and plaster paint recipe if you’re planning to go the DIY route.
2020 Interior Design Trends -Furnishings
A New Take on Canopy Beds
Canopy beds have come a long way since the ruffled, lacy things of our childhood. (Were you a Strawberry Shortcake or a Holly Hobby? It was all pink, all the time at my house.) Some contemporary versions even work for the minimalist (though a canopy in sort of the opposite of minimalism in my mind). The latest “canopies” often aren’t canopies at all, but rather draped accent fabric or lighting.
I’m not a canopy fan simply because I have a dust allergy and washing one often would be arduous, but I do think there are some beautiful ones on the market right now and they definitely make a stunning focal point in a room. If you’re going this direction, I’d keep the rest of the room fairly simple unless excess is the look you’re shooting for.
Shop the Look – Canopy Beds
Ahead of the Curve with Round Edges on Furnishings
I admit this isn’t my cup of tea; though I happily design with them, in our home neither curved sofas nor curved walls have ever been my style (much to my Santa Fe-loving husband’s aggravation). Rounded edges are in this year when it comes to furnishings, but way out when it comes to arches (if you have arches you’re tired of, you can minimize them easily with drapery or paint).
As with anything, if you love your arches, keep them – your home should make you feel comfortable and that’s all about intentional choices whether they are in style or not.
Shop the Look – Round-Edged Furnishings
Rattan, Wicker, and Other Natural Materials
Refinishers and crafters will love this trend – rattan and wicker in both raw and updated colors are back for 2020, and not just for furniture. We’re loving woven accessories, too, and still loving boho after all these years. Rattan and wicker are not the same things, but don’t worry with the difference as you can go either way; almost anything woven of natural materials is hot this year. You can DIY some of the smaller pieces and wall hangings if you’re crafty.
Boho fans and nautical devotees will find this easy to incorporate (and probably already have it on hand) and surf shack and cottage style will also be right at home. Don’t be afraid to go all-in on this one if you have a traditional or transitional interior or even something formal – you can fit rattan and wicker into almost any style.
Shop the Look – Rattan & Wicker
Have clawfoot tubs ever not been the thing of home decor dreams? Clawfoot and other freestanding tubs are divine in pretty much any interior. If you’ve got the room, budget, and desire, go for it. Be sure to get a reputable contractor and plumber involved, as structural issues always come into play with regard to tub placement.
Instant Pendant Lights
It’s never been easier to update lighting, especially if you’re a renter with pot lights or recessed lighting everywhere. We do a lot of moving and renting, so I’m excited about this but even if you own your home, it’s such a budget-friendly way to update in minutes. You simply screw the pendant into the existing recessed outlet.
Shop the Look – Instant Pendant Lights
Distressed or new, caramel leather is a distinct choice that never goes out of style and fits almost anywhere. I’ve had a caramel leather set go through evolutions of French country, Scandi, and boho with a minimalist bend – it handled each with ease, and the older it gets, the better it looks.
That’s the value in pieces that are timeless and neutral. If you’re going with this one, I’d recommend getting the best quality you can afford because you’re not going to want to part with it.
Shop the Look – Caramel Leather
I love upholstered everything, so I love that upholstered walls are coming back in 2020. However, not everyone has the time, patience, or money to upholster walls and the upkeep can be a bit of a pain. (If you think vacuuming floors is time-consuming, consider how long it will take to vacuum the walls, as well.
Explore ways you can get the look and feel without the investment. Consider starched, fabric-covered walls, framed fabric panels, upholstered panels, and huge headboards.
Shop the Look – Large Upholstered Headboards
IKEA has a few great upholstered headboards, as well.
2020 Interior Design Trends – What Else Is Hanging Around?
Dark doors. We can’t get enough. Stain them, paint them, and matte black works everywhere. One tip – you’re likely to see fewer gray doors this season unless they’re a super-dark-almost-charcoal or deep blue value.
2020 Interior Design Trends – What’s Getting Left Behind?
- Tons of open shelves. The look is beautiful done right but, in practice, they’re tough to keep organized and clean. Consider glass instead if you love the look. ALNO makes gorgeous glass cabinetry.
If you really love open space on top (I do, I despise having cabinets in front of my face) and you have space, go with lowers only and big drawers and install a separate shelved pantry with doors or a full butler’s pantry. These designs leave lots of room for that kitchen art we talked about earlier, and lots of breathing space for prep work.
If you still love open shelves and don’t mind cleaning them, check out my all-time favorite kitchen. Almost as inimitable as Beth herself, it will most certainly stand the test of time and trend. The design is by Jersey Ice Cream Company.
- All. That. Gray. Gray color schemes and cool tones are on their way out and cozy warms are making a comeback. Check out the tips for warming up a white kitchen above, they work for gray too, and in any room. They can save you lots of money and time if you just want to grab this warm trend for a bit.
- Monochromatic color schemes – contrast is the name of the game in 2020 interior design trends. Monochromatic schemes are not the same as a one-color room – see above.
- Cluttered layers and excess in decorating are on their way out. Curate, rotate, and repeat if you have things you love and can’t part with but don’t want to look at all of them, all the time.
- You won’t see much white trim in trendy new builds this year, if you have the opportunity, go dark or natural instead.
- Hardcore industrial design had a real moment a few years back, but with cozy dictating everything we design now, it’s on the way out. If you’re keeping this one, make sure it suits your personality and really is an expression of your personal aesthetic. Otherwise, keep the rustic stuff and cozy up the finishes with textures and warmth. You don’t have to clutter a space to warm it up.
- Mirrored furniture and accessories have always been a bit hard to design around. For an updated look, choose acrylic or lucite instead. Likewise, obviously fake plants – but if you have a source for good ones, go for it.
- Lastly, and I’m treading carefully here because I know I’ll get some hate mail – basic subway tiles and mosaics. Remember when I said basic, shiny subway tiles are not a timeless look and the design world would tire of them? We’re there.
If you’ve got them, by all means, keep them, but trendy new installations will see wider slabs of natural materials (especially rectangular shapes) and large-scaled tile with little grout. If you’re looking to update the basic subway tiles you already installed, hang art on them with Command strips – instant update.
Important note – when I say “mosaic,” I mean tiny tiles hooked together on sheets that have filled many backsplash and bathtub walls over the past many years. I’m not talking about art mosaic – a beautifully-done mosaic art installation never goes out of style and craftsmanship always trumps trends.
Again, and Again – Keep What You Love
I know this is redundant but again, if you love something don’t toss it or fall out of love because designers tell you it’s out of style. Use lists like these for ideas to freshen and update what you don’t love and want to change. I hate to see clients toss or store beautiful or meaningful things because trends changed. If you want to update something you already love, consider a temporary change like a slipcover or the like.
Finally, for the love of all things good, please don’t get rid of original or historic materials to keep up with trends. Quality, craftsmanship, and history never go out of style and things that bring us comfort and peace have never been more important. Feeling comfortable in your home is paramount, the rest is details.
As we navigate this new normal, I truly wish you and yours the very best of health and wellness; take care of yourselves and one another this summer and always.