Hindsight Is 2020! 10 Design Trends to Ditch in the Coming Year—and How to Decorate Instead
Thursday Jan 09th, 2020
It’s a brand-new decade and there’s a good chance you're reflecting on your choices over the past 10 years. Maybe you're patting yourself on the back for taking that job across the country. Perhaps you wish you could undo that three-year relationship that sucked the life out of you. Or maybe—just maybe—you're surveying your home, and you have the sudden urge to get rid of everything in it.
After all, as we head into 2020, now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your decor choices. But you don't have to do it alone. To help, we've consulted with the pros about which looks are going by the wayside in 2020—and why. (Disclaimer: If it makes you happy, keep it! Who are we to tell you what to do?)
1. Lone accent wall
Let us be clear: We're definitely not kicking bold looks to the curb (more on that in a minute). Instead, we just want more, more, more of them. That means one measly little accent wall won't cut it anymore.
"It's time to boldly enter the new decade by fearlessly experimenting with paint. Washing all the walls in a bold color—including millwork and trim—is much more powerful and sophisticated," says Amanda Amato-Scotto, CEO and principal designer at AMA Designs & Interiors. "If you love a color enough to paint one wall, go the extra mile by painting the entire room. It's a design risk worth taking!"
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
Stephanie Purcell, designer and owner of Redesigned Classics, agrees: "With the rise in popularity of wallpaper—and the huge strides it's made in ease of use, such as peel-and-stick—we're starting to see whole rooms in vibrant colors or covered in fun wallpaper. Why should one wall have all the fun?"
2. Minimalist designs
Photo by John Maniscalco Architecture
If you can't tell already, the "less is more" mantra is so 2019. That's right—2020 will be all about ditching your tiny, sleek furniture and going big—everywhere.
"Gone are the days of spaces with as little as possible. Say hello to visual overload," says Justin Riordan, interior designer, architect, and founder of home staging company Spade and Archer Design Agency. "The darling of the design world is maximalism—try solids mixed with stripes, mixed with plaids, mixed with polka dots. Take all you’ve learned about midcentury modern clean design, and throw it to the wind."
We've spent so much time with monochromatic palettes and neutral interiors, Amato-Scotto says, that we're ready to take more risks.
"In true roaring '20s fashion, we are entering a new decade with visible boldness," she says.
3. Faux natural materials
Photo by Ceramictec
Faux, no! If you've been relying on faking expensive decor, we've got bad news: Look-alike materials such as wood-look porcelain plank tile and faux stone will be out in 2020, Amato-Scotto says.
"Of course, there is a time and a place for faux alternatives," she says, noting that basements and wet areas are prime spots for these products. "However, we live in a time where people desire more authenticity—whether that be on social media, real life, or in the home. Say no to faux, and opt for the real deal, which adds character to your home."
4. Rose gold and millennial pink
Photo by DS Interior Design
We'll continue to see mixed metals in the coming year (and beyond). But one such metal might not make it to the 2020 party.
Rose gold "has seemed to reach its expiration date," Purcell says. "Soft pinks and blushed hues are starting to see a decline, as this millennial trend is no longer considered a fresh idea."
"[Millennial] pink is starting to feel a little too soft and is starting to remind me of my grandmothers house," adds Brett Elron, owner and lead designer at BarterDesign.co.
This doesn't mean that pinks will disappear entirely from favor, they both note, but you can expect to see bolder shades of the rosy hue—think magentas and corals—as we transition into the new year.
5. Farmhouse style
Photo by Crescent Homes
Sorry, Chip and Jo Gaines—the pros are ready to put this one out to pasture. With the meteoric rise of farmhouse design, every retailer big and small has jumped on the bandwagon, producing home goods in the quintessential "Fixer Upper" aesthetic. It was cool for a minute, but designers predict the villagers are getting restless with this ubiquitous look.
"These put-together trends lack unique personality. Mass-produced furniture feels impersonal, and many are opting for more unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, meaning you will likely see more eclectic style mixes, with heirlooms and vintage items making a comeback," Purcell says. "This is great, because it makes for an easy transition—you can still include some of your favorite farmhouse decor; just try mixing it with some more one-of-a kind finds to create a space that is truly your own."
6. Cool and light neutrals
Photo by Kahrs
Last year, we predicted the end of an era for gray, which had become design's go-to neutral. And indeed, warmer tones—light browns, toasty beiges, and creamy whites—have begun to beat out those icier hues. Expect more of that in 2020, but here's a twist: The truly hot 2020 neutral will be saturated and bold. (Are you sensing a theme here?)
"It's becoming quite popular to see more vibrant colors take the place of standard neutrals, like navy and emerald green," Purcell says.
"In 2020, there will be a resurgence of warm earth-tone hues, including champagne, mushroom, ochre, amber, and jade," Amato-Scotto adds.
7. Fast furniture
Photo by Niche reDesign
The dawn of a new decade is likely to bring a growing awareness of global warming and sustainability. (We've already seen a bit of backlash against fast fashion, and the waste it produces.) So you can expect that home furnishings that are not so eco-friendly are decidedly out.
"Let's be honest, home furnishings that are detrimental to the Earth were never trending," Amato-Scotto says. "But budget-friendly and short-life-span furniture has been popularized, which in turn end up in our landfills. As consumers are becoming more aware of their carbon footprint and reducing waste, products that are eco-friendly will be trending."
8. Neon word signs
Photo by Javier Bravo
Ah, the neon sign trend. We're not talking about the flickering Budweiser homage your husband has in the basement. We're talking about the catchy neon phrases showcased on Instagram by celebrities such as the Kardashians, Justin Bieber, and Bethenny Frankel, just to name a few.
But in 2020, we're flipping the switch on this trend—Instagram and Pinterest be damned.
"While neon signs look cool when illuminated at night or in a moody photo, during the day their effect lacks luster," Amato-Scotto says.
Don't unplug from this look entirely, though. Instead, Amato-Scotto predicts backlit art—with a twist—will gain popularity in 2020. In particular, she favors the work of Alan Strack, who creates backlit cinematic art with movie film.
"His pieces capture your attention and are truly a conversation piece"—and that's the kind of energy she says we'll be seeking in 2020.
9. Bedding in a kit
Photo by Roger Oates Design
Every one of us is probably guilty of buying bedding in a bag at some point. And why not? It's so easy! You get designer like bedding in a kit, typically a comforter, two shams, and a couple of matching accent pillows. Voila! New bed.
But the problem with these effortless bedding packages is that, well, they scream "no effort," Amato-Scotto says.
"We are entering an age of authenticity, boldness, and personal expression," she says. "A bedding set doesn't allow for creative expression like custom bedding does."
That doesn't mean you have to break the bank with hand-sewn linens, but try seeking out individual items, adding layers, and mixing patterns and textures for an effect that's unique to you.
"We spend nearly half of our life in bed, so why not invest in these items?" Amato-Scotto says.
10. Open floor plans
Photo by Skyring Architects
Say what now? We know, it sounds like blasphemy. For years we haven't wavered from the idea of being able to see everybody in the kitchen while in the living room or even the dining room. But some of us have begun to tire of all the openness—and we're craving a little more privacy. That's especially true for millennials—who will be the single largest demographic of home buyers in 2020 and are eager to put back up some walls.
"The biggest revolt with millennials will be the desire for well-defined spaces for living, working, eating, and cooking," Riordan says.