Recently, Elle Decor did a post about 50 interior design trends for 2020 – in or out?
So, I thought it would be interesting to do my own take on these interior design trends. There was a similar post from last August that was also a riff on an Elle Decor article. That one was 40 outdated home trends, but are they all passé?
First of all, what is an interior design trend?
My definition is: An interior design trend is a popular style, theme or product related to home furnishings and decoration. Generally, it is more than likely not going to be something that will be as popular after a relatively short period of time.
However, sometimes, there are interior design and decor elements that I feel are not trends. I believe them to be timeless.
That is a very astute observation. And, I agree completely.
In short, trends are marketing.
Folks who sell home furnishings want you to purchase new items. So, their objective is to make you WANT the latest and greatest.
So, I am going to go over all 50 of these interior design trends 2020.
Before I begin. The article is based on what various interior designers said. Well, they might have said what was published. And, they might not have. I’ve been misquoted in print numerous times. It’s rather annoying. But, what can you do?
My goal isn’t to disparage anyone’s viewpoint either. In fact, one or two of these designers are acquaintances of mine.
You are free to disagree with me, but please as always when I do these types of posts, respectful, responses only. Please avoid saying things like “you have no idea what you’re talking about.”
I’m fully aware of that. lol
Let’s dive into our Interior Design Trends For 2020 – in or out?
Grand Millennial Style – IN
Oh, those poor millennials. Those are you young’uns born between 1981-1996.
Okay, these terms drive me a little nutso. Here’s the reason why. You can ask ten designers what grand millennial style is and you’ll get ten different answers.
However, House Beautiful did an attempt to cover the topic of grand millennial style which you can read here. A quote from the article is:
“I think a ‘grandmillennial’ is really a ‘New Traditionalist’—someone who has an appreciation for the past,” explains Manhattan-based interior designer Ariel Okin, 28. “It’s someone who references the work of legendary designers like Billy Baldwin and Nancy Lancaster and Albert Hadley, who realizes the staying power of good, well-edited design while putting their own fresh spin on it to make it feel updated and unique.”
I like Ariel’s definition.
But, then they’re showing rooms with bubble gum pink walls, ruffles, and needle-point pillows, etc. And that is not Billy Baldwin et al. Therefore, which is it? I’m confused.
But, I do love this wonderful bedroom by interior designer Matthew Bees. If this is grand millennial style then, I say “bring it on!”
2. Grey on Grey or Gray on Gray – OUT
Well, I would like to say that it was never in. Not, the one-note gray on gray as we observed here.
Examples above and below of beautiful gray on gray rooms by John Jacob. Please note that he achieves balance with lots of white in the top photo and the addition of a decent amount of brown, white and black in the photo below.
3. BOLD MONOCHROMATICS – IN
Oh, I hope not. Bold translates to mean bright in chroma. Please review this recent post about monochromatic color schemes. It’s not that a monochromatic color scheme cannot be colorful. Absolutely, yes. But to take ONE neon tone and create an entire room around it, sounds like an Excedrin headache in the making.
The rare exception to this is Miles Redd. Miles can do a bold monochromatic color scheme. But still, it is not for everyone.
4. Pale Monochromatic Color Schemes – OUT
But please review the monochromatic color scheme post if you have not done so yet to see what I think are beautiful examples of pale monochromatic color schemes. IMO, a well-done pale mono scheme is as classic as it gets. Thank you Suzanne Kasler! She’s the queen!
5. Layering Old and New – IN
Well, yes, beautiful layering of old and new is in. But, it’s not a trend. It’s a timeless look in interior decorating.
One of my favorite designers who excels at beautiful layering in his rooms is James T Farmer.
Above and below – two beautiful rooms by James T. Farmer
photo @jeffherr on instagram
6. Perfection – OUT
I dunno. I guess it depends what the definition of “perfection” is. They mention something about furniture that has patina and scratches as being cool. Sure. But, that’s not a trend, IMO.
7. Dark Painted Doors – IN
Again, dark painted doors might be on trend right now, but it is not anything new.
8. Standard White Trim and Doors – OUT
Well, that one’s just plain silly. Of course they aren’t “out.” It doesn’t mean that you MUST paint all of your trim and doors white. But, it’s certainly not a mistake to do so. Nor, do I believe it will ever be dated.
9. Use of a Single Print for Drama – IN
Again, this look has been around for decades. But, believe me when I tell you that next year, or the year after, they’ll say it’s “out.” I say, if you have a small space and would like to try it; sure, why not? If it’s not your cup of marshmallow in the snow, then that’s fine too.
10. Industrial Design – OUT
Well, it’s funny, but the loft I stayed at in San Diego is definitely an “industrial design.” And, in an urban setting, I don’t have a problem with that.
I think actually, that the brilliant young designer and artist, William McLure usually lives in industrial-type loft spaces. And, he does an amazing job of blending his young, traditional/contemporary mix the industrial loft spaces.
It’s a little difficult for me to keep track of his homes. He seems to move fairly frequently. And, when he doesn’t move, he redecorates. But, I love everything he does.
11. Landscape Tapestries – IN
Haha. Well, tapestries have been around for about 1,000 years or more.
But, I’ve always loved this look and consider it timeless. This is from a dining room I did 17 years ago.
However, if they’re saying that tapestries are on trend, then hooray!
12. Traditional Dining Table in the Kitchen – OUT
Not sure. I dunno. The Giannettis are quoted as saying that these have been replaced with lower tables and upholstered chairs that are more conducive to hanging out. That’s reminding me of Starbucks. I wonder how that would work for a family of six where there are four children, all under 8 years of age.
13. Earth Tones – IN
Okay. I didn’t realize they had been out.
14. Cool Tones – OUT
NEVER! However, cool toned rooms do need warmth to balance them out. Please review this post about blue and white rooms to see what I’m talking about.
15. Fun Bathroom Design – IN
I think for a powder room, it has always been in style to do a whimsical or novelty wallpaper. Please check out this post of a powder room we did a few years ago.
16. Open Shelving in the kitchen – OUT
Well, I know that this proclamation is going to make many of you ecstatically happy. I wouldn’t say that open shelving is out for your kitchen. But, I do believe that a lot of overhead cabinetry for medium to large size kitchens is out. However, they didn’t mention that one.
17. Washing a Room in One Paint Color – IN
hmmmm… Well, that too has been around for centuries. But, I do love the look. Here is one of my favorite posts where I feature many rooms with trim, walls and usually the ceiling in one color.
18. Accent Walls – OUT
Well, this definitely goes under the category of “it depends.” I’ve always maintained that an accent wall for the sake of just having one wall a different color is silly. However, if it makes architectural sense, or it’s to hide a TV or behind a bed; in all of those instances, I think an accent wall with paint or wallpaper can be wonderful.
19. Performance Fabrics – IN
Absolutely! And I daresay now and forever more. Please check out this post where I introduced Crypton Home to you. And, you might also enjoy this post about the best upholstery fabrics (and some you should never use.)
20. Granite Countertops – OUT
Haha! Yes, since about 1995. And, I’ve been discussing granite countertops for nearly seven years on this blog! However, not all granite is created equally. I’ve seen some beautiful granites that look more like marble. And, I know that a lot of you have granite. But, I wouldn’t put it in a new kitchen, most likely.
21. Bold Black and White – IN
Black and white is timeless like in this beautiful classic black and white kitchen. However, the word BOLD has me worried. In addition, I don’t feel that a room should have equal parts black and white. The designer who always gets this balance perfect is Darryl Carter.
Please check out another favorite post, dedicated to Darryl Carter’s elegant work featuring black and white.
22. Monochromatic Palettes – OUT
Well, not really.
Please see my responses under #3 and #4.
23. Classicism – IN
Oh boy… To me, this is like saying “having a roof on your house is IN.” Frankly, I find it insulting for them to say that classicism is IN. Actually they said that it’s “back” which is even worse.
Fine if classicism is back that I’ll say that the sky is back, too. So bad.
24. Mirrored Furniture – OUT
This one has come up before. I agree. Most of it isn’t very good. However, some of it is lovely.
Like one of my favorite coffee tables from Wisteria which is on sale right now. Only $539! ONE piece of mirrored furniture can add a welcome note of sparkle. This is especially true in a dark room or a windowless room.
25. Real Plants – IN
26. Faux Plants – OUT
Well… I have no problem with a realistic orchid or topiary. Or, even blooming branches. But, I do recommend keeping them dusted. ;] However, yes, of course, truly plastic looking, clearly fake house plants are always OUT.
27. Furniture with European Inspired Details – IN
I think this might be a trick one. First of all, are we talking contemporary or traditional/classic European furniture? If the latter, ALL of it is inspired by European details. And, that’s not a trend, it’s for always.
28. Mosaic – OUT
Well, I do agree that a mosaic border in kitchens and bathrooms should be considered passé. However, ALL mosaic tiles? That one doesn’t make sense.
29. Quality Bedding – IN
Duh… Here are some of my favorite sources for bed linens
Lots of linen brands are having wonderful sales right now. And, if you’re in the market for beautiful things for your bath, on sale, Serena and Lily has ALL of their bath items on sale. It includes, storage, lighting and even some lovely PJs.
30. Over the Range Microwaves – OUT
Actually, I don’t mind the example they show. However, I would go along with this one. It is preferable to have your microwave in a drawer, or built into a wall cabinet.
31. Rattan and Wicker Furniture – IN
Well, I’ve been using rattan and wicker furniture my entire career. And, Vicente Wolf also loves rattan furniture and has been using it his entire career. But, if the mainstream is accepting it for indoor use, that’s awesome!
32. Subway Tile – OUT
Oh, nooooooo!!! That is like saying brick is out. Or, fireplaces are out. I’m not saying that you HAVE to have subway tile in your kitchen. However, aside from these awesome zellige tiles, there isn’t a whole lot that I think is truly timeless for a backsplash.
Also, please check out some photos from a lovely white kitchen I helped a client with recently. In fact, she decided to put in the zellige tiles after she read the post!
33. Upholstered Walls – IN
That’s pretty cool. Anybody have upholstered walls? I’ve never done them. Wallpaper, yes, dozens of times.
34. Karate Chopped Pillows – OUT
Well, I prefer down and feather for my throw pillows. Or, at least a very high quality down substitute for those of you who want to rip my finger nails off for using down and feather inserts. And, in any case, pillows need to be shaken out and fluffed. I actually beat my pillows together to remove the dust. It’s wonderful exercise! But, I see nothing wrong with a light chop.
Hang on a sec. I’m going to go and check my pillows. I’ll be right back.
Okay, I’m back. And, out of the 10 or so pillows in my living room, maybe two have a barely discernible chop. The rest, I couldn’t be bothered. haha.
I can’t believe we’re even discussing this!!!
35. Biophilic Design – IN
Please forgive me. I’m feeling a little cheeky (what else is new?) And, don’t feel like researching it. I think it has something to do with plants. In the article, I saw an entire wall of plants. That’s cool. Hopefully, they also water themselves.
36. Temporary Furnishings (They are calling it temporary void shopping) – OUT
Well, if you are able to donate to charity or give to a child or friend to re-use. OR even sell it. I have no problem with temporary furnishings. However, yes, if you get it and then just throw it out, that’s horrible.
37. Multi-Functional Spaces – IN
Sure, why not? But, I didn’t realize that they were out before.
38. Formal Separation of Spaces – OUT
Disagree completely. And, especially with an old house. What should be OUT is gutting an old house and making it an open concept space. yuck!
39. Fire Bowls – IN
Not sure the difference between a fire bowl and a fire pit. But fine. I like them.
40. Resin Fire Coffee Tables – OUT
The thing they are showing looks more like a fire flower box.
41. Terrazzo Flooring – IN
haha. I remember we were just discussing this a few months ago in this post. Because another designer said that terrazzo flooring was out. And, then it was also mentioned in this post which included terrazzo floors. Funny, in those two instances, they are saying that terrazzo floors are out.
42. Concrete Flooring – OUT
Well, it’s certainly a contemporary look. I had a wonderful client who did a poured concrete floor in her mudroom, children’s homework room and her home office. It was part of a huge renovation. And, they put in radiant heating. It was incredibly cool in this contemporary home in Pound Ridge. One of my bestest clients ever. She went to great lengths to help victims of Hurricane Sandy back in 2012.
Above is a very cool one that was the signature look of the great architect, Michael Graves. It’s from this post about kitchen floors that aren’t tacky.
However, it’s quite expensive and it’s certainly not a look that’s for everyone. But, I wouldn’t say that it’s OUT.
43. Faux Marble – IN
Hmmmm… It depends. Certainly some of the quartz faux marbles are super terrific. And, some, not so much. Here’s a post from a few years ago which features many beautiful alternatives to marble for countertops
44. Real Marble – OUT
Oh, paleeeeeeese. How can they say that? Sure. I fully understand the etching issue with marble. One, some people don’t mind that. It goes along with where they said that patina is IN. :] But, we already discussed in this post a brand that has developed a process whereby real marble no longer etches.
45. Neotenic Furniture and Accessories – IN
I am not familiar with this term. But, I saw Elle Decor’s image. Sorry, I’m not a fan. It’s fine if others like it, however.
46. Arches – OUT
Depends. I would 100% go along with this in terms of most furniture. However, arched doorways and windows ARE classical, if done correctly. But, usually in older homes. Above is a good example of when arches are appropriate.
47. Classic Interiors – IN
# 23. We’ve already established classicism is IN. So, this one’s redundant, times two. That’s good because I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little tired. haha! No worries. Only three more to go!
48. All White Kitchens – OUT
Please see #32 and also this post about the “the end of the boring white kitchen”(not)
But, frankly, I’m so freaking tired of this argument. And, I’m trying very hard not to be crabby. After all, in the scheme of things, this is not really important. But, I’m still tired of hearing this.
I just want to add that my friend Kevin Isbell wrote the quote. I was on a tour with him a few years ago. He’s very talented and a lot of fun to hang around. So, I thought I’d saunter over to Kevin Isbell’s beautiful instagram feed
And lookee what I found not too far down the page.
I’m not saying that Kevin didn’t say what he said, but they can twist your words and take them out of context. In any case, it is my conclusion that white kitchens are timeless. And, therefore, an interior design trend 2020 that is here to stay!
49. Furniture with Round Edges – IN
Well, it’s a trend that’s been here before from the last century. It’ll be on the OUT list very soon. I’m quite positive.
50. Metal Frames Furniture – OUT
They are showing a metal bed. I don’t know. There are those ubiquitous metal framed coffee tables. I’ve been tired of them for a long time. But, certainly, in the right situation, they’re fine.
Well, here’s my conclusion regarding the interior design trends 2020:
please pin to pinterest for reference
These posts wherever they appear are purely for entertainment purposes. My goal is to call BS when I see it. And, point out what I think are classic design elements which will hopefully stand the test of time.
Now, that might not be for everyone. But, I think it’s a great place to start.