To get an idea of what’s to come, we browsed thousands of home design photos, spoke with countless home design professionals, consulted the latest Houzz data and research, and looked at past articles to create a snapshot of home design trends we think will excite homeowners in 2020.
It’s not only a new year but a new decade. And what the months and years ahead will bring is anyone’s guess. One thing is for sure, though: The modern home and how people choose to live in it will constantly be changing.
1. Three-tone kitchens. Two-tone kitchen cabinets — meaning the upper cabinets are one color and the lower cabinets another color, or the perimeter cabinets are one color and the island is a different color — dominated kitchens in the past couple of years. So it’s only natural that designers are building on the home design trend rather than doing away with it.
In a three-tone kitchen, one more color or material is introduced to create an asymmetry in the palette that helps define zones or functions and keeps the eye moving.
2. Refaced cabinets. Keeping the cabinet boxes while replacing the drawer and door fronts is an affordable way to dramatically update a kitchen, and it’s an idea homeowners will increasingly turn to.
3. Blue cabinets. Speaking of blue cabinets, interior designer and color expert Jennifer Ott predicts that the color will catch on even more in 2020. “Both black and navy continue to be popular, and I anticipate seeing them used in even larger doses in 2020, such as for all of the kitchen cabinets rather than just the base cabinets or island,” she says. “To balance out these dramatic darks, I’m seeing equally liberal use of neutral to warm whites, such as wool and bone white. These are whites that have just the slightest touch of warmth to them, which keeps them clean and crisp-looking.”
Even the Pantone Color Institute picked Classic Blue as its 2020 Color of the Year.
4. Wood cabinets. As you’ll see, wood features heavily throughout this article, and we seem to be on the cusp of a renaissance of full-wood kitchen cabinets. Perhaps it’s a reaction to past years of mostly white and gray palettes, but some credit must be given to designers, artisans and cabinetmakers who have shown their clients how rich and diverse various woods and grain patterns can be.
If there’s one wood that might outshine them all in 2020, it’s walnut. Walnut is such a naturally rich, warm, elegant and inviting wood, which makes it perfect for lively kitchens. Walnut pairs beautifully with whites, grays, blues and brass tones — all popular colors in modern-day kitchens. So it’s no wonder that designers and homeowners like it.
5. Soft-colored kitchens. One word that defines a lot of the palettes of popular kitchens in 2019 is “soft.” Soft gray cabinets join soft satin-brass fixtures, a light marble backsplash and quartzite countertops for a refreshing look.
6. Slabs. If the thought of grout lines gives you pause, or you’ve hit analysis paralysis when trying to choose a backsplash tile, consider taking your countertop material one step further. A slab backsplash, especially in a material with lots of movement, makes for an eye-catching design statement.
7. Mixing matte and glossy tile. If you’re looking for a subtler backsplash option, consider mixing up the finishes of your tile selection.
8. Porcelain. While engineered quartz will continue its rise in popularity as a countertop material (51% of renovating homeowners choose the material, according to the latest Houzz research), some designers are looking for alternatives that deliver a more polished look with the same durability.
9. Quartzite. As granite continues to decline in popularity, according to recent Houzz research, quartzite seems to be rising. The natural stone is harder than granite and displays infinite variation, meaning no two slabs ever look the same. It’s also super heat-resistant and more scratch-resistant than engineered quartz.
10. Dark colors. As Houzz editor Erin Carlyle reports, several countertop manufacturers showed off dark countertop options at the Kitchen & Bath Industry show in early 2019. Homeowners and designers looking for a contrast to white cabinetry or a complement to dark cabinetry will turn to these darker countertops.
11. Butcher block or other wood countertops. If you’re choosing a countertop material for an island that’s different than your perimeter countertops, consider butcher block or a wood slab. Recent Houzz research reveals that among renovating homeowners who want a contrasting island material, 41% choose butcher block or a wood slab, followed by a distant 28% who choose engineered quartz.
12. Ultrathin materials. Also at the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show earlier this year, many companies introduced technology that allows for thinner engineered countertops.
Wilsonart introduced ultra-thin countertops in a range of designs: stone and quartz looks as well as wood-look and steel patterns. The European-inspired ultra-thin surfaces, one of which is shown here, are one-half-inch thick and can be installed with an undermount sink. The material is a new composite made of resins and paper.
13. Decorative sink panels. The age of customization is upon us. Many home design companies are rolling out appliances and other features that allow homeowners to choose personalized colors and patterns, or that allow them to easily swap out decorative features to instantly update a fixture.
Earlier this year Kohler introduced its Tailor customizable farmhouse sink, which has a changeable decorative front panel. Homeowners can choose one of Kohler’s six decorative panels, which include floral and geometric. This panel is called Light Floral. Alternatively, customers can insert their own material, like a countertop material or tile, into the panel slot.
14. Custom-colored appliances. Also earlier this year,Dacor launched its DacorMatch Color System, which allows homeowners to get the company’s Heritage ranges and wall ovens in any color they choose. That way the range can match a cabinet color or a color found in a backsplash tile mosaic, or even the color of a homeowner’s favorite sweater.
15. Mixed metal finishes on faucets. Moen’s Nio faucet in matte black, comes with the option of a different handle finish, such as brushed gold, chrome, stainless steel and black stainless steel.
16. Wood detailing on range hoods. As mentioned earlier, wood is showing up in full force in kitchens. One interesting way wood is being used in kitchens is as a detail on a paneled range hood. A wood detail on a range brings in a bit of warmth and texture, and helps break up large expanses of white or gray cabinetry.
17. Wood cabinets amid painted cabinets. Another way designers are bringing a dose of warm wood to white cabinets is by using wood for just a few drawers or cabinet fronts. Again, it helps break up the large expanses of white or another color and introduces texture and warmth.
18. Multi-functional island centers. Kitchen islands are nothing new, but they certainly are evolving. We’re seeing many homeowners take islands beyond just storage. And as we’ll see, islands are getting bigger and are taking on more function. Nearly a third of renovating homeowners who are updating their island will add a microwave and a dishwasher, according to the latest Houzz research. A quarter of them will add a garbage disposal, and more than a fifth will add a cooktop.
That means islands are becoming multi-functional hubs in the kitchen, allowing various zones for cooking, prepping and cleaning. And it makes sense for the person in the kitchen performing all the main tasks to be facing the island, at which guests and family might be sitting, rather than the perimeter walls.
19. Hardworking ends of islands. Similarly, the ends of islands are taking on more function. Numerous kitchens on Houzz in 2019 pack in things like a pullout chopping station. Beverage fridges are popular end-of-island home design features because they allow guests or family members to grab a drink without disrupting the cook in the kitchen.
20. Wood islands. Again, wood is showing up everywhere in kitchens. While the latest Houzz research shows that renovating homeowners who are upgrading their island and choosing a contrasting cabinet color will select a gray (26%), blue (19%) or black (11%) island, wood islands are becoming popular. In fact, the choice of a medium-tone wood island by homeowners matches that of black (11%).
21. Extra-large islands. As we asked earlier this year, at what size does an island stop being an island and become a continent? It’s a tough call, but the latest Houzz research shows that nearly a third of renovating homeowners who are upgrading their kitchen island make it more than 7 feet. (That means the average NBA center player could lie down comfortably on it!)
“Many of our clients are doing away with kitchen tables and opting for super-large islands,” designer Katelyn Gilmour of KBG Design says. “That way family and guests can be close by or dine informally while still gathering together in the kitchen.”
22. Oversize statement pendants. “I think we will reach peak ‘statement light fixture’ by 2020,” designer Jennifer Ott says. “It’s been a home design trend building for years now and is culminating with homeowners’ now wanting rooms designed around these light fixtures that are basically works of art themselves. Large, impactful pendants in particular are all the rage.”
23. Tiled bathtub aprons. Tile is a great, affordable material that adds design points to a bathroom, and ordering a few extra square feet of tile likely won’t sink the budget. That’s why we’re seeing many homeowners and designers covering the tub apron in tile or another material, like wood. This results in a big payoff with a minimal investment.
24. Walk-in showers. This might seem like a no-brainer, but the desire for a walk-in shower seems like it has reached a fever pitch. Some of our most popular articles of 2019 are about walk-in shower ideas. Many homeowners want big showers that are easy to get into and out of, and because showers are the tallest element in a bathroom, figuring out how to make them stand out and look good is a common concern.
25. Wet rooms. Putting a stand-alone tub in an enclosed shower area makes sense. Why not contain all the functions that cause splashing in one space? Cue the rise of the wet room. If you’ve got the space, consider this practical approach to laying out the bathroom.
26. Shower ledges. Many designers feel that installing a shower ledge is more straightforward than installing a niche, because a ledge requires only building out a few inches into the shower space instead of carving out space between studs.
27. Floating double vanities. We’re seeing a rise in popularity of double floating vanities among the Houzz community. And it’s easy to see why. Floating a vanity frees up floor space to give the appearance of more room, and makes cleaning the floor easier than with a furniture-style vanity with legs that can trap dust.
28. A seat in the bathroom that’s not the toilet. Whether for brushing teeth, taking off house slippers or just idling away on the internet, a place to relax in the bathroom is something almost every homeowner could benefit from having. In bathrooms on Houzz, we’re seeing seating pop up as everything from built-in benches to stools that provide versatility.
29. Fully wrapped powder rooms. Going for bold style in a powder room is nothing new. Designers tend to like to go a little wild in these small spaces often used by guests. One way to go big or go home is by wrapping the entire powder room in a feature wallcovering.
30. Breezy, calming living rooms. One thing we heard designers talking a lot about this year, particularly at Design Chicago, is the need to design around a sense of calm and wellness. We’re seeing that manifest in soothing and relaxed living room designs. Soft colors, casual fabrics, minimal decor and lots of sunshine hit the note just right.
31. Deep utility sinks. One thing that keeps coming up again and again in 2019 laundry room photos is a large country or farmhouse utility sink.
If you use a sink to pre-soak lots of clothing items, such as dirty sports gear for your kids, a deep and wide sink with a wall-mounted faucet is perfect for getting the job done. Plus, the design adds a little charm.
32. Bright colors. Designers have long championed making laundry rooms enjoyable spaces to be in. After all, if you have to do laundry, you might as well be in a pleasant atmosphere. But lately we’re seeing designers and homeowners take that idea even further. They’re introducing energizing colors, patterns and features to transform these spaces into enjoyable rooms, making them lively, cheerful and a bit quirky.
33. Dining rooms with personality. While many family meals are had at informal spots near or in the kitchen, dining rooms are thriving for special occasions. That specialness opens up opportunities to inject lots of personality through color, pattern, lighting and more that might not fit within the context of the style found elsewhere in the home, and we expect to see more designers doing just that in 2020.
34. Warmer colors. While neutrals are still very popular in general, on Houzz we’re starting to see people move away from grays and head toward warmer colors, from coral in all shades to ocher and beyond.
“Millennial Pink, so popular three or four years ago, is back, but the current incarnation is warmer — a very light coral,” designer Jennifer Ott says. “Another popular color trend is bringing together warm and cool colors in unexpected combinations, such as hot pink with pistachio green or soft coral with a bright mint.”
Houzz.com January 2020