Designer Insight: Design Trends & Predictions for the Building Industry in 2020

By Sue Ridgeway

In the spirit of new year and new decade, we’re sharing what to expect in 2020 and beyond, with insight from NAHB member and interior design firm Lita Dirks & Co. Designers were asked questions to tease out their expert-on-the-ground-opinions and thoughts on where they think the building and design industry is headed in 2020 (and beyond).

Q1: What are your predictions for 2020’s “hot” and/or popular design trends?

When asked about popular design trends, the overwhelming answer was color. The use of more–and bolder–colors are what designers at Lita Dirks & Co. are predicting in 2020. Other answers included:

  • More and bolder uses of color, prints, and personalityand on all walls, not just accent walls
  • Moving away from neutrals
  • Less all white cabinetry, in favor of colored (navy!) or natural wood
  • Strong colors in dining rooms, powder rooms, dining rooms, etc.
  • Wallpaper is going strong
  • Dark painted interior doors
  • Mixing old & new, from furniture to art to lamps
  • Terrazzo countertops & floors
  • Dark, moody colors
  • Minimalist design
Alara at Altair-Ariel Elite, photo by Chris Mayer Photography

Furthermore, many of the designers felt there would be a return to more nature-inspired designs in the coming year:

  • Interiors created to boost well-being
  • Biophilic design (what is that?)
  • Natural elements (greenery, woods)
  • Curated and handcrafted details
Sunrise Homes in Pearl River, La., photo courtesy of Lita Dirks & Co.

Q2: Do you see any major changes coming to the design/building industry this year?

We wanted to see what, if any, major changes our designers think will occur within the industry this year. The answers were diverse, although some general themes emerged: affordability and environmentally responsible materials/design. Other responses included:

  • Affordability is a big priority of 2020, and the industry is looking for highly desirable products with a high-design look, finishes, and options at an achievable price and size
  • Environmental awareness and tech increasing in 2020: technology and smart homes; energy and water-saving elements; hands-free or voice-activated faucets; solar and solar-ready homes
  • Lasting, durable, and natural materials
  • Designing with more recycled/reused materials as well as high-performance materials
  • Using more unexpected design solution in kitchen layouts, especially in smaller footprint homes
  • Healthier living features and materials
  • A focus on flexible living spaces that cater to a variety of buyer profiles, from 55+ to millennials to multigenerational housing and everything in between

And this response:

  • Scientists (from the University of Colorado, Boulder) have created a new, living concrete that ‘heals’ itself using photosynthetic bacteria. This could revolutionize the home building industry and help to solve problems like cracking both as a building material and in its use for indoor/outdoor furniture.

Q3: What design trend(s) do you see losing steam in 2020?

Again, the responses were somewhat disparate with the “all white kitchen” leading the pack of the unpopular. A snapshot of responses include:

  • Matching materials and “cookie cutter” solutions
  • All white walls! Unless you are going for the super clean, Scandinavian look, buyers want color on the walls. Color adds warmth and personality, and paint is an easy, non-communal and cost-effective way to change a space. White will still be dominant, but expect it mixed with other colors and patterns.
  • Macramé

What are you seeing in your region? Is all white still in? Is there an emphasis on healthier materials? Let us know in the comments below!


Post courtesy of Sue Ridgeway, Director of Marketing at Lita Dirks & Co., an interior design and merchandising firm based in Greenwood Village, Colo.

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