Top 5 Design Trends in 2020

I can’t believe I’m writing 2020.

That was THE future.

Back when I was a kid (Boy, don’t I sound like a grandmother!), 2020 was far, far away. 

By 2020, surely we’d have flying cars and robot cooks, time machines and hoverboards.

Okay, we do have some of that. (Still waiting for my robot cook!)

But now that the future is here, it doesn’t look all that space-age and Jetsons-esque. 

At least not when it comes to design. 

The future is here, and it’s different than what we expected.

It’s soft, warm, comforting.

It’s open, welcoming, inviting.

It’s sensible, functional…and not ostentatious. 

It’s about what you really need and what makes the space work.

Here’s what I predict we’ll all be seeing a lot more of as the calendar rolls over.

 

MUTED COLORS

Intense, headache-inducing colors are hitting the wayside, making room for muted colors.

These are colors mixed with others — like white, black, brown or gray, or a complementary color — in order to “mute” them, that is, tone them down. 

Muted colors bring warmth to a room, a soft calm that embraces the people inside it. This is ideal for a commercial space. You never want your design to be jarring to customers; you want to invite them in.

Sounds boring? Muted colors actually help the design elements of the space stand out because they don’t take away the attention. 

Plus, design can still be bold, even with muted tones. Take an adventurous fabric or a busy pattern; in muted tones, the design is cool and classy, not brash or overdone. 

Like my absolute favorite: dusty pink!

 

CURVES

Ovals, circles, rounded arches — curves are making a comeback, especially where you least expect them, like a curved wall or a circular couch.

These designs with a twist are less harsh and more fluid than straight, unforgiving lines. At a round table, for instance, anyone can just pull up a chair.

This less formal, more intimate vibe mirrors the general societal trend of waning formality. Curves give more of a “Come on in, let’s chat!” approach that businesses want to convey, so their customers feel welcomed and at home.

Curves are functional too, making good use of space in tight quarters. Not to mention the obvious benefit…bump into a chair with a rounded edge, and it doesn’t hurt! 

 

MINIMALISM

This trend of getting rid of the extras, clearing the clutter and embracing open space has been popular for a while, and it’s not going away.

But cold, industrial minimalism IS on its way out…getting replaced by a toastier, cozier version, one that is bright and clean and uber-inviting. 

How is this accomplished exactly?

Very deliberately.  

You’ll be seeing MORE:

  • Glass + acrylic, letting light flow through without hindering function
  • Natural elements — wool, wood, stone, plants & flowers
  • Smart storage that’s elegant and well-planned for what needs to fit inside

Overall, this results in a look that’s clean and fresh — exactly what you want to feel, whether you’re stepping into a healthcare facility, hotel or restaurant. 

 

UNDERSTATED FOCAL POINTS

A focal point is the spot in the room where your eye is naturally drawn first. 

Gotta be a loud, bold color or object to attract attention, right?

Not anymore.

This year, focal points will be all about finding the most visually interesting, uniquely beautiful, mesmerizing element in the room, and crafting the design around it.

Like that breathtaking view out the picture window.

Like that striking, oversized piece of artwork.

Like that charming exposed brick wall. 

These are a softer, more natural take on the classic focal point.

The furniture, accent pieces, lighting and other design elements will be specifically chosen and arranged to compliment the focal point. 

Kinda like how you’ll wear small, understated earrings when you have on a necklace that really wows.

 

FUNCTIONALISM

Confession…I thought I made that word up. Turns out it’s real (says Google), and it’s the perfect description for this upcoming trend.

Functionalism = making function the priority in design, not aesthetics, and the belief that things that are practical have their own inherent beauty.

We’re moving in that direction with design. Thinking first about how a space has to function — the workflow, the foot traffic, what its main uses will be — and then planning the design to fit that.

Take the typical office space, for example. 

It’s no longer just a place to sit by yourself and crank out your work. 

The modern office also needs common areas — “shared spaces” — for coworkers to come together, bounce ideas off each other, build on each other’s creative energy.

Or just chill with friends. That builds morale too, you know!