Ask Val: 2020 Design Trends

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Val Sotillo, Northern Virginia-based Realtor and Falls Church resident. Please submit your questions to her via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: I’m planning to do some remodeling this year and before I get started, I’m wondering what colors and design trends you’re expecting in 2020.

Answer: It’s is a new decade and we’re seeing lots of color and textures. In 2020 we will see a return to strong geometric forms as well as surprising interpretations of neutral colors.

If you’re remodeling with plans to sell in a few years, you’ll want to put more weight into current buyer trends. So visit some open houses for new construction homes to see what finishes builders are using and balance these with your personal preferences.

If you don’t plan to sell in the near or midterm, design your home to reflect your personality and tell your story. What makes you truly happy is more important than what you see in magazines or on social media. There’s a good chance design trends will change anyway by the time you’re ready to sell so don’t compromise your style just because it’s not currently in demand with buyers.

Let’s take a look at what the experts are projecting for design and color trends in 2020:


My favorite no-fail primary wall paint colors is this light pewter from Benjamin Moore. I love this neutral because of its ability to work with many other colors and you can change up the rest of the room as often as you wish with a new color accent wall or accessories. It is a great transitioning color and that allows for flexibility with color elsewhere in your décor.

Every year paint companies introduce their “color of the year” recommendations and 2020 is definitely a year for the bold. I was not a fan of Pantone’s 2019 selection of Coral but love their 2020 choice, Classic Blue. The Sherwin William’s color of the year is Naval, and Behr’s is Back to Nature. All 3 colors are pictured below.

Design Trends

Every year Houzz publishes their design trends and it’s always an interesting read. Here is a list of the most popular design trends for this year:

  • Quartz — This stone is quickly becoming an affordable and low maintenance alternative to beloved marble due to its exceptional strength and durability. Now comes in many colors and finishes. It is bacteria resistant and 51% of renovating homeowners choose the material.
  • Slab Backsplash — A solid piece of material behind your sink and cooking areas makes your kitchen look sophisticated and cool, not to mention much easier to clean than a backsplash with grout and tiles.
  • Three Toned Kitchens — Ideally, one color is selected as the focus, a second is used to support it and a third is applied as an accent. This creates layers and helps define zones or functions.
  • Black is Back — Black on larger design elements such as doors, accent walls, sofas, cabinets and sinks
  • Brass — Not your shiny yellow 90’s brass! Brass is a surprisingly warm and subtle alternative to the expected steel accents. The best way to work brass into your decor is by combining it with other metals.
  • Dark Painted Doors — Easy and cost effective to add some personality into your space. The painted door look (especially when it’s paired with lighter surrounding trim and wall paint) is striking and dramatic. Plus, painting a single door, instead of a whole wall or room, can add up to some serious interior house painting savings.
  • Sustainability — People are more ecologically conscious and knowledgeable than ever before. Antiques, hand-me-downs, and upcycling furniture are a wonderful trend in 2020!

A Few Trends That Stayed In 2019:

  • All white kitchens
  • Many hues of gray — Overdone in the 2010’s
  • Farmhouse style — Sorry, Chip and Joanna
  • Fast furniture — No sustainability
  • Open shelving — Impractical
  • Open floor plans — Millennials want more space definition and a little more privacy

Are there any design trends you wish would return to popularity? Which current trends or colors would you like done away with?

If you’d like more information, or would like a question answered in my column, please reach out to [email protected]. I hope to hear from you soon!

Val Sotillo is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 4040 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite #10C Arlington, VA 22203, 703-390-9460.

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