2020 Design Trends As I See It!

Updated: Feb 29

Well it's the beginning of a new year and the start of an exciting new decade, cheers to the new roaring twenties! Every year I like to explore emerging trends in interior design and this year I am very optimistic and excited by what I am seeing. I have just returned from the Toronto Interior Design Show, a 4 day event that showcases new products and ideas from the world of interior design and I am happy to tell you all about it. I am not always one to follow every trend, I do try to maintain an element of timelessness in my designs but there are some things that have got me all fired up that I can't wait to incorporate into my work.

1. Design with Focus on Health and Wellness

Biophilic design is the buzzword but for those of you who have not heard of this before it basically means design with a focus on improving our health and wellness through a connection with nature and use of natural elements in our built enviroment. For me, this is not just a trend in design, but more of a way of life. Biophilic design is proven to reduce stress, enhance cognitive function and improve healing thus resulting in a better over all quality of life. Have you ever wondered why after a long week of being cooped up inside at your office or place of work, there is nothing like a walk in the woods or day at the beach to help you recharge and lift your spirits? We as humans have an innate need to connect with nature. In essence that is what Biophilic design aims to help us do, connect with nature for our wellbeing. Some of the ways that design is incorporating this is through the use of greenery and plant life, natural materials such as hardwood and natural stone, proper lighting and exposure to natural light. Ever notice how popular the house plant has become as of late, yeah that is due in part to this movement and our need to connect with nature and living things.

2. Sustainable Products, Materials and Practices

Given the current state of our planet and all of the devastation it has undergone this past year it's no wonder many industry experts are putting their focus on green initiatives. From recycled materials, natural products and sustainable manufacturing practices, there were a lot of new options at this years design show. I have always been one to prefer natural materials over synthetic, up-cycling and re-use over tossing away to buy new and sourcing local whenever possible. So it is refreshing and gives me hope to see that our industry is shifting. We all need to do our part for a better planet and every small change helps so consider this when making the next purchase for you own home. Do your research and ask questions before spending your hard earned money. The options are out there, you simply have to be on the look out for them.

3. Bold Colour

White has been the go to colour for a few years now, ever since Benjamin Moore declared simply white colour of the year back in 2016. While I myself subscribed to this way of living with most of the walls in my home being white, I am super stoked to report that colour is back baby. Saturated hues of ochre, rust, deep green, bold blue and do I dare say it...brown...are making waves in the design world. We are also seeing a lot of soft and pretty pastels. The 80's are having a real renaissance moment, but done in a more tasteful, less tacky way. No offence to the 80's folks, I love me a good 80's dance party with The Bangles and Duran Duran.

4. Textural Tile

Not that I have anything against the classic, white subway tile but thank goodness I am seeing other amazing options that spark joy. If I have to specify one more simple subway tile for a kitchen backsplash I think I might die of the doldrums. It's so exciting to see bolder options now. Specifically, I am loving the tumbled edge tile in warm neutrals and gorgeous, glazed hues such as forest green, rose and deep blue. These tile look as if they are hand made, very old world in character yet modern in the way they are being used, with killer combos of colour and graphic install patterns. A tumbled edge subway tile takes on an entire new look when stacked vertically instead of the standard brick pattern. These tile have an imperfect texture and edge to them so they create a sort of wabisabi effect en mass.

5. Ceiling Details

Much attention is being paid to ceilings again or as we designers like to call it, the 5th wall. Various treatments are evident from architectural details such as exposed beams and coffered details to bold wallpapers and paint colours other than white. For a long time now it has been industry practice to simply paint our ceilings white so as to not draw too much attention to them at only eight feet high. But with the standard building heights for ceilings increasing to 9 feet or more so has the practice of making them stand out. I myself have a project ongoing now for which we are doing a beautiful coffered ceiling with colour, that will be exciting to see.

As you can gather, it's not only about trends...this year, more importantly...it's about major industry shifts that are going to change the way this business of interior design is carried out. We have got to move away from being a disposable throw away society and focus on making healthy decisions for our own physical and mental health as well as the health of others and our planet. I am not perfect in this respect but I am going to keep it top of mind moving forward in my professional and personal life. But I am also going to have fun with design because it is my passion and creating happy spaces for my clients to live their best lives gives me joy. So bring it on 2020 and thanks for reading! :)

Please note that none of the images seen here are my own. They have all been sourced online.


Laurie Sprague Designs, St. Catharines, ON