Interior design by Cindy Smith of Circa Interiors. Photography by Laura Resen. 

The start of a new year—and new decade—is the perfect time to assess our interiors and make changes that will improve the feel and functionality of our homes. To help us take a forward-thinking approach to the process, we checked in with five interior designers across the country to discuss the top trends they see emerging in 2020. Here, they share the ones they’re most enthusiastic about, from a proclivity toward warmer hues to more overall originality in design.

Practicing conscious consumerism. “This lines up with the concept that less is more, but with a focus on buying fewer things but making sure those items are of the very best quality,” says Heather Smith of Circa Interiors & Antiques in Charlotte, North Carolina. “One of the best ways to incorporate this is using classical shapes, natural materials, and timeless colors for the framework of the design. This will stand the test of time, and only get better with age. At least one piece of old brown wood and one original artwork mixed in is grounding and adds soul to most any space.”

A gravitation away from grey toward brown. “The color grey has been the go-to neutral for a while now, but we’re starting to see an evolution to a grey/ brown, and a movement toward warmer tones,” says Kristin Dittmar Doremus of Kristin Dittmar Design in Aspen, Colorado. “Overall, there are more brown tones in warm wood finishes, wood floors, and fabrics. It’s a great warm counterpoint to white walls and countertops.”

Interior design by Caitlin Wilson of Caitlin Wilson Design. Photography by Katie Nixon Photography.

Incorporating embellishments. “Embroideries and trimmings are coming back in a new, understated way,” says Caitlin Wilson of Dallas, Texas-based Caitlin Wilson Design. “A neutral can lend so much more impact with a twist of texture. Tassels are fun for pillows, windows, and even a bed skirt.”

A return to long, luxurious curtains. “The trend has been minimalist Roman and roller shades,” says Aspen-based Kristin Dittmar Doremus of Kristin Dittmar Design. “But lately, clients are embracing the use of fabrics and textiles for window treatments, opting for long curtains that stop at the ground in neutral colors and textural fabrics instead of prints. It imparts a soft, warmer look.”

Interior design by Cournay Tartt Elias of Creative Tonic Design. Photography by Julie Soefer.

Taking a break from Pinterest. “With Pinterest and Instagram and so much ‘copy-cat’ decorating, I’m seeing clients who want more originality in their homes and from their designers,” says Courtnay Tartt Elias of Creative Tonic Design in Houston, Texas. “As a result, more designers, including myself, are working harder and digging deeper to create unique, one-of-a-kind original homes, which leads to so many challenging and fun projects. It is truly working at your highest and most creative self.” Smith of Circa Interiors & Antiques seconds this notion. “Instead of following trends, plan around what suits your lifestyle, and choose functional design elements that are influenced by your personality and interests,” she advises.

Sourcing antiques and vintage items online. “Many brick-and-mortar, locally-owned home stores and antiques shops are embracing the growing e-commerce world by either launching their own websites or placing their one-of-a-kind inventories onto home-oriented e-commerce sites like Chairish,” says Rodney Simmons, owner of Revival Home in Chattanooga, Tennessee. “This expands the opportunity to find one-of-a-kind items for interior designers and homeowners alike, and means antiques, vintage pieces, and many one-of-a-kind items can now be legitimately sourced without leaving your home.”

Furniture in family-friendly fabrics available from Revival Home. Photography by Revival Home.

Making messy family life more beautiful. “Evolving textile technology has lured outdoor upholstery fabrics and trims inside, making for easy care interiors whether for a city loft or in a country retreat,” says Simmons of Revival Home. “High-performance outdoor textile design has so greatly evolved that even the savviest of interior design professionals sometimes can’t tell the difference between interior and exterior options. Fabric houses are producing great-looking acrylic velvets, faux linens, and treated canvases. Stain-resistant fibers make for awesome dining room chairs, mildew-resistant fabrics perform wonderfully as bathroom shower curtains, fade-resistant textiles make perfect window treatments. And when these tough-as-nails options are imagined into throws, decorative pillows, sofas, and bedspreads? A beautiful home just gets a little easier.”

Supporting local and contracting custom work. “I think it’s so important to use local craftspeople and local workrooms to support your community, and the current trends toward one-of-a-kind pieces in upholstery and hard goods supports these businesses,” says Elias of Creative Tonic Design. If you tap into your resources in your community, you can find so many amazing artisans who can make creating custom anything a possibility. It’s important to note that custom doesn’t always mean more expensive, either. As a designer, you have to bring your most creative game to the table when designing and pricing custom.”

Interior design by Kristin Dittmar Design. Photography by Brooke Casillas Photography.

Bringing natural stone into the kitchen and bath. “In 2019, we started to see marble and natural stone backsplashes take center stage in the kitchen and bath, and we will see even more of this in the coming year,” says Doremus of Kristin Dittmar Design. “In lieu of tile, my clients are gravitating toward making a book-match with two pieces of marble that create a wonderful pattern. It makes a dramatic, natural statement.”

Saying hello to silk. “I’m loving that silk is back in high fashion and also high home fashion. I’m obsessing over silk pillows and draperies for bedrooms and living rooms, says Wilson of Caitlin Wilson Design. “It adds an unexpected texture to an everyday space that elevates any style.”