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Design trends for 2020

By January 14, 2020Events and News

We’re ardent believers in designing homes that transcend trends and will work for our clients as their needs evolve… but we’ve got a firm eye on the fashion barometer to make sure we’re bringing the best new materials, technology, and inspiring ideas to our clients. Read on for our take on the design trends for 2020;

Design Principles

Biophilic design

This continues to be a strong guiding principle in modern design – read our guide here.

Multi-functional space

The size of the average home continues to shrink. At the same time, we’re taking our exercise classes through you-tube, working at home, and staying in to socialise. Multifunctional space that can be used flexibly to meet a variety of needs is on the rise.

Crittal style windows, wooden floor and houseplants in living room designed by Absolute Project Management
Biophilic design continues to be a strong guiding principle
Teenage bedrooms usually need to work as multifunctional spaces
Expect smart tech to adopt a more analogue look – like the IKEA / Sonos lamp & speaker

Smart Tech

Biodynamic lighting

With increasing focus on how light (and blue light in particular) impacts our circadian rhythms, the latest trend in smart lighting is ‘biodynamic’ programming; setting lights to imitate the changing nature of daylight throughout the day. This effect is possible to achieve with existing smart lighting technology – although in our view its application is usually more relevant e.g. to working environment than the home.

The rise of analogue

In the face of the relentless march of ‘smart’ technology into our homes, analogue pleasures such as printed books, stationary and crafts are on the rise. Amazon, Google & co aren’t going away any time soon, and nor will their devices leave our homes, but we expect to see the re-analoguisation of tech; Smart light switches that click like old ones, smart speakers disguised as lights and timber joinery with spaces to shut away the tech.

Furniture & materials

Neotenic Furniture

The word of the moment is ‘Neotenic’. In biology, the term relates to the retention of juvenile features in the adult animal. In design it has been adopted to describe furniture that is playful, cute, or chubby. We predict this will be a somewhat ‘marmite’ trend. 

Curvy chair in flocked orange
Plants in Neotenic vases on rustic changes
Neotenic lamp

L-R: Examples of Neotenic design in furniture, accessories and lighting


This has to continue be a focus in interiors as well as everywhere else: 

  • Materials made from recycled industry waste will continue to become more practical and beautiful. As the fightback against throwaway (clothing) fashion progresses, look out for smart businesses finding ways to bring vintage, upcycled and recycled furniture and accessories into the mainstream.
  • Natural, sustainable materials will continue to be popular where recycled options aren’t available – timber flooring, furniture and accessories, often using organic forms – are widespread (and lovely)
Lighting sconce by Spark and Bell with Alba plastic by Smile Plastics
Beautiful wooden table
L: Recycled plastic used in lighting by Spark & Bell.
Above: Beautiful wooden table.
R: timber flooring
Timber flooring and warm colour scheme in inviting living room designed by Absolute Project Management

Colour & Pattern

There is no one trend to rule them all for 2020 – rather a wide range of patterns & palettes, including;

  • Abstract Energy; bold abstract patterns and prints that work well for accessories.
  • Comfort; Organic, warm & honeyed tones
  • Colourful kitchens; Following the revival of the colourful bathroom, kitchens are brightening up.

Sofa decorated with cushions in the Abstract Energy style
Abstract Energy
Dulux Spiced Honey - a work and organic colour
Organic, warm & honeyed tones
Bright yellow kitchen splash back.
Colourful kitchens
  • Palettes – we’re predicting Renaissance shades as modelled by Joseph in Ghirlandaio’s ‘Nativity’
    • Renaissance Gold
    • Renaissance Mauve
  • And as a more accessible option, green schemes. Green was everywhere in the latter half of 2019. Evoking the soothing feeling of being in nature, we expect this trend to stick around.
  • New Monochrome; Michelle Ogundehin predicts a return to monochrome– but a warmer, earthier version than previously fashionable cool crisp colours.
Ghirlandaio's Nativity
Joseph modelling the Renaissance colour palette
A calming green bedroom scheme
Photograph in warm greys
‘New Monochrome’ – warm earthy shades of grey.
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