Your Guide to the Best Interior Design Trends for 2020

Kitchen Remodeling | Home Improvement

What’s New in 2020

It’s 2020, the beginning of the new year, and time to take a look around the house and consider home improvements.  Many are contemplating major home improvements and looking for a guide to updating their home.  Most importantly, homeowners are looking for recommendations and solutions that will increase the value of their real estate for resale.  With that in mind, we’ll talk about 2020 Interior Design Trends and the most cost effective solutions for improving the interiors of your home.

Necessary Home Improvements – A Real Estate Dilemma

In Northern Illinois, as a result of the last recession, there are quite a few homeowners who have postponed making important home improvements.  It’s taken quite a few years for some communities to see an increase in property values.  Real Estate is one of the biggest investments a family can make.  It’s understandable that you may not want to spend money on an investment that isn’t increasing in value. Unfortunately, it can also be counterproductive to ignore necessary home improvements.  Let’s face it.  One day, you may want to sell your home.  No one wants to buy a disaster.  The good news is that the real estate market in Northern Illinois is finally seeing the turn around.

As a homeowner, it can be stressful to watch your house become more and more outdated.  It’s understandable that many residents are cautious about making expensive interior design & remodeling decisions.  Most people would rather push this dilemma aside, and instead, choose to focus on their busy lifestyles.  The problem is, as more time goes by, a house continues to deteriorate.   When this happens, the home is no longer appealing or comfortable.   And, if it’s time to put it up for sale, it won’t be very appealing to a prospective buyer.

Defining Trends

When considering what is “in style” or “current” in the interior design world, it’s important to take into consideration the definition of the word “trend”. According to Oxford Dictionaries, “trend” is defined as:

Trend-/noun/  1.  A general direction in which something is developing or changing.

Trend is a popular word that concerns interior designers and consumers. It’s a compass, and a directive force that tells us what’s in-style, what’s selling and what’s popular. Interior Design Trends are not only important to me, but they concern me, because my clients hire me to update their environments.

These fads show me somewhat of a baseline between what is current today and what’s possibly coming in the future. When analyzing interior design trends, it’s important to keep in mind where you reside. Styles, colors & furnishings will vary depending on the region. For this article, my trend analyses will be Midwest related.

I find the topic of interior design and furnishing trends a very interesting subject.  I’m frequently asked whether I’m seeing styles, colors and furnishings repeated year over year.

Another popular question relates to what elements of home design are making a comeback. As I design my environments, I combine a mix of trend, personal style and mindful, timelessness. The incorporation of these “ingredients” are key in creating special, unique, personalized living spaces.

Crystal Lake Kitchen Designer

How to make Cost Effective Home Improvement Decisions

When your ready to tackle your home improvement list, you’ll probably have some questions.  A common concern that homeowners have is how to make cost effective home improvement decisions.  In other words, which renovations will give the best bang for your buck?  Is it best to renovate the kitchen first?  How about remodeling the bathroom?  Depending on your budget, it may be best to take a holistic approach because many rooms connect to each other.  Walls, trim and doors are also areas that many need to addressed.  In a quest to figure out where to begin, the first thing to do is some homework.  Do some research for yourself so you can get an idea what you like and how much it costs.

This is how the journey usually starts.  You may relate…

Step 1  In your spare time visit some big box stores. Home Depot and Menard’s are good places to start.  These stores display options for some lines of cabinetry, hardware, plumbing & lighting fixtures.  Big box stores can be useful for certain home improvement items, but not for all.

Step 2 – You may head to Paint stores.  It’s a good place to collect wall colors.  Some people like to pick up sample paints and try a small amount on the wall to see if they like it.

Step 3 – Spend some time at local furniture stores.  Start to get an idea of different styles of furnishings and fabrics that you like.

Step 4 – Honestly, this is when we usually get a call regarding our Design Consultation Services.  Folks discover that they are getting overwhelmed with the decisions they are facing.  Many have outdated kitchens, bathrooms and furniture.  In addition, they are stuck with golden oak colored floors, out-dated cabinets & trim, as well as brass door knobs and light fixtures that are destined for the garbage.

We realize that homeowners are looking for a “home improvement roadmap”.  Many have a good idea what they would like to spend.  They are looking for advice and a plan that will give them solutions they are happy with.

Kitchen Wood Floors

Topics of Conversation in the Interior Design Consultations

What do we discuss in an Interior Design Consultation?  It all depends of what you are looking to accomplish.  We will touch on a few common problems and solutions that many homeowners have.

Updating Flooring in the Home – Wood Floor Tips & Recommendations

In my experience, when it comes to discussing flooring in 2020, a common topic is “carpet vs hard surfaces”.  For the most part, I’m finding that my clients don’t have a desire for carpet anymore.  They see it as a dust & dirt collecting source and other than in the bedrooms, they want an alternative.  For the main living areas of the home, my clients are interested in hard surface options for the floor that are easy to maintain and clean.  If you are ready to update the flooring in your home, here are some design tips and recommendations:

Refinish Existing Wood Flooring

Wood floors with gold undertones are out-dated.  In the past, they were very popular. If your budget is limited, I do recommend refinishing this floor, rather than replacing it.  This is a more cost effective solution. When refinishing your floors, think about darker, grayer & browner stain colors.  Provincial, Jacobean and Ebony are good stain color suggestions by Minwax.  If you prefer lighter finishes, 50/50 mixes can be used to achieve desirable results.  Also, make sure to apply a top coat with a latex based satin finish.

Replacing Wood Flooring

If you are ready to replace your existing floor materials, I recommend hardwood plank flooring. It’s durable, timeless and easy to maintain.  There are a variety of species available on the market today. 

Here are some suggestions:

  • White oak is a great choice because of the variety of stain colors that work with it.
  • Hand scraped flooring is a popular pre-finished choice, but keep in mind it’s trendy.  
  • We recommend non-refinished flooring products.  In other words, raw wood that can be sanded and stained.
  • The size of the plank I recommend is 2.25” & 3.25” 
  • Species Recommended – Red Oak & White Oak
  • Favorite Species – White Oak because it is extremely hard and can be stained any color you want.  It does not favor the red under tones that Red Oak does.  If you like the gray, or brown gray floors that are popular now, White Oak is optimal.
Kitchen Golden Oak Before
Kitchen Wood Refinish After

When installing new wood floors make sure to remove the baseboards.  Why?  Because if you don’t, you will bury the baseboards and that looks bad.  Once the floor is installed, replace the baseboard and shoe.  I recommend that you caulk, fill & paint the new baseboards & shoe for a beautiful finish.

Wood Look Tile

Wide Plank Wood Flooring

As a designer, I love the look of wide plank flooring in large traditional and rustic spaces.  It adds a charm and elegance to a room that can be quite beautiful.  But, keep in mind that here are important cautions to take into consideration with the solid wider plank species.  Wider solid planks have a lower tolerance to humidity.  Solid wide planks will cup In an environment that is not moisture controlled. If your home is in a location where humidity levels vary, this may not be the best choice for you. I recommend engineered flooring in these cases.

Wood Look Tile Flooring

Porcelain and 12’x24’ tiles that have the appearance of wood are a great substitute  for wood look tile flooring.  I recommend using these products in high traffic areas and situations where moisture resistance is required.

Guide to Replacing Out-Dated Oak & Brass

We all remember the popularity of oak and brass in our past decors. At one time, it was a design trend and became a staple in many homes. Today, when making decisions on updating the home, many people have a dilemma.  They are stuck with these out-dated design elements and don’t know what to do about them.  My clients have asked, should they keep brass and oak features or replace them?

2020 Design Recommendations (Brass and Oak)

Here are my recommendations for removing or refinishing out-dated oak and brass elements in your home.
Interior Doors
Use solid, 1 or 2 panel doors, shaker or raised panel style.
**Note: Painted doors are the most popular choice today.
When replacing baseboards, 5 1/4” size trim works great for most applications.  This size is a bit larger and gives a classy appearance in a room. I like Colonial and Cape Cod styles in traditional spaces.  The Craftsman style is great for a simple “less is more” look.  Look to the style of your home when making your selection.
Door Knobs
Replace your brass knobs with brushed nickel or bronze handles.  I like levers vs. knobs for most doors. Don’t forget to replace the hinges as well. Match them to the door handle finish.
Cabinet Hardware
There are a ton of cabinet hardware choices on the market.  Chrome or brushed nickel are among the most popular. Use knobs on doors and handles on drawers or vise versa.
Long Grove Kitchen Designer
Kitchen Remodeling | Kitchen Design & Build

Shaker style (flat panel) cabinets are popular.  I like painted and stained cabinets. I also like the island cabinets off set from the perimeter cabinets.  For example, a nice look may include painted, off white perimeter cabinets with a darker stained island.   If you have 8 or 9 foot ceilings, make sure your design allows the cabinets to go all the way to the ceiling.

Light fixtures
I’ve found that the most popular light fixture finishes are brushed nickel and bronze, depending on your decor.  Use pendants over kitchen sinks and islands.  Replace flush mounted fixtures or remove and install recessed led cans. For cost effective savings, use led bulbs.  Bulbs with a 2800-3000k temperature of light create a pleasing, warm effect. Before purchasing, make sure to check the package and fixture requirements before you purchase.

Wall Colors
Wall colors have progressed, beiges have gone greige. Popular accent colors are browns, blues, dark greys and iron ore colors. Use these accents for focal walls. Consider a few rooms in muted greens or blues to add colors.

Learn More About Our Expert Interior Design and Consultation Services

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Here are just a few examples of questions we can answer:

What are the kitchen design trends 2020
Is wood trim outdated 2020
What paint colors are in style 2020
Most popular door hardware finish 2020

Bathroom design & remodeling solutions
What home improvements best increase home value
How do I select the furnishing for my home
Will oak trim come back in style

Home Design Consultant | In-Home Furniture Packages

Wallpaper Trends

For as long as I’ve been an Interior Designer, over 25 years, I’ve been using faux finishes as an alternative to wallpaper.  I was seriously opposed to wallpaper.  The seams, the removal costs and the “get sick of” factors were a deterrent.

Well, I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but in 2020, wallpaper trends are definitely on the rise!  People are actually accepting the idea of wallpaper again.  I’ve seen this in the overall industry and have also incorporated it into my designs as well.

I find that wallpaper is a good idea when you want an interest level on your walls to exceed “just paint”.  I’ll also go as far to say that when I see a faux finish now, it looks outdated to me.  Wow, the complete 180 degree turn amazes me!

The popular prints I see are textures, geometric patterns and smaller stripes. I also like thick, industrial grade papers and prefer custom made if the budget allows.  I’m keeping my usage in my designs of wallpaper to accent walls, feature ceilings and powder rooms. I guess I’m getting my feet wet again!

Schedule Your FREE Phone Consultation Today!

We’ll review your home improvement plans, answer any questions you may have, provide some valuable tips, go over the process, and start to build a game plan that suits your needs perfectly.

    Schedule Your FREE Phone Consultation Today!

    We’ll review your home improvement plans, answer any questions you may have, provide some valuable tips, go over the process, and start to build a game plan that suits your needs perfectly.

      Real Testimonials


      One of the most rewarding experiences our family has had. We absolutely love our “new” home and finally enjoying its potential. Thanks to DF Design, Inc we couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

      Jane H.

      We wanted to update the interior paint colors of our home and hired Dennis for a color consultation. Dennis listened closely to what I thought I wanted and then gently steered me in a more interesting and stylish direction. He is a color wizard! Our home looks amazing due to his professional input and eye for design. We have used DF Designs in the past and they always do an amazing job. Whether you are looking for a total remodel or a simple change in color, a consultation with Dennis is worth every penny! Thank you, DF Design!

      Marilyn Z.

      Great experience from the very start! Our focus was the living room but expanded the project to make some updates throughout the first floor. My family loves the updated look and feel. Design and implementation went very well. Update included new lighting, baseboards, painting, carpeting, window treatments, and new pieces of furniture and artwork. Results were of high quality and workers were professional and courteous. We liked Dennis’ style to design and managing the project.

      Jim D.
      Mundelein, IL 60060
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