by Angie Grenz
Never before have our castles served quite the purpose they have in the last two months: a refuge, an office, and, occasionally, a prison. Many of us have been looking at the walls of our homes (and all the spaces in between), thinking, “I could make that better.”
Whether it is the realization that your walls could use a fresh coat of paint or your living room needs an update, it is the rare person who is looking around, completely satisfied with all they survey. So, for those of us thinking it is time to refresh, this is the article for you.
A few trends stand out this year: Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year is Classic Blue, a navy shade, and its influence can be seen in many décors. Other trends touted by the experts include wicker and rattan furniture and accents, interiors that use bold color on the walls, and layering vintage and new components in the same setting.
But researching trends is much easier than incorporating them into our homes. So, we picked our favorite interior design professionals from Northern Colorado and asked them, what is new in 2020 and how can we make it work in our homes? Here are their recommendations.
One of the quickest ways to make a big impact is to update walls—with color, accent walls or décor that captures interest. We called on Cheri Freestone, of 24-year veteran Freestone Design-Build, to help us refresh the single largest surface area of any home. Her family business specializes in residential remodels, custom tile, new builds and exterior living spaces.
Freestone starts with color. “Our favorite wall colors for 2020 are: Behr Back To Nature, Sherwin-Williams Romance, and Pantone’s Classic Blue,” she says. She recommends pairing Behr’s Creamy Mushroom, a nice tan neutral, with Back To Nature “to keep the space balanced,” and Sherwin- Williams Thunder, a deeper gray, with their Romance.
“Having a neutral to offset any bold color choice allows you to have some personality, create a mood and set your space apart, while keeping with organic tones allows the space to be timeless and serene,” says Freestone.
When she approaches design in a home, she endeavors to look at each space with fresh eyes to keep design unique. “Typically, I create a more neutral backdrop/foundation color scheme throughout and then go from there,” she says. “More often than not, I am sticking to a more neutral wall color and using furniture, accessories and art to give a pop of color.”
However, the appeal of paint is that it’s easy to change when you get tired of it, she adds. And if you are craving something bold, Freestone recommends you head to the kitchen or bathroom. “The ‘rules’ are most commonly broken in the kitchen or a powder room to add some drama. Colored cabinets, especially islands, are always a great way to add personality and uniqueness to a space…I also love to use bold, dark colors in a small powder room, which breaks the rule that dark colors make a space feel smaller. It just adds drama.”
Wallpaper and paneling are also design trends that can transform walls, and they are making a big comeback in 2020. “Wallpaper and paneling are back and are big! Beadboard, raised paneling and shiplap are a great way to add detail to any room. I love adding these wall treatments, they give interest to a space while adding a more custom feel,” she says. “Wallpaper is such a fun addition to small bathrooms, laundry rooms or accent walls. I like using this in smaller spaces because it’s not as overwhelming and there is less of a chance for you to get tired of it.”
Freestone even uses paneling and wallpaper as a form of wall décor. “It catches the eye and completes a space without having to have too many accessories on your walls,” she says.
Additional tips: A quick add tocomplete any room décor are vintage/simple art pieces, something with high contrast to your wall color. For a more bohemian feel use woven wall baskets and ceramic wallscape planters with succulents. Finally, “when in a pinch, I will always add a mirror (one large mirror or a cluster of several smaller) or several fun shelves with simple accessories like plants, books or photos.”
Tile & Floors
Now that we have looked up, it’s time to take a look at what is underfoot—flooring. Flooring can obviously pose a greater investment to our interiors. However, flooring sets the foundation for the entire design. Sarah Bilbro, with Artisan Remodeling & Design, has been offering remodeling and design services since 2011, with a focus on kitchens, bathrooms and basements.
Her top design trend for your floor in 2020: “Well, you honestly can’t go wrong with herringbone. Whether you’re working with ceramic or porcelain, on the walls or on the floor, herringbone will look crisp and clean and add great design to a space,” she says. Her next design choice is hexagon tiles. “Hexagon tiles have been especially popular for both backsplashes and flooring, and I definitely foresee that carrying well into 2020 and beyond.”
How about ever-popular subway tile, will it stick around in 2020? “They are still popular, however, the size of choice these days seems to be veering toward 4- by 16-inch, versus the typical 3- by 6-inch size.
Hard surface flooring options, such as wood, tile or luxury vinyl plank (LVP), continue to be popular choices, while carpet continues to lose popularity. When it comes to wood, darker stains and weathered finish wood flooring are popular, along with wide planks. And LVP is more popular than ever, says Bilbro, because of its durability and water resistance. “It has come a long way in recent years in overall aesthetics,” she adds.
And if your heart is set on new tile flooring, bold is better. “For the brave at heart, a bold, patterned floor tile can look AMAZING,” Bilbro says. Large scale and geometric patterns are all the rage. But a word of caution: “It can be a bold statement if done well, or a gawdy disaster if not.”
Many of us are cooking in the home more than we have since we were poor college students making instant ramen between classes. And, at least for some of us, the menu has gotten more sophisticated, which means our kitchens are either functional and beautiful to work in, or they need some help.
One company that knows itsway around a kitchen is HighCraft Builders. They have been providing inspired remodeling and custom homes since 1998. Their projects are known for embracing trends, while still creating timeless, luxurious designs.
Kira Koldeway, general manager of design, walks us through the latest designs for kitchens. When it comes to the kitchen, “farmhouse continues to be the go-to kitchen design style this year, but interpretations of the style vary greatly, from French Kitchensfarmhouse to industrial farmhouse, and everything in between.”
“Get ready to see more mixed materials, textures, colors and styles for an eclectic look this year,” she continues. “Stone, brick, natural wood, concrete and reclaimed materials are showing up in the same kitchen. Lighting fixtures are mixing rustic materials with modern lines and bulb styles, too.”
Additional trends for 2020? Big islands. “When it comes to kitchen islands, the bigger the better this year. The island is where kids do their homework and where you roll out a pie crust and where many families eat their meals together,” she says. “Kitchen islands are command central, so they command more square footage these days. I love a huge island, but within reason. The island should never crowd a kitchen, cause a bottleneck or look out of proportion for the space.”
When it comes to cabinetry, blending of different styles is still very current, along with less open shelving. “Shaker cabinets continue to dominate because of their universal appeal and versatility across styles. But we’re seeing more traditional cabinetry finished in nontraditional paint and stain colors like deeper charcoal grays, navy blues and neutral greens. We’re also applying light sanding and glazing techniques to create a weathered look or to add depth of color,” says Koldeway.
“This year’s kitchen designs will often mix wood varieties, such as cabinets in both clear alder and knotty hickory in the same kitchen. The two-tone trend of painting upper and lower cabinets in different colors, or staining perimeter cabinets in one color and the island in another, will continue through the year.”
For the countertop, go withquartz. “This year, the most popular quartz countertop patterns are the ones that mimic the natural veining of marble, soapstone or granite.”
Next for the kitchen: pattern tile. LikeBilbro, Koldeway says bold is the key. “We’re using a lot of bold and beautiful ceramic tile for kitchen floors and accent walls behind the range hood.” In addition, hand-painted floral motifs and geometric designs with a concrete look are very popular right now.
When it comes to flooring, “We’re installing a lot of variable-width wood flooring in kitchens. In a custom home west of Loveland, we used sawmarked French oak installed in a random pattern of 4-, 5- and 6-inch widths.”
And the backsplash? “We continue to replace dated four-inch backsplashes with full-tile walls. You can install colorful or pattern tile to create an accent wall behind the range hood or extend the slab countertop material up the entire wall for a clean and contemporary look.”
Other trends, according to Koldeway? Brushed gold plumbing fixtures. “I love Brizo’s Luxe Gold finish, which has a deeper, richer gold color compared to the rose gold or champagne finishes of recent years.” Mixed finishes, especially in combinations of gold and black or gold and navy blue, continue to be popular this year, especially when it comes to lighting, faucets and cabinet hardware. “Selecting one finish for your plumbing fixtures and another contrasting finish for your cabinet hardware is happening in a lot of kitchen designs this year.”
See all of Koldeway’s recommendations on our website, NOCOStyle.com, “Kitchen Update 2020.”
The bath is our inner retreat, and often where we can let our personality shine the most. We asked the trendy design duo of Annie and Jordan Obermann, of Forge + Bow Dwellings, about how to style this inner sanctum. The Obermann’s combine a real estate background with fixer upper experience to create truly unique designs.
They clue us in on their favorite features for the bath: “Though this may not be a super recent trend, we love full shower/tub combo rooms or wet rooms,” says Annie Obermann. “They allow for the elegance of both freestanding tubs and separate showers without taking up as much valuable bathroom real estate. When appropriate, we also love highlighting and making the utility beautiful; this can be seen in exposed shower rises and tub fills.”
When it comes to looks they love, Obermann says, “We love that more and more designers aren’t afraid to mix metals. You don’t need all of the metals in a space to match. You definitely need to allow them to coordinate, but we see more and more people allowing different metals to play a part in their design.”
And color is an equally important part of the bath. “We are seeing more and more saturated colors. Dusty mauves, rich blues and Bathgreens are being used,” she says. “However, if you’re going to go for it, go for it! Paint the trim, walls and doors all the same color. Lastly, we love incorporating furniture pieces as vanities. Though it takes some ingenuity, the depth and craftsmanship add a warmness to what can often be a cold environment.”
Easy color and décor changes that can make a huge difference in bathrooms really depend on the size of the space, as well as the natural lighting, says Obermann. “If the natural lighting is abundant, don’t be afraid to include dark moody colors, especially if there is a shared tile color that can create a monochromatic feel. Mirrors are another easy update. Unless your house is super modern, get rid of the gym style large body mirror and get something with a frame. Lastly, nothing adds life to a space more than art and plants. Find a space to hang an antique painting or place a pretty succulent.”
What if your bath is a petite space? “Small bathrooms can be very difficult; you must first decide on the utility of the space. The less bulky pieces, the more open and spacious it’ll feel,” says Obermann. “However, just because you have a small bathroom, doesn’t mean it can’t have a loud impact. If natural light and ventilation are great, try a fun wallpaper. If natural light is a problem, keep the walls and tile a warm white that doesn’t appear sterile and creates textural differences.”
Obermann offers up some budget hacks when it comes to designing your bath: “When it comes to the actual materials, old dressers being converted to vanities will save a ton, especially if the alternative is a custom vanity. Mirrors don’t need to be purchased from bath supply houses. Discount design stores like Tuesday Mornings or Home Goods often have good looking mirrors. Also, stick to name brand plumbing fixtures. Some lesser-known brands on the Internet look great (and are equally priced great), however, by the time a plumber learns how to install it, and has to hunt down unique parts for it, oftentimes those savings are lost. Lastly, if your tile budget is small, consider using impact tile on the floor. In many cases, there is less floor tile than wall tile.”
Furniture & Decor
It can be the home furnishings and décor that really add richness to our indoor spaces, but these are the items that can also date an interior the fastest. If it is time to reboot your interior space, we have some help from designer Jodi Gagliardi-Stout, owner of Domistyle, a new luxury furniture and décor store in downtown Fort Collins.
Gagliardi-Stout has studied space planning and feng shui, and enjoys helping her customers design their interior spaces. She shares the design trends she is loving right now.
“What I am liking now…abstractart. It works in any space and can be especially interesting paired with traditional silhouettes,” she says. She also finds mixing styles to be inspirational. “When executed well, there is a lovely tension that is created that is so much more interesting than a one-note room.”
Other elements to use in your interior, according to Gagliardi-Stout, “natural materials like jute, sisal, linen, wool and rattan, which add warmth and texture to any design. Additionally, wood furniture in pretty, natural tones.” And for the bold, “black and white will never go out of style.”
She recommends, “Look at your room and try to determine what really needs updating. What feels old and tired to you? If your old décor was Furniture & Decordarker, chunkier and more dramatic then new and fresh could be going in the opposite direction with lighter colors and slimmer profiles on the furniture.”
A couple things to avoid: “Lighting can definitely date a room in any space in your house, so can too much furniture in the bedroom.”
Start with smaller changes like afresh coat of paint, a new rug and some new pillows. “They are simple tweaks, but they can yield big results.” If you want to go even further, opt for a new coffee table for the living room and new nightstands for the bedroom. “Top it off with a fresh pair of lamps and some new decor objects. Additionally, updating your linens is key for the bedroom and can transform an existing bed. For spring and summer, I love the look of percale and linen and a few carefully chosen pillows.”
When it comes to design, Gagliardi-Stout tells customers to be true to themselves. “At the end of the day, I want clients to have a point of view. Strive for a look, feel or mood for your space and go about creating it. I believe that what is really in is making a space your own. You are the arbiter of style for your space!”
Gagliardi-Stout’s Top Five Decor Picks
1. Pillows in Kelly Wearstler District fabric. “I’m slightly obsessed.”
2. A fabulous piece of art. It doesn’t have to be expensive; it just has to be meaningful. Seek out a local artist to support. There is a lot of pride in having something made by a local artist or craftsperson.
3. A really lovely lamp. Lamps can be so sculptural, like a little piece of art for your room.
4. An amazing accent chair that can stand on its own. Perhaps with a bold fabric or just interesting lines.
5. An antique or vintage piece; something to make the room sing.