Shared from the 1/12/2020 The Columbus Dispatch eEdition

The inside scoop

Interior designers expect expanded color palettes, environmental sustainability to be big in 2020s


Many designers said matte-black finishes are becoming more popular, such as in this kitchen by Jeremy Kelley of Rick Kelley Builders.



Designers say that colors such as teal are popular. Glenn Doell, of Curtis Elliott Designs Ltd., said he designs rooms that will stand the test of time. [CURTIS ELLIOTT DESIGNS]


Sustainablilty is becoming more important in many home designs, with clients insisting on cabinets made with sustainable wood products and eco-friendly paints, said Jeremy Kelley of Rick Kelley Builders. [RICK KELLEY BUILDERS]


Homeowners are paying more attention to once-neglected spaces such as laundry rooms, said Jeremy Kelley of Rick Kelley Builders, which designed this laundry room for the Designer Showcase at the Columbus Museum of Art last year. [BARBARA J. PERENIC/DISPATCH]

The 1920s were a decade with a definite flair, when Art Deco and Bauhaus designs took hold and influenced home decor around the globe.

Now the 2020s are upon us. Whether they will be “roaring,” as were the ’20s of a century ago, remains to be seen. But the new decade certainly will bring change.

The Dispatch spoke with several area interior decorators and designers about what design changes might be in store and what trends and ideas might be popular in the 2020s.

Melinda Peters Elliott


The 2020s could be, in some ways, a reflection of the 1920s, Elliott said.

“People are looking back a hundred years and thinking about the great designs of that time,” she said. “I love the art-deco style. It’s really fun to design in.”

At least part of the country also is experiencing an economic boom, as in the 1920s, Elliott noted.

“We went through a period of time after the economy crashed in ’08, ’09, when people were eliminating extras, getting down to bare necessities,” she said. “People were depressed. Colors went drab, went into a lot of gray tone.

“But now that we’ve had a recovery, color is back. I see lots of color in purples and teals and greens. That’s what I would like to see even more of, interiors that have warmth, that aren’t so austere and sharp.”

Elliott said the 2020s have one big design edge over the 1920s — online searches.

“There are so many artisans showing off their work these days on sites like Etsy, that it’s much easier to find unique pieces” than it once was, she said.

“I think in our next decade of design, many people will embrace things that are handmade, that can make their own interior a little bit unique with things made specifically for their own home.”

Jeremy Kelley


The political issues of the decade already are spilling into design, Kelley said.

“One of the biggest things people are thinking about now is sustainability. You could call it a trend, but it’s becoming more of an expectation,” he said. “I’m asked about sustainability from the very first meeting with a lot of clients.”

For example, many customers now want assurances that they are getting cabinets made from sustainably harvested wood, or that paints used on projects are eco-friendly with no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), Kelley said.

“More clients have asked for ‘green’ paint in the last year than ever before,” he said. “Some are sensitive, or have asthma, or babies in the house, but a lot of it is the environmental concerns.

“We may start using it in all of our remodels. Our painters love it; there’s no smell.”

From a design standpoint, homeowners are starting to spruce up rooms that once were overlooked, he said.

“I never thought I’d do a laundry room remodel,” Kelley said. “We’re only a medium-sized remodeling company, but I bet I’ve done six laundry remodels in the last year. People are seeing it as a space where they can take a chance with creative colors that might be too much for a kitchen. And everyone’s looking for more storage space there.”

Catherine Williamson


“I’m seeing a lot of art in the kitchen, which I really like a lot,” Williamson said.

“Sure, it’s a trend, but I don’t see it going ‘out.’ We put art everywhere else, and it can really add a lot to a kitchen.”

Williamson also has had more requests for warm metals, such as brass and gold, in the past few years.

“I’m also seeing a move away from cool neutrals toward warmer neutrals — beiges, mushrooms, blushes — that I really like a lot.

“I’m also seeing more ‘moody’ rooms. I advise clients not to be afraid to go dark. It can sometimes seem daunting to do a darker room, but just because there’s dark paint on the walls doesn’t mean the whole room can’t be exciting.”

Always decorate your home in a way that pleases you, Williamson suggested.

Although the advice might seem obvious, Williamson said that, in the past, many homeowners have worried too much about what the next owner of the home might want.

“Never design a house for the next buyer,” she said, “because they’re going to change everything anyway.”

Joe D’Aversa


D’Aversa agrees that more dark colors, especially blacks, are coming to the design forefront.

“I was once all about white, white, white, but I’ve introduced a lot of black into designs” recently, he said.

Paint company “Farrow & Ball has a matte black I love,” D’Aversa said. “Even people who are scared of it at first later say, ‘I never knew that black could feel so warm.’”

But D’Aversa, like many designers, warns of trends that might not last.

“I don’t like trends. I don’t ever want designs to date. I want classic, beautiful lines that last forever.”

That often means redecorating older homes in classic styles that befit the age and architecture of the structures.

And some clients might need to be talked out of unwise choices based on the trend of the moment, he said.

“What happens is that a client says, ‘I was watching Beverly Hills Housewives and they have this fancy stuff in the kitchen.’

“I say, do you think you can look at that in five years and you’ll still like it, or will it feel dated?”

Glenn Doell


Doell is another designer who resists the word “trend.”

“That’s almost like a four-letter word,” Doell said. “When I look at what’s ‘trending,’ I’m often put off.

“My challenge is to listen to a client, hear what the client may be saying, in some cases read between the lines, and interpret those needs in a way that will have some longevity to it.”

Doell likens enduring style to music with rich bass notes that resonate.

“With trends, it’s often like there’s no bass notes to it,” he said.

Doell noted one project that he designed for a corporate client who is still happy with the design two decades later.

“They haven’t changed it a bit since I designed it 20 years ago,” he said. “It still feels right, still has legs. That’s how I know something was designed right.” @SteveStephens

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