The new colour for 2020 is BROWN
It took 11 years for brown to be back in fashion. No one wanted to wear it, because everyone was busy trying to eliminate the Tuscan Brown trend from their homes.
I do smile when I read articles declaring that ‘Earth tones are back’ just because people are seeing brown and warmer, beige tones in decorating.
However, how I know this for sure, is that my clients–locally and from all over North America–are NOT asking me for earth tones for their walls.
It’s white, off-white, cream, greige. The end. The palest of the pale. If they are smart, they consult with me, or my ebooks on how to choose colour or white instead of just painting their walls BM Chantilly Lace. Art gallery white is RARELY the right answer.
And you might be able to get away with painting your new build Chantilly Lace because you probably won’t have existing creamy trim, cabinets or travertine floors from the brown trend. However, it still won’t look right, because everything else in your decorating will be more off-white, cream or greige. It won’t look perfect, but you won’t be as offended as you would be by the wrong undertone in a neutral.
Related Post: 10 Steps for Planning your New Build
Beige is most definitely back in decorating. Just not for walls. It’s too soon, we just did beige/earth tones 10 years ago, it’s way too soon for people to start painting their walls BM Shaker Beige or SW 6122 Camelback.
So back to brown for a second. In the last 10 years that the grey trend has been going strong (trends have a 10 year shelf life) people would see ANYTHING brown and immediately declare that ‘brown was back’.
I also mentioned seeing brown at High Point in my last two trends reports, here and here. However, what that simply meant was that the consumer was open to adding it to their grey colour schemes to add warmth, NOT that it was coming back as the current trendy neutral.
I couldn’t resist posting this photo of me in my new brown coat and heels (brown is technically better for my colouring than black).
Anyway, here is a great example of brown being used in a fresh way in the showstopper brown room of 2019 by designer Eddie Ross (below).
Notice how brown is being used to create drama? A backdrop to bright colour? This is a completely new way to use brown.
But Maria, isn’t this a clean and dirty combination?
Technically no, because the contrast is so high. If the “brown” here was more of a mid-tone pink beige , well then yes, it would look too muddy to support the clean white, coral and turquoise accents.
And the other thing that’s new about brown? We will be seeing it paired with crisp whites and off whites rather than cream (below).
Related post: 3 Surprising Reasons Your Colour Scheme Looks Dirty
Where you’ll need cream (above) is if your house is still decorated with the more muted golds, oranges and greens from the Tuscan trend.
Complex Creams are in
As I just said, everyone is still obsessed with white walls, and the requests for grey walls have dropped off steeply.
Clients are asking for creamier, warmer neutrals–even beiges–in the palest they can be before they are white.
Complex Creams like SW Divine White (which can be found in my SW Foundation Collection here) are becoming more and more popular. Stay tuned for more about this category soon.
AND, if you are reading this and it’s making you unhappy that you have grey walls (not almost white) DO NOT despair, just add colour to bring it to life!
Black is hitting critical mass
And speaking of high contrast, black is hitting critical mass in homes near you. But my lovelies, we know better than to go off the rails and use black for every item and piece of hardware you install in our homes right?
Notice here that the faucet and lighting are chrome not black. The windows and wood stained accents help lighten and prevent this kitchen from looking dark, flat and predictable.
Arches are back
How long have we been trying to eliminate them? I’m trying to remember.
A beautiful arched doorway like this one never goes out of style, but like any trend when they are installed just because, well that’s when they can look wrong.
When you can buy a hanging rattan chair, that’s when you know it’s trending!
Colour and Pattern
The white walls obsession isn’t going anywhere, but there is growing interest in colour. If Zillow’s 2020 prediction holds, we will see more colour and pattern and a move away from neutral Scandinavian minimalism:
Goodbye, Hygge (look it up). Hello, color! Fun will return to home design in the form of bold prints, lively wallpaper and brightly hued walls. After a decade of Scandinavian modern design that dominated retail and social media feeds as Americans embraced neutrals, minimalism and clutter-free living, expect a shift toward playful, creative design. Look for color to be injected in unexpected ways in kitchen cabinetry and appliances, in lighting fixtures and on interior doors and moldings.
Naturally, I would LOVE to see more colour and pattern in interiors this decade. Minimal all white interiors, while fresh and trending, simply don’t look NEW anymore.
We might be bored of white but that doesn’t mean white kitchens and bathrooms are out
And yes, this time of year for the last few years, bloggers and magazines have been eager to declare the death of the white kitchen.
It’s natural to look for the ‘next’ thing, and kitchens in natural wood finishes and new colours and tile are looking striking and new. But we also know that novelty does not equal timeless in the long run.
Time will tell if any of these innovative looks will turn into new classics, but meanwhile, you still won’t be able to pin point exactly when your classic white kitchen was installed. AND you’ll still be able to decorate your white kitchen or bathroom with any colour your heart desires.
Crisp white finishes are exactly what you’ll need to have the flexibility to introduce more colour into your decor going forward. It’s when you install the trendy neutral of the moment in your hard finishes that you get stuck in a trend cycle with no way out until a major renovation.
Kitchen cabinets in your favourite colour are always timeless
Along with the classic white kitchen, I can always get behind painting your cabinetry in just the right hue of your favourite colour. If you’re decorating your forever home, and not worried about appealing to every-buyer, go for it! You won’t regret it. Just make sure it works with your hard finishes.
Painted kitchen cabinets are definitely trending.
If you are choosing colours and finishes for your kitchen renovation this year, I can help here with my Create a Classic Kitchen online package.
New Traditional and Grandmillennial Style
Related to the (gradual) shift away from white walls and neutral, minimal decor, there is a call that gets louder everyday for plusher, more layered and comfortable traditional decor. House Beautiful has coined the term “Grandmillennial Style” (ie. Millennials that cultivate Grandma’s homey Laura Ashley style). Though I think aspects of this look have appeal across generations (everyone loves to label millennials, sheesh).
We called it out as the emerging “New Traditional” trend here. It is a reaction to the hard edges and minimalism of the modern, contemporary, industrial and mid century modern looks that have dominated this past decade.
And yes, that includes the white modern farmhouse and white walls in general too.
Grandmillennial Style via Elle Decor
More colour, styling, fabric, drapes, detail and pattern all work for me!
So over to you! How do you feel about brown returning to the fashion and decorating scenes? Are you ready to approach it in a new way? Or would you rather leave it in the past?
Have you embraced the black and white trend? Or are you craving more colour?
If you’d like your home to fill you with joy when you walk in the door, let me help you refresh your home in the new year! With my Online Colour Design Services.
If you’re local, email my office.
Maria Killam’s Trend Forecast for 2019 (well, was I right?)