Posted by Dan O'Malley in Home Design

​We all spend more time cozy at home during the winter. Those moments give us an opportunity to see our surroundings with new eyes.

​If you look around and see that your home has convinced you that the decor could be refreshed, we have just the inspiration you need from one of the nation’s leading design influencers. As Vice President of Design Development for Mary Cook Associates, Josh Kassing analyzes, interprets, communicates, and helps set the latest trends in home design.

​Those trends, you may be surprised to hear, vary by geographic region. “You really can’t generalize across the country,” Kassing says, because of differences in lifestyle, tastes, and even attitudes and aspirations.

​With that in mind, here’s what Kassing is seeing for Charlotte and the Southeast in 2020 that you may enjoy trying in your home.

Trends for 2020

Color is warming up.

​Once, model homes featured a lot of cool greys with white trim. Now, we’re beginning to integrate warmer undertones and warmer neutrals, such as cream or warmer grays balanced with a dark door. White trim is becoming less common. “We’re seeing a lot of black doors, black trim, dark charcoal trim,” Kassing says. Think contrasting tones between walls and trim for a dramatic effect.

Tones are warming up in floors and cabinetry as well. Look for white oak and other warm-hued hardwoods to balance the lighter, more neutral backdrops.

Consider stained cabinets.

​After years of painted cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms, there’s a big trend for more stained cabinetry, mainly to add some warmth back into the heart of the home. “Many people are over the completely white kitchen with white trim,” Kassing says. Stained cabinets, paired with clean lines and contemporary appliances, give the look more depth and interest.

Think about adding the Color of the Year.

Pantone is probably the best-known company that issues a Color of the Year, but Kassing cautions that their color choice applies to design in general, including uses like apps and billboards – meaning it is not necessarily appropriate for an interior application. Pantone selected Ultra Violet as the Color of the Year in 2018, for instance, and that’s a hue you’d likely use only sparingly in a home.

Look instead at the Colors of the Year from paint companies Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore. Sherwin- Williams’ color this year is Naval SW 6244, a deep navy. Continuing the trend for darker walls, M/I Homes is using a version of this color on walls in some model homes in the Charlotte area.

Add more detail.

In keeping with the move towards greater warmth, Kassing expects to see more ornamentation in trim details and cabinet profiles this year. “Cleaner profiles will still be around for a very long time, but we do see a higher level of detailed ornament starting to come back in,” he says. The shaker cabinet door seen in homes for years “will start to step aside to make room for a slightly more detailed cabinet profile.”

Embrace the imperfect.

The Japanese concept called wabi-sabi encourages seeing the beauty in imperfection. It’s an idea shared by Scandinavian, French, Italian and other cultures, and a huge trend for 2020 and beyond, Kassing says. Rejoice in imperfection by choosing simple forms for furniture and accessories in natural materials.

Look for pieces with character that feel or are a bit flawed. It could be an armoire that belonged to your mother, or a vintage sewing desk repurposed as a vanity.

Not everything in a home needs to be brand new to feel fresh and current.

A balance of old and new creates an environment with a high level of personality and depth. These kinds of pieces help make a home less sterile and create a setting for real relaxation.

Mix your metals.

Not everything has to match. There’s no law saying every fixture in your home needs to be brushed nickel, for example. “We mix chrome, gold, and black all the time,” Kassing says. Try combining black and chrome, or brushed brass with a matte black. A more eclectic approach can help your home feel more authentic.

Sustainability is key.

“People want to know where their product is coming from,” Kassing says. “Is the linen on our sofa coming from 15 different countries or one environmentally sourced place?”

Expect to see more information from manufacturers on the source of a product, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about how a piece was produced.

What's Timeless

Kassing also has a few timeless design tips for this and any year.

Adding color doesn't always mean paint.

Though accent walls are a tried-and-true way to introduce color, that technique – and paint in general – is just one of many options. A light, simple background can be restful and elegant, with color introduced through large artwork, wall coverings, draperies, bedding, and pillows.

Don't forget lighting, pattern, and texture.

These elements are just as important for giving your home an inviting and welcoming mood. “By layering textures and scale and playing with proportion, you can get just as dramatic an impact when you walk into a space as filling it with circus-tent color. The room doesn’t have to be ultra-saturated and bold.”

Trends are optional, unless you're trying to sell your home.

Incorporating trends in your home design can be important for resale value when you’re looking to sell your home. Otherwise, feel free to ignore any trend that doesn’t say “home” to you.

After all, your home design is part of what makes your home your own.


Dan O'Malley
Dan O'Malley


Dan O’Malley is the Vice President of Product Development for M/I Homes.With over 30 years of expertise in residential architecture and design, Dan has been overseeing the product needs of the company's 16 divisions located throughout the Midwest, Southeast, Nashville and Texas for the past 12 years. Before joining M/I Homes, he was a partner in the Chicago office of BSB Design, a national residential architectural firm, for 14 years. Dan is an expert in all aspects of single-family and multifamily design and has received several awards for his successful projects. He is also a popular speaker at various industry events, including the International Builder’s Show, Midwest Builder’s Show, and Multi-Housing World.

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