Designer Insight: Design Trends & Predictions for the Building Industry

In the spirit of new year, new decade, and all that comes with that (e.g., the ubiquitous trend lists) we wanted to get some insight straight from the front lines: the Lita Dirks & Co design staff.

We surveyed our designers and asked them just a few questions to get their expert-on-the-ground-opinions and thoughts on where the building and design industry is headed in 2020 (and beyond). Please note that none of this is remotely statistically accurate. So, no wagering of bets please.

What are you predicting will be “hot” and/or popular design trends this year?

When asked about popular design trends the overwhelming answer was color. The use of more, and bolder, colors are what our designers are predicting as a hot design trend.

Answers included:

  • More color, moving away from neutrals
  • A dose of color, print, and personality
  • Colored and natural wood cabinetry – less all white cabinetry
  • Navy kitchen cabinets
  • Bold use of color and patterns (wallpaper still strong), stronger color showing up in kitchens, powders, dining rooms, etc.
  • Dark painted interior doors; bold colors; mixing old & new pieces of furniture, art & lamps; terrazzo counter-tops and floors
  • Accent walls, dark moody colors, minimalist design
  • Lots of colors


Dark, bold wall sets the tone in this NY model.

Furthermore, many of our designers felt there would be a return to more nature-inspired designs in the coming year with comments like this showing up:

  • Interiors created to boost well-being
  • Biophilic design – love of nature and natural elements
  • Natural elements (greenery, woods), curated or handcrafted details

Simple design, calming color palate, and a bit of whimsy to boost well-being in the bedroom of this model.

Do you see any major changes coming to the design/building industry this year?

We wanted to see what, if any, major changes our designers think will occur within the industry this year. The answers were diverse although we did see some general themes such as affordability and environmentally responsible materials/design emerging. Specific responses included:

  • Affordability is still huge. Providing highly desirable product with high design look, finishes, and options at an achievable price/size
  • Technology and smart homes; energy water -saving elements, hands-free or voice-activated faucets, etc., and similarly tied to all that – environmental concerns and awareness
  • Lasting, durable, and natural materials, recycling bins as well as trash, solar, etc.
  • Using more unexpected design solutions in kitchen layouts and in use of materials
  • More affordable materials with an expensive look
  • Healthier living features and materials, focus on creating flexible living spaces to cater to millennial and 55+ buyers
  • More focus on recycled materials and move towards performance materials
  • More affordable materials with affordable housing becoming a huge topic

Finally, we asked about the “untrendy.”

Are there any design trend(s) do you see as going “out” /becoming unpopular this year?

Again, the responses were somewhat disparate with the “all white kitchen” leading the pack of unpopular. A snapshot of responses include:

  • Matching materials and “cookie cutter” solutions
  • Terrazzo
  • All white walls! Unless you are really going for the super clean, Scandinavian look, I think you need some color on the walls- it adds warmth and personality. I think people are starting to realize paint is an easy and cost-effective way to change a space.
  • Macramé! Millennial pink and rose gold, all white kitchens – white will still be predominant but just not ALL white
  • All white kitchens, marble counter-tops, accent walls, all white trim & doors
  • Neutral color palette, I think more color and accent bright colors will be in.

Definitely NOT a boring “all white” kitchen here in this Red Hook, NY model.


Will our designers be on the mark? Or are they way off base? Only time will tell. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see our design solutions in action.