In the past decade we’ve seen family-friendly schemes with zippy chevron patterns; Sputnik chandeliers over marble-topped Saarinen tables; hygge-infused Nordic interiors draped in sheepskin; bohemian lairs replete with macramé and rattan; moody black accent walls; Edison bulbs amid faux industrial furnishings; gallery walls riddled with inspirational quotes; millennial pink sofas paired with geometric rose gold accents; living rooms sporting Beni Ourain rugs, mudcloth pillows, and fiddle leaf ferns; white kitchens warmed up with floating wood shelves; shiplap-covered walls with sliding barn doors; and navy blue kitchens punctuated by brass fittings.
Mostly, less was more. Even when we opted for global textiles, we stuck with crisp white walls. Lines were straight and clean, though we dabbled in exuberance with the likes of Kelly Wearstler and Jonathan Adler before worshiping at the trestle table of Joanna and Chip Gaines. Maximalism isn’t necessarily on the menu for the coming year, but colors will be deeper, rooms more multilayered, accessories more meaningful, and materials more carefully considered.
Designers are expressing intense interest in the tactile. “[Think about] the way velvet crushes when you move your hand one way, the soft grain of leathers, or even the pits and divots in brick floor tile. They all feel like something real,’’ Meg McSherry of Meg McSherry Interiors said. They’re also reveling in imperfection, choosing materials that pit or patina, like marble and unlacquered brass, as well as vintage pieces that show wear and tear. Tracy Parkinson of Nest + Co. talked about interiors with “tapestries, sculptures, and chip-y antiques’’ to counteract the advance of technology, while other designers mentioned a return to vintage furnishings with an eye toward environmental responsibility.
McSherry summed up current tastes: “I find it interesting when a home looks lived in and loved.’’
New Englanders love their blues, but the “it’’ color for 2020 is green. “I recently updated an all-white kitchen by calling out a section of cabinets with Farrow & Ball’s ‘Card Room Green,’ ’’ Holly Joe of Holly Joe Interiors said. Eleven Interiors is designing a kitchen in a Harvard Square condo with cabinets painted Sherwin-Williams’s “Underseas,’’ a rich sage green with blue undertones. “They’re Shaker-style cabinets, so it still feels classic and Bostonian,’’ Gabby Bove, lead designer at Eleven Interiors, explained. Steven Favreau of Favreau Design went wild for an adventurous client in Beacon Hill with clean-lined cabinetry in five different finishes, including emerald and mint green.
“The cool gray movement of the 2010s is out,’’ Dane Austin of Dane Austin Design proclaimed. “In the 2020s we’ll see a return to earthy tones — chocolate brown, burnt orange, cranberry red, ochre yellow, olive green, and cream.’’ Nicole Hirsch of Nicole Hirsch Interiors cites terra cotta, ochre, and ruby red as her go-to hues. “As much as everyone loves a good blue, I’m moving to earthy, saturated colors paired with cream or camel,’’ she said. If you’re having flashbacks to the 1970s, don’t. Jessica Ford of Jessica Ford Design noted, “Ochre, olive, rust, and deep purple add a level of richness and comfort that feel modern and unexpected.’’
“I’ll be continuing to push the fifth wall,’’ said Elizabeth Benedict of Elizabeth Home Decor & Design, who used molding to create a chinoiserie pattern on her ceiling to add interest and break up the 29-foot-long space. Laura Keeler Pierce of Keeler & Co. Design installed grasscloth on the ceiling of an Andover dining room in which she used a single paint color for the walls and trim. “It’s softer than standard ceiling paint, but still provides contrast,’’ she said. She’s also dying to do an upholstered ceiling. “I want to play up the architectural nature of the roof, whether it’s pitched or round.’’
“Cozy fabrics like bouclé, velvet, and leather are pushing out linens’ long reign,’’ Austin said. Designers are seeking textiles that elicit touch. Namely, bouclé. Trevor Fulmer of Trevor Fulmer Design notes how its “looped and knotted’’ nature adds depth to a space, and Hirsch cites its “warmth and sophistication.’’ Rachel Reid of Reid Design, who also favors the fabric, said, “I’ve always been interested in how our sense of touch defines a room.’’
Ubiquitous white subway tile has given way to imperfect handmade. Annie Hall of Annie Hall Interiors lists clay tile with crackle finishes and ceramic tile with relief among the new favorites. Meredith Rodday of Meredith Rodday Design incorporated terra-cota tiles in a kitchen. “I love the imperfections and texture,’’ she said. “It’s all made and cut by hand, so the lines aren’t completely straight, and no two tiles are exactly alike.’’ Although the tiles are created using centuries-old techniques, Paula Daher of Daher Interior Design points out that they feel contemporary when done in large formats.
The mid-century modern aesthetic “Mad Men’’ popularized is over. Steven Santosuosso of Squarehouse Studios welcomes affordable sofas by mainstream retailers that echo the sinuous lines of those designed by Vladimir Kagan. John Dransfield, design director of Modern Relik, describes such pieces as “soft, rounded modern furniture with female energy.’’ While Aimee Anderson of Aimee Anderson Design has yet to persuade a client to lean into the look, Hirsch is working on a scheme featuring two curved bouclé sofas atop a textural off-white rug. Robin M. Anderson’s crush on vintage French Art Deco pieces provides a similar take.
Painted finishes are giving way to multidimensional ones. Jill Najnigier of JN Interior Spaces recently used a teal-colored bark wallcovering from Thibaut, while Nikki Dalrymple of Aquire, inspired by glue gun-wielding tastemaker Marian McEvoy, has hopes of adorning a wall with crushed oyster shells. Kristine Irving of Koo De Kir Architectural Interiors has been upholstering walls. “It’s a great way to soften a modern space, play with scale, and add sound attenuation,’’ she said.
Maker culture perseveres. “My customers love a story,’’ said Jaimee Healy of J’aim, a Concord shop. “People want to know what they are buying and the life behind it.’’ Ana Donahue’s clients ask for one-of-a-kind, artisan-made accessories with a cause attached. Robin M. Anderson prefers elements that spark conversation versus ones that simply make a room look pretty. “We are lucky to live in a time where the work of so many artists and tradespeople is accessible with just a few keystrokes,’’ she said.
(What other looks are Boston-area designers loving?)
Marni Elyse Katz blogs about design at StyleCarrot.com. Send comments to [email protected]. Subscribe to the Globe’s free real estate newsletter — our weekly digest on buying, selling, and design — at pages.email.bostonglobe.com/AddressSignUp. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @globehomes.