Interior Design Trends 2020: What The Experts Say

Interior Design Trends 2020: What The Experts Say

What’s in and what’s out in next year’s world of commercial design? In this post, we will be taking you through the top retail and office interior design trends for 2020, covering everything from designs that we will be moving away from, to technologies, styles, and colours that will be coming onto the scene. We’ll also be sharing expert insights and predictions straight from the designers themselves.

Whether its a retail space or an office one, interior design has the ability to inspire and evoke certain emotions, depending on the use of the space. Each brand may also have different priorities - for example, some offices may demand more functionality out of their design, whilst some retailers may want something more interactive and playful. 

Ultimately, it is about figuring out what works for your brand, and interior design can be a great way to add personality to any space, no matter what its purpose may be. 

So, without further ado, let’s have a closer look at what interior design trends in 2020 will look like.

Click on a trend to jump to a section:

biophilia interior design trend

What is Biophilia?

Biophilia literally refers to a love for nature. It stems from the theory that innately, human beings are drawn towards nature.

In the world of interiors, you may have seen biophilic design around the office in the form of plants, or perhaps there is an attention to introducing natural light to the space. But biophilic design has a practical side to it - the benefits that this approach has to our health and overall productivity are backed by science, too.

We live in a tech-centric age where we spend most of our time looking at screens, and less being surrounded by nature. Biophilic design aims to address this issue in urban environments by bringing elements of the outdoors to interiors. Research carried out by Human Spaces has found that workers reported feeling 15% more creative and 15% more productive when their workspaces made use of biophilic elements.

We will be seeing the biophilic interior design trend becoming more and more popular in 2020 and years to come, with commercial interior design moving towards introducing natural light, plants, water features, and open spaces for quiet working. 

Biophilic design won’t just be a trend for offices. Not only is it beneficial holistically for workplace productivity, but it can also help to increase sales in retail spaces. According to Terrapin Bright Green, customers judged that goods sold by businesses that were surrounded by nature were worth up to 25% more than those that were not.

The hype surrounding biophilic design is not an empty one. It’s about more than just putting a plant pot in your office - it’s about weaving our ecosystem into our surroundings. After all, the average person will spend a third of their life at work, which makes it worth investing in an approach that promotes wellbeing. It’s a promising trend that covers wellbeing, productivity, and profitability in one, so expect to see this design trend in 2020 and beyond.

Meet the Expert: Danielle Fleming

Danielle is a Design Manager at Absolute Commercial Interiors, who have been involved in both commercial and bar/restaurant interior design for companies such as Young’s Seafood and more.

What interior design trends can you expect to see declining next year?

Although we think we’ll continue to see geometric shapes, we think that we’ll start to see more curves and a slightly softer approach within the furniture market. The past few years, we’ve seen clean sleek lines with plain, bright pop fabrics. Moving to 2020, we think we’ll see playful curves and softer fabrics with either a soft print or textural feel.

What is your personal approach to commercial interior design? How do you approach a brief?

I always approach a brief by starting to section off areas and quickly sketching on an empty floor plan. I then start to pull together inspiration images, I find getting these images into a presentation early on helps me to focus my attention on key design elements and not get too overwhelmed with all the inspiration out there! I constantly cross check and challenge areas of the brief to get a clear understanding of what is expected and keep the conversation flowing with the client.

What interior design trends in the commercial world do you think are going to be popular in 2020?

  • We think we’re going to continue to see biophilic design introduced into schemes and it’s certainly something clients are becoming more aware of and the benefits. I think one of the biggest trends in 2020 will bring us closer to nature and this may be incorporated with an exotic touch with patterned wallpapers and fabrics!

  • A rise in sustainable design materials and products as clients are looking to introduce sustainable initiatives within their workplaces.

  • Trend colours for next year I believe will be pastel colours such as mint and dusky blue, but paired with honey yellows and cantaloupe colours.

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Image courtesy of FormRoom

What is Sustainable Design?

Sustainable design follows the principle of reducing the environmental impact being made on our ecosystem. This might mean a reduction in the use of non-renewable materials, and endeavor to use renewables wherever possible. Many brands are shifting towards ‘greener’ branding - whether or not this is actually contributing to sustainable practices remains to be seen.

We can all do our part and invest in products and designs that won’t cost us the planet. And sustainable design in 2020 will be more than just about the aesthetics and wood-effect surfaces. Interior design in 2020 will see a rise of greener materials and technologies being rolled out onto retail spaces and in offices. 

As environmental awareness increases in products, we’ll start to see brands opting for locally sourced and handcrafted decor that will last longer, which will also help to reduce waste. Quality will go hand in hand with the sustainable design trend in 2020 - brands will invest in quality furniture with longevity in mind.

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What is Functionality in Interior Design?

The modern retail store is full of interactive elements designed to get customers more active in their experience.

We have seen a rise in Instagrammable pop-up shops and the like, but will adding these features tackle a pain point and enhance their experience? Or is it just an on-trend gimmick? Ultimately, form and function should always go together, so any kind of innovation should be implemented with the customer in mind.

It's also a good call to consider the use of your spaces. If you have, for example, an interactive space that might be subject to mess and stains, then it's worth investing in easy to clean surfaces over something that just looks good. High pressure laminate surfaces are easy to clean, and you can get them in some aesthetically-pleasing finishes, too.

One thing that Dara Huang predicts that we will start seeing more of is functional design, particularly in office spaces. 

Meet The Expert: Dara Huang

Dara Huang is a designer and the founder of Design Haus Liberty, an international architecture and design practice that has worked on projects from the MoMA in New York, Cartier, and the Kate Spade retail store in London. 

What is your personal approach to commercial interior design? How do you approach a brief?

To do something that is fitting from a spatial, light and ambiance point of view.   

What interior design trends in the commercial world do you think are going to be popular in 2020?

I think coral is still a very cool colour to use. I am particular to green. In the future, there will probably be a bigger focus on interiors and furniture that's more functional i.e. for office spaces, etc. 

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Experiential Design

On the other hand, there’s no denying that experiential design is on the rise. What matters moving forward is how it is used. As previously mentioned, these innovations should fulfill some kind of function and should help the customer tackle a pain point in their journey. 

Not only should experiential design help the customer, but they should also build a lasting connection with them, even after the buying journey has ended. David Roberts, managing director of FormRoom, predicts that experiential stores with a purpose will be a key trend in 2020.

Meet The Expert: David Roberts

David is the Managing Director of FormRoom, a commercial interior design agency based in London. They have worked with the likes of Harrods, Levi's, Chanel, Nike and Selfridges to name just a few renowned brands.

What interior design trends can you expect to see declining next year?

While the desire for brand experiences will remain the same, we expect 2020 to see the decline of Instagrammable pop-ups.

This won’t shift the need for immersive spaces to create a connection and encourage snaps – these moments will simply be shared in different ways and appeal to all demographics.

As opposed to photo-booth-like rooms which focused heavily on millennials and Instagrammable moments, consider spaces where the whole customer journey can be captured through video.

What is your personal approach to commercial interior design? How do you approach a brief?

From the get-go, we ask the right questions and listen intently to the brand vision, values and goals.

We then delve into the customer environment, gain a deep understanding of the buying behaviour and look at how customers interact with the brand through every touch-point – whether online or in a physical space. We distil these insights and develop a future-proof brand strategy to craft brand connections that are significant to consumers' lives. 

What interior design trends in the commercial world do you think are going to be popular in 2020?

Today’s consumers expect a lot more than just products - they long for emotional connections with brands almost as if they were deepening a friendship with somebody. They will invest their time and money in brands that inspire them, share their values and offer unique experiences. 

The strongest trend will be experiential stores that include different activities, events and community spaces. From considered interiors, ‘test and play’ areas to AR/VR experiences, stores will offer more than simply brick and mortar.

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Staying Ahead of The Curves

It might not be the end of geometric designs, but we’ll be seeing a lot more curved accents being incorporated into interior design in 2020. 

Softer, less harsh shapes will be on the rise. Interior designer Ivan Meade suggests that straight lines are commonly seen as economical and efficient. Depending on what kind of style you are trying to achieve, throwing curves into the mix can even make spaces look more upmarket.

Meet The Expert: Ivan Meade

Ivan is the principal interior designer at Meade Design Group, based in British Columbia, Canada.

What interior design trends can you expect to see declining next year?

The lack of use of colour. People are tired of living in a neutral world, so I see people embracing colour once again.  Everybody wants to be happy and colour can do that. It can change your mood and your perception of the world.

What interior design trends in the commercial world do you think are going to be popular in 2020?

  • There is movement of bringing back curves and arches to the designs of today “Le Nouveau Art Déco” – In the 20/30’s this design style was a revolution with its curves and straight lines. For the longest time we worked with straight lines only, as they are efficient and economical. 

  • New neutrals which in reality are not neutrals, but are colours that work with everything like navy blue or emerald green.


The End of Scandi Design’s Reign?

Previous years have seen pared-back, minimalist designs and colours being extremely popular. The Scandanavian approach often makes use of muted colours and neutrals - think grey, navy and beige to name just a few. However, taking insights from Clerkenwell Design Week in London, interior designer Nikou Carey from Absolute Commercial Interiors, reckons that “Scandanavian style is becoming less and less popular.'' 

So, if the neutral colour palette is out, what is in? Colour trend talks held at Clerkenwell Design Week hinted at darker, bolder and brighter colours coming onto the scene in 2020.


With Pantone’s Colour of The Year 2019 being coral, we are definitely having a nature moment when it comes to colour schemes. We will have to wait and see whether they continue with these earthy tones in 2020, but the consensus seems to be in the direction of opting for natural colour palettes, which takes some inspiration from the biophilic design trend that will be all the rage in 2020.

Meet The Expert: Nikou Carey

Nikou is an interior designer at Absolute Commercial Interiors.

What interior design trends can you expect to see declining next year?

We attended a colour trends talk in London for Clerkenwell Design Week, and the colour expert explained that Scandinavian style is becoming less and less popular and darker, bolder colours are becoming the style! This is something we are trying to introduce into our designs whilst still incorporating the brand colours and style of our clients.

What is your personal approach to commercial interior design? How do you approach a brief?

Commercial design is very much about a company’s values and the image the company wants to portray. It’s really important to get to know a brand and understand their values and goals. I then focus on the solutions that will get them there. It’s also important to recognise the size and awareness of the brand. Loud, established brands are usually a little bolder in style, whereas lesser-known or newer brands are often a little subtler.

What interior design trends in the commercial world do you think are going to be popular in 2020?

I predict that bolder colours are going to make more of an appearance, along with textures other than woods. Sage green is looking to be a popular colour which is great for its help with wellbeing. 

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Final Thoughts

So, it looks like more colours, more curves, an increased awareness and implementation of sustainable design, functional design over aesthetically-friendly gimmicks and biophilia will be in for 2020.

We'll be seeing a shift away from the minimalist colour palette often found in Scandinavian design, and the introduction of 'new neutrals', which will be redefining how we look at colours in the modern world. Say bye to beiges and say hello to teals and camo greens.

Sustainable design will no be longer the optional approach. More and more brands are embedding eco-friendliness in their philosophies, so by this time next year, sustainable design won't be a trend - it'll be the norm.

We are also living in a tech-centric age, where instagrammable experiences have been all the rage. Moving forward in 2020, these novelties will perform a useful function and help customers in their buying journey.