2019 most surprising design trends + what will last


Much like fashion, home decor and design is constantly evolving. I love having a front row seat! One aspect of Chicago that I love so much is that Chicagoans aren’t scared to take a few chances when it comes to home design. I see hundreds of homes each month, and thankfully I am never bored thanks to homeowner’s bold decisions. And, a few months into 2019 I am already seeing trends emerge, many of which are in stark contrast to what we saw all last year. Here’s a roundup of the top home design trends of 2019 so far, and what I think works and doesn’t.

Goodbye gray, hello greige: Light gray walls have reigned for the past several years. And while I still think very pale gray walls are classically beautiful, they are starting to look a little dated. 2019’s version is a gray-beige hybrid, or “greige.” Greige has more brown undertones making it a warmer look than cool-leaning gray.

I love the color “Sea Pearl” by Benjamin Moore, paired with Chantilly for trim work. Benjamin Moore’s website is a great resource for wall color research--here’s a link to see Sea Pearl in several different rooms. If you are thinking of selling your home, or just looking for a little face lift, I would definitely recommend going more greige. The way the light bounces off the warmer tones is so beautiful and feels so fresh.

Lighter, wider floors: Dark wood floors have been the standard for the past several years, but I am seeing a definite shift toward lighter. Natural oak has had a bad rap for the past decade or so, but the 2019 version is less orange and very beautiful. Oversized, wide, planks are also gaining in popularity, and they end up feeling a bit more casual. If you are looking for easy to care for floors that are also easy to decorate around, I think natural oak is a great option.

An end to the white kitchen?! Honestly I don’t see white kitchens going anywhere any time soon. Especially here in Chicago, this light and bright option makes sense. Even still, I have seen more natural wood kitchens in the past six months than I have in years. Natural wood flat front cabinets in a matte finish are complimented with white quartz or quartzite countertops for a modern, clean look. I personally love the stark contrast in color, material and texture, and think it comes off as very sophisticated and classic.

A more practical bathroom: For so long the industry standard in bathrooms was all marble. But as consumer education around porcelain and its benefits became more pervasive, porcelain in bathrooms has become more and more common. It really is a great material since it is literally indestructible, requires no maintenance, and there are so many new and beautiful patterns.

The other big update I’m seeing in bathrooms is a bounce back from the freestanding tub. For the past several years, freestanding tubs have been used as the visual anchor in bathrooms--almost as artwork. What consumers have realized in the ensuing years, is that freestanding tubs are actually very uncomfortable! For someone who is a true bath lover, a built in tub is really the way to go.

What I love most about the emerging 2019 design trends is that they are all very “livable.” There’s nothing too fancy or over dramatic here. My favorite designs will always be at the intersection of where form meets function, because it is here that we know a design will stand the test of time!