2019 Trends: 3 Secrets to Designs that Sell

My final trend topic this week is all about ~the way it looks~ and what the culmination of interiors, color and style are going to bring in 2019.
(Read all posts in the 2019 Trends series here.)

1. Unexpected rules

We are all familiar with the interior design style of Farmhouse. But like any strong trend, it can become over-saturated in the market and tire quickly. But that’s what trends are all about, eh?! Now don’t worry if you’re a Magnolia Home lover, the details themselves are not coming to an end, but I predict that they will be imparted in more unexpected ways. So instead of going “all in” on Farmhouse, look for ways to bring it in unexpectedly. This gives your design the character of Farmhouse (or Industrial, or Rustic, or Modern) without being overbearingly repetitive.

If you design open shelves over a backdrop of shiplap, you’re creating a very true style theme, Coastal or Farmhouse, depending on the finishes. But if you apply shiplap to an adjacent wall as a stand-alone accent, it nods to the style, making a more thoughtful style element. Or, think about an accent of shiplap on the ceiling! The “fifth wall” has been part of trend discussions in recent years, with ideas ranging from planked patterns to wallpaper to bold paint colors.Style themes are wonderful, and clients love to glom on to a look that is guaranteed to be a winner! But as you go into the new year, use those themes as inspiration for the curated design you create instead of going all-out Garanimals! The perfectly matched room is done and the unexpected will rule in 2019!

2. Shaping the Future

The kitchen is generally a very linear and hard-lined room, especially compared to the rest of the home. There’s very little that can soften the room, but in 2019, shaping the kitchen will be one of your challenges. Minimalism is the proponent of this growing trend, but not in a stereotypical clinical or sterile way. Instead, we should be looking for ways to incorporate curio-type looks, through counter-height wall cabinets and of course, open shelving. For example, we can have an entire span free of wall cabinets, with just one or two counter wall cabinets faced in metal and glass doors placed side-by-side or on opposite ends. (Think Bellagio, or my favorite, Catania.)


As a side note, you may be thinking that metal doors are a more contemporary design element, but it all depends on the way you draw that aspect into the room for balance. For example, oil-rubbed bronze metal doors pair wonderfully with stains like French Roast or Eagle Rock, and the metal finish can then be repeated in light fixtures or carefully selected decorative hardware. This will pull the look towards Transitional style. And to further that thought, mixing in a little vintage detail with the minimal design style is a perfect way to add shape and warmth to the look.


With the example of glass front counter-wall cabinets, the idea is to create display space that sets a stage for décor items that may otherwise be found in a traditional dining room hutch or entertainment surround. Other aspects that will shape the 2019 kitchen include hand-made or vintage rugs, local-artisan vessels, artwork, pottery, and comfy seating for dining and hanging out. This act of “home-ing” connects the kitchen to adjacent rooms while adding shape and warmth. The result is a space for comfortable socializing – further emphasizing the kitchen as the heart of the home.

The big picture is that minimal style trends are growing, evident in the popularity of Transitional, Contemporary and Modern designs. That means that door styles will continue to be simple, slab and Shaker-esque in 2019. Design Tip: Use the slab drawer front option and embellish through carefully selected un-matched, yet cohesive, hardware to keep the overall look streamlined while making a unique stand-out statement. Inset cabinetry with Shaker styling is the pinnacle trend look for the right budget!

3. Materials and Colors

For the past decade, white has been the predominant choice for kitchen and bath cabinetry. As industry experts and designers, we are definitely tiring of this, and I’ve seen a few articles that are pointing to the fact that white is out for 2019. That said, whether white declines in 2019 is very dependent on the region of the country you are in and the level of risk your client is going to take. I shared some reflections on different kinds of consumers and their reactions to trends in The Greatness of Grey, but let me explain further…

Trend Setters
Above, the centermost circle indicates clients who seek out the latest trends, and are not afraid to dare to be different!! This client typically resides in metro markets – living the big city life! For the cabinet industry specifically, this group is tracking what’s happening in the European market for their hit list of inclusions.
Trend Seekers

Next, we have the clients who are very interested in what’s new and they will include a trend as long as they have seen it popping up here and there, and are willing to take some risk on color or style. For example, they would consider a bold color paint on their island and/or making a statement with their tile selection. This group is typically found in urban and suburban areas.
Trend Followers
These clients want to be current but are just getting their minds around stepping away from white paint and potentially moving into the gray family in terms of where trends are today. They need to see the trend in place and know that they can trust that it will be around for a while. They will be more apt to adopt Transitional style, which sits safely between edgy and traditional. The Trend Follower group can be found throughout all market regions, but typically they are located in suburban and rural areas.
Trend Laggers
And finally, we have those otherwise known as the “wallflower” group – which is where white painted cabinets will continue to be a primary selection. It’s safe, timeless and bright which equates to perfect in their minds. They may consider a different color on the walls or even a slightly colorful or bold tile accent. However, they will not be persuaded to adopt a high-risk trend now, or ever. Sorry, no Pantone Living Coral happening here!
And where do you think most of your clients fit into this circle diagram? That answer is dependent on your specific market, but for the most part, the majority of our clients fall within the outside two circles.
Let’s break this down a bit further, looking at color trends in cabinetry for 2019:

  • White is still a valid choice, but tiring as it has fully saturated the market

DESIGN TIP: Keeping it Current

Look for ways to add life when your client chooses white. Chestnut or walnut wood tops, maybe even a decorative wood hood. Wainscot interior backs of cabinets in a contrasting color, like Frappe, Earl Grey, Dusk or Celeste. Include open shelving and glass door cabinets for display space of colorful décor.


  • Light to mid-gray stains and paints will grow on the color list for 2019, and while they might be a bit passé for Trend Setter and Trend Seeker groups, they remain an exciting option over white for Trend Follower and Trend Laggers.

DESIGN TIP: Keeping it Current

Spice those grays up with Highlighting on paints or step over to a texture with Boulder or Greystone on oak. Texture is seen as color, and the layers of hand-brushing detail is a subtle hint of color.


  • The moody blues are in full swing with the Trend Setters and Seekers, and with visibility in more showrooms and magazines, they will make their way into the minds of the Trend Followers. Blues are being sighted as “the new gray” or “the new black”. With Gale, Dusk and Celeste, you can easily talk about adding color without the shock factor of an overly bright or bold color.
  • Green has made an impact in 2018 in European trends, and is stepping into the light in the American kitchen market for clients in the center of the trend circle. Much like the desaturated tones of blues, it is a particular color that feels best when drawn from the essence of nature. The fresh take on green is when its paired with soft-toned wood stains, like Natural, Champagne or Cappuccino. The texture of these finishes adds just the right dimension on oak, hickory or quartersawn oak.
  • Separating from the gray family of light-to-mid tones, the deeper tones of gray extending all the way to black are making an impact on the forefront of trends; again for clients in the center of the trend circle.
  • This includes colors like Smoke and Earl Grey, and of course Onyx and Carriage Black. You may hear requests for colors between Earl Grey and Carriage Black, as well as cooler tones. The hot look for these colors are rooms saturated in the depth of the color, unlike in years past where they were used as accents.
  • Going beyond the gray, blue and green families, 2019 is already presenting fashionable and unexpected colors.

You can see the similarities and the differences at a glance, which tells me that this is the year that safe is out and unpredictable is in. From washed pastels to jewel tones, this year, color is happening, which will pique our Trend Setters interests and begin to fill social sites with some exciting new photos!

The bottom line

When presented with the opportunity to discuss the latest trends with your client, ask the questions that will help you find out where they fit best in the trend circle. Get a feel for their décor (through a home visit) and stay in the outer two circles if you’re not sure. It’s a lot easier to ease into more risky color or style trends after they’ve fallen in love with your design than to start out with a high-risk shock factor. If I were to suggest Living Coral for my mother’s kitchen, it would be a very short conversation!


Thanks for joining me this week to look at some rising trends for 2019! I can’t wait to hear your insights and see what develops throughout the year!

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