Interior trends for 2020 The shape and colour of things to come in and out of the workplace


Zero Waste Bistro, New York 

Ben Johnson Interiors always stays well ahead of the curve when it comes to design trends in the workplace.  That way we can offer the very best, up-to-the-minute, professional advice to our clients. It also means that that all interior workspaces we plan, along with their colours, textures, mood, furniture and facilities, are aligned both to current as well as future thinking.

We keep ahead with current and future styles by keeping our ear to the ground in terms of the mood of the times, global culture, world events, politics, new trends in art, architecture, clothes and music and emerging designers’ work.   We also pay very close attention to the work of professional future trend agencies, who inevitably get it right, and especially one close to our base in Yorkshire, Scarlet Opus. 

Our trusted furniture and building suppliers are also on board with future developments, so although we always adhere to a client brief, our knowledge of future movements and products means we can also offer a valuable window to the future and make additional suggestions in terms of mood, design, furniture and facilities.  The additional insight saves money for the client long-term and ensures that our workplaces have true longevity. 


Textiles made from waste will be popular in 2020

Materials to look out for in 2020


So, what’s on the cards for 2020? 

According to UK trend consultants top of the list is sustainability.  As a strong reinforcement of this, the Governor of the Bank of England announced in July 2019 that “Firms ignoring the climate crisis will go bankrupt.”

A mix of technology and sustainability will have a huge impact in 2020. Confident, tech-savvy Generation Z kids (under 25) and Millennials, who are passionate about the effect of climate change and preserving the planet, are starting to seriously influence every aspect of business and living. People are using new skills to set up new 100% sustainable businesses, for instance the pop-up restaurant Zero Waste Bistro in New York, where everything was made of recycled materials, including the cutlery and the staff aprons. The continuing mood for 2020 and beyond is: “if you don’t do something that is sustainable, then we’ll do it ourselves.”  Online influencers – usually under 30 – are becoming wealthy.  People trust each other rather than advertisers or politicians. We are beginning to see large household brands reducing their advertising budgets considerably and using young, savvy, eco-friendly kids as influencers.

It follows that workplaces must become considerably more eco-friendly to keep up, but we’re definitely not there, at least not in the UK. Research in UK Investor magazine by commercial property agents Savoy Stewart in November 2019 revealed that over 50% of UK offices do not employ eco-friendly features at all.  There are simple ways to implement this and Ben Johnson Interiors will be addressing this in our next blog.

The millennial generation, as well as their younger brothers and sisters are now influencing the world in a major way. 

Pattern and colour inspired by the natural world and the ocean

Colour, pattern and materials in 2020

Environmental concerns mean that all shades of blue – from sky blue to indigo tones are set to become very on-trend over the next three to five years because blue conveys sustainability. 

Greens have become popular in interiors over the last few years, but soon we will see these becoming richer, to reflect the sea and the rain forest. 

Pattern will become more fluid and organic – again reflecting water and the sea. Water-style effects will become very popular. 

For materials, in the workplace as well as the home, as much as possible is set to become recycled. Many more textiles will be made from waste (ie Wool and the Gang). Rugs will be made from algae and seaweed and we are already seeing blue carpets made from fishing nets.

Aquaponics and Hydro Terrariums will be commonplace in offices.  These show plants with their roots in the water – signifying openness and honesty – these roots have no secrets.

A desire to “grow our own” and to “grow stuff together” will become the norm and soon many workplaces will be equipped with indoor garden facilities. 


Zero waste office of the future

Aquaponics and hydro terrariums


Along with sustainability, fellowship will be another influential movement that will become very apparent in 2020 and this will affect interior trends. It’s about no longer trusting in the Establishment or politicians and about people getting together, celebrating diversity and redefining new values for ourselves. It will no longer acceptable to shout about being diverse because we are all expected to be anyway. 

Fellowship will become apparent through an “anything is possible” approach to design and colour and a display of strength in intense colour, pattern and material experimentation. Fashion will be multi-cultural and diverse and so will interiors.  As well as blue, yellow and earthen terracotta will become popular as accessory colours.  Mustard and butterscotch will also be seen in workplaces as they are calming colours. There will be a desire for the outside to look like inside and vice-versa. Monochrome patterns will become very popular in interiors – especially in blue. Boardrooms will increasingly look like a halfway house between home and work. 


Mustard and Butterscotch

Blues for 2020

Workplace furniture is set to become very versatile, with steps becoming tables, chairs with storage capacity and furniture designed to build communities in offices. Textiles will be important, especially recycled wovens, and we will see much mixing and matching of furniture together – to reflect an anti-establishment mood. Overall, workplaces generally will start to become far more colourful and interesting, from paintwork to planters.

The workplace will start to use more colourful, interesting and recycled materials

Terrazzo will become a key material and a key look – the usual small chips becoming larger blocks of colour as a pattern on textiles too.

The hand motif will become very important over the next year and conveys a collaborative, community feel, reflecting fellowship perfectly. There will also be plenty of fringing within interiors as well as the fashion industry.

With the UK entering a six to ten year phase of long, hot summers, we will start to see more outdoor rooms, offices and kitchens with versatile furniture being able to be used both outdoors and indoors.

A threat to wildlife from global warming, means people are now encouraging and supporting wildlife more. Bird homes, insect hotels and hedgehog homes are starting to be built into outside walls of commercial and residential buildings.

Reflecting sustainability and fellowship, paper and plastics are now being used to make industrial strength products, in a far more environmentally friendly way than bricks.

Textiles – recycled wovens

Hand motif

Japanese Satori style

Another key trend influencing design and fashion in 2020 will be the Japanese Satori style. This is already becoming popular and has been reinforced by the forthcoming 2020 Japanese Olympics. Their stadium has been built in larch wood, and dense woodland has been grown all around. Satori is a style and philosophy that encourages people to be at one with the world.

Japanese Olympic Stadium in construction, with woodland

Satori encourages us to be reflecting on what is real, not virtual. We should be developing deeper levels of compassion for ourselves and the world and there should be a sense of serenity, balance and preservation in our lives. The overriding mood is tranquillity, purpose and quiet. It’s the perfect basis for workplace interiors. Popular colour palettes will develop from indigo blues to a blue colour wash, peach, koi red and a charcoal black. Texture will become very important – this is not a trend about smooth surfaces. Furniture will be tactile, calming and reassuring. The Japanese philosophy of “Wabi Sabi” – seeing beauty in imperfection will be prevalent.