The house we buy is the single largest investment most of us will make in our entire lives. So, when it comes to putting our money into design “trends,” it’s good to be cautious. Any significant renovation will add value to your property. And whether you plan to sell your home or stick around for a decade or two, you never want to follow a trend that will fall out of fashion.
If you’re looking for projects that will hold their value for years to come, you’re in the right place. Here are our picks for six design trends to try in 2020.
1. Passive Solar, Massive Potential
The future is all about energy conservation, so it’s no wonder our picks for 2020 lean green. Passive solar has been a trend in alternative buildings for quite some time. As homeowners become more interested in energy efficiency, more home builders are adopting these design concepts.
The broad term “solar energy” describes elements such as solar panels that convert the sun’s rays into electricity. Passive solar design focuses on orienting specific elements of the home toward the sun, and then directly capturing the heat. If you’ve ever entered a car that has sat in the sun, you’ve experienced passive solar heat on your backside. In passive solar design, that same idea is used to passively regulate air or water temperature by storing, reflecting, and distributing heat. Passive solar design offers a maintenance-free way to reduce your energy consumption. An active solar system, by contrast, uses devices to capture and convert sunlight into electricity.
2. Recycled Materials Reduce Waste
Maybe you’re not ready to build a house out of used tires. You can still incorporate recycled materials into your next renovation. From interiors to exteriors, basement to roofing, there are endless opportunities to choose recycled materials for your projects.
3. Reclaimed Wood: Born in a Barn
When scrap wood is processed and reused as part of a new product, it is recycled. When scrap wood is removed from an old structure and used again in a new project, it is reclaimed. Reclaimed wood often comes from buildings under renovation. This option sometimes yields wood species that are no longer available or wood from a building with an interesting history.
The rustic look of aging barns has made them popular settings for weddings and receptions. Reclaimed lumber pulled from old barns is in demand right now. No matter its source, reclaimed lumber is a beautiful, eco-friendly choice that will continue to gain popularity.
4. Don’t Expand, Optimize
Here’s a design trend that never goes out of style: Use the space you have! While you can always hire a professional organizer, there are plenty of resources to help you tackle this task yourself. Basements, attics, garages, and closets are all prime real estate and are often underutilized or misused. By taking advantage of what you already have, you expand living spaces and remove clutter without renovation costs.
5. Edible Landscaping
Yards you can eat might just be the best landscaping trend ever. Though there’s something to be said for a nice expanse of green lawn, grass is mostly an aesthetic choice. When your yard space is dedicated to growing vegetables, all that energy used to keep your grass green, now goes to feeding your household. That means your edible landscape not only lowers your carbon footprint, it also reduces your grocery bills!
Tip: Choosing species native to your area reduces maintenance and irrigation needs. For example, pecan trees are native to Austin. They provide nuts and take little work to grow. Almond and plum trees are native to Georgia and thrive without much attention.
6. Outdoor Amenities
Improving your backyard is a win-win. It allows you to enjoy the outdoors and expand your living space. Outdoor kitchens take the backyard barbecue to the next level. Those in chillier parts of the country can sometimes add months of extra outdoor living by investing in heavy-duty heat lamps.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to keep up with this year’s trendy designs. These fashion trends are easy to DIY while practicing sustainability.
Natalie Greenberg is a gardening and landscaping writer, and an outdoorswoman extraordinaire. She’s hosted everything from weddings to proms on her 5-acre farm. She also hosts her annual family reunion, firing up the grill and cooking for 60 plus people every year.