Surface Trends for the Bold New Decade

Updated: Mar 17

Today we are talking Countertops and Tile.

In our previous post “To Trend or Not To Trend”, we talked about how the new decade will be bringing in several new trends. Over the next few blog entries, we’ll take a look at some incoming trends for the new decade – and those who are sneaking out the back door.

Are we Bidding Farewell to Granite?

As we know, granite has been the standard for designers and homeowners for well over a decade. How many of those home buying shows have we watched when the potential buyers walk into a space and poo-poo the entire home because it lacked granite counters? This may be a trend that is nearing the end. However, I was recently clearing out some of my old design magazines, and granite’s demise was also predicted in 2016 – so, only time will tell.


What is certain is that natural materials (and those that look like they were created by nature) will be prevalent throughout the home moving forward.


Marble has long been thought of as a staple in classic design – only if you consider 1000+ years a long time, I suppose. While it is a beautiful material, many find it less than ideal due to the initial cost and ongoing maintenance.


While I doubt natural marble will disappear (in fact I am “Ms. Practical” and am designing an insert of Marble for a baking center in my own house), it is likely that faux marble will become more prevalent than the real deal. Budget and environmentally friendly, porcelain and composite options are becoming more attractive to homeowners and designers alike. It also allows flexibility in color as well as shapes and curves, which are stepping up to make a serious fashion statement of their own.


As far as aesthetics, veining will be prominent, and there will also be a lean towards darker, richer tones. No matter which direction you go, look for matte or honed surfaces vs. high gloss or polished.


A matte finish offers a softer look and will be showing up in surfaces around the home. Watch for brushed metal, honed stone (or faux stone) and satin finishes to stay on top of the newest trends.

Solid as a Rock

Quartz is typically the next thought when contemplating a new or replacement countertop. As you may, or may not know, while quartz countertop do contain natural stone, they are what is commonly referred to as engineered stone, meaning they are man made. Using particles of stone and resins, polymeric or cement-based binder, this tough beauty looks like natural stone but offers so much more. With today’s technology, manufacturers can nearly duplicate colors and designs previously only attained by Mother Nature, while offering a much more durable product.


Beautiful, tough, nearly maintenance free, and with what appears to be an infinite color pallet, quartz is practical. While it is not cheap, often when weighing cost vs. benefit, it can still come out a clear winner, and will likely be one of the most used products going forward.


If stone (real or faux) isn't your thing, wood is good these days. How do you feel about good ol' fashioned butcher block? Or go super sleek with concrete. The options do not end there.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

If you find yourself reducing your carbon footprint, are concerned about possible toxins, or would simply prefer a recycled product, don’t worry – there are plenty of fashionable options for you as well.


If you like the thought of saving the planet, but love engineered stone, Cambria is a family owned and US based company that believes in operating sustainably. Cambria recycles all metal tooling, as well as 100% of the water used in polishing. Their quartz mine also runs on full hydroelectric power that provides a smaller, greener footprint.


Sherwin Williams 2020 Color of the Year, Naval

They are celebrating their 20th anniversary and have introduced twenty new designs as their gift to us. My personal favorite is Portrush that integrates navy blue veining into a soft white – tying it to the Sherwin Williams Color of the Year, Naval. Striking Combination!

Cambria 2020 Collection - Portrush






If you don’t see anything there that inspires you, take a look at IceStone, which uses recycled glass to create beautiful surfaces in a wide range of colors from neutral to bold. From a historic Navy Yard in Brooklyn, NY Icestone also manufactures PaperStone, Durat, and QuartStone which all integrate recycled products and focus on "low environmental impact, a safe manufacturing process, and product consistency".


Other options are Vetrazzo , Alkemi, Richlite, Curava, and many other eco-friendly companies that are making amazing products. I love each one of them for different reasons and am always on the lookout for the right project to utilize them.

So Long Simple!


When looking at backsplashes to go with these countertops, this is not the time to be timid. Color and pattern are back, and I find it thrilling.


Tilework in Sintra Portugal Palace

I was fascinated with the tile work when I visited Portugal a few years ago, and I am not the only one. Bolder is better going into the new decade. Shapes, color and patterns are popping up everywhere from walls, floors, countertops, to fireplaces and more.



Detail of intricate tile work around fireplace

If you were thinking of using the classic white 3x6 Subway tile, you may find this news unsettling. Personally, I think subway is classic and there are homes it will always work in, however, the Modern Farmhouse trend pushed this staple to be overused.

Are you wary of veering too far off the subway path? Look toward it’s not so distant cousin, the 4x4 and 6x6 square, coupled with an offset pattern and darker grout.


The long and lean 3x9 tile is also an alternate. You can also try layouts like herringbone or crosshatch for a variation.














If you are ready to step out of your comfort zone, embrace the bold and reach for color and pattern. Then stretch your design legs and apply the tile in unexpected ways.







Coming Soon


In our next entry we are going to explore Color trends. What Color(s) are hot as well as how and where we are using color. Hint: It's not White & Grey!


Follow us on FaceBook and watch for our FaceBook Live videos on each of our 2020 trends topics. We’ll dig in a little deeper – and explore what you are saying about the trends in this bold new decade.

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