Best in American Living™ Awards Showcase Top Design Trends for 2020

Contact: Stephanie Pagan
Media Relations Manager
(202) 266-8254

Over 150 single-family, multifamily, interior design, remodeling and community projects were honored at the 2019 Best in American Living™ Awards (BALA) ceremony held during the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas. The awards were sponsored by Monogram Appliances, and the media sponsor was Professional Builder.

Judges awarded eight Best in Region, five Of the Year and one Judges’ Discretionary Award for Innovative Site Design. In addition, one Game Changer award was given as well as one “Wow!” award, a special award given to a project with a jaw-dropping, one-of-a-kind design detail. These projects represent the nation’s best in home and community design, interior design and remodeling.

BALA winners showcase top design trends that home buyers can expect to see in homes and communities over the next several years, among them:

Colorful kitchens. Often found first on the island and then on lower cabinets, many designers are finding ways to punch up today’s new and remodeled kitchens. Judges saw cool aquas, dark woods and new, colored textures in many of this year’s applicants. It could take the form of a deep blue, on trend with many of 2020 color forecasts, or fun wallpaper, or earthy tones.

Crisp colors paired with warm woods. More designers are pairing otherwise “stark” or “cool” palettes with warm wood tones—either real wood or manmade—to create a look that is both dramatic, yet homey; high-end, yet comfy.

Curated design details. In every type of housing, from single- to multifamily, from remodels to communities, it’s clear that buyers want their next home to feel personalized to their taste. Every detail matters—from ceiling textures to shelving choices to mullion size—and today’s educated buyers won’t settle for less.

Expansive, large-format windows. Almost considered a standard feature in single-family custom homes, expansive, oversized windows—often with limited vertical interruptions—are on trend in all housing types. Even in denser areas, architects are finding interesting ways to incorporate large panel glass that lets in light but keeps out nearby neighbors.

High-quality signature entries. In our often car-centric society, residents spend a lot of time coming in through garages, but in 2020, expect to see a greater focus on front entries and improved streetscapes. A signature entry, especially on a production home, adds a one-of-a-kind appeal for future owners.

Non-traditional storage solutions. Instead of traditional cabinetry, designers will opt for shelving, both as a storage solution and as a design element. Outside of the kitchen, architects are creating more artful interpretations of traditional storage spaces, like wine cellars or under-stair displays. Artfully crafted, these storage areas purposefully blend into the room, instead of another typical closet door along a hallway.

Personalized lighting design. No matter the price point, buyers want a personalized feel to their homes, whether rental or for sale, and lighting is an obvious choice to offer that personalized feel. Lighting, like other design details, should not be an afterthought, and just installing what’s on hand without added thought about placement won’t fly with the 2020 buyer.

Sophisticated in/outdoor connections. With new technologies and increased availability of glass walls, pocket doors and large windows, new and remodeled homes alike are benefiting from seamless indoor/outdoor connections, both visually and physically.

Texture paradise. In 2020, designers are opting for more mixed metals, mixed materials and mixed textures to add depth to their designs. Wall paper, back on trend, is a great way to add additional texture to a space. Instead of full-room papering, designers are using wallpaper to create statement walls, focal oints or large pieces of art.

Thoughtful, well-edited design: Architects are pushing for more character and uniqueness, especially in production homes. Well-edited doesn’t necessarily equal simpler, but it does mean there needs to be a genuine purpose of place and points of interest that draw the eye across the façade—without all the fussiness of past decades. In plan, architects are making smart spatial decisions to match a cultural preference towards simplicity in living, especially in the age of constant technological interruptions and connections.

Unique wood detailing: The use of wood has been up-trending for the past couple of years, but in 2020, expect unique wood details and use of wood to create texture, ambiance, lighting design and more.

What’s old is new again: A renewed focus on genuine sense of place makes adaptive reuse and historic preservation projects a focus of 2020. By focusing on what came before, designers can build on an existing history instead of starting over, and residents will feel more connected to the place they now call home.

More information about this year’s winners and trends can be found at