Curb Appeal is King in 2020 

Written by Steve Booz, Vice President of New Product Development & Product Management at Royal® Building Products  

As we enter into the fall season, we reflect on 2019 trends and what is coming for 2020.  This past year was an exciting one for exteriors, where we saw the rising popularity of bolder, darker colors, mixed materials, and designers getting creative with indoor-outdoor living.  We are still seeing popular residential exterior trends spilling over to commercial exteriors, such as the modern farmhouse aesthetic and the prominence of grays and blues.  Commercial exteriors are also taking a residential approach by blending more with the natural landscape and taking design aesthetic cues to blend into historical neighbourhoods.

As we move closer to 2020, designers, architects and contractors are devoting more thoughtfulness on exteriors and the impact on the building’s design. 2020 is stemming up to be “The Year That Curb Appeal – both residential and commercial – Will Be King.”
Here are the trends that will dominate 2020: 

Mixed use materials on exteriors 

One of the hallmarks of contemporary design is mixing materials on exteriors and this will continue to be a mainstay trend in 2020.  While brick and stone remain popular and classic, these materials are no longer the main focal point of exteriors.  Instead, designers are blending materials with the rest of the exterior’s design features to present a dynamic look that isn’t overpowering.

When it comes to siding, designers are getting creative by adding accents in the gable such as board and batten to give the home the appearance of height or shake which adds texture.  We are even seeing mixed use and a blending of various sidings in vertical, horizontal, and board and batten, all in different shades of the same color family.
To achieve a popular rustic look, designers are combining siding of different widths.  We are also seeing mixing of the same siding color; for example using shiplap and cedar shingles in navy, so that the texture becomes the main design feature.  Colors on these exteriors can range from classic white to high-drama darks and bolds. 

Goodbye real wood

The look of wood remains popular with both residential and commercial design.  Wood accents in particular can give character and warmth to a modern commercial exterior.  But while this look remains as popular as ever, architects are thinking more about maintenance and longevity.  Property owners do not want the added expense of routine maintenance and upkeep of natural wood.  Instead, they are investing in high quality, maintenance free materials that will last, such as composite decking or PVC cellular siding and trim products.

Today’s building product technologies ensure there are materials that replicate the natural wood look, without the performance issues related to real wood.  These materials include aluminum siding, PVC siding and trim, and of course, composite decking.  3D printing technology allows us to replicate the warmth and beauty of stained natural wood; meaning professionals and customers alike do not need to worry about maintenance, weather resistance, durability, or flammability.
More designers are using these alternative materials over real wood.  It is expensive and cannot stand up to the weather elements, especially in Canada.  Cellular composite siding with a smooth finish, such as Royal® Building Products’ new Celect® Smooth, offers the appearance of painted cedar siding which is desired by architects, especially those who favour New Urbanism design.  Cellular composite decking products, like Zuri® Premium Decking by Royal®, do not require sanding, staining or expensive yearly maintenance. 

Wellness and indoor-outdoor living

Wellness and mindfulness are huge influences in both interior and exterior spaces, and this trend has extended beyond the home to the corporate office and establishments.  The wellness trend transcends residential and commercial design and is a reflection of people’s desire for healing, self-care and peace in their busy, hectic lives.

In both residential and commercial construction, health and well-being dominate in the purpose and aesthetic of the design.  Offices, for example, are no longer just buildings for employees to sit in cubicles, but are turning into a home away from home for many.  With the competitive job market, it is important for companies to invest in the health and quality work spaces to attract employees and maintain employee retention.  Companies are adding yoga studios, gourmet kitchens, meditation rooms, etc., along with investing in outdoor spaces by building decks so that employees can have the indoor-outdoor atmosphere.  High quality composite decking like Royal’s Zuri decking, used in residential building but also popular with restaurants and hospitality, is a great choice for a commercial decking project due to its durability and low maintenance. Zuri decking, designed to look and feel like a hardwood floor, creates a seamless flow between indoor-outdoor spaces.

Finally, the overall shift toward mindfulness is apparent in the popularity of zen gardens, peaceful outdoor spaces, water features, and reading areas in commercial spaces.  We are seeing a maximalist approach to greenery – whether it’s inside the office with the popularity of succulents and lush ferns, to outdoor landscaping and deck greenery placed at different heights for design aesthetics.  

Steve Booz)

About the Author

Steve Booz is the Vice President of New Product Development & Product Management at Royal® Building Products, Exteriors Division which comprises siding, exterior and interior trim and decking products.
For more than 40 years, Royal® Building Products’ commitment to quality, innovation and customer relationships has attracted the loyalty of a growing number of building professionals, architects, engineers and distributors to its products.