This past April, I made my annual pilgrimage to North Carolina and the High Point Market, the world’s largest home furnishings and decor show. It was as inspiring and overwhelming as always. After looking at thousands of products and designs, I noticed five emerging trends.
1. Color: Overall, warm neutrals dominated the 2017 spring Market. Sophisticated cool grays that were everywhere just two years ago have been replaced by warmer tones of gray, taupe and even brown. Sherwin-Williams chose “poised taupe” as their color of the year for 2017, and they were spot-on with their prediction. Showroom after showroom displayed taupe furniture, taupe wood tones and taupe wall colors. Black and white also were represented strongly in both furniture and accessories. The one color that was seemingly in every showroom was blush pink. I saw blush pink last year in a couple of the showrooms, but this spring it was used in some form by almost every vendor.
2. Fresh Traditional: Maybe it’s a natural reaction to our current political environment and our increasingly frightening world, but the desire to return to simpler and safer times is all about surrounding ourselves with comfort and familiarity. Even traditional brown furniture, which has been so badly maligned by design professionals over the past few years, is making a comeback. Today’s traditional, however, is not your grandmother’s traditional. It is a fresher version that fits today’s lifestyles and aesthetics. A traditional brown wood-framed settee in one showroom was updated with a large-scale polka dot fabric and on-trend throw pillows. Traditional wingback chairs were seen upholstered in fun, bright fabrics. One set even had a “racing stripe” running down the back.
3. Fashionable Furniture: Furniture and fashion have always been closely aligned, but this year’s vendors embraced some of the hottest fashion trends. Dressmaking details such as pleats, fringe, lace, buttons and channel backs were spotted on many of the new upholstery introductions. One of the biggest trends was gold stiletto-like legs on sofas and chairs. Even bulky sectionals were placed on fashionably thin gold legs and feet.
4. Return of the ’70s: The ’70s are baaack! Wicker, macramé, hanging plants, beads and funky furniture appeared throughout the Market. Go buy a hanging fern and dig out your owl macramé wall hanging because it’s right on trend. Not only are the furniture styles and accessories of the ’70s becoming popular, but more muted earthy colors such as olive green, harvest gold and orange seem to be slowly creeping back into favor. It will be interesting to see if these earthy colors take hold, since bright, clean pops of color are currently so popular. On the opposite side of the ’70s muted color palette I saw the type of Day-Glo colors that started in the ’60s and further intensified in the ’70s. Bright color combinations and fanciful patterns were reflected in both wallpaper and fabrics.
5. Downsize Me: Housing studies continue to show that baby boomers are downsizing in record numbers, and millennials are forgoing the big house in the ’burbs to remain in the city. The furniture industry has taken notice, and I noticed more modular and smaller-scale pieces than ever before. New introductions included accent tables and ottomans that can be grouped together and used as cocktail tables or pulled apart for extra seating. I also saw modular sofa pieces that can be custom arranged depending on spatial needs, and multipurpose items such as storage ottomans, nesting tables and bedside tables that double as small dressers. Smaller living is here to stay, and this was reflected in most of the showrooms.
It’s important to keep in mind that trends come and go, and what is hot today will look dated in just a short eight to 10 years. Invest in what you love and surround yourself with meaningful and thoughtful pieces, and your home will always be on trend.