Which styles and colors will we be seeing in furniture showrooms — and, ultimately, homes — in the months ahead?
One reliable barometer is the High Point Market, the giant home-furnishings trade show held twice a year in High Point, N.C.
For insights from the most recent show, we turned to two design pros who were there: Kathy Basil, manager/buyer for Hirshfield’s Design Resource, and Nancy Woodhouse, senior designer at Gabbert’s Design Studio.
They shared what they saw and what they liked, and offered a few tips on incorporating new looks into existing décor.
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Lilac was in full bloom, according to Basil. “I saw a lot of it in upholstery,” she says. “One pillow showroom had a whole section devoted to lavender and mauve-y colors. It felt fresh and pretty.”
Is this a flashback to the mauve that dominated color palettes during the 1980s?
“It’s not as one-dimensional as that,” Basil says. “That mauve was depressing. This is a little more elegant, a little more blue. It almost rides on being a neutral.”
On furniture, Basil saw lilac paired with rich dark wood finishes, clear acrylic and white — but not with medium-toned wood, she says. “It wouldn’t look good.”
Purples are popular, Woodhouse agrees, but they aren’t the only color story. She also noticed a lot of deep blues inspired by peacock feathers, punches of chrome yellow and that other ’80s favorite: gray.
“Gray has become the new neutral, replacing beige tones,” she says.
Today’s grays are warm — almost taupe — which makes them easier to incorporate into décor than cooler shades of gray, Woodhouse says. Although gray’s rise has been building for several seasons, it shows no signs of waning. “Gray is here to stay for a long time,” she says.
Metal of the moment
All that glitters is now gold. “Gold was everywhere,” Basil says. “We heard a couple of markets ago that gold was coming back, but this market, boom!”
She saw gold dominating light fixtures and furniture hardware, in both shiny and brushed finishes, overtaking pewter and brushed nickel. One of her favorite pieces was a decorative seashell with a natural heavily textured exterior and a shiny gold-leaf interior.
“That juxtaposition of rough organic with gold is just beautiful,” Basil says.
Gold also re-entered the palette for fabrics, in a golden camel hue, she says. “It’s a way to keep your gray and add a new twist, warming it up and adding another dimension.”
Painted finishes, from formal to casual, are having a big impact on furniture, according to Woodhouse. She saw everything from whitewashed, gray-washed and metallic finishes, to painted special effects, such as Harlequin patterns, flowers and even lace.
Customization options are increasing, making it possible to take a traditional piece, such as a bombe chest, and give it a fresh, fun hue of your choosing.
Rugged rope was a busy multitasker at the market, according to Basil. “We saw it all over the place. I saw a lot of showrooms where they hung [light] fixtures with thick rope. That’s something new.” She also noticed a rope ship’s ladder hung in a showroom, its wooden treads repurposed as shelving. “It’s almost a ’70s feeling of macrame,” she says.