I was a little nervous before my recent trip in October to High Point, North Carolina, for the Fall 2009 Furniture Market. I look forward to the trip each year to witness the latest colors, fabrics, finishes, styles, and themes for my profession. With our challenged economy and preoccupied society, I did not hold out much hope to view new and exciting design trends for the interiors world. Well, all that worry was unnecessary as I am happy to report that the design field is alive and well, perhaps even stimulated by what is going on in the world.
As we wait (anxiously) for the economic pendulum to swing back, most of us are not just standing still. We are adapting and re-evaluating. We are looking at things in a new way and changing our lives accordingly. Fact is if we keep things the same when they no longer work for us – whether financially, practically, or in this instance, stylistically and design-wise, it is unhealthy. It is only natural then that the world of interior decoration reflects these changes in the design trends and products coming to market.
After seasons of classic looks designers and manufacturers have stepped out of their safe houses to shake things up a bit. Influences are everywhere, derived from all corners of the globe; think Tibetan, African, Ming Dynasty, and Egyptian. And, although we are looking to the future we are also borrowing from the past with cues from Art Deco and Art Moderne, among others. Rules have been bent, or ignored even, to produce fresh takes on the familiar, new twists on tradition, or totally unexpected surprises.
The newest trends in design also reflect a less-is-more approach completely in step with these challenging times. The “more, more, more” edict from a few years ago has been replaced with pared-down simplicity and a responsible attitude. As we are reorganizing and simplifying our lives having fewer possessions and surrounding ourselves with higher quality things we truly love is back in vogue. Since we are spending more time at home with our families and entertaining in more often than out, it is only natural we are focusing on our décor.
I noticed several popular trends in the various showrooms and vendor booths I visited. Some of the trends were more defined than others, and some even overlapped a bit, but then that is what makes them interesting.
A casual trend is emerging with the wider use of natural materials like linen, rattan, and carved woods. This is no doubt an influence of our continued interest in bringing the outdoors inside our homes. This informal spirit creates a laid-back vibe that is both soothing and relaxing, the perfect restorative tonic for these trying times. Cleaner lines and organic textures abound on everything from upholstery to casegoods. The over-scaled, over-stuffed, boldly patterned, multi-fabric, fringed and tasseled sofas from the 90’s have been put on a diet and given a makeover.
Closely following the casual trend and an offshoot itself is an earthy trend. This is not the same heavy and dark stuff from decades ago but a more sophisticated and lighter look. The 1970’s “earth tones” have been refined with lighter, more subtle shades and colors derived from nature. This palette combined with responsibly harvested teak and reclaimed woods appeal to our increasingly environmentally conscious attitudes. Leaf patterned fabrics, bamboo motif floorlamps, even petrified wood console tables made appearances at the market.
A natural extension of the earthy trend is the exotic trend. I suppose this nurtures our desire for foreign travel and intrigue and provides us with round-the world treasures even if all we could afford was a “staycation” this year. Moroccan tea tables were plentiful as were ikat prints, lushly embroidered pillows, zebrano wood veneers, hammered metals, mosaic covered chests of drawers, and the ubiquitous animal prints. Used sparingly in your decor, these items add zing and a layer of interest to your home.
Will I be nervous next year before my trip to the fall market? No, I am already looking forward to catching a glimpse of what’s in store interiors-wise for the second decade of this century.