Interior Design Trends: A Visit to High Point Furniture Market
Last month, I was honored to attend the High Point Furniture Market. This is a bi-annual interior design trade show hosted in High Point, North Carolina that occurs in the Spring and Fall of every year. It’s the mecca of furniture manufacturing in the United States, and furniture manufacturers display their products, roll out new introductions, and show their goods off, while educating buyers. All kinds of industry professionals attend, including furniture store owners, designers, developers, and many others. All of the display items cannot all be seen to this magnitude anywhere else in the industry. Not only do all the manufacturers display their new lines, but there are many groups that host education programs for the professionals to attend. It’s truly a golden opportunity, one I’m excited to share with you!
I had a wonderful time seeing beautiful new things, taking educational courses from industry professionals from all around the United States, and meeting a handful of designers who I have been in a Design Forum with over the last year, including designers from Chicago, Colorado, Atlanta, Miami, Ft Lauderdale, New Jersey, Arizona, and Texas. I had the most fun connecting with my longtime school friend Sheila Morgan Bajaj who is also an interior designer in Connecticut.
I can’t emphasize the magic of the High Point Furniture Market enough and it was so nice to be in attendance this year. When covid hit in 2020, the market shut down for that year and was slow to ramp back up into regular activity. This Fall was the first market to once again see its zealous attendance. It was fun to see the buzz and business it is so famous for.
The best part is not only seeing new items being produced for the upcoming year, but noticing the trend that will likely be in place for the next few years to come.
New Interior Design Trends
Today, I want to share the most prominent trends I observed at this year’s High Point Market:
Vacation Rental Design
One of the largest growing specialty areas of design is vacation rentals. Due to the super growth and recent feeding frenzy in the housing market, plus the increased travel over the last few years, the interest in staying in vacation rentals (rented through sites like Vrbo and Airbnb) continues to be hugely popular.
This is the area of design I spent the most time seeking specialty products for and learning about because South Dakota has a very quickly growing market, especially in the Black Hills area. My husband & I also built a vacation home this year so we have been in the midst of designing it ourselves. Owning an Airbnb or Vrbo rental property is a great way to finance a second home, secure equity more quickly, and create quite a nice income. Some vacation home rental owners have so much success, they invest in more than one property in multiple areas.
This is not just another version of residential design, this is hospitality and home at its greatest blend. Good vacation home rental designers help their owners create an experience for their renters that has them booking again and again—and referring their friends. We want to leave them, or rather have them leave us, coming back for more! I'm excited to be focusing on the market of vacation rental design out in the Hills myself, so if you know of someone who needs one pulled together, send them my way!
Color is definitely becoming more prominent. Gray is not on its way out yet, but considerably much less noticeable and definitely warmer. The grays that were still on display have become nuttier,and softer—meaning more brown and green and subtle, rather than the cool blue grays we have seen during the past several years. People want to feel cozy and snuggled into their gray, not chilly and stark.
The popular neutral backdrop color is warmer. We’re getting right back to off-whites and beiges and even canvas tones. Color is starting to pop much more strongly rather than in the pastel hues we have witnessed as Colors of the Year for the past couple.
In fact, it feels like color is coming back in a way that seems a bit more masculine. Natural browns are making the grays move over—from blonde or brunette to deep chocolates. Strong black-and-white contrasts have seemed to replace the gray and white that dominated for a while.
The hot accent colors are navys turning blacker, watery blues deepened into teal, the blush roses of past years are pushing much stronger & pinker, the oranges are pushing more intense and browner, and yellows are showing up as intense as golds and toasts and what I would call bright browns. Lighter blue hues are definitely falling in as a neutral, and the greens ranged from rich grassy green to deep yummy evergreens, and like the navy’s, sometimes almost black.
Texture is big this year and getting even bigger. Again, I think people are seeking a change from the clean sleek hard lines of gray on gray on gray and white marble—and are loving warm woods, rattans, linens, grass cloths, and lots of heavy buccle (or nubby) fabrics. Natural textures such as grasses, coconut shells, and exotic woods were prominent. There are even light fixtures adorned with grasses and heavy wood beads. We’re still seeing quite a few fuzzy fur textures plugging in, and even on, to furniture rather than just the accent. Leather is big in color and texture, such as tufting, striping, and detailed seams.
Shape and soft lines are circling around—lots of circles, circle sofas, round ottomans, and giant round light fixtures. That old-fashioned kidney shape is modern now and it showed up in some version of just about every item: from sofas to ottomans, coffee tables to dining tables, and even light fixtures. Clean-lined sofas have nicely rounded full cushions. Even the tight back sofas have rounder, fuller backs. Lots of straight lines as surprise tidbits of curves shown somewhere.
The hot furniture piece
The hot furniture piece still seems to be the bar table—cart, console or dresser. You name it, the bar set-up landed everywhere: in foyers, kitchens, living rooms, outdoor spaces, and even bedrooms. Guess we all learned the importance of having readily available libations around every corner during our pent up home time ; )
All kinds of new little desk pieces are mixed into room landscapes as well, as we predict many who do go back into the office will still spend a great deal of work time from home, especially those renters! They can work from anywhere and are said to be going on the popular work-cations where they can stay for a month (or more), working a long way from the office in their home away from home…someone else's vacation rental property. Maybe yours? :)