6 of the Most Interesting Trends Shaping the Home Furnishings Industry

Home furnishing trends have evolved greatly since the days of the basic beige couch. People who once favored traditional styles have developed a fondness for exotic patterns and photo-realistic imagery due in large part to designers and furniture manufacturers. Others have taken an interest in global influences, historical value, and functional design. In the following, learn more about these trends in greater detail.

To Infinity and Beyond

At the 2016 International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), the theme of outer space prevailed. German designer Jan Kath, who specializes in hand-knotted rugs and consistently throws caution to the wind by breaking conventional design rules, shared his passion for photo-realistic motifs. Through his SpaceCrafted collection, he introduced a line of rugs highlighting imagery of outer space. The items were inspired by a trip to Nepal, where he developed a fascination with how clearly he could view the night sky. Photos from the Hubble space telescope also served as an inspiration.

Global Integration

Designers are traveling the world in search of new ideas to meld into their work. Moroccan detailing and Celtic artwork are among the influences shaping the industry. Others, such as industrial designer Lucy Tupu, are seeking creative inspiration from their own heritage. Ms. Tupu, who designs furniture at her New York company, integrated design elements from her Polynesian background to develop a line called Flax. The collection leverages a modern approach to traditional weaving techniques to create daybeds, ottomans, and Brooklyn-made cubes. In order to further enhance the look and give it an old Hollywood feel, the designer chose bright colors and used Paul Smith plaids for Maharam.


Big Style for Small Outdoor Spaces

City dwellers are no longer at a disadvantage, with designers creating smart solutions for their small terraces, according to the executive director of the International Causal Furnishings Association’s outdoor division. Designers are taking into consideration functionality without overlooking style. For example, West Elm promotes a table collection that features a mosaic design, and Bend Goods sells colorful, galvanized wire stacking chairs that can be used in neutral spaces or those catering to eclectic tastes. Balcony-height chairs and tables are also available from select manufacturers. The furniture makes it possible to sit high enough to see over a balcony railing, but not so high that you fear falling over. Taking heed of people’s desire to update their outdoor spaces, Katy Condon, a senior editor at Better Homes & Gardens magazine, suggests styling with continuity in mind. She recently stated that using the same color scheme and style both indoors and out will give the illusion that a patio or terrace is larger than it actually is.

Natural and Organic Materials

During the recent Philippines International Furniture Show, the event chairman discovered many designers opting for neutral hues in fabrics and more subdued metals, such as gold, rather than shiny metallic. Additionally, natural and organic materials were seen in furnishings, of which most had some form of historical significance. For instance, a chair from JB Woodcraft Inc. displayed how traditional wood carving is integrated into contemporary design, while lighting and housewares showcased by Hacienda Crafts incorporated indigenous weaving traditions of Maranao and the T’boli tribe, the Tnalak. The latter products were crafted with buri and coconut twigs, among other local and natural materials.

“Grouch” or “Grofa”

grey couch

Image courtesy Wicker Paradise | Flickr

The “grouch” or “grofa,” as it’s commonly known, is a grey sofa that has become a staple in homes, particularly those incorporating contemporary design labels and traditional styles. In fact, the grouch has exceeded the demand for beige couches due to its elegance and timelessness. Additionally, the big-ticket item, which experienced a 35 percent increase in sales over the past two years, provides a neutral canvas to easily decorate with home decor. This makes it possible for consumers to change their style to match current trends as frequently as they want. Another possible reason that people are more drawn to grofas is that the hue makes people feel comfortable, according to a study on color psychology.

Exotic Prints and Flamboyant Colors

On the opposite end of the spectrum of grey couches is the rise of tropical prints paired with vibrant colors. Hues found in the feathers of flamingos and peacocks are appearing in cushions and seating. Matthew Williamson and Henry Holland have both embraced the multicolored trend. Mr. Williamson did so by partnering with Duresta to launch his first collaborative line of living room furniture. The pieces are draped in lively fabrics that combine deep and electric hues. The same colors outline accent and coffee tables. Henry Holland, of House of Holland, joined forces with Habitat to design an interior collection inspired by the cult film Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. From throws to armchairs, the collection is described by the designer as “a hallucinatory mix of pattern and texture—an overload of florals, bugs, fish prints, and bright fluoro color.”