Five Decorating Trends That Will Endure
As you know, I attend design-centric events all the time, be it show houses, trade shows or antique fairs. This fall was no exception. I kicked off September with week in London immersed in the vast London Design Festival. One month later, I took a deep dive into the fall High Point Market as part of the inaugural High Point Market Design Bloggers Tour. In between all of that I squeezed in some antiquing most notably by attending the esteemed International Show and a groundbreaking exhibition at my alma mater Sotheby's among other events.
Sometimes it's best to wait a bit to take stock of all you have seen. Now that the dust has settled, its clear to me that these 5 trends that I observed this fall will endure.
1. Brown Furniture is Back
Some might argue that brown furniture never went away, but I disagree. There was certainly a period of time where designers eschewed traditional brown furniture forms for lighter finishes, and most antique dealers will tell you that the market for early English and American antiques grew soft. That time has past.
Mark Sikes' marvelously traditional dining room at last years' Kips Bay Show House was surely an early sign that the use of brown furniture in traditional forms has begun to seep back as an acceptable design choice.
I saw this at the London Design Festival's Decorex show with new furniture intoductions. For example, Justin Van Breda's Grace Cabinet, inspired by a piece from the 1620s, is strongly influenced by the William and Mary period of furniture with its six legs joined by stretchers. The inlay is lovely.
Here in the States, furniture maker Theodore Alexander also celebrated antique forms with some beautiful reproductions.
Additionally, designer Jamie Drake's new furniture launch for Theodore Alexander celebrated new forms of furniture in rich brown finishes. This console with bangle-like hardware is especially attractive.
Bernhardt Furniture Company also featured dark woods, often times with leather accents.
2. Lucite, Glass and Brass
Tempering all that dark wood were pieces light as air. Lucite was everywhere and was used most effectively when accented in brass. Bernhardt's modern four poster bed was a showstopper.
And this lucite, brass and leather chair by Century Furniture was surprisingly comfortable.
Antique and vintage offerings featuring brass and lucite or glass were also very strong. This Italian center table from the 1970s by Gabriella Crespi that I spotted at Bernd Goeckler's booth at The International Show, is notable for its versatility. The halves can be separated and used as consoles making it perfect for a large gallery space in a prewar apartment. I wonder if anyone will knock it off in a future furniture collection--it is so attractive and functional.
3. Handcrafted Materials
From small markers to large corporations, I saw a resurgent interest in featuring handcrafted materials. Tent London was filled with examples, including this very handsome lighting in hand tooled leather.
But when a large manufacturer launches a furniture line that highlights handcraft, you know the trend is here to stay. At High Point Market, Bernhardt introduced a stunning line featuring handcrafted German silver like this console.
4. Nature as Muse
Lamps with feather shades and bases crafted to mimic birds legs? Yep, seen at London's Decorex.
And how about this stylized cherry blossom branch adorning a standout cabinet by Ambella Home spotted at High Point . Gorgeous.
Another favorite of mine was the twig mirror designed by Cynthia Rowley for her new line for Hooker Furniture. These are just some of the many, many examples of nature inspired design (head here for more).
Its safe to say that incorporating nature inspired motifs in your home will never date.
5. Wallpaper As Art
My spin around design events this fall also suggests that wallpaper might be the only art you ever need. It certainly is not going away, and the days of considering a wallpapered room as too "granny" are long gone.
At Tent London, U.K. designer Deborah Bowness introduced a highly colorful paper that called to mind a super-sized artist palette. It would make a fine focal point.
In curating a landmark exhibition at Sotheby's, designer Sara Story used her wallpaper designs as a contemporary foil, energizing antiques in several collecting categories. Finally, while chinoiserie wallpaper had long been considered an art form, Fromental suddenly made it more accessible by offering beautiful digital chinoiserie papers (Yassssss!). See more of Fromental's glorious papers here.
With brown furniture, brass and lucite, handcraft, nature and wallpaper here for the long run, the future looks bright to me. I can't wait to see what innovations spring brings.
Photo credits: Justin Van Breda console from his website. Second German silver console from Bernhardt Furniture. Fromental paper from them. All other images by Lynn Byrne.