ASID Report Shows Designer Market Growing & Evolving

Interior designers create the spaces where we spend 93 percent of our time, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Better yet: Industry data suggests the interior design industry has made a full recovery since 2008. It is, once again, a hot job market. By the numbers, here’s the good news about the state of the industry:

  • Total number of design firms: 13,257, increase of 7.5%1 from pre-recession levels
  • Total number of designers up 10,000 or 33% since 20122
  • Value of product specified annually by U.S. and Canadian designers is $68.5 billion, up 35% since 2010, adjusted for inflation3

So the obvious next question is what trends will be the most transformative? After an extensive review, ASID identified key trends that will influence the way designers create the spaces we live, work, and play in.

Health & Well-Being

The global health and wellness economy has hit the trillion dollar mark. So it’s no surprise that interior designers see this trend as having tremendous impact on projects over the next year. Thought leaders surveyed by the ASID voted design for healthy behaviors and holistic design thinking as the most transformative and fastest moving. And it’s not just physical health that matters—wellness expands to mental and social well-being as well. Objects that offer connections to nature are an obvious way to bring soothing, natural views and imagery to homes and offices. Comfortable, inviting chairs are another, and will increasingly make their way into spaces specifically designed for relaxation or meditation.

White Feathers, Set of Two
White Feathers, Set of Two
Silver Leaves, Set of Two
Silver Leaves, Set of Two
Agate Stone Silver, Set of Six
Agate Stone Silver, Set of Six
Winter View, Set of Three
Winter View, Set of Three


Sustainability isn’t a new movement, but it continues to gain traction across business sectors, including interior design. In 2015, a full 40% of design projects included sustainable elements either requested by the client or suggested by the designer. As certification bodies, governmental policies, and other advocates continue to raise the bar, sustainability is growing to become more than simply energy optimization.  There is a strong overlap between sustainability and overall health and wellness. This is why biomimicry design—modeling environments after nature—is increasingly finding its way into both residential and commercial buildings.

Stratford, Cocktail Table
     (Reclaimed Wood)
Stratford, Cocktail Table (Reclaimed Wood)
Rennick (Reclaimed Wood)
Rennick (Reclaimed Wood)
Dakari, Pouf (Hand-loomed, recycled cottons)
Dakari, Pouf (Hand-loomed, recycled cottons)
Arlie, Sculptures, Set of Two (Carved mango wood)
Arlie, Sculptures, Set of Two (Carved mango wood)


The world is more interconnected than ever, so, too, must be the world of interior design, working across borders and traveling abroad for a taste of international flavors. U.S. corporations continue to open offices, factories, and retail locations overseas. Foreign firms, likewise, are opening doors on our shores. Design can no longer simply be limited to single cultures and locations, but instead must transcend boundaries as designers, clients, and consumers become more diversified. For designers, this means the world, quite literally, is at their fingertips. Those that embrace this trend will thrive.

Palash, Bookcase Console
Palash, Bookcase Console
Kumara, Shadow Box
Kumara, Shadow Box

All data from the American Society of Interior Designers’ Interior Design 2015/2016 Outlook and State of the Industry

1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Employment and Wages

2 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Survey

3 Interior Design’s 2014 Universe Study of the Interior Design Profession; includes

U.S. & Canadian designers whose firms specify at least $500,000 per year

The Big Score in Home Decor? Accent Furniture


The home furnishings industry has seen its ups and downs over the last decade, but one category is yielding big results and will continue to do so in 2016—accent furniture. Interior designers and industry experts cite three major reasons that consumers are allocating more decorating dollars for accent furniture. First, the housing market is rebounding. In December 2015, the Department of Commerce reported that housing starts reached their highest level since 2008, and with mortgage rates still at all-time lows, that all points to growing consumer confidence and a renewed interest in home ownership. Secondly, there’s a marked shift toward consumers purchasing a more curated selection of individual pieces. Gone are the days of matching sets, which bodes well for the accent furniture category. Finally, the combination of retail sources—brick and mortar and online—combined with the rampantly spreading use of social media sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and design blogs means that shoppers have countless options for design inspiration.


The other great news for the accent furniture category is that today’s newer homes often have asymmetrical layouts, which provide the ideal canvas for the wide assortment of accent furniture style available today. Related, today’s homes are often designed with unconventional and unexpected spaces—large-scale landing, alcoves, and nooks—all perfect locations for an accent piece that adds a unique twist and added character.


So what are among the hottest trends in home accent furniture for 2016, a segment that was projected to comprise 26% of the home accents universe in 2014 with a total of $16 billion in retail sales? Here are a few of the trend leaders:

  • One-of-a-kind pieces: accent items that blend reclaimed wood with stone, metal, or glass and provide a bold yet organic statement.
Driftwood, Cocktail Table
Driftwood, Cocktail Table
  • Genre layering, traditional furniture accented with mid-century flair: Imaging a classic French sofa contrasted with a mid-century coffee table.
Nicoline, Serving Cart
Nicoline, Serving Cart
Sameya, Accent Table
Sameya, Accent Table
  • Full-color pieces: Ensuring a bold statement to bring full life to the beige and boring. 
Aviana, Armchair
Aviana, Armchair
  • Brass and gold: To add pops of shine and elegance to soothing neutrals.
Farran, Small Bench
Farran, Small Bench
Laton, Accent Table
Laton, Accent Table
  • High-value stone: Minerals such as onyx, with its bands of alternating colors, and marble, which offers a high-polish, high-style look are faring well. 
Branton, Coffee Table
Branton, Coffee Table

Vintage Design

KP Designs2 TM-1638

With the instantaneous nature of social media, many interior design trends are here today, gone tomorrow. That’s not necessarily the case with re-purposed and distressed design stories, however. Rather than being shiny and new, and therefore destined to a limited shelf life, accenting a room with antiqued-themed accessories and themes often create such a one-of-a-kind aesthetic that it presents a design with staying power.

“People are drawn to vintage looks because of their uncommon uniqueness,” remarks Kim Pheiffer of KP Designs, based in Columbus, Ohio. The firm is home to 14 designers and currently is working on more than 50 projects ranging from window treatments to full kitchen and bathroom makeovers.

Burrey- barnwood

“Often times a vintage design approach incorporates a nautical or farmhouse feel. Even in a brand new home, clients can bring that vintage look to a room, for lived-in feel with striking architectural details. In that sense, you can take what would otherwise be a ‘cookie-cutter’ home and give it a truly custom look and feel.”

On a broad scale, KP Designs has installed shiplap over drywall and reclaimed barn wood, which can be painted or stained. “It adds tremendous depth and dimension to a room,” Pheiffer explains, adding that their firm has also achieved the same effect using brick facing on walls. “It’s unexpected casual, for a relaxed treatment that really stands out.”

Burrey- painted wood
Bill- brick and wood

On a smaller scale, hints of the nautical and aquatic looks can, likewise, achieve the same carefree feel. “It’s not about full-fledged anchors or starfish everywhere, but just a few seafaring touches in soothing greys and blues,” she says. “One color we’ve been loving is called seasalt—it’s almost a green-blue with just a hint of grey.” Additional elements that pull the look together are rope textures and colored glasses, such as lamps that incorporate touches of muted blues and greens.

Other accessories Pheiffer and her team seek out are those that traditionally have served one function in days gone by, but that can be repurposed as an eyecatching embellishment. For example, KP Designs has made beautiful use of unconventional mirrors that are more artwork than looking glasses. On another project, the firm purchased corbels in Paris that were originally used at a train station and used them to flank a doorway opening. 

Asked why vintage and subtle nautical themes have remained so popular over the years, and Pheiffer offers a simple explanation: “I think it’s retail stores that drive it, but in the end it allows people to take something they may have admired during vacationing or travels and bring a bit of that feeling and memory home with them.”


Ceasar, Console Table

Generously scaled, featuring a graceful, corbel leg profile finished in deep charcoal gray with antique white stone glaze.


Propellers, Set of Two

Cast from old propellers, these items show the natural wear and imperfections of the originals. The finish is a rust brown with green tarnish, and a gray glaze. Steel base is matte black.

24414 B

Dunixi, Bookcase

Hand finished and distressed in vibrant, robin’s egg blue with black outer edges and overtones chipped away to reveal highlights of the natural, reclaimed fire wood grain.

In Harmony

For the very first time, Pantone has selected two shades, Serenity and Rose Quartz, as 2016’s Color of the Year. The gently harmonious pairing promotes tranquility and inner peace as consumers seek an antidote to the chaos and stress of modern-day life. Pantone refers to the duo as “a softer take” on color.

“Joined together, Serenity and Rose Quartz demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

Parterre #27139-1

30″H, Shade 11″H x 19″Dia.

From designer Jim Parsons: Pale blue ceramic with a hand applied hammock weave pattern with a dusty bronze top accented with brushed nickel plated details. The round hardback drum shade is a light beige linen fabric with natural slubbing and light blue double trim. 

Kylia #23190

46″W x 22″H x 20″D

From designer Carolyn Kinder: Bench gives sense of peace and serenity with its vibrant, blue sky woven fabric seat. Accented by a scalloped edge with antique bronze nails and open-carved hardwood in a vintage, chipped paint finish.

Pantone notes that this more unilateral approach to color coincides with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, and consumers’ increased comfort with using color as a form of expression. The color institute suggests that in many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted color trends in other areas of design.

For interiors, Serenity and Rose Quartz can stand on their own or pair seamlessly with other shades, infusing a sense of calm and respite as well as a connection to nature (think sunset). The soft, sophisticated aesthetic of Rose Quartz transcends the overt feminine prettiness of pink, making it an ideal choice for understated neutral settings that need just a hint of warmth and color, while Serenity resists categorization as a baby blue with a whisper of purple for elegance.

Look for Rose Quartz and Serenity to translate beautifully as upholstery, rugs, throws, pillows and bedding, as well as smaller home accessories such as candles, vases and bowls for a quietly inviting, restful ambience.

41552 B

Floral Watercolors, Set/2 #41552

19″W x 31″H

From designer Grace Feyock: Delicate watercolor prints featuring deckled edges are placed between two pieces of clear glass creating a “floating” effect. Frames have a champagne silver leaf finish with black dry brushing.

Calling All Romantics

Passion. Enchantment. Romance. It all lives on, according to a new survey from Houzz.

The 2015 U.S. Houzz Bedroom Trends survey found that one-third of homeowners renovating or decorating their master bedrooms want to create a more romantic or intimate environment. The survey included more than 1,500 U.S. homeowners using Houzz who are in the midst of, are planning, or recently completed a bedroom renovation or decoration project.


The top trigger for master bedroom projects? Homeowners could simply no longer stand the old bedroom (34 percent for renovators, and 39 percent for decorators). “Finally having the means” and “a recent home purchase” were the next most common triggers.

21989 B

Vicentina, 3Lt Pendant #21989

29″H x 21″Dia

Farran, Small Bench #23278, 24” wide x 20” high x 16” Diameter

Farran, Small Bench #23278

24″W x 20″H x 16″D

Malvin, Armchair #23285, 30” wide x 34” high x 34” diameter

Malvin, Armchair #23285

30″W x 34″H x 34″D

And what do homeowners want in a desirable master? Topping the list is a space that is stylish and beautiful, at 73 percent. Not far behind are sentiments such as, “feels like a sanctuary” (54 percent) and “reflects who they are” (52 percent).


In terms of function, homeowners want a master bedroom that promotes quality sleep (77 percent), is comfortable (75 percent), and is easy to clean (40 percent). Nearly three-quarters of renovating homeowners (71 percent) and half of homeowners updating the decor (49 percent) are hiring professional help for their master bedroom upgrades.

27057-1 B

Batova #27057-1

25″H, Shade 10″H x 17″Dia.


Vitava #R13938

48″W x 78″H x 4″D

Big Takeaways

  • Master bedroom updates go big: More than half of projects are major in scope; a quarter of renovating budgets are $10K+; a fifth of decorating budgets are $5K+.
  • Closet size matters: More than half of homeowners who are updating closets as part of master bedroom renovations are increasing closet size.
  • Time for a change: More than half of homeowners are changing the style of their master bedroom, opting for transitional, contemporary, or modern styles.
  • Top colors: Easy-to-pair neutral colors such as white, cream, grey along with calming blues are the top picks for homeowners.
  • Patterns played down: More than one-quarter didn’t opt for a strong overall pattern for room décor. Those who did chose floral (21 percent) and geometric (17 percent) prints.
  • Details matter: Beyond large-ticket items, the vast majority of homeowners (76 percent) are replacing small décor elements.
  • Mirror, mirror: Of those who reported updating decorative accessories, more than half are adding or replacing mirrors.
  • Artistic elements: Also topping the list of decorative accessory updates are wall accents (48 percent) and art reproductions/original art (37 percent each). One in four are adding clocks.
  • Read vs. watch: In terms of function, a master bedroom where it’s easy to read trumps a space that is ideal for watching TV and movies (24 versus 16 percent). One in seven homeowners updating the decor in their master bedroom is adding books. One in 10 homeowners values a bedroom that is “free of media and electronics.” Of those adding electronics, TVs are far and away the top upgrade, at 87 percent.

Download the full 2015 U.S. Houzz Bedroom Trends Study here.

Boundless Bollywood Energy

Jumping off movie screens and making its way into fashion and home furnishings, Bollywood-inspired design knows no limits. Let’s face it, Bollywood films reel you in at every level. It’s never one thing—it’s the entire spectacle of it all. Lavish costumes. Pulsing, mesmerizing music. Sophisticated dance numbers. Elaborate plots and sub-plots.

Taken together, it’s hypnotizing. But more than that, it’s boundless in its energy and inspiration. That’s the real beauty about Bollywood’s influence on fashion and interior design: Ideas can come from just about anywhere, because the magic is all in pulling together all the layers.

Whether in fashion or home décor, bringing Bollywood energy to life isn’t complicated and doesn’t require a huge budget.

Kick Up the Color!

Black, white, and neutrals have their place, but good Bollywood design incorporates bursts of bright colors. It’s not simply about flamboyance—it’s about adding warmth and depth to the design tale.

Cruzita, armless chair  #23170
22″W x 40″H x 26″D

Speckled Matter, S/2 #R46500
24″W x 32″H x 1″D

Pattern Pairings

India’s rich design tradition in textiles and furniture is all about the marriage of bold motifs and prints. Think printed cottons and block printing—interior design patterns can echo these and other traditional Indian design staples.

Kotra armchair #R23643
26″W x 39″H x 25″D

Cascata 7 Lt Chandelier #R21291
24″Dia x 43″H

Vizela S/2 #12856
6″W x 45″H x 1″D

Add Texture

Bollywood has influenced global fashion for many decades. From sumptuous extravaganza chockablock and shimmering metallic textiles to bright colors and bold motifs, Bollywood-inspired fashion is here to stay!

Akisha mirror #12845
38″W x 38″H x 3″D

Claver  mirror  #08123
35″W x 54″H x 2″D

Evoke an Exotic Mood

Bollywood has influenced global fashion for many decades. From sumptuous extravaganza chockablock and shimmering metallic textiles to bright colors and bold motifs, Bollywood-inspired fashion is here to stay!

Happiness. Health. Well-being. A good Bollywood film reminds one of these things, even if it does so through a blend of realism and fantasy. So does good Bollywood-inspired design, which goes beyond design aesthetics to achieve an emotional—even spiritual—response.

Tillie 3 Lt Pendant   #22064
20″Dia x 55″H

Brannen small bench   #23277
24″W x 20″H x 16″D

Create Drama and Dazzle

Shimmering mixed metals and light-reflecting mirrors are a Bollywood essential. The same drama can be achieved through metallic fabrics or trimmings.

Millie 6 Lt Pendant #21283
23″Dia x 60″H

ART’s Award Gala

Just looking for an old photo and ran across this image. What a fun night this was back in January 2013. It was an incredible honor to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, but even better to spend the evening celebrating with friends. These friends are the people I work with every day. To work with friends is a blessing.

Pain, Torture, and Misery

If this was the goal of the organizers, they were successful. Just completed the Blue Ridge Half Marathon, a race that is labeled as America’s toughest road marathon. I believe it.

I actually love this race as it literally climbs mountains, then has steep declines, and is always scenic. This is the third time I’ve done this race, come join me next April to share in the pain, torture, and misery.


Today, my friend was buried. Tony was 48 years old and in the prime of his life. Beautiful wife and children, great lifestyle, great career, and a solid cornerstone of faith.

While our friendship goes back to High School, then Va Tech, then the Accounting firm Peat Marwick, our friendship blossomed in Tony’s 19 years at Uttermost. We shared many passions together, we worked long hours together, we worked out together, we traveled around the globe together.

Tony, our Lord and Savior called you home early, but I’ll see you again some day. My prayers to your family. Love you buddy.