There are several key trends that will heavily influence home décor in 2016-2017 and beyond. With retailers always eager to stay ahead of the curve, they look to these trends for a style advantage – a look that sets them apart in the sea of sameness. What they have found are style stories as inspired as the shoppers that purchase them, covering themes old and new—and everything in between.
The New Romantic
An exuberant take on romance never grows old, and today’s approach to home furnishings with feminine flair add exquisitely streamlined design for a modern-day fling on romantic elegance. Think ravishing pops of pink, pretty gilded embellishments, and lush floral motifs—all interwoven for luxe lounging and ethereal looks in that evoke a mesmerizing, calming effect. These romantic design stories are at once chic and radiant, quietly modern, and decidedly dreamy.
As always, bold colors and forms are the hallmark of modern art-inspired décor, which provides uncommon energy, movement, and emotion in the home. Look to abstract and geometric motifs punctuated by spiked shapes and Mondrian and Rorshach inkblot-inspired offerings, all combining to create masterful contemporary compositions. Handcrafted or sculptured, metallic finishes provide the perfect backdrop for a spirited yet organic feel.
It’s an undeniably modern design story, yet crafted with subtle highlighting such as watercolor-esque strokes and ikat-inspired patterns in both vibrant and subdued hues, both in softer shades as well as sultry darks. Imagery can be exotic or refreshingly simple. Expressive fluidity is key to this fashionable aesthetic, as is the look and feel of one-of-a-kind artwork.
The opening of borders sparked a rekindled interest in bold and colorful Cuban interior styling, spotlighting vibrant mid-century designs mingled with Spanish-inspired pieces from the island’s colonial era. Playful flora and fauna motifs, tile prints, and choice ornate accents perfectly capture this Caribbean lifestyle with its exuberant, happy-go-lucky lifestyle—full of frolic and effervescence. Hand-blown glass looks, all things rattan and bamboo, and shiny, lacquered finishes complete this enchanting island story.
Pink color stories build off the popularity of sweet romance. A plethora of pretty pink hues from pale blushes to shocking fuchsias also echo the 2016 Pantone blending of Rose Quartz and Serenity, which speak to shoppers seeking mindfulness and well-being as well as a yearning for reassurance and security. Pinks create spaces that are both elegant and unassuming, and which blend beautifully with neutrals to bestow a pleasing sense of harmony, tranquility, and calmness.
Accent furniture consistently ranks as one of the largest and fastest-growing categories in the home furnishings industry. The category comprised a full 26% of all home accents purchases in 2014, with nearly $16 billion in retail sales. Like all home furnishings segments, accent furniture has seen plenty of change over the years, but manufacturers report that this resilient category is poised for continued growth thanks to the healthier housing market and the trend towards consumers purchasing curated selections of furniture rather than matching sets. Read on to find out more about what’s hot this season.
Nothing speaks to today’s discriminating shopper quite like a curated piece that simply can’t be found anywhere else. Today’s consumers want accent furniture that is unique and original—a piece that inspires them and expresses who they are.
Today’s home décor is all about layering design genres—pairing the classics with modern pieces and bohemian with romantic, and mixing wood, metal, glass, and textiles. So it’s no surprise that accent furniture that combines diverse design stories into a single piece are sure winners with shoppers.
The Right Piece, The Right Place
Today’s homes often have unusual spaces such as large-scale landings and functional alcoves, which are ideal for console tables and shelving. Pieces with hand-worked metal, unusual inlays, diverse materials, and ample storage space are especially popular.
Furniture for Fido
Pets are serious business for marketers, and spending on pets continues to hit new record highs. The reason is simple: pet owners see their pets as part of the family, and this includes making sure that dogs and cats lounge in comfort and style.
Pops of Color
Consumers are increasingly bold in their color choices, and this is particularly true with accent furniture, which by its very nature can add visual pop and pizzazz to any room. Pieces that give shoppers a way to make a bold color statement continue to have wide appeal.
Easy to Be Green
Shoppers are also looking for accent furniture that speaks to their eco-minded sides, so pieces made with reclaimed and repurposed wood are especially hot. Think accent tables made using driftwood, or industrial carts constructed with reclaimed industrial woods.
Nesting tables come in a diverse range of shapes, sizes, and styles, providing shoppers with a top-tier design solution with both style and function.
Retailers can’t go wrong with nautical-inspired pieces that remind shoppers of items they may have admired with vacationing at beach destinations. Whether it’s the use of materials such as wicker, rattan, or rope or simply soothing textiles in sea greens and ocean blues, furniture that hints of coastal comfort remains is a strong sell on the retail floor.
Ace of Base
Gone are the days of the basic accent table. Today’s shoppers want visual appeal as much as they want function and support. Bases that incorporate abstract designs and diverse materials are what capture attention, and make the sale.
Retailers know that taste in local markets vary and take the lead in determining what sells well. A recent “Style Census” conducted by the product curation team at Don & B, a San Francisco-based e-commerce home furnishings site, dishes out the hottest regional trends, including a few surprising results.
The Big Peach is home to more than 440 home furnishings stores and has a median age of just over 35. Here styles gravitated towards Shabby Chic, with lots pretty mint tones, antique-inspired finishes, and telltale signs of cherished wear and tear.
Although the home of the Red Sox is an older city steeped in tradition, shoppers showed clear contemporary leanings in their home furnishings purchases, embracing clean, crisp, modern silhouettes over more traditional selections. The city’s median population is just under 39 and is home to more than 480 home furnishing retailers.
With a median population age of 36.4 and more than 800 home furnishings stores, The Windy City showed clear leanings towards urban, contemporary, industrial styling.
Interior trends in the Star of Texas revealed a decidedly industrial look. Think hard-wearing wood and metal all gussied up with a distinctive Southwestern twang. The median population age in Dallas is a youthful 34 and the city is home to 540 furniture retailers.
With its median population age of 36 and just over 230 home furnishings retailers, Denver gravitates towards an industrial Scandinavian design story that’s as clean and crisp as its mountain air.
Rural roots in Kansas City, with its median population age of 37 and more than 215 home furnishings retailers, have shoppers going for farmhouse looks that are both inviting and timeless at the same time.
The City of Angels tapped an emerging trend Dot & Bo defines as “Urban Nomad,” a style grounded in rustic elements. Think antlers, earthy color palettes, and natural textiles, all of which may be inspired by the global travels of Los Angeles’ younger, hip residents, who have a median age of just under 36 years. The city is home to more than 1,100 furniture stores.
Miami is best defined by contemporary organic, an ultra-modern design mix that incorporates natural elements for a uniquely glamorous look. The median age in Miami is just over 40 and the city is home to more than 625 home furnishings retailers.
With its high per capita population of inhabitants of Scandinavian descent, Minneapolis’ style interests stay true to its European roots with crisp lines and light wood tones. The median age in Minneapolis is just over 36 and it is home to more than 340 home furnishings retailers.
Music City mixes rustic wood tones to create décor with a distinctive country flavor that is best described as rustic shabby chic—it’s a little bit vintage and a little bit country all at once. The media age is just over 36, and Nashville is home to 160 furniture stores.
It’s no surprise that the melting pot of America is as diverse as its population and so boasts interior styling that was too divided to make a clear call. In The Big Apple, anything goes. The population has a median age of just over 38 and is home to nearly 1,900 home furnishings retailers.
Not surprisingly, Phoenix showed an affinity for free-spirited Southwest Bohemian styling in all things home. The median population age is 35 and it is home to more than 340 home furnishings retailers.
The prevalence of bright colors and mixed patterns sought by Portland residents give interiors a mid-century Bohemian look. The median age is just over 37 and the city is home to more than 230 furniture stores.
The home of hippies, techies, and fashionistas showed a flair for sleek mid-century modern furnishings mixed with airy, organic designs. The median population age is just shy of 39 and the city is home to nearly 470 home furnishings retailers.
America’s very own Emerald City trended towards industrial rustic when it came to home décor stories. With a median population age of just over 37, Seattle is home to 370 furniture stores.
Founded in 2013, Dot & Bo is a guided shopping service known for its reputation for helping transform homes into vibrant, modern living spaces. Its “Style Census” is the result of a sampling of 100,000 product orders that were quantified and sorted into the most dominant looks in 15 metropolitan markets. These results were married with Home Accents Today’s estimated findings for 2015 sales and projected 2020 sales for wall décor, lamps, and area rugs.
Playfully modern color contrasts and fashionable florals continue to make signature statements in today’s home décor. Yet so do traditional and updated Greek-inspired design stories along with calming whites and ivories. What’s true in design? It’s simple. There’s no place for tried and true. Today’s interior design shoppers feel free to embrace truly inspired eclecticism, an approach that celebrates individual and diverse styles, tastes, and fashion sense. The looks that resonate with today’s shopper tell stories that range far and wide—where old meets new, and where daring pops of color as well as unassuming neutrals have their place and space.
Tropical Twists Meet Modern
The playfully bright colors and geometric lines of popular mid-century modern design themes have taken on a tropical twist with the opening of the Cuban boarder, bringing with them an influx of even more vibrant designs with bold color and design stories that often whisper of the tropics. Furniture and accent items showcase the colors and shapes of tropical flora and fauna, sometimes with geometric, modern motifs, and at other times with weather-worn styling.
Romance in home décor never grows old, which is why fanciful florals easily set the right mood and tone for all things enchanting. Both the bright and bold as well as softer, subtler hues are equally on point with today’s interior design stories.
Whispers of White
Undeniably glamorous. Fearlessly Fresh. Whites in all shades from true, bright white to eggshells and creams remain a go-to for interiors because of white’s versatility with both modern and traditional looks.
Classic—and always classy—Greek interior design stories gloriously exemplify the idea that less is more. Natural color palettes and materials balance with traditional patterns and structures such as columns, finials, and scrolls. The final interior designs that capture the best of these elements offer a symmetry of shape, pattern, color, and texture that work in harmony to create a sense of coziness and restfulness, bringing the mind the natural beauty and rich history of Greece.
Go Greek, Redefined
The simplicity of traditional Greek Mediterranean motifs also make them ideal for putting a fresh spin on the classics—offering playful hints and nods where modern looks mingle with antiquity. Wall décor, furniture, and home accent items that bring to mind the idea of a Greek Key or the shape of a classic finial make Greek-inspired interior design stories undeniably timeless.
Price is king…or is it? In today’s market, even with continued economic ebbs and flows, shoppers are trading up like never before—showing a willingness to pay more to get more, not in quantity, but quality. This fact is especially true in the home furnishings and décor category. Whether the purchase is small or large, the final decision to buy often comes down to the details. Materials, design, and craftsmanship are increasingly becoming as important—and often more important—than price point at checkout. This is especially true with Millennials and Gen Xers, who are approaching their prime working and spending years and whose spending on bigger ticket items for their homes will have a tremendous positive impact on our economy.
Individual preferences and tastes are expressed in every single consumer spending category, from cars to candy. Today’s home furnishings shoppers, likewise, expect broad assortments of product for home decor that are distinct and different. Reruns of popular styles and looks just won’t cut it. Perhaps more than ever before consumers are looking for furniture and home accent pieces that reflect a very specific aesthetic and definitive sense of personal style. Retailers of furniture and home accents must meet this demand for individualized expression head on.
Sleek, Yet Simple
At the same time consumers are looking for statement pieces that capture their individual style preferences, they are also crave furniture and home décor items that evoke a sense of simplicity. Bold and intricate pieces must be easily countered and balanced with eye-catching items that are sleek, yet simple.
Today’s most popular interior design looks use a mingling of materials, from textiles, leathers, and trimmings, to wood, stone, metal, and glass. Shoppers expect to be able to create rooms that, quite literally, bring to life an interplay of varied textures and surfaces that are diverse. Rooms become eclectic collections of items working together to create comfort with an overall balance of patterns, colors, lines, and shapes. Individual pieces constructed from a mix of materials will remain top sellers.
While it’s certainly true that a market remains for so-called throwaway home décor items that are expected to have a limited life, today’s consumer has a more exacting standard of quality. With the last recession not even a decade in the past, shoppers are more keenly aware of the dollars they invest to make their house into a home. They have an expectation that their investment will provide a return of a reasonable lifespan, demanding products that are well made and provide lasting value. Shoppers are increasingly drawn to home furnishings that have handmade, artisan looks and finishes as well as overall design engineering that captures the eye and will stand the test of time.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
- Genre layering, traditional furniture accented with mid-century flair: Imaging a classic French sofa contrasted with a mid-century coffee table.
- Full-color pieces: Ensuring a bold statement to bring full life to the beige and boring.
- Brass and gold: To add pops of shine and elegance to soothing neutrals.
- 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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.