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Upholstered beds are taking over bedrooms.

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Painting furniture is loosening the stranglehold that stained wood once had.

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What's new in the home furnishings market

  • Article by: ROBIN STRANGIS
  • Special to the Star Tribune
  • October 30, 2012 - 2:04 PM
In interior design, it seems like everything old is new again. That was especially evident at this year's international home furnishings market in High Point, N.C. There's a twist, though. Old and new, as well as other seemingly opposing styles, are being paired together for a fresh, very individualized look. At the biannual market, manufacturers from around the world show their wares to interior designers, retail buyers and trend-spotters before they hit the furnishing stores. Here's a sneak peek at some of the budding and building trends.

UP AND COMING COLORS

Gray has been one of the dominant colors. Now it's poised to become the new neutral, replacing the long-running taupe. However, this market saw fresh combinations with the ubiquitous color: gray with yellow, gray with green, gray with orange and, yes, gray with gray.

Emerald green (remember the '70's?) is showing a resurgence, as are red, navy and turquoise. Orange is going strong as an accent color.

RAISING THE BAR

Bar cabinets are no longer tacky little liquor cabinets. Now they're full-fledged, often full-sized pieces. Traditional cabinets are being covered in fabric with nailhead trim. More casual, industrial-inspired cabinets are being made of reclaimed wood, often with raw or irregular edges, and accessorized with industrial hardware and heavy-duty wheels.

IN STYLE

For the 30-and-under crowd, midcentury modern and Danish-inspired furnishings continue to be all the rage. Softer, coastal looks that emphasize painted finishes in a host of colors also are coming on strong. Classic contemporary remains a staple. Look for upholstered pieces with beautiful detailing paired with both traditional and contemporary case goods.

LET THERE BE LIGHT

Oversized, drum-shaped lampshades are being used on everything from floor lamps to chandeliers. Floor lamps with tripod bases, already popular, also are getting supersized. Old-style bulbs and flickering bulbs are showing up on pendant lights, island lights and chandeliers. And in chandeliers, iron and shells are moving into the mainstream.

PATTERN PLAY

In fabrics and rugs, expect to see plenty of geometrics. Other popular prints: chevrons, ikats, medallions and Moorish-inspired designs. Solids in textured fabrics are holding their own. And the menswear look -- houndstooth, tweeds and herringbones --is coming to the fore, especially in contemporary furnishings.

FABRICS AND FINISHES

Painted furniture is loosening the stranglehold that stained wood once had. Also on the rise are textured lacquers and sharkskin-look finishes.

Heavy, felted fabrics are being updated with animal patterns. Velvets are making a comeback. So what's new? Saucy stenciled cowhides. They're being used to give traditional French furnishings an updated, edgy look.

OTHER TRENDS TO WATCH FOR

Acrylic furniture. Two-tone finishes on case goods, usually a combination of stain and paint. Tiny hardware. Fewer and better edited accessories. Bold stripes are becoming popular on walls, often applied horizontally. Almost anything is being used to paper walls -- vintage sheet music, maps, even dress patterns. Banquettes are back for dining areas. Upholstered beds are taking over bedrooms. Bigger, better mirrors are being trimmed in painted wood. And old-fashioned spool chairs and tables (painted or stained) are staging a surprisingly strong comeback.

Robin Strangis, ASID, CID, owns Loring Interiors in Minneapolis.

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