Look on the Bright Side

Bolder, livelier furnishings and accessories are coming your way, signaling a new sense of optimism.

Have you looked around a shopping mall lately? It looks like all the color, life and excitement have been drained from both the clothing racks and the furniture showrooms. It’s a kaleidoscope of blah, a veritable rainbow coalition of oatmeal, gray and plain old vanilla.

That utter lack of imagination and innovation is a predictable reaction to the troubled economy. When times are tough, style goes out the window and the sedate and safe take its place.

But there’s a bright—really bright—spot on the horizon. If the Spring 2010 High Point (N.C.) Market, the American furniture industry’s version of the fashion shows in Milan, is any indication, happy days (and better-looking furnishings and accessories) are right around the corner. And it’s about time, because we all need to get out of the recession blues.

On these pages are some of the furnishings you’ll be seeing in stores soon.


One of the real style surprises at the Market was the use of words as a design element. Words are a powerful way to define the mood or purpose of a space; there’s no doubt what the message is with Company C’s new “Dream,” “Create” and “Inspire” pillows, for example. Words also can lend a note of sophisticated elegance, especially when they’re in a foreign language, which they are on Hooker Furniture’s Inspiration Script Chest.











Details, Details
Texture is always a key component of good design, and it was taken to a whole new dimension at the spring market. Many upholstered pieces were bordered with nailhead trim for textural contrast, but it was in the casegoods arena where texture was truly kicked up a notch. Stanley Furniture introduced an elaborately studded chest with metal nailheads forming an intricate pattern of overlapping shapes (above, left), and Hooker Furniture’s newest chest features drawer fronts festooned with iridescent capiz shells (above, right).




Hue & Cry
This spring, the market showrooms in High Point, N.C., the furniture-making capital of the United States, were awash in big, bold splashes of color,  ranging from bright tangerines and reds to vivid shades of blues, especially turquoise to eco-friendly greens to sunny yellows. Some furniture companies concentrated on a single pop of color, as Barlow Tyrie did with the curvy Dune outdoor sofa (above, left), its woven frame cradling a turquoise cushioned seat. Others opted for riotous combos, like Kincaid’s exuberant upholstered collection of stripes and florals that blazes with harmonious hues of apricot, turquoise, buttercup yellow, bright orange and mossy green (above, right).



Jungle Love
Animal prints are roaring back on the furniture and accessories scene, so get ready for zebra-striped pillows and candlesticks, leopard-spotted upholstery on chairs and ottomans, and Holstein-patterned cowhide pieces. At the High Point Market, Pulaski Furniture introduced an elegantly simple drum table in two stripe options: a zebra-like black and white (above, right) and a more subtle gold-and-ivory combination. And Maitland-Smith’s marvelous aubergine-finished chair boasts an elongated back upholstered in faux leopard (above, left). The beauty of animal prints is that they go with just about any style of décor, from the most formally French to ethnic eclectic to sleekly contemporary.

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