5 Furnishing Trends You’ve GOT to Know About

As our world continues to slowly return to a place of normalcy from the pandemic, the home furnishings industry appears to be following suit. I’ve recently returned from the High Point Fall 2021 Furnishings Market where I had the chance to check out what’s new in home furnishings and see how this industry is keeping up with the demand in consumer goods, due to the new importance of home.

Of the many furniture showrooms I visited, the sales representatives spoke with enthusiasm and excitement about their newest product offerings. However, when approached with the million-dollar question as to PRODUCT AVAILABILITY, their responses parlayed into a quieter “production is taking longer than expected”. The key culprits – the supply chain backlog, and, the lack of workers – seemed to be the unanimous reply. Despite this unwelcome reality, most of the vendors exhibited a positive outlook on what’s to come for their customers.

Here are some of the key trends in furnishings that I spotted throughout the market:

COLORS: The “no-color” color of WHITE! It was on upholstery everywhere, along with case good finishes that were painted, glazed, and cerused. To me, it signaled a trend of going for a “fresh, clean, start” in the styling, but decreasing the starkness of it through the artistic use of texture, pattern, and contrast, especially in graphically pairing white with its opposite cousin black.

The color families of blues and greens still continue their everlasting popularity, with hues pointing to nature – the cobalt blues of the deep ocean, and the herbal greens of vegetation. They add the spark to the warmer palette of neutrals, now going from the grays to a “greige”, creating a cozier tone and feel to furnishings.


UPHOLSTERY: The news here again is TEXTURE – everywhere and every way, made to be extremely touchable – bouclés, slubby, and nubby weaves, and velvety chenilles. This characteristic, combined with an increased interest in the COMFORT factor, is affecting the dimensions of seating, with manufacturers striving to produce more ergonomic benefits of their pieces. Piping, skirting, and nailheads are making a return to upholstery as the “jewelry” to embellish textural solid fabrics. Cut velvet and print jacquard fabrics in dynamic large-scale patterns were seen on many
statement-making chairs. Performance fabrics, such as CryptonTM, InsideOutTM, RevelationTM, SunbrellaTM, and others, are gaining ground everywhere due to customer demand for widespread durability.

The “CURVE” continues to increase its presence in sofas, sectionals, and chairs, giving the sense of softness to those modern, contemporary silhouettes, again another nod to the organic and amorphic shapes of nature.

CASEGOODS: As stated under Colors, warm whites are overcoming other finishes including metallics. Metals are now seen in the artisanal parts of chests, cabinets, and tables such as the legs, pulls/knobs, and door panels. COMBINATIONS OF METALLIC FINISHES like gold and silver create the newly coined “gilver”, which, like champagne, can be mixed with either the warm or cool tones of neutral woods.

Ribbed, shagreen, and linen type textures added dimension and shape to cabinet facades and tops, accompanied with unique, large-scaled hardware pulls and knobs.

LIGHTING: Metals continue to dominate finishes for lighting fixtures, but white and natural materials are making their way into this area. Matt brass has gained popularity in just about every category and the newness comes in its pairing with ivory. CHANDELIER CLUSTERS are not only providing light but also a dramatic focal point for any room. Table lamps were shown with merled and graphic ceramic finishes in both smooth and textured surfaces, accompanied with lamps shades in several linen variations.

ACCESSORIES AND ACCENTS: “ONE-OF-A-KIND” was the key message here, where artisanal and antiquity qualities provided the permission for mixing of styles. I visited several “off-the-path” vendor showrooms that distributed “found artifacts” and artistic restyling of materials in new pieces that speak to the story of sustainable resources. Aged pottery, sculptured objects from salvaged wood, and recycled tapestry ottomans were some of the collectibles that add conversational character to a space. Relics, vintage accent furniture, and antique tools were showcased to inspire designs connecting the past and present.

Products of artistic glass and natural stone were fashioned into objects that embodied the attributes of those materials in texture and color.

Ideas using BIOPHILIC ELEMENTS such as multiple plantings, sculptured greenery, and cast wood formats were on view to, again, remind us how important our connection to nature is in curating our homes into havens of comfort and personal style.

Karen Lee Johnson, interior designer in Milwaukee Wisconsin

Hi, I’m Karen!

I’m the Founder/Creative Director of Karen Lee Johnson Interiors, a residential design firm working with clients seeking a professional, innovative and collaborative approach to design. We partner with you to creatively and meticulously translate your dreams and visions into reality. Learn more about our services or book a call to tell us about your project!

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