Is This What’s Next in Furniture and Decor? (If So, We’re Very, Very Into It)
***Written by Arlyn Hernandez
I have a love-slash-kinda-hate relationship with the word “trend” and something tells me a lot of you do, as well. The idea that something is “trendy” has almost turned into a bad word in the design-o-sphere, and while I do get it and have often found myself wishing that something would stop being trendy so I could go about my business using it in my home without feeling “basic,” trends are a very real part of this industry, like it or not, and frankly, pretty fun to talk about regardless. We vow to never publish an article that says “throw out everything you own because it’s now considered gross and buy all these new things” for several reasons (one being that that’s pretty obnoxious and just not real life), so don’t fret, but we absolutely will continue to talk about design ideas framed as trends because, well…that’s what they are. You do you in your home but then come back here and have fun looking at new concepts that may or may not become a “thing” eventually.
…ready to roll? Good! We’re excited. We all put our heads together and came up with a list of furniture and decor ideas we’re actually loving, not just talking about so this is less of a straight-forward “report” and more a love list of trends we could actually see ourselves implementing in upcoming projects. It’s a combo of what we’ve seen in published professional projects, things that have caught our both (both in editorial and design terms) on Instagram/Pinterest, and what we’ve seen pop up in the retail market from researching for future projects. And because we couldn’t stop there, we also had our market team add lots of shoppable pieces to the “New Favorites” section of the Shop page so if you love something we bring up today, you can get the instant gratification of bringing it home.
Alright, let’s do this…
The velvet sofa hit the mass-market design scene HARD about three years ago (a resurgence from previous decades) with a Crayola box of colors as options, and while jewel-toned blues and greens stuck from the get-go, there’s a new cool kid in town. Rich rusts and terra-cotta shades have been trending since last year when the desert palette was all the rage for a bit there, but we’re confident that this one is going to stick around for a bit. After all, you wouldn’t want to drop $1,000+ on a piece of furniture only to turn around a few months later and feel like it feels dated and passé already.
The range of rust extends from deep, nearly red tones to much less intense versions like this one here. On a simple, streamlined silhouette, it’s less POW in your face (unless, of course, you want that) and more liveable. As for what colors to pair this with, we like it with a mix of creamy neutrals and hints of blue, black and burgundy.
Why we love it: It feels new and like something that could transition easily into the years to come.
Speaking of sofas…and velvet…the biscuit tufted cushion is happening people and oh man is it fun. Tufting tends to take on a more traditional or mid-century vibe, but this overscale “puffy” biscuit tufting feels much fresher and “now” while adding really nice texture and dimension to a living room or den. It also works particularly well in a fabric with a high sheen like velvet because of how the light plays with all the nooks and crannies. I’m not entirely sure how comfortable this actually is for long-term lounging as I’ve only ever really sat on a handful of seating with this type of upholstery, but something I can report is they usually have a much “tighter” feel. Not firm, per se, just a little…clenched.
Why we love it: It can take a straightforward silhouette and turn it into something special—a conversation piece.
Thin Bench Cushions
Clearly, the seating category has a lot to talk about this year. This one comes straight out of Emily’s mouth as something she’s really jazzed about. In fact, we were standing around her kitchen, souping (because, what else?) while talking through things we wanted to include in this post, and she specifically mentioned all the thin cushions she’s been seeing and loving and Pinning for mountain house inspiration. All of a sudden, a bowl-full of memories of beautiful room images featuring flat(ish) seat cushions came flooding into my mind and I knew she was right.
This definitely speaks more to a minimal aesthetic, but it also works in a cozy, welcoming room like the one above with a more Scandi vibe. Another talking point here is the French seam on thin cushions, which takes it from feeling maybe “low market” (because let’s get real, cheaper pieces of furniture tend to have thinner cushions) to cool, casual and lived in. I do wonder how less filling will hold up over time, though.
Why we love it: Look, we’ll never turn a blind eye to a super plush sectional or other seating, but we’re on board with the informal and simple feel the thin cushion gives a room.
The “It” Chair of 2019
Sometimes, the trend is a design idea, color or silhouette, but other times, there’s a specific item that comes up again and again and again, but in a way that excites you every time you see it. That’s this armchair, originally designed by Pierre Jeanneret.
First released in the 1950s and produced in mass quantities for Chandigarh, India (a “utopian” city that his cousin Le Corbusier designed), the V-leg chair only recently saw a resurgence thanks to antique dealers that dug them up from (basically) trash heaps and designers like Axel Vorvoordt using them in sky-high-end projects. It’s funny to think that a for-anywhere-and-everyone chair made of teak and caning is now worth a fortune (good vintage authentic options run upwards of $10k+, but there are plenty of lower priced reproductions now).
Why we love it: The Jeanneret V-leg chair adds so much sculpture and angularity to a room. It’s like art and furniture had a pageant-worthy child, and that’s a baby shower we absolutely will RSVP Yes to (okay, that analogy is a bit of a stretch, but we’re giddy with feelings over here about this chair).
The Other “It” Chair
While the Jeanneret chair is like the more showy head cheerleader at the popular table, Jean Prouvé’s Standard chair is the less obvious cool girl that people are less afraid of and tend to gravitate more toward (who eventually goes on to become a badass CEO or a very important scientist making breakthroughs in quantum physics). Truly and honestly, I was saving pictures that “spoke” to me for months as I was looking for inspirations for my Makeover Takeover, and when I went back recently to see all my bookmarked picks, I was like “whoa…wait a minute.” I had ended up with 11 dogeared images with this chair in all kinds of applications: desk chair, side chair, dining chair, so I’m calling it…I declare the Standard chair “trending.”
Why we love it: It’s one of those furnishings that seems kind of unassuming, humble yet playful. Like the “nerdy” girl in a ’90s teen rom-com that just needs to take off her glasses and pull her hair out of a messy bun and BAM she’s “pretty”. Obviously, this chair isn’t going through any makeover montages…it doesn’t need it (but it does come in a handful of really fun colors that would transform a room).
Chunky Wood-Framed Furniture
Any excuse to bring more wood into a room, we’ll give the thumbs up to. Wood adds soul and warmth, and we’ve been noticing more furniture pieces with super chunk and oversized wood bases and frames (like this chair up top that’s total heart eyes, right?). Frankly, we haven’t seen a ton of this on the big-box market (i.e. budget-friendly), but hopefully if we write about it enough, more people will start incorporating it into their homes, hence the retail sector will take notice and start making more pieces in line with this look. That’s how it works…right?!?
Why we love it: Delicate frames have had their time, bring on the chunk. Plus, it makes a quiet statement without all the bells and whistles of a bold paint or wallpaper or rug and sometimes, that’s just nice.
Mixed Modern Dining Chairs
This is not a new idea by any means, but it’s typically done with an eclectic mix of vintage chairs. This new twist is much more contemporary because it uses a mix of mostly modern silhouettes, like in this dining room full of mid-century favorites.
Here’s another take that’s far artsier but just as cool. In studying it (and the previous shot), I think it’s worth talking about some “rules” for making this look work for you. Some takeaways: use similar wood tones and materials (here you’ll see two chairs are rattan) across a few different pieces, keep heights mostly consistent (but don’t be afraid to break the rules a little…this is just a jumping off point) and finally, repeat forms where you can, for instance some of these chairs have more rounded silhouettes while others are very angular and sculptural.
Why we love it: We’re big fans of the eclectic over here, but more and more our collective style is being tailored and tightened, so this just feels like a natural step for us. Jess basically wants to move into the above photo, and Emily’s temporary dining room situation in the mountain house is looking a lot like that first photo.
So burlwood was a little bit of a hard sell to some of the team but I’m not backing down here. I know burlwood (which was originally super popular in the ’70s) came back in vogue like…maybe two years ago? but I promise I’ve seen it making the rounds again. It went into hibernation, but it woke up from its winter nap and everywhere I look, there’s a nightstand or credenza or even a smaller decorative box being used in a fresh way (mostly with how it’s styled). Also, not that what I’m about to say automatically makes something trendy or cool, but over Christmas, I went into CB2 to buy a gift for someone and they had a gift wrapping station that had burlwood wrapping paper and it was so surprisingly chic. That’s all I have to say about that.
Why we love it: Well, honestly it’s kind of hard to tell. It’s one of those things I honestly used to hate because it reminded me of horrible glossy casegoods from homes in the ’80s but then all of a sudden, I’m finding myself wanting in my home. These things aren’t always explained in words…it might be a cop-out but this is an “I like it because I just do, okay?” situation.
ART & DECOR
Globally-inspired throw pillows have had their 15 minutes (in fact, it’s been more like…1,827,524 minutes), and while we still very much love them over here, Jess was quick to point out that she’s been noticing more “shapes” pop up. Pyramids, circles, triangles, shells…mostly seen right now in single-hued velvets, it’s pretty fun and we’d love to see more people trying this out to see the breadth of styles it can handle. What do you think? Are you into this or is it a hard sell?
Why we love it: Plain and simple, it’s just fun. So…why not?
Mixing Framed and Unframed Art
We’ll gladly take any chance to talk about a “shake up” to a beloved design feature like a gallery wall. Gallery walls are here to stay, but we’ve seen them done every which way it feels like, but something we’re noticing as of late is a mix of framed and unframed pieces. They can be propped against a wall, set atop other artworks if that works, heck, even taped if you’re not afraid it’ll ruin the piece. I think it works particularly well in a more modern set up with things like abstracts and line drawings…there’s something about the simple and monotone vibe above that feels like the whole unframed thing adds to the art setup…it’s part of the art, instead of looking like one of the many unfinished DIY projects you probably currently have waiting for you at home collecting dust (just me?).
Why we love it: It’s a new look at an old favorite that feels really unique and updated, plus…this one saves $$$ (no frame = more favorite friendly).
Let me give you a little insight into how this conversation about pleated lampshades went:
Arlyn: Jess…what have you seen that’s exciting right now?
Jess: Pleated lampshades!
Jess: No really! Call me crazy, but I think they’re coming back.
Jess: ::deadpan stare off with Arlyn::
Arlyn: ::stares back::
And well….here we are, so we know who won this one. Emily was on board because that woman loves herself a little “weird” and okay fine. In a fun little print like the top left shot, it’s pretty cute. Not everything has to be stiff and perfect with a linen drum shade, so sure…pleated lampshades for 2019.
Jess we love it: Like the pyramid pillows, it’s a take on design that’s a little less stiff and serious. In the spirit of OG Emily…perfection is boring, let’s get weird.
Rocks As Decor
You want weird? We’ll give you weird…ROCKS. It’s all about rocks. Okay, so I don’t necessarily think that rocks as decor will become this big mainstream thing, but no kidding, everytime we walk into a posh decor boutique, there’s a rock somewhere recently. Both Jess and I bought the same rock match holder/strike at Shoppe by Amber Interiors this fall during our work trip out to the Pacific Palisades, Michael is basically on the marketing team for rocks wrapped in leather, and this whole “rock meets brush” thing would be such a fun doodad to style with. Useless? Mostly, yes, but cool nonetheless.
Why we love it: Like wood, stone has a way of adding a little soul to a room, so…bring on the rocks.
Again, make sure to cruise through the “New Favorites” section of Shop to see some shop-right-now picks from us, and PLEASE chime in in the comments about what you think of these. We love to share things we’re buzzing about, but love even more to hear from you guys about whether you’re just as swoony as we are or are like “are these people off their rockers?”