The semiannual High Point Market, the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world, brings more than 75,000 people to High Point, N.C., for one week in April and another in October. After visiting hundreds of showrooms as a "Style Spotter," three trends caught my attention. I expect to see these continuing to influence as we head into 2014.
Throw in a hint of sexy retro 1940s or 1960s/'70s, fuse that with natural materials such as woods and stones, then add touches of glamorous accents to give an effortless yet alluring look, and voila! A new type of glamor has been born. Burled and exotic woods such as figured walnuts, rogue cherry and luscious Mozambique veneers are combined with golden and bronze metals to create an updated "rustic luxe" look. Stones, minerals, hand-cut inlaid bone, and shells typically found in jewelry — such as agate, malachite, lapis, onyx and pen shell — are displayed in enthralling chandeliers and furniture. Clear Lucite for sleekness and/or woven cane for added texture may also be included. Nature-inspired materials have never looked so enchanting.
This trend creates happy, beautiful interiors with vibrant hues, perhaps as we find ourselves more hopeful about the future and the economy. This season, crisp navy paired with snow white is the hot color scheme. In addition, cobalt blue, electric teal, sultry purple, intense orange, grass green and Easter-egg pastels are prevalent in three different color narratives. The first is color blocking, popular also on fashion's couture runways, with a strong vivacious color typically juxtaposed with white or contrast color in large color "blocks." The second color story is found in lively patterned or geometric designs for a fresh, modern look. Lastly, color is broadcast through hue-infused brushstrokes, reminiscent of works of watercolor impressionists. The fluid artistry is seen in wall covering, artwork, fabrics and area rugs. I promise large smiles with these cheerful hues and patterns.
As we see men making more furniture purchasing and design decisions, this menswear-goes-global trend is literally going international. Think sharp-dressed man, but now translated into male-inspired interiors. Sexy dark woods, plush hides, stitched leathers, houndstooth wovens and necktie stripes are combined with ethnic touches, then layered with textured shades of amber, turquoise, green, garnet or burnt orange. Tiny brass micronails, smoke or bronze glass, button tufting and shagreens can further add moody embellishments. Masculine style with ethnic touches has never looked so daring, tailored and GQ attractive.
Michelle Jennings Wiebe, ASID, is founder/president/principal designer of the premier national interior design firm Studio M Inc., based in Tampa. Studio M specializes in luxury residential design, but is also well known for its commercial interiors. She serves on the board for the Interior Design Department at Florida State University and also speaks on design and social media. Find her on Twitter, @StudioM_; Facebook, Studio.M.Interiors; online, at interiorsbystudiom.com; or call (813) 221-5260.