Just as with your choice of attire, home furnishings offer an opportunity to display a personal sense of style. Also like the latest fashion in clothing, furniture trends are always changing — although often with more subtlety and not quite as frequently. The fall leads those considering a change in their indoor scenery on a return to nature by a path through reclaimed woods, textured fabrics and an earthy palette.
All the different shades of rust and orange are strong right now and only getting stronger into the fall season.
Michael Dornblum, president of Philadelphia-based Dwelling
The Latest Materials
Reclaimed woods are definitely trending big for the fall season.
"It's become very chic to repurpose a product," said Michael Dornblum, president of Philadelphia-based Dwelling, a home décor resource. "That's a positive, long-term trend that's not going to go out of style. We have tons of furniture that's made from an eclectic mix of interesting, exotic woods that are reclaimed and sustainable. It's not only beautiful, but it's [also] environmentally friendly."
This trend has been developing for some time and will be in high gear come fall.
Professional designer Karen Crorey-Dallafior, ASID, of K.C. Interiors Inc., reports that at the recent High Point, North Carolina, furniture show, the emphasis was on sustainable products.
"Reclaimed wood, scrubbed wood and re-purposed metals were shown on tables and chests," Crorey-Dallafior said. "I prefer to mix these materials in a room as it creates more interest than an entire space finished the same way."
Like any trend, as it begins to catch on, it will be copied.
Mike McAllister, managing partner at Hold It Contemporary Home in San Diego, says this is something to be wary about. "Manufacturers in China and Indonesia are making product that looks like reclaimed wood and marketing it that way when it's actually manufactured," he warned. "What makes reclaimed wood special is its uniqueness. It's important that people do their research when shopping for this kind of product in order to make sure they're truly getting reclaimed wood."
In fabrics, textures are the hot look, reports Crorey-Dallafior. "A lot of natural fibers are on the market," she said. "The combination of bamboo and other newer, natural fibers with weaves that are stronger give us luxury products with performance."
McAllister said that breathable fabrics seem to be the material of choice over leathers, but that may be related to the West Coast market. "In this region homeowners have always opted for comfort and that often ends up being breathable fabrics," he said, "but that may be related to the hotter climate."
The prominent color palette for this fall consists mainly of organic hues found in nature.
"They are always in style and easy to live with for a long time," said Crorey-Dallafior. "In keeping with the neutral palette of the wood finishes, titanium gray is making another go-around but being infused with colors like lemongrass for an edgy look or some clear blue for a warmer feel."
McAllister agrees that a medium gray tone — not the darker charcoal that was once popular — is the top choice for fall furniture. "Using a gray lacquer adds warmth to a piece," he said. "In terms of accent, I'm seeing a lot of purples."
Accent colors may be incorporated with throw pillows and other accessories that keep your décor in touch with the latest trends but can be easily switched out when those trends pass.
Moroccan colors are very hot right now, Dornblum said. These bold blues, golds, oranges and greens exude that Moroccan Casbah look and spice up the neutral color palette.
"All the different shades of rust and orange are strong right now and only getting stronger into the fall season," added Dornblum. "We're selling a lot of accessories in these colors as well as the browns and creams that are always a staple."
Relaxed, Eclectic Mood
When it comes to style, matching sets are no longer the way to go. And that might give new life to some pieces from other times in your life that are in storage because they don't match your newer furniture.
"A collected look with a mixture of materials and finishes is the trend," said Crorey-Dallafior. "In my design business, I am designing more spaces that have an eclectic mixture rather than being 'all contemporary' or 'all traditional.' I love how it gives so much freedom to collect different styles and create a lot of interest. Pattern wallcovering is also making a big resurgence on an accent wall or in one space, such as a dining room — but definitely not in every room."
Lounge-type seating is also gaining popularity, according to McAllister. "The very upright chairs are being replaced by lounging pieces where people can relax and enjoy their space," he said.
Lots of Style for a Little Cash
Although the trends are always changing, you don't need to make a huge investment to keep your home in style. Using accessories is the simplest way to change the look of an entire room on a tight budget.
"You can immediately make a change to a room simply by using pillows and other accessories — maybe even a reasonably priced area carpet," Dornblum said. "It's like taking a blue business suit and changing out the accessories to make it new."
The Color Report
Each season the Pantone Color Institute forecasts the upcoming color trends that will be relevant in fashion and — ultimately — in home furnishings as hot looks tend to trickle off the runway and infuse themselves in other areas.
For the fall season, a neutral palette gets punched up with bold accents.
"Designers take a painterly approach to fall by artfully combining bright colors with staple neutrals, reminiscent of how an artist would construct a stunning work of art," said Leatrice Eiseman, the institute's executive director. "Much like a painter's masterpiece, there is a certain romance to this season's palette."
The top 10 colors for the fall season include:
Bamboo — A warm and exotic yellow/green. Emberglow — A traditional autumn tone that resembles glowing fire. Honeysuckle — A playful, reddish pink. Phlox — A deep purple. Cedar — An earthy, neutral green. Deep Teal — A bold blue-toned green. Coffee Liqueur — A warm camel/tan. Nougat — A pale brown neutral tone. Orchid Hush — A unique shade of light gray. Quarry — A deeper shade of gray.