When the 2013 Milan Furniture Fair was held earlier this year, there were quite a few forecasts for the design trends we would be seeing in the fall. Some of them are being incorporated in modern furnishings and others never really caught the imagination of American interior designers. Here is a recap of the best trends you are likely to see in our showrooms for the remainder of this year.
Interior Design Goes Back to Nature
The biggest trend in furnishings is a return to organic design. By organic, I mean natural materials and finishes and colors found in the outdoors – no matter where you live. Many manufacturers are focusing on an organic look, even companies who have traditionally made furniture with more modern, clean lines. Interior designers are seeking new ways of integrating more rustic, organic, natural-looking elements with contemporary fashion and home/office styles.
Of course, for those of us in California and other areas of the Southwest, we’ve been using organic design for the past several years but this year the trend really hit Italy in a big way. This is one recent instance where an American design trend moved across the pond rather than the other way around. It used to be that really ingenious and creative designs originated in Europe and then came across the ocean in a boat months later. Now that style trends are updated in real time, there’s no lag between good design and global availability.
In terms of fabrics, the back-to-nature theme also applies. This fall, soft, neutral, natural tones of taupes to beiges to grays will dominate. It’s a safe color scheme but it mixes a palette of soft tones to create elegant, yet somewhat muted, style. For accent colors, the quintessential hues of nature the world over, greens and blues in softer shades, are once again in style. Pale celery and teal, in particular, are colors seen this year on many major pieces of furniture. These greens are making a comeback from several years ago.
Design Trends in Wood
Live edge wood pieces that haven’t been cut into perfect shapes or further refined is the hottest new trend in furniture. This is particularly true of tables of all kinds, but you are also likely to find natural wood designs in seating and accent pieces. The finish for these freeform wood furnishings is simple and weathered, definitely not polished.
As far as wood finishes on oak pieces, it can be called several different names (smoked, thermal treated, seared) but the process is the same. The manufacturer takes an oak veneer and heat treats it to enhance the wood’s natural grain and bring out its inherent color variation. Then the wood is stained to enhance the highs and lows in coloring. Smoked oak is definitely a product of the return to natural and organic design – and it looks quite striking.
Will you see smoked oak pieces in the Lawrance showroom anytime soon? The last big trend in wood finishes was about 15 years ago and it took a couple years for those deep, dark stains to become popular here. Today, with brand new designs being shared so quickly via social media, it will be interesting to see if smoked oak is in demand by San Diego homeowners right away.
If you are looking to update your home based on the 2013 Milan Furniture Fair trends, try getting back in touch with nature. Opt for freeform pieces, lighter wood finishes and soft, muted colors found in the ocean and the forests close to your own back yard.