High Point Furniture Market: A Designer’s Haven
Tips for consumers on trends and those all-important finishing touches
By Sandra Meineke
For years the biannual High Point Furniture Market in High Point, North Carolina, has been populated primarily by furniture manufacturers and dealers with a few fabric manufacturers and accessory designers thrown in.
But with the advent of new consumer needs and new marketing techniques including — consumer decisions to accessorize the furniture they already have instead of redoing entire rooms, furniture manufacturers’ presentation of full fleshed-out showrooms at market, and a concentrated effort by High Point Market itself to reach out to designers — interior designers are rediscovering the market as a place to glean ideas, make contacts and educate themselves about the latest trends.
Some of those designers who attended the Fall Market, spoke out about what they learned from participating last fall, what they expect to see this month at Spring Market, tips for consumers and why they will keep coming back.
Lisa Ferguson, principal of Lisa Ferguson Interior Design, kept hearing a single phrase — “It’s not just about the furniture” — at last October’s market. “Since I hadn’t been to the High Point Market to source furnishings for client projects in years, I was blown away to find meaty seminars geared towards growing our design businesses, and to hear manufacturers going on and on about how designers have kept them in business over the last few years. I do believe there has been a major shift and we are moving more and more towards win-win collaborations.”
Jennifer Brouwer, principal of Jennifer Brouwer Designs, found the market to be a designer’s dream for accessories. “What are accessories, and do you really need them to complete the look of your home? In a word, YES! Accessories are the finishing touches of color, texture and shape that impact your décor. They reflect your style philosophy and pull your other décor selections together.” Brouwer anticipates more forward-thinking designs this month than at any previous exhibition.➝
Kati Curtis, principal of Nirmada, says, “After attending ‘What’s New What’s Next’ in New York City, I was happy to see that pattern craft and color are trends that are here to stay. Minimalistic interiors might look great in magazines, but people seem to want comfort and meaning in their homes.”
The Next Big Color Trend
Julieann Covino, a High Point Market Style Spotter, gives her take on the next big color trend to hit home furnishings. “It’s a fact homeowners are in a much more optimistic mood these days, and I wonder if all the yellow from the Spring 2012 runways has encouraged the new mood. Yellow can’t help itself; the color is an instant mood enhancer. Last year we witnessed yellow toned down by gray, but for  we see yellow as more of a citron that commands the attention of a room. Paired with the ‘it’ color of the year, Tangerine Tango, well, you would have a vacation in a room scheme.” Covino says the first place homeowners “test run” a new color is always in accents, and market will be delivering lots of sunny accessories in their displays this month.
Interior designer Jamie Beckwith teaches her clients how to select accessories for a space. “The paint is dry, the drapery is hung, and the furniture is placed. Why does it feel unfinished? Because it is unfinished!” Beckwith believes every space – whether traditional or contemporary – needs accessories. “Books, lamps, curiosities, pillows, framed photos and architectural antiques are all required to make a space feel like a home.” Beckwith’s tips to consumers include:
• Always buy what you love
• An item with a story or past is always more interesting than something brand new with 50 more lined up behind it
• Accessories need not be expensive
• Odd numbers of pieces seem to feel more balanced than an even number of accessories placed on a table
• Don’t forget to use functional items. Beautiful cut crystal for holding snacks or nuts, lamps that are not only beautiful but provide ample lighting for reading, and lush, green plants that keep the interior air clean are functional accessories.
Reflections of Your Personality
Curtis, a designer who mentors other designers, focuses on mixing styles. “There’s got to be something more to design than just matching. Your interior should speak to your personality, lifestyle, taste, habits and most importantly your heart.” Here are some easy ways Curtis suggests to create something that’s totally curated just for you.
• Add an item that doesn’t match everything else
• Mix furniture styles
• Don’t match wood finishes
• Do mix old and new
• Select artwork because it speaks to you, not for the color.
• Most importantly, have a sense of humor
“Nothing’s more uncomfortable than a space you’re afraid to sit down in, and nothing’s more boring than a living room that looks like a furniture showroom. Decorating should be fun; never take yourself too seriously.”
On mixing patterns and colors, Curtis says the key is balance. “Complimentary color schemes are always pleasing to the eye, but make sure saturated colors are slightly muted so your scheme is not too overwhelming.” She advises mixing masculine and feminine elements for balance and when selecting textiles for a room, use a solid fabric for major elements and use pattern on smaller pieces to add interest and tie all of the colors together.
If you want to make sure your designer is up on the latest in tips, trends and training, ask him/her if they’ve been to Market lately? Not only does it benefit the designer, but the trickle down effect will benefit you, too.