Fresh From The Furniture Market

Tuxedo sofa in updated cream linen


I have returned from the spring furniture market and my mind is brimming with fresh ideas. When I go to market, I am just like you…. trying to buy what I think is wonderful and stay in budget! The temptations are plentiful, and mistakes are costly, so I make notes listing what I like in the showrooms. In the evening when we return to our hotel room, I review my list of “possibilities” and decide what I think our customers will like best.

There are trends in home furnishings just like there are trends in clothing, automobiles and really everything. It is fun to look for the trends and figure out which ones will work in our area for our typical customer’s needs and wants. My primary belief when helping folks with their homes, is to invest in classic large pieces that never go out of style and buy smaller, less expensive trendy accessories.

That said, I still want our customers to have lots of choices to keep their homes fresh and fun. Here are some trends that I believe will work well in our area.


Sofas and chairs are sporting clean, simple lines. Most upholstery makers had at least one tuxedo sofa in their line up this spring. This classic sofa style has slightly rolled arms the same height as the sofa’s back. It is often tufted and its wide seat if perfect for napping. [See photo above]

Lawson sofas and chairs are a staple style of seating furniture that is always available at market. Lawsons have a clean, somewhat “boxy” shape with arms shorter than its back. The chair or sofa has a square corded seat cushion and the back cushion is about the same size. This market Lawson sofas were shown in solid neutral fabrics such as linen or subtle tweed fabrics and with fewer patterns fabrics.

Scalloped edges. It sounds contradictory, talking about straight, clean lines, but I saw lots of scalloped edges on chairs and tables that added some punch to the style. To me scallop adds “dress maker” attention to details. It shows craftsmanship and adds a touch of whimsy.

Arm chair with scalloped edge


Lamps are sporting clean, organic lines to go with the simple lines of furniture. Look for tall lamps in monotone colors and organic shapes such as triple squash or this artichoke lamp with a crystal base. Solid colors hold sway right now, but Asian inspired lamps are always a staple, especially in cobalt blue and white.

Organic shape lamp with crystal base


Look for lots of blue and white! I’ve been collecting blue Canton porcelains for decades, never tiring of its design. Over the years, as my collection grew I placed my blue and white in my living room, dining room, and entry hall. I used it no matter what color whim I had at the time, and it always pleased me. Who knew at my age I would be spot on in fashion with the millennials! How much fun to share my passion.

Blue and white porcelains

If you prefer simple solid accessories, you will be seeing creamy white, tan, gray and celadon colors in organic shapes such as triple gourd, pumpkin or ginger jar shapes.

Farm House style is popular for those who want a very casual look. Look for farm house tables in distressed finishes, galvanized metal accessories such as lanterns and mirrors, and artwork featuring farm animals. This year, there is farm house Christmas décor on the market! I think Chip and Joanna have created a great style that appeals to many of us.

Farm theme art


Rugs make a room cozy and help define it. I recommend buying as large a rug as you can. To my eye, it looks best if all the furniture feet rest on the rug. For dining rooms, the rule of thumb is to have at least 24” of rug on each side of the dining table for chairs. There are many choices of great rugs that will help define your space and style.

Seagrass has been popular for over a decade and is still going strong. It is light and airy, and its neutral khaki color goes with everything. You may throw a small Oriental or cow hide on top of your seagrass to add a pop of color.

Solid woven rugs are trending. Look for loomed coarse fibers in solid or striped patterns. These rugs require a good pad to hold up to traffic and offer comfort. These rugs work well with the current Farm House style.

Oriental rugs are more expensive, as they are hand knotted, made of natural wool and stand up to lots of traffic. The rug patterns are named for the area, city or region of their origin. Right now, Oushak rugs made in Turkey are widely popular.

Turkish Oushak rug

There are always lots of styles available in home furnishings. Look at as many styles as you can, study the home magazines and then listen to your heart. It a room makes you happy, the style makes you feel right at home, then that is for you!

Nan Bridgeman retired as an educator at a local museum, and owns Blythe Gallery, an interiors shop in Belmont. She enjoys helping customers create their own personal “happy place”.