Fashion for the home: Hardwoods are key design element in contemporary furnishings
From the runway to the living room, hot trends in home fashion can take the style of a room from simple to stunning. Incorporating trendy furniture into home decor is an easy way to add style without having to make costly renovations.
If you are looking for ideas to upgrade your home’s interior decor for 2012, the American Hardwood Information Center offers design trends inspired by the most recent High Point Market home furnishings show.
Bring the outdoors in
A key furniture trend for this season is bringing the outdoors in through the use of natural American hardwoods. Outdoor-inspired furniture that mimics traditional park benches, picnic tables and lawn chairs, using hardwoods, is a noteworthy design element. Inspired by Mother Nature, designers at the High Point Market showcased hardwoods in both traditional and modern forms, accentuating the organic curves, movement and form of the natural material. Homeowners can mimic the look by selecting wood furniture with unique curves or pieces that highlight the natural whorls, knots and texture of the wood.
"It is never a surprise to see hardwood show up in what's trending all over the High Point Market," says Rose Bennett Gilbert, home decorating expert, author, and syndicated columnist. "After all, hardwood is a natural material that's totally adaptable to whatever style or shape is on-trend in furniture. And that's not just furniture: hardwood is an essential ingredient throughout the house -- any style of house - in flooring, cabinetry, and millwork, as well as furniture."
Tying in with the theme of bringing the outdoors in, garden inspired design is a hot trend in both furniture design and home decor accessories. The garden gate motif works well with everything from bedspreads to pillows to furniture coverings.
Natural neutrals to bright blues
Trends in wood finishing have moved from dark to light. Consider lightening up the look of your furniture with soft neutrals such as pale grays, whites and nudes.
Beyond hardwoods, mixing in bright hues with your decor can really make a room pop. What’s hot right now? Color palettes inspired by earth’s elements such as blues, greens and reds.
Cherry on top
Though wood finishes may be trending lighter, American cherry is the top species in four categories of wood furniture, including bedroom, dining room, home office and entertainment cabinets, according to Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers, Inc.’s 2011 Furniture Styles and Material Use Survey, conducted at the High Point Market. Walnut, red oak and white oak round out the top species, with many furniture manufacturers using clear, satin finishes to protect the wood while allowing its true characteristics to come through.
If you are undecided about which species to choose for your home design, the American Hardwood Information Center at offers a species guide, stain selector and inspirational photo galleries to help with wood furniture selection. A free smart phone app is available for download as well.
“With hardwood as a prominent trend in home furnishings right now, the site is a valuable tool for those looking to incorporate American hardwoods into the design of their home,” says Linda Jovanovich, executive vice president for the Hardwood Manufacturers Association, and representative of the American Hardwoods Promotion group. “One of the great things about hardwood is that even as design trends come and go, solid hardwood furniture will last a lifetime and can be re-stained or painted if you want an on-trend look.”
Furniture that accentuates the organic curves, movement and form of hardwood, such as this oak chair from Lee Industries, is a growing trend.