Trends from High Point Market Spring 2012

Last week was my first time ever attending the giant twice-yearly wholesale/retailer furniture event known as High Point Market in North Carolina. I felt like such a n00b.

High Point is a really fun place – a whole town dedicated to furniture and home decor showrooms. Shoutout to Leif Petersen and the High Point Market team for convincing me I needed to go! Being a rookie, I wasn’t privy to the inside jokes of years past so sometimes I felt a bit out of place, but I sold furniture for many years in college, therefore I knew many of the major manufacturers – it was kind of like a trip down memory lane. Caroline, (who introduced me to my first Waffle House experience in NC!) and I spotted tons of modern trends while wandering the endless aisles and showrooms full of furniture, decor, textiles and artwork.

Plus, what would make my trip even more fun and exciting than getting lost in an entire town full of furniture? Not having to schlep my DSLR around with me. Microsoft asked me to try out the new Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone and I thought it would be a challenge for me to bring it to the market and use it to take all the photos and video, as well as post to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest (Pinsation FTW!). Before getting the Nokia Lumia 900, my only phone since my pink Motorola Razr (haha) has been an iPhone. As an active member of the Cult of Mac, sometimes it’s hard to break free. Who knew there was a whole world of smartphone awesomeness out there (ask me about the hot pink squares!)? Hope you enjoy my snaps…

I spent a lot of time in 220 Elm, the building housing mostly modern and international design companies. If you think there’s no modern in High Point, you’re mistaken. There are tons of modern design gems hiding just inside this little building! They might not be conceptual, couture or outrageous, but they represent the majority of what most of us buy for our own homes at your favorite local and online modern furniture stores.

Here are a few of the top trends we noticed inside 220 Elm and the rest of the market:

Everywhere we turned, we bumped into some type of gray-colored textile, chair, piece of art – every shade of gray you can imagine from almost black to charcoal to pale grey, you name it. The convertible sofa above is from Innovation.

Besides gray being everywhere, we also spotted a lot of blue. Navy, royal, peacock and every spring-y shade in between. Surprisingly, there wasn’t much Tangerine Tango or neon. Maybe these manufacturers just aren’t on Pinterest yet…! Bonaldo poufs from the Leif Petersen showroom are above.

For the past couple of years ikat has been all the rage, but this year seems to have sparked graphic, tribal-inspired patterns and usually in a navy shade or, of course, charcoal.

Contrast and unconventional stitching
Some of our favorite finds used stitching as part of the design – like using thread in contrasting colors or in unique stitching patterns.

Tech-friendly furniture
Clearly technology has taken up a permanent residence in most everyone’s homes and it has now been introduced into furniture that incorporates all of your tech and media devices. Above, Sauder’s tech end table splits open to reveal storage and a felt-lined charging station and they also have a media console with what’s called a “digi-drawer” that houses a power strip.

Watch this video where a sales person demonstrates the newest trend in bedroom design from Casana: the techie dresser – it’s clothing storage, it’s a media center for your components or even a desk with pullout keyboard tray!

LED lighting accents
A newer trend in home furnishings is using LED lighting accents IN furniture, as opposed to having lighting sitting on top of it. Casana’s LED night stands above include either backlit glass or tiny foot lights so you don’t wake your partner or trip over anything getting in and out of bed in the middle of the night.

Brass handles and pulls
We noticed that brass was a popular accent on many casegoods, including this faceted DwellStudio dresser that we’re in love with.

Wood finishes
Companies are incorporating more diverse finishes for woods beyond the usual ones like walnut, birch, etc. Washed colors were big, like this grayish oak from Sauder informally dubbed “Salt Oak.”

Mad Men-inspired
And last, but not least, companies around the world have been inspired by the AMC hit show Mad Men and have hit the ground running with any and all things with a 1960s feel. Above is a Mad Men-inspired seating group from Palliser and below from Innovation.

P.S. My new thing for traveling to these shows is to create a packing list. Ever since the first Alt Summit, I’ve been creating these in Excel (my dirty little secret is that I love spreadsheets – I make them for everything!), printing them out, and bringing them with me. This time, though, since the Windows Phone already had Excel (and all of MS Office) loaded in, I didn’t even need to print it out. Hooray for going paperless!

(the nail polish is Chinchilly by Essie – one of my faves)

P.P.S. If you’re going to High Point, check the weather the day before you leave. I was poorly prepared for the cold, rainy weather. Oh, and bring very comfortable shoes.

Stay tuned next week for some more High Point spotlight posts including our favorite piece from the show.

Brought to you by the new AT&T Nokia Lumia 900.
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Jaime Derringer, Founder + Executive Editor of Design Milk, is a Jersey girl living in SoCal. She dreams about funky, artistic jewelry + having enough free time to enjoy some of her favorite things—running, reading, making music, and drawing.