Year in Review: 2013 Top Trends

    The past year marked an important milestone in the home furnishings industry’s recovery. Economic conditions continued to improve, leading to more robust sales and, in turn, an improved environment for design. Recession-induced timidity was knocked out by optimistic, confident design.

    Luxury also staged a comeback. Just as all those neutral, plain Jane looks were sliding down the back side of the bell-shaped trend curve, modern luxury looks were making their ascent. It should be noted, however, that the post-recession consumer mindset about luxury is decidedly different. In place of over-the-top displays of wealth and consumption, the focus is on designs that are authentic, original and handcrafted. That said, luxury often came in small packages, such as Karen Robertson’s paperweights crafted from tiny, artfully arranged shells or Dwell Studios’ Mid-Century Modern glass decanters elegantly cross-hatched in gold.

    Indeed, another sure sign that luxury staged a return in 2013 was the unapologetic display of gold, which all but replaced the cool silver finishes that dominated for the better part of the past decade. Gold finishes turned up everywhere and on everything, ushering in a much warmer look overall.

    Similarly, there was plenty of bling to be found in home decor. Post-recession, it was applied to product in a more refined and perhaps less gratuitous way. Handmade glass jewels and iridescent and faceted crystals appeared on artful pillows from Aviva Stanoff and placemats from Kim Seybert, and they were encased in wood pedestals from Phillips Collection.

    The modern luxury mindset also propelled the long-running organic look to new heights in 2013. Designs inspired by the natural world went from yesterday’s rough and raw to elegant and sublime, exemplified Emporium Home’s hand-cast brass sconce and Laura Kirar’s chandelier with 24 mouth-blown glass doves for Arteriors Home.

    The handcrafted organic trend continued in textiles, albeit with somewhat less fervor. Arty ikats, batiks, tie-dye and suzani patterns provided a beautiful counterpoint to the hard-edged, machine precision of geometrics, the popularity of which continued unabated. In fact, the market’s fixation with the latter inspired a plethora of products in that vein, especially during the second half of the year, including furniture detailed with fretwork in honeycomb patterns and Greek key motif.

    In the end, the patterns and styling that looked and felt freshest at the close of 2013 weren’t new at all. Inspired by the blockbuster movie, “The Great Gatsby,” and the overall optimism and exuberance of the Roaring Twenties, sleek Art Deco motifs in unusual and distinctive color palettes found their way onto upholstery fabrics at Cotton + Quill and Lee Industries. New furniture introductions from high-end Theodore Alexander and Baker Furniture's Jacques Garcia collection also bore distinctive hallmarks of the Art Deco period.

    As for color, the biggest sales driver of them all, the 2013 newsmakers were saturated and vivid. The year started out with a bang—PANTONE® pronounced fascinating, if challenging, Emerald to be the color of the year. However, versatile and livable saturated blues such as indigo and navy rose to prominence, eclipsing Emerald, and for our money, could more accurately defined as the color of the year. Warm coral, fiery orange and happy, saturated pinks also got a lot of play in 2013. It’s worth noting that all of these colors were frequently shown against cream or white backgrounds, lending a crisp, fresh look to interiors that hasn’t been seen for quite a while.

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