Furniture Trends

Written by emily pate
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Furniture Trends
Mix older influences with contemporary by painting a vintage chair in a warm hue. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

While it may seem that furniture trends change drastically with each season, few have the resources to reinvent an entire home with each passing fashion. As of the end of 2010, however, furniture design is seeing a refreshing mix of globally inspired and vintage pieces with an emphasis on furnishing with individual, eclectic tastes in mind over any trends. The rules about sticking with uniform period, materials or geographic influence are being broken everywhere you look.

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Mirrored Furniture

The glamour of the 1930s and 1940s made a comeback in the early 21st century with mirrored furniture. Design webzines and home department stores are featuring pieces ranging from mirrored nightstands and vanity sets to chairs and coffee tables. Typically, the lines are clean with no marbling or etching. Some finishes, however, use shaped mirrors that stretch or squish your reflection. These are most notably used in wall hangings. The trend is also seeing a blend of materials and mirrors used in one piece. An armoire might have an oak frame and case with mirrored panelling on the face, for example.

Mixing It Up

As globalization's effect on design manifests itself, furniture trends turn toward global and eclectic influences, mixing pieces from Asia, the Middle East and the Americas into traditional Western furniture. Vintage pieces are also prominent, many times with an ethnic element like richly embroidered textile or the rich colours seen in sari dresses. A mid-century furniture trend has created a drift towards repurposing and recycling old pieces like accent chairs and desks with boldly coloured or patterned upholstery, paint and even decals. Chipped paint and rusted metal are common.

The trend toward eco-friendly design also has made its mark. Organic elements like recycled metal, wood, stone and fabric are fashionable, and organic shapes like ovals and soft curves abound. Pieces strictly designed with form following function in the 20th century are now designed as accent pieces. You might place decorative vases on the empty space of a work desk or set a tea tray on a posh ottoman, for instance.

Colouring with Furniture

In 2009 and 2010, there was a move toward using one or several pieces of furniture in a room to catch the eye with saturated colour (solid or patterned). Hues consisted mostly of warm tones, such as plums, mossy greens and burnt oranges. Colours taken from nature are also abundant, including blue-green and yellow-gold schemes. Chairs, accent pillows and ottomans are upholstered in updated '70s-inspired patterns with richer, bolder jewel tones. Patchwork motifs are also in high use with the same concept of taking a vintage pattern and applying an funky, unusual colour to it.

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