What’s Hot in Upholstery Furniture Fabrics, Designs

By Lori Negrinotti

Whether designing, manufacturing or selling upholstered furniture, keeping up with trends is an essential part of business. Forecasting the relativity of trends is quite the job, as it involves recognizing which are not worthy of investment — predicted fast-moving trends — and those that should be brought into the fold to stay current and add a level of uniqueness to stand apart. Determining how much a chosen trend should be featured in a product assortment and incorporated throughout store merchandise are some of the toughest decisions.

Because most businesses prepare and design multiple seasons ahead, creating quarterly trend lists can assist in planning product lineup. This makes it easier to identify which trends best align with your direction and vision. Some will have great meaning, especially if they resonate with a majority of your customer base. In the end, customers decide how successful a trend will be.

Here are nine trends that will filter through the upholstered furniture industry this year in varying degrees.

The Natural Effect
Warmer neutrals that are tone-on-tone create a calm and comforting scheme. Nature-inspired earth tones include browns, cognacs and terracotta. Deeper saturated colours like greens and blues will also be found within various styles of upholstery.

Textured Wonders
Heavily textured fabrics that offer tactile elements through layering.

Ultimate Comfort
This tops the list of consumer priorities when it comes to furniture. Plush, deep seating and cozy curl-up sofas and sectionals, many remaining oversized and modular. This is especially true within the soft luxury movement, otherwise known as quiet luxury.

Consumers want an even bigger part of the planning and design process of their furniture. Through choice, they are able to express themselves. Here’s where technology comes in. Some suppliers will offer technology support for their collections to elevate the customization experience. Consumers, with the help of sales staff, will be able to build their sectional on a touch screen and choose the fabric, providing that often needed visual along with the data to process the order.

Performance Fabrics
Consumers want upholstery they can truly live in. There will be more fabrics that possess qualities like water and stain resistance, ease of care and durability, thereby offering greater longevity, including washable slipcovers.

Rounded Forms
In frame design, there is a shift from the standard square models to softer lines and curves, providing a more organic design with fluid shapes.

Mix and Match
Creative chair designs and bolder colours paired with ‘quieter’ styles to create a more eclectic yet cohesive look.

U.K. Culture
Within traditional furniture, a British influence is gaining strength — multi-patterns with small prints, specifically florals, stripes and plaids. In more transitional designs, curves and flange dominate.

Sustainable Manufacturing
Consumers are asking for domestic-made products as they contribute to a smaller carbon footprint. They also want eco-friendly elements to be incorporated into upholstered goods. Frames made of certified wood from well-managed forests, soy-based cushion cores and recycled components within fabrics all have meaning to consumers who are mindful of a healthier home and planet.

Lori Negrinotti is the merchandise manager at Stoney Creek Furniture, an independently owned and operated business that has been thriving for more than 55 years. With one of the largest showrooms in Southern Ontario, Stoney Creek Furniture is renowned for its wide assortment of quality furnishings and customer-focused team members.

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