If you're shopping for new furniture, you should know about the fresh take on color and a big push for multifunctional pieces that fit today's lifestyles - among six hot trends spotted at the Fall 2011 furniture market at High Point, N.C.
"Companies have focused on one small item to add to your home to give a lift to a room, rather than the financial or style-and-sensibility challenge of doing over an entire room," says Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of public relations at the American Home Furnishings Alliance.
1. Bursts of color. Neutrals are still around, but you'll find vividly colored accent pieces - "great color finishes on wood furniture like Bombay chests, coffee tables, accent tables, a wide range of colors, patriotic stars and stripes on wood furniture. It's a little whimsy that lightens the ambiance of a room."
2. Multi-function furniture. "More than we've ever seen before - beds with underbed storage in place of box springs, entertainment centers with electric fireplaces and extra storage."
3. Kitchen organization. "If you don't have a glorious big kitchen and need more work space, you can buy a kitchen island that is actually a piece of furniture. Paula Deen has done a furniture collection. One piece is a great cabinet, very narrow with drawers and storage designed from a piece in her own home."
4. Home office flexibility. "We're so portable with our computers and components now that an office can be anywhere in the home. You'll see furniture that looks like a sofa table but it's a writing desk with a surface that pulls out to expand the workspace, for example, and pieces you can place anywhere in the house without it looking like an office."
5. Youth furniture grows up. "There was a time when kids' furniture was kitschy and novelty. Now it's more sophisticated and focused on storage, study and sleep."
6. Ottomans. Still white-hot in home interiors - "extra seating, extra storage with tops that lift off, a place to put up your feet or serve as a table. It's an underrated piece of furniture, and now companies are doing very different looks."