The overall state of interior design in America

The overall state of interior design in America

I attended the World Market Center Furniture Mart and Design Show in Las Vegas recently, and wanted to share with you my observations about the status of the current interior design market.

The interior design market is adjusting to the current economic environment and parallels the housing market. For the last twenty years or so, people associated success with housing. Status was determined by zip-code and scale of housing. Some in the industry call the type of house that this time spawned the “McMansion.” Who could argue? We all have seen the huge houses in our neighborhoods or those down the streets. I don’t want to get into a discussion of why this period in American housing came crashing down, but, instead give a glimpse as to where the current interior design market is headed.

If the period of the “McMansion” has passed, what does that mean? Can you recall walking down the aisle of your local furniture store about three or four years ago? What you would have seen in most places were over-sized pieces of furniture. The reason for this was that many consumers don’t get a good a sense of the true scale of their room when shopping in big-box furniture stores and they figured they needed huge furniture to fill these huge spaces they were living in. The idea was that if they had four pieces of furniture in a room that was two-hundred square feet previously, then they should have four, much larger pieces of furniture for their new room which now measured six-hundred square feet.

We could spend time discussing the design flaws of that argument, but that is a different conversation for a different time. For now, we are trying to discuss how furniture and design are following the housing market. Since people are buying smaller homes, and the builders seem to be leading the charge in this regard, the scale of the furniture must follow suit in order to fit into the space that people are going to have. As I write this, I am thinking about an article I read this morning that Michael Jordan is building a home that is about 38,000 square feet (There’s always an exception to every rule).

So, what I picked up on at the show in Las Vegas is that the size of furniture for the common customer is scaling back a bit. I guess that is no surprise, but if you are waffling on whether to purchase a slighter sofa or chair, current design trends indicate that smaller is the way to go for the next several years.

Another major trend that reflects the country’s current housing market is a tendency for homeowners to select more neutral palates for their upholstered goods. People are a bit unsure what the future holds, and therefore they are a bit more conservative in their design and fashion choices. I don’t speak to clothing fashion, but based on the climate of the country, it would not surprise me if hemlines lower and necklines rise. Much of the palate that was shown in Las Vegas was based on tans and naturals. There is still a call for big color, but more often than not it was shown as accessories like throw-pillows and accent rugs.

If you are looking to build, remodel or redecorate your home and you are looking for assistance, make sure the design professional you hire understands the colors and textures you will be using may need to be the right ones for several years to come.

A good design professional will understand how the current trends can be reflected in your space and will help you make the right choices for your individual space and your preferences in style.

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