Furniture Trends That Need to Go Bye Bye | Market Preview Fall 2015

There’s just no other way to say it. I mean, I’ve had it with some of the furniture trends. And now that I’m going to High Point, maybe I’ll be able to report some good news back to y’all.

The other day, I found out who the other nine design bloggers are that will be on the Highpoint Market Fall 2015 Blogger’s Tour.


design-bloggers high point market fall 2015 - Join Laurel Bern and colleagues October 17-19 #hpmkt #designbloggerstour come see the latest furniture trends
Just in case there’s some confusion. We’re not the “style spotters.” They have to work far harder than we do. hehe… We just have to suck up, shmooze, take lots of instagram photos, and of course tweet our little fingers off!

In other news, I am working feverishly on “Laurel’s Rolodex.”

Get this. There are over 450 vendors/manufacturers/sources! In that, I’ve counted some 70 vendors on the list that designers can buy from—WHOLESALE, not some wimpy 10% off of retail, but net, net, net. I’m not talking fabrics. This is for furniture and all the rest! More deets coming soon.

In the meantime, the aforementioned style spotters did a little google hangout yesterday. One of the topics was:

“What furniture trends are you hoping to see at the High Point Market Fall 2015?”

This always makes me laugh because the word “furniture trend” is something of an oxymoron in my vocabulary. Or at least if there’s a trend, it shouldn’t be on steroids, right? It’s easy to go too far. I made a couple of bad mood boards to show you two examples of what I’m talking about.

bland furniture trends

Beige Barf

—with the ubiquitous iron and wood coffee table paired with a touch of gold and a chevron rug. Oh, and the swooping floor lamp.

Let’s have a show of hands. How many of you have  seen this snooze of a mood board a zillion times already? It’s the e-decorator-throw-away. Really? This is not decorating. It’s herd mentality at its finest.

And then, there’s this…

pink furniture trends

Pink Barf

Oh, it would be cute if the girl was 14, but she’s not. She’s 34.

And don’t get me wrong. I love pink. Just not done like this.

And then there’s this…

The plethora of mausoleums masquerading as sofas and chairs.

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 6.56.11 PM


Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 6.54.15 PM

These behemoths are both 42″ Deep, 37″ high and 91″ long.

I’m thinking a daily dose of probiotic enriched shakeology along with a regimen of P90X.

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 6.58.35 PM

Horrid, just horrid.

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 6.59.09 PM

Oh, stop it! That is some serious strange.

As I always say, “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!”

What happened to human scale?

one_kings_lane_barbara barry_diningroom furniture trends

image via One King’s Lane

Barbara Barry designs, in the manner of Jean Michel Frank are the epitome of sophisticated glamour. (Oh man do I love those sheer Roman shades on the casement windows!)


I long for more of this.


How beautiful is this simple mid-century influenced sofa by Mod Shop

Take the back cushions off and put down a sheet and it’s large enough for most people to spend a night or two on.


Miles Redd-Showhouse Furniture TrendsMiles Redd from his wonderful “The Book of Chic”

Miles is the master at modern-traditional. And I do spy the classic Lee Jofa Hollyhock chintz! It’s all, just so gosh durned pretty!

fantastic-miles-redd-living-room furniture Trends

More from Miles. Love the chintz on the Billy Baldwin-style slipper chairs. The mid-century sleek arm chairs are perfect. That little primitive stool reminds me of something I picked up for my son at Pottery Barn 17 years ago. The brown sofa grounds all of the blues and greens and flouncy drapery ruffle.

But most important. Please notice that in all of these photos, the upholstered furniture is human size– not Avatar size!

Product_WWH10387_Image_1-oklClassic tuxedo sofa by Robin Bruce


Miles Redd again– and Bunny Williams lamps–again! They really are amazing!

little-green-notebook-retro-sofaLittle Green Notebook

emily-henderson-fig-house-vintage sofa Furniture trends 2015Emily Henderson’s cool room for Fig House

Beautiful reupholstered vintage pieces

One thing I’m starting to see is toooooo much mid-century. It’s always good to mix things up.



39 Responses

  1. Hi Laurel. I haven’t been subscribed in a good long while, and now I’m like, “What was I thinking?” I like this article so much. I look at sofas and wonder if there is anything out there I would like longterm.

    I really like the picture you shared from Little Green Nook. Can you wager a guess as to where I can find a similar sofa?


  2. Hi Laurel,

    I have been searching in my area (Washington,D.C.) for smaller scaled or just normal sized, comfortable living room seating for my older home. As I have been unable to find any, I have chosen good quality 1960’s antique reproductions found second hand, and reupholstered them. Such pieces are usually 25-28-inches deep. Any suggestions for manufacturers who produce high quality human-sized upholstery today? BTW I am a huge fan of yours and have been following for two years, but this is my first comment.

  3. I had to laugh at your mood boards because yes that is all you see on the Houzz site when people are looking for solutions to their problems. That is all you see in furniture stores in a price point themiddle class can afford. It is self perpetuating because you designers tell people they need 10000.00 dollars to do a room and the 99 per cent of the population that can afford a home or apartment can only spend 1000.00 dollars. So what do you do? Take ten years to furnish a living room? Not! so get off your high horse and give credit where credit is due; most people are doing the best they can with what they have……but that is not any one you need to sneer at.
    Susan Davis
    Middle class

    1. Sorry Susan-I agree with Laurel that those mood boards are BLEUCH and I agree with you that they would be THE choice for many on HOUZZ; and that’s why I wouldn’t bother looking for design advice there. You mostly get what you pay for ?:-)
      I will also share with you that it has taken me over 10 years to furnish my living room( because I am middle class)but it took me many more years to train my eye so I could make purchasing decisions I wouldn’t come to regret. If I had a designer to help me with a long term plan- I would have saved myself some good money, but I did ok 🙂 I do believe in saving up money to buy quality pieces – and buying excellent quality used hard goods as they are much better made than most anything you can find mass produced overseas, and they can be had for a song! It has been such a fun adventure!

      1. Thank you Dolores as always for being such a kind presence here. And you are right. Good furniture IS expensive. But why should a living room FULL of furniture that one is going to have for 20-30 years cost 10k when one car that one is going to have for 7-10 years cost 30k or more? Nobody asks the car dealer what his markup is. If only we really knew the truth to that one!

        One issue is that folks often spend too much on their home sale and don’t leave enough in the budget to buy furniture for it!

        1. Guilty as charged!!! Of spending all my money on my renovations and not leaving any for furnishings, that is.

          I think Susan expects you to help me now. I’ll wait.

        2. It’s almost the rule rather than the exception. I remember after we did mouldings and put in a beautiful hardwood floor, I really hated to put the furniture BACK! I know… but I loved how my living room looked butt neked! lol

    2. Actually, it’s worse than that Susan. I tell people they need at least 20,000 dollars to do a room.

      I don’t know what high horse you are referring to and don’t appreciate the insinuation that “you designers”/ I am holier than though. Nothing could be further from the truth!

      I can’t afford 99% of what my clients are buying–even at my cost! And most of my colleagues can’t either!

      My car is nearly 13 years old with 168k miles on it. I live in a modest one-bedroom apartment that I also work out of. Strictly speaking, I’m not even up to the level of middle class!

      Why are you assuming otherwise? From where I’m sitting, it sounds like a nasty dig and that is not allowed here, so please beware.

      I’ll let it go this time.

      People are not allowed to be hurtful to me or anyone else on this blog!

      There are ways to furnish a room most stylishly on a stringent budget.

  4. I hate mid century. Ugly. And what’s with all those clashing colors and patterns. And ugly colors? OK I’m done now . Thank you 🙂

  5. Hi Laurel…First of all, I LOVE your blogs and who you are as a colorist and designer. Great information that has saved me from more than one decorating mistake. About the “Behemoth” sofas I have to stick up for my slipcovered english roll arm sofa that is 42″ deep, 37″ high (so comfy) but mid-size, not gigantic. I love it’s down cushions, white denim slipcover and lived-in look with classy bones. I’m on the California coast so maybe it’s my more laid back, eclectic, style but I just wanted to say, in the right fabric, with good lines, I think it’s perfect!

  6. Laurel, the “Beige Barf” Blech board is SO hilariously spot on–the only thing missing is the ubiquitous sheepskin throw!
    Can’t wait to hear more about “Laurel’s Rolodex”; sounds like the perfect antidote to all the generic/mass market junk that’s out there…once people see the good stuff, it’s gonna be hard to go back to off-the-shelf retail!

    Speaking of which, any chance you’re going to be at the What’s New What’s Next event at NYDC on 9/17?

    1. Thanks Sandy. The sheepskin went on the pink barf board.

      I wish I could go to that event, but I’m swamped right now. BTW, there will be some mass market stuff on the rolodex too! I drew the line in some cases. That’s one of its features in that it’s not all freakin’ can’t touch it insanely high end. Oh, there’s plenty of that too and plenty that’s quite moderate.

  7. Hi Laurel,

    It is time for me to have my sofa and loveseat recovered and I am very interested in the single seat cushion. Is it comfortable for 3 people of different weights to sit on at the same time? MY family ranges quite a bit in size, so I want every one to be (reasonably) happy. But having an extra place to sleep would be a real bonus. Thanks. MB

  8. You nailed those mood boards! Beige Barf is so often described as “fresh”, “updated” or a “modern take”. The Pink Barf is termed “fresh”, “flirty” and “feminine”. Those words or tags are pretty powerful when matched up with those pervasive images in print, online, stores, TV and maybe a friend’s home.

    1. Haha Libby! You’ve got the buzzwords down too. One of my worst is “transitional.” I know I’ve probably used it on occasion but most of the time it feels like a cop-out. What are we transitioning into? from blech to dreck! lol

  9. Absolutely love your tone of voice and honesty. I agree with so much of what you say. Congrats on Highpoint. I have yet to go myself, being all too before I remember when it is, and then it’s too late.

    I’ve always hated that oversized scale of furniture. I imagine that if aliens were to come or if our world were to freeze over and some of those giant mcmasions were to be discovered they’d wonder if we were all giants.

    For Chris – what about country curtains? Think they have reasonable prices. And the shade store although on the pricier side is pretty good. Lastly I’ve used Blinds To Go for clients and the custom sizes are actually reasonable. Especially when they have sales.

    1. Thanks Lauren. I never go to HP either. Lots of reasons. One for the fall is that my mommy’s birthday is October 20th. In fact, I’m not staying past the 19th which is my only obligation and then I’ll be winging up to Wisconsin for her 93rd!

      I have a custom workroom that’s very reasonable, fortunately.

  10. Hi Laurel,

    I’m not getting the furniture arrangement in Emily Henderson’s Cool Room for Fig House, or is this just a furniture showroom?

    1. Lisa, it is an event venue. The link to Henderson’s blog entry has before and after photos. The after photos show even more cool reupholstered vintage furniture and the stylish venue.

  11. I agree with everything you posted! My problem is as I age I prefer more support for my back in a sofa…what height do you suggest for your sofas ……Thanks!

    1. Hi Patricia, That’s a very good question. Most people need support lower, not higher, but believe me as a dancer, there’s not one part of my back that doesn’t sometimes talk back to me. lol My favorite height sofa back for an English roll arm is about 34″. Seat depth of at least 22″, but 23-24″ is even better and a seat height of about 19″(to the top of the crown). Very lovely proportions, IMO. Sometimes I have found manufacturers do not measure accurately. It’s not that easy to do because nothing is perfectly square and level and you have to be looking at it straight on.

  12. I should add that the room itself is handsome — beautiful fabric and furniture — but I think the drapes would be better in a heavy linen that picks up a color from
    the chintz pattern on the chairs and sofa. Or even the blue in the pillows.

    1. Yes, I agree, the fabric in the photo looks a bit cheap. I doubt very much that it is. The chair fabric looks like it’s probably from Colefax and Fowler. megabucks! But worth it!

    1. Hi Sidney, I don’t disagree with you entirely. First of all, the front end of the drape needs a hook. No? It’s just dangling there but I’m sure that’s intentional. Also, I’m not a fan of that type of rod unless it’s a more contemporary room and the drape feels too big for it and isn’t hanging straight on the ends. Also, I wouldn’t have gone out past the window so far because the art looks crowded.

      I think that Miles has become known for his over-the-top window treatments. The other room with the green and white stripe has this huge valance. That one was for a showhouse.

      Sometimes though, what feels like too much in a photo doesn’t feel so in the person. It’s like when I’ve taken photos of a room and after about 50 of them realize that a lamp shade is crooked and one sofa cushion is slightly askew. In person you don’t see it, but in a photo it just screams out at you!

  13. That first picture is the quintessential ‘houzz’ look, Laurel. Smile You would do a the world a great big favor by popping onto houzz and dissecting that first ‘blah beige’ picture with reasons why it is not a good look, because that ‘look’ is ubiquitous..Bleugh..I don’t bother with houzz anymore because much of the advice seems to come from people who have those same sources available to them- and push those with a vengeance..
    Love the Lee Jofa ‘Hollyhock’ slipper chair! I have that chair too, but mine done in a Lee Jofa linen, but the pattern is called ‘Althea’. I also made curtains for my bathroom with the chintz version. What is the difference? Is it that one is hand printed?

    1. Same with me regarding houzz. I’ve had a profile on there long before it was a houzzhold name. lol But I never add anything to it. It’s just a placeholder.

      I should really be able to explain this better. Hand-blocked the really expensive one is some one actually printing each section and color manually with a block press or something like that. The other is hand-screened. That would be a good topic for a post to talk about different types of fabrics and the processes that go into making them.

  14. I thought for sure you were going to say goodbye to shabby chic type furniture that is sold in the occasional shops and looks like something a kindergartner would paint in their sleep, or that gawd awful deconstructed nonsense that I keep seeing and just plain don’t understand.

  15. amazingly, I have been searching high and low for months online for sheer roman shades and can’t find them anywhere! I just want a soft wisp of a shade to soften the window, but apparently they don’t exist except for custom made and at $700-1000 per window?! Any tips anyone? Yes, I agree with all…a bit too much mcm, too many chevron rugs that make me car sick, brass nails and industrial reclaimed …..fill-in-the-blank. It seems there is the same stuff in all the online stores and it’s getting pretty boring. Thanks Laurel for keeping it about design!

    1. Hi Chris, I had that in my old home. It was a semi-sheer unlined linen and I never tired of it. But gosh, 700 – 1,000? My price for an average sized window with the linen wouldn’t be more than $500. For a window the size of Barbara’s, about $350 at the most! If it’s an even number of windows, you can get away with half the amount of fabric because they are so skinny. And those prices include measuring and installation.

    2. Hi Chris! I’m a window treatment specialist in Atlanta. As far as the pricing you are finding for roman shades, they sound about right – if you are doing working shades. With all the cord safety rules out (and more stringent ones coming out), roman shade pricing has gotten a lot higher. My clients really love the cordless roman shades though! If you don’t need working shades, but just want the look, check into having stationary shades made. They should be considerably less expensive. Good luck!

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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