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Is This What’s Next in Furniture and Decor? (If So, We’re Very, Very Into It)



image source | design by athena calderone


I have a love-slash-kinda-hate relationship with the word “trend” and something tells me a lot of you do, as well. The idea that something is “trendy” has almost turned into a bad word in the design-o-sphere, and while I do get it and have often found myself wishing that something would stop being trendy so I could go about my business using it in my home without feeling “basic,” trends are a very real part of this industry, like it or not, and frankly, pretty fun to talk about regardless. We vow to never publish an article that says “throw out everything you own because it’s now considered gross and buy all these new things” for several reasons (one being that that’s pretty obnoxious and just not real life), so don’t fret, but we absolutely will continue to talk about design ideas framed as trends because, well…that’s what they are. You do you in your home but then come back here and have fun looking at new concepts that may or may not become a “thing” eventually.

Okay, now that I’m done with that diatribe, it’s time to talk, ahem, trends. Currently, we’ve already touched on bathroom and kitchen trends for 2019 (we’ll give you a second to catch up…)

…ready to roll? Good! We’re excited. We all put our heads together and came up with a list of furniture and decor ideas we’re actually loving, not just talking about so this is less of a straight-forward “report” and more a love list of trends we could actually see ourselves implementing in upcoming projects. It’s a combo of what we’ve seen in published professional projects, things that have caught our both (both in editorial and design terms) on Instagram/Pinterest, and what we’ve seen pop up in the retail market from researching for future projects. And because we couldn’t stop there, we also had our market team add lots of shoppable pieces to the “New Favorites” section of the Shop page so if you love something we bring up today, you can get the instant gratification of bringing it home. 

Alright, let’s do this…


Rust-Colored Velvet

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 Furniture Decor 5
image source | design by tiffany howell

The velvet sofa hit the mass-market design scene HARD about three years ago (a resurgence from previous decades) with a Crayola box of colors as options, and while jewel-toned blues and greens stuck from the get-go, there’s a new cool kid in town. Rich rusts and terra-cotta shades have been trending since last year when the desert palette was all the rage for a bit there, but we’re confident that this one is going to stick around for a bit. After all, you wouldn’t want to drop $1,000+ on a piece of furniture only to turn around a few months later and feel like it feels dated and passé already.

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 Furniture Decor 6
image source

The range of rust extends from deep, nearly red tones to much less intense versions like this one here. On a simple, streamlined silhouette, it’s less POW in your face (unless, of course, you want that) and more liveable. As for what colors to pair this with, we like it with a mix of creamy neutrals and hints of blue, black and burgundy.

Why we love it: It feels new and like something that could transition easily into the years to come.

Biscuit Tufting

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 Furniture Decor 11
image source | design by studio guild

Speaking of sofas…and velvet…the biscuit tufted cushion is happening people and oh man is it fun. Tufting tends to take on a more traditional or mid-century vibe, but this overscale “puffy” biscuit tufting feels much fresher and “now” while adding really nice texture and dimension to a living room or den. It also works particularly well in a fabric with a high sheen like velvet because of how the light plays with all the nooks and crannies. I’m not entirely sure how comfortable this actually is for long-term lounging as I’ve only ever really sat on a handful of seating with this type of upholstery, but something I can report is they usually have a much “tighter” feel. Not firm, per se, just a little…clenched.

Why we love it: It can take a straightforward silhouette and turn it into something special—a conversation piece.

Thin Bench Cushions

Fresh Ugly Furniture Decorations Ideas Inspiring Excellent On Ho
image source | design by hecker guthrie

Clearly, the seating category has a lot to talk about this year. This one comes straight out of Emily’s mouth as something she’s really jazzed about. In fact, we were standing around her kitchen, souping (because, what else?) while talking through things we wanted to include in this post, and she specifically mentioned all the thin cushions she’s been seeing and loving and Pinning for mountain house inspiration. All of a sudden, a bowl-full of memories of beautiful room images featuring flat(ish) seat cushions came flooding into my mind and I knew she was right.

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 Furniture Decor 1
image source | styled by genevieve jorn

This definitely speaks more to a minimal aesthetic, but it also works in a cozy, welcoming room like the one above with a more Scandi vibe. Another talking point here is the French seam on thin cushions, which takes it from feeling maybe “low market” (because let’s get real, cheaper pieces of furniture tend to have thinner cushions) to cool, casual and lived in. I do wonder how less filling will hold up over time, though.

Why we love it: Look, we’ll never turn a blind eye to a super plush sectional or other seating, but we’re on board with the informal and simple feel the thin cushion gives a room.

The “It” Chair of 2019

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 Furniture Decor 7
image source | design by rose tarlow

Sometimes, the trend is a design idea, color or silhouette, but other times, there’s a specific item that comes up again and again and again, but in a way that excites you every time you see it. That’s this armchair, originally designed by Pierre Jeanneret.

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 Furniture Decor 12
image source | design by athena calderone

First released in the 1950s and produced in mass quantities for Chandigarh, India (a “utopian” city that his cousin Le Corbusier designed), the V-leg chair only recently saw a resurgence thanks to antique dealers that dug them up from (basically) trash heaps and designers like Axel Vorvoordt using them in sky-high-end projects. It’s funny to think that a for-anywhere-and-everyone chair made of teak and caning is now worth a fortune (good vintage authentic options run upwards of $10k+, but there are plenty of lower priced reproductions now).

Why we love it: The Jeanneret V-leg chair adds so much sculpture and angularity to a room. It’s like art and furniture had a pageant-worthy child, and that’s a baby shower we absolutely will RSVP Yes to (okay, that analogy is a bit of a stretch, but we’re giddy with feelings over here about this chair).

The Other “It” Chair

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 Furniture Decor 3
image source | design by laurence and patrick seguin

While the Jeanneret chair is like the more showy head cheerleader at the popular table, Jean Prouvé’s Standard chair is the less obvious cool girl that people are less afraid of and tend to gravitate more toward (who eventually goes on to become a badass CEO or a very important scientist making breakthroughs in quantum physics). Truly and honestly, I was saving pictures that “spoke” to me for months as I was looking for inspirations for my Makeover Takeover, and when I went back recently to see all my bookmarked picks, I was like “whoa…wait a minute.” I had ended up with 11 dogeared images with this chair in all kinds of applications: desk chair, side chair, dining chair, so I’m calling it…I declare the Standard chair “trending.”

Why we love it: It’s one of those furnishings that seems kind of unassuming, humble yet playful. Like the “nerdy” girl in a ’90s teen rom-com that just needs to take off her glasses and pull her hair out of a messy bun and BAM she’s “pretty”. Obviously, this chair isn’t going through any makeover montages…it doesn’t need it (but it does come in a handful of really fun colors that would transform a room).

Chunky Wood-Framed Furniture

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 Furniture Decor 2
image source | styled by pernille vest

Any excuse to bring more wood into a room, we’ll give the thumbs up to. Wood adds soul and warmth, and we’ve been noticing more furniture pieces with super chunk and oversized wood bases and frames (like this chair up top that’s total heart eyes, right?). Frankly, we haven’t seen a ton of this on the big-box market (i.e. budget-friendly), but hopefully if we write about it enough, more people will start incorporating it into their homes, hence the retail sector will take notice and start making more pieces in line with this look. That’s how it works…right?!?

Why we love it: Delicate frames have had their time, bring on the chunk. Plus, it makes a quiet statement without all the bells and whistles of a bold paint or wallpaper or rug and sometimes, that’s just nice.

Mixed Modern Dining Chairs

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 Furniture Decor 9
image source | design by muxin design studio

This is not a new idea by any means, but it’s typically done with an eclectic mix of vintage chairs. This new twist is much more contemporary because it uses a mix of mostly modern silhouettes, like in this dining room full of mid-century favorites.

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image source

Here’s another take that’s far artsier but just as cool. In studying it (and the previous shot), I think it’s worth talking about some “rules” for making this look work for you. Some takeaways: use similar wood tones and materials (here you’ll see two chairs are rattan) across a few different pieces, keep heights mostly consistent (but don’t be afraid to break the rules a little…this is just a jumping off point) and finally, repeat forms where you can, for instance some of these chairs have more rounded silhouettes while others are very angular and sculptural.

Why we love it: We’re big fans of the eclectic over here, but more and more our collective style is being tailored and tightened, so this just feels like a natural step for us. Jess basically wants to move into the above photo, and Emily’s temporary dining room situation in the mountain house is looking a lot like that first photo.


Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 Furniture Decor 111
image source | design by sarah gibson

So burlwood was a little bit of a hard sell to some of the team but I’m not backing down here. I know burlwood (which was originally super popular in the ’70s) came back in vogue like…maybe two years ago? but I promise I’ve seen it making the rounds again. It went into hibernation, but it woke up from its winter nap and everywhere I look, there’s a nightstand or credenza or even a smaller decorative box being used in a fresh way (mostly with how it’s styled). Also, not that what I’m about to say automatically makes something trendy or cool, but over Christmas, I went into CB2 to buy a gift for someone and they had a gift wrapping station that had burlwood wrapping paper and it was so surprisingly chic. That’s all I have to say about that.

Why we love it: Well, honestly it’s kind of hard to tell. It’s one of those things I honestly used to hate because it reminded me of horrible glossy casegoods from homes in the ’80s but then all of a sudden, I’m finding myself wanting in my home. These things aren’t always explained in words…it might be a cop-out but this is an “I like it because I just do, okay?” situation.


“Shapes” Pillows

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 Furniture Decor Pillows Side By Side
image source 1 | image source 2

Globally-inspired throw pillows have had their 15 minutes (in fact, it’s been more like…1,827,524 minutes), and while we still very much love them over here, Jess was quick to point out that she’s been noticing more “shapes” pop up. Pyramids, circles, triangles, shells…mostly seen right now in single-hued velvets, it’s pretty fun and we’d love to see more people trying this out to see the breadth of styles it can handle. What do you think? Are you into this or is it a hard sell?

Why we love it: Plain and simple, it’s just fun. So…why not?

Mixing Framed and Unframed Art

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 Furniture Decor 4
image source

We’ll gladly take any chance to talk about a “shake up” to a beloved design feature like a gallery wall. Gallery walls are here to stay, but we’ve seen them done every which way it feels like, but something we’re noticing as of late is a mix of framed and unframed pieces. They can be propped against a wall, set atop other artworks if that works, heck, even taped if you’re not afraid it’ll ruin the piece. I think it works particularly well in a more modern set up with things like abstracts and line drawings…there’s something about the simple and monotone vibe above that feels like the whole unframed thing adds to the art setup…it’s part of the art, instead of looking like one of the many unfinished DIY projects you probably currently have waiting for you at home collecting dust (just me?).

Why we love it: It’s a new look at an old favorite that feels really unique and updated, plus…this one saves $$$ (no frame = more favorite friendly).

Pleated Lampshades

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 Furniture Decor Lamps Shades Side By Side 2
image source 1 | image source 2

Let me give you a little insight into how this conversation about pleated lampshades went:

Arlyn: Jess…what have you seen that’s exciting right now?

Jess: Pleated lampshades!

Arlyn: …………………………..

Jess: No really! Call me crazy, but I think they’re coming back.

Arlyn: …………………………………….

Jess: ::deadpan stare off with Arlyn::

Arlyn: ::stares back::

And well….here we are, so we know who won this one. Emily was on board because that woman loves herself a little “weird” and okay fine. In a fun little print like the top left shot, it’s pretty cute. Not everything has to be stiff and perfect with a linen drum shade, so sure…pleated lampshades for 2019.

Why Jess we love it: Like the pyramid pillows, it’s a take on design that’s a little less stiff and serious. In the spirit of OG Emily…perfection is boring, let’s get weird.

Rocks As Decor

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 Furniture Decor Rocks Side By Side 1
image source 1 | image source 2

You want weird? We’ll give you weird…ROCKS. It’s all about rocks. Okay, so I don’t necessarily think that rocks as decor will become this big mainstream thing, but no kidding, everytime we walk into a posh decor boutique, there’s a rock somewhere recently. Both Jess and I bought the same rock match holder/strike at Shoppe by Amber Interiors this fall during our work trip out to the Pacific Palisades, Michael is basically on the marketing team for rocks wrapped in leather, and this whole “rock meets brush” thing would be such a fun doodad to style with. Useless? Mostly, yes, but cool nonetheless.

Why we love it: Like wood, stone has a way of adding a little soul to a room, so…bring on the rocks.

Again, make sure to cruise through the “New Favorites” section of Shop to see some shop-right-now picks from us, and PLEASE chime in in the comments about what you think of these. We love to share things we’re buzzing about, but love even more to hear from you guys about whether you’re just as swoony as we are or are like “are these people off their rockers?”

Fin Mark


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0 responses to “Is This What’s Next in Furniture and Decor? (If So, We’re Very, Very Into It)

  1. I was with you until the pleated lampshades. I think they look a bit crafty granny. All in all, good article. Those Jeanneret chairs…be still my heart!

      1. Pleated skirts are flattering, pleated lamp shades are not. Just sayin.
        I agree, you had me till the pleated lampshades bit.

    1. Lampshades could be good for an entire post. They’re some of the details that set good rooms apart. Yes to interesting shapes, patterns, or at least fine quality shades.

    2. I can NOT with the pleated lampshades. We leave our windows open in spring and autumn, which is a lot of the year here in the southern parts of the US. Pleated shades catch so much dirt and dust and BUGS can hide in them. I realize my situation is rather specific, but surely there’s regular dust everywhere? And bugs in every city?
      And they do read so fussy-gran too.

  2. Great article with lots of new trends to contemplate. Despite all of them being new to me (apart from maybe the tufted velvet) I bet I will start spotting them everywhere now that I know they exist 🙂

  3. I just want to say thanks for the heads up about the New Favorites page! While I was reading the post I had my fingers crossed for a roundup, and instead we have this which is like a roundup and so much more. Loving it!

    1. We definitely talked about adding a big ol’ roundup here, but thought this might be a better way to attack this particular article and corresponding products. We’re also happy to do larger article-based round ups if people want them though, so chime in if you do!

  4. I’m a designer at a residential firm and I am not kidding, we had the conversation yesterday at lunch of how we think detailed lampshades are going to come back in! We’re on board with you!! Am I pleased about it? To be continued…

    1. Could be interesting if treated as art in interiors with less stuff. I’m currently on the lookout for a fun lamp for my daughter’s room. Every item even cheap, can look good in the right space. Or it can look like clutter or granny home in the wrong space

    2. I’ve been searching for one of those gigantic 70’s lamps with the 2-3 ft tall lampshade for years. I’ll find one one of these days. But shhh, I’ve said too much already…

    3. How about a “pleated drum shade”? Or how about an embroidered lamp shade? Or a horizontally pleated shade, a smocked shade, a chubby yarn knitted or crocheted substance mounted on a thin wire frame. Stretching the paradigm….. the lampshade could be hugely more diverse! Exhilarating!!

  5. Very interesting, but suddenly I’m feeling very unhip because I can’t imagine using any of those on my home other than the V-leg chair. Nothing is tripping my trigger.

    1. same! so not my style. These things seem very ornate and almost busy. Maybe that’s the overall trend?

      1. Well it’s interesting you brought that up, because in general, we DO see a return to more of a maximalist aesthetic, so yeah…maybe you’re right!

  6. In the thin bench cushions lead picture, the chairs across from the bench look like butts and thighs. is it just me?

    1. I came here just to comment about the ‘butt-back’ chairs! You beat me to it. And speaking of chairs, that Standard chair is making me drool. LOVE it!!

    2. The pics for the thin bench cushions sure are weird! Butt-chairs in the first and a very wonky stair in the second.

  7. I am all about the pleated lampshade especially in a great color or block print, they just feel fun and playful and vivid in a way that the expected parchment drum does not (although I still love those as well).

  8. Love the risks you are taking with some of these suggestions! Y’all are certainly ahead of the curve with some of these. I also love rocks as decor. I have a sentimental rock that has been hanging around my shelfie for years and I’m so happy to hear he is chic.

  9. My six year old has an impressive rock collection, which he insists on displaying across our tv stand, in size order. I’m glad to see this might be ok from a design standpoint, not just as a mom!

    1. Ha! Must be a six year old boy thing, because my six year old son collects rocks, gives them to me as gifts so we must display them!

      1. Also a 6 year old girl thing, my kiddo loves geodes and “fossils” of all types. Indiana doesn’t offer too much landscape interest, but we do have some neat limestone!

  10. Arlyn, first, YOU ARE funny!!
    Second, I’m with you on the lamp shades. (Said the girl who swore she’d also never love macrame but now wants it). It was my job to dust our oleated lamp shades as a kid in 1988…not a chance I’m going there again. ????

    1. First off, thank you! And secondly, ha! Yes! I can almost smell the dust on the pleated lamp shades in my childhood home… But, I was a firm burlwood naysayer until recently so…anything can happen, right?

  11. One more thing…can you guys discuss/shed some light on no window treatments? I’m seeing it a lot lately and liking it. (And we have new Craftsman trim that i hate to cover) bit how do you make it look intentional and not just forgotten?

  12. This made me think of the pleated lamp shade that Emily originally had in her dining room. I thought that it may have no longer been in vogue based on the fact that she switched it out, but maybe she was ahead of the trend. 🙂

    1. I was thinking the same thing. I wasn’t a huge fan of that light when she revealed her dining room, so now it’s funny to me that Arlyn and Jess are debating whether or not pleated shades are back in, and Emily was on board with it. Definitely a love it or hate it trend.

  13. I was JUST thinking that I’ve been seeing lots of pleated and patterned lamp shades, and I DIG IT. Definitely an “I-don’t-take-this-too-seriously” move, and it’s just a freaking lamp shade, so I say go for it!

  14. Yay! I love to look at the trends and see how designers are incorporating new ideas into their work. Any super-styled look that can’t handle pet hair, soggy crackers or garden dirt will never make it into my house though.

  15. I do love that first rust Tufty-time looking sofa. That colour really makesme do a double take. While I can’t afford a sofa change (recently bought an extra large charcoal sectional) I have been contemplating velvet curtains in a similar colour.

    One of my absolute favourite interior photos is this one. Absolutely love the warm grey, white and orange (or so it’s not rust but it’s similar). Be still my heart!

  16. I’ve been on the hunt for some fabulous, boldly printed, pleated lampshades for about a year, if not longer. They are just the maximalist pop I’ve been looking to add in my living room. They have been so unpopular in North America, but I think they have always had a following in Europe (I’m going to venture to say, in the English country manor style of decorating). Maybe I will soon find some that I don’t have to order from the UK and don’t need to be custom-made? Fingers crossed.

  17. I can’t get into the biscuit cushions…..they look uncomfortable to me and just too rounded.
    But….I love the burlwood and I’ve been using rocks in my decor for years. Our family is into rocks!! My Grandfather was a real rockhound ❤️
    Loved this review ????

  18. Arlyn, great roundup of trends that actually feel fresh and different. Love the Prouve chairs. I even kind of feel the pleated lampshades (mixed with modern lamps). I’m into the homey modern look.
    My fave is definitely the “shapes” pillows.
    I’m still hoping that 3d mushroom shaped pillows will come in big and I can make a killing on my Etsy store 😉

  19. Obviously those in “lust” with thin pads on benches haven’t been in an older church lately…you’ll find them there…and realize no one is really comfortable on them for very long

  20. I am a lifetime lover of burlwood. It definitely reads late 70s/80s to me, but in a good way. It’s a fancy organic, like the wood equivalent of geode tabletops. It can be a way to bridge multiple wood tones in a room, as well as multiple styles, I think it goes with the more minimal mid century stuff that’s so popular but also goes with deco, modern classic, older antiques. A bit of burlwood keeps a room from feeling too one-note and kind of opens the door to styling with more finishes.

    1. Yes!
      And did you ever see the show dirty jobs (or.something like that?) That made me learn to really enjoy and appreciate it!

  21. I like the look of the chunky wood bases on chairs. I just don’t think I’d get any myself. First, they take up disproportionate room in my small place. Second, I shift things around (both to clean and to change the layout). I’m getting too old to move furniture like this around. It’s just too heavy and awkward for me.

    The mixed dining chairs thing has always looked messy and chaotic to me. Nope.

  22. Jess – 100% agree on pleated lampshades. Carolina Irving’s Paris apartment was all I needed to convince me. Pure chic.

  23. I feel like the fugly trends of the 70’s came back here!! I do like the chair trend, but the rest, not so much. Rock art?? That feels a lot like when Chia Pets first came out. Ugh.

    1. Yes! If someone were playing a “guess the decade” game and I said “burlwood, teak, river rock, caning, pleated lampshades, and rust-colored velvet” they’d be like “70s, duh”. Not that all of those are fugly, but I think we’re definitely seeing the 70s trends come back in style, for better or worse.

      I also see hints of the Memphis style (last year’s blog post, anyone?) in the shapes pillows, the biscuit tufting, and the chunky wood base furniture (more from a shape perspective). I think the connection for me is we’re seeing a lot of modern, minimalist room design with a few pieces in statement shapes and colors, which reads very Memphis to me.

    2. Or pet rocks? Do you remember those? Insane how popular those were…I’ll admit I’m jealous I didn’t think of it and make a ton of money!

  24. The pleated lampshades made me lol! But then, I found myself staring at the solid green and black ones… They’re kinda Japanese 80’s-ish, aren’t they? So now I’m intrigued.I also like the idea of those pyramid-shaped pillows. Aren’t they like the mudcloth beanbag cushions from etsy that E put in Charlie’s room, if I am remembering correctly? I’d like to try making one myself, but it would have to be filled with beans or foam granules…not sure what they’re called.
    Oh AND I’ve had a Henredon campaign-style burlwood dresser for several years. I got it off Craigslist and it weighs a TON. I love it.

  25. I have two vintage rust velvet Lazboy chairs that I get compliments on any time someone new comes over. I wasn’t into them at first (hand-me-downs from my husband’s grandparents) but I really love them now. I’m fully behind the rust velvet trend and judging from the people who have come to my house, it’s a good one!

  26. I also love the rust velvet fabric, just not in a sofa….more in a quilt for me. We once had a velvet green, tufted sofa -beautiful, but a killer to clean – especially with a dog in tow. I thought I had it made when the vacuum hose was working quite well, until it sucked one of the tufted buttons in…..sigh, it does look soo good, just not so practical.

  27. It seems like everything is moving into the more niche aspects of modern design, everything looks more obviously “designy” if that makes sense. Less Everyman? I can’t really imagine some of these being widely adopted.

    I really like the shaped pillows and the rust, which I feel like was the main color, fashion wise this past fall. I like the other trends as well, but sort of just from a design perspective, not really in a “use them in my own home” way.

    Do you see any more transitional styles coming up? I feel like there is a portion of the populations craving some more traditional styles, like all of us who lived the chinoiserie post! 😉

  28. Love the “rocks as decor”. I’ve been doing it for years. Pleated shades – I’ll pass. I have been professionally fabricating decorative pillows for designers for years….. the “shapes” pillows are so inspiring! What a great way to freshen a space, and the applications are infinite!

  29. Love this article! I’ve noticed from a few people hipper than myself that they love the burlwood too. I would love to see an article about how to use it in small ways. Also love the rust velvet and the v-chairs!

  30. Love this article. Love the 2 chairs. Definitely not loving the 70’s “biscuit tufting” or mixed modern dining chairs. I am kind of lusting after the weird wooden side table in the first picture, though. The lampshades definitely feel kind of Anthropologie-esque and like something I might think is cute for someone else’s house …. And I love the rocks too even though I know it’s silly to by rocks from a fancy store. #innerconflict

  31. Rob and Laure Petrie’s living room (The Dick Van Dyke Show) had a circular and triangular pillow each that floated between their two couches. They were very hip and very cool in their mid century living room. Makes me want to run and fix a martini every time I see them in a rerun.

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