Consumer spending is pointing to an improving economy. Retail sales have risen for six months in a row. In fact, they were up 6.7% in 2010, the best gain in more than a decade. Retailers are shopping the winter markets with a little more cash in their pockets. Here are six home décor trends to keep in mind as you buy for 2011.
Bright and Happy
Perhaps consumers are feeling a little bit more confident about their finances or they are simply tired of economizing. They are ready to perk up their homes. Look for bright colors in home décor. Brights can be matched with grays and neutrals for a stunning effect. Pantone’s 2011 color of the year is Honeysuckle, a reddish pink (read more, below). Classic nostalgic themes and colors are making a comeback. Colors of the 1970’s (purple, teal and olive green) will influence home decor in 2011 and beyond. Look for gingham checks, cabbage roses, metal toleware and butterfly motifs. Product designers have found inspiration in the farm, creating products like cow and pig figurines and stools made of tractor seats.
Clean and Coastal
Wherever you are in the United States, you aren’t far from water. Oceans, lakes (Great and small) and rivers inspire home décor. Design influences range from yachts to rowboats. Look for nautical blue cushions trimmed with white piping. Seashells appear in furniture, wall décor and lamps, and they are used alone as decorative accents in their own right.
Coral, sea life and fish motifs show up on textiles. Boats details—like propellers and lanterns—turn up as home décor. Scale models of sailboats are perfect accessories for a study, a second home or an executive’s office.
The look says luxury but the price point says otherwise This is the style for the shopper who likes to celebrate special occasions in her home. At market, watch for furniture with mirrored surfaces. On decorative accessories, take note of mirrors accenting photo frames and decorative boxes. Other indicators include Champagne-colored metalware, crystals or glass beads (especially on portable lamps) and silver trim. Satiny textiles create the affordable luxe look, too. Throw pillows with soft feminine images, like lotus flowers or pink roses, would look at home in Beverly Hills or a movie star’s dressing room. Butler trays, drink carts and silver cake plates can help party guests feel like they are on the A list.
Warm and Welcoming
We have trimmed our dining-out budgets and become accustomed to home entertaining. But now it’s time for an upgrade. Whether it’s a formal dinner party, a wine-tasting get-together or a simple drop-in for a cup of coffee, hostesses seek to change out their current dinnerware for something new.
Blue is a strong color on the table this year. Look for floral motifs, tree branches and other nature themes, especially designs inspired by water colors and pastel colors.
Ready for Red
The Pantone Color Institute named Honeysuckle, a dynamic reddish pink, its color of the year. “In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Honeysuckle derives its positive qualities from a powerful bond to its mother color red, the most physical, viscerally alive hue in the spectrum.”
The color is encouraging, uplifting and “elevates our psyche beyond escape, instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of everyday life,” she says.
Beyond Home Accents
In this economy, home decor retailers continue to add lower-priced goods like gifts and garden décor in order to capture some dollars of cash-strapped shoppers. If a retailer can’t close a big-ticket furniture sale, at least she can sell some lower-priced accents. Use your merchandising skills to show shoppers how to use garden décor. Create an in-store vignette showing how colorful toleware watering cans and beverage tubs spice up a patio and how a decorative screen creates privacy in the backyard. Teach your staff to suggest multiple items that can be combined into hostess gifts. For example, sell candles with candleholders, and when a shopper picks up coasters, suggest stemware, too. Then wrap everything in a pretty box. Some gifts don’t need to be wrapped. Arrange fresh flowers in a new vase. A hostess appreciates a cake plate more when it is stacked with cupcakes. These make memorable gifts, and shoppers will remember the retailer’s creativity.
Use the momentum of rising retail sales to retain your customer base and to bring in new shoppers. Position yourself as the “go-to” retailer of fashion-forward home furnishings and gifts.