To Market, To Market… Hot New Trends

As someone who is still relatively new to the retail furniture world, I can truly say that some aspects of the business still really fascinate me.

One of those aspects is how the heck we decide WHAT to put in our stores! I mean our superstores are huge, and we carry some of the top furniture lines in the business, but at the end of the day, there is still a ton of furniture out there that we don’t carry.

What I’ve learned is that it’s a VERY precise business. Our buyers do a ton of research to determine the best fits for our store.

All of that research culminates in Market, which is held several times a year–in North Carolina and Las Vegas.

For this blog, we’re going to take a look at the most recent Market–the Spring High Point Market in beautiful NC. According to the Market’s website, more than 75,000 people flock to this small Carolina town every six months to take part in one of the furniture industry’s biggest trade shows. The “Market” is made up of 180 buildings, 11.5 million square feet of showspace, and 2,000+ exhibitors from more than 100 different countries.

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Upon their return from the Tar Heel State, I asked our buyers to give me a little sneak peek into what’s hot this season, and what it’s like to be at Market.

Elaine Haskey, Upholstery

“In the world of Upholstery we were really excited to see Boho, or ‘nuevo hippie.’ It’s very colorful, almost Middle Eastern looking…like items you would find in a bazaar. The pieces are made from very thick fabrics full of color.”

-Modern looks that span all price ranges, both in fabric and in leather. That modern look is also coming into motion furniture.

-Power lumbar continues to be big in motion. Power recline, power headrest, and power lumbar allow the lower back to be supported.

-BOLD colors: Like chartreuse, yellow, and burgundy

-BLUE is still really big, which confirms what we’ve been doing as a company

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Dawn Still, Case Goods

“Being in Case Goods, what we’re looking at is new wood finishes, distressing of the wood, and the wire brush look. It literally looks like someone beat up the piece of wood. Grays are hot. Also a dry finish, and tons of wood species: Acacia, walnut, bleached white oak, and mango to name a few. We are also seeing more multi-functional pieces.”

Jenny Kordus, Accent Furniture

“Accent Furniture vendors are really focusing on multi-purpose pieces–like bookcase piers, cabinets that could be storage or wine racks, tables that can also be used for the office, and that’s just to name a few. Farmhouse is still a big trend, as well as whites and off-white. And barn doors are everywhere!”

Teri Hayden-Kalis, Rugs and Accessories

The trends I saw repeated the most in the showrooms:

-BLUE: All shades of blue accessories and rugs everywhere–Navy, Turquoise, Peacock   

-GOLD/ANTIQUE BRASS: Gold and brass are back, as you may have been noticing on all of your clothing lately (zippers, buttons, etc)… and showrooms are also filled with brass accents and accessories.

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-MONGOLIAN FUR PILLOWS: These are everywhere! They come in every color, go with anything, and add tons of texture.

This is some great insight into the hottest furniture trends for this spring and summer. But I also wanted to know a little bit more about the market itself. What is it REALLY like to attend, and what are some tips for those who may be checking out Market for the first time?

The biggest reaction from our buyers: Wear comfy shoes!! Buyers typically log about 6 miles a day, walking from appointment to appointment.

This spring, our buyers also had to compete with rain basically the entire time. When you compile that with 12-15 hour days, it takes some of the glamour out of the experience!

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But all of our buyers agree Market is a great event for our industry, and a vital part of networking and developing relationships with vendors.

Jenny says it’s also a chance for the buyers to grow closer. “We don’t always get to hang out at work, so it’s nice to be together, have ‘family’ dinner.”

Teri adds, “My favorite thing about market is seeing all of the new products and designs displayed in gorgeous showrooms. Most showrooms are reset and redesigned for every market.”

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And believe it or not, Market is just the START of all the work for our Merchandising Team! Dawn explains, “You come back and you have to execute. The market is the easy part.. then you have to follow through with the vendors.”

As I’ve learned through my first couple years of working at Steinhafels, the world of furniture is beautiful to gaze at and enjoy, but there is sooooo much work that goes on behind the scenes to make it happen.

I will continue to share some of my discoveries in this blog… so stay tuned!

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DS Tip Of the Week: Mixing Woods. Go Ahead–It’s OK!

Happy 2017!!

How about a Steinhafels’ Decorating Solutions Tip of the Week to start your new year off right!

When redecorating, do you feel stifled by the “rules” of design?  Do you have designer’s block?  Jenii Kluver is an interior designer based at our Oak Creek store.  Today she tackles the concept of mixing woods.

Jenii explains, “People tend to feel the need to match all of the wood colors in their rooms. However, as long as you stick with the same tone of wood (cool, warm, etc.), you can mix and match your wood tables, chairs, cabinets, trim, and flooring.  Just don’t go overboard–you still want it to be visually pleasing!”

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Jenii and all of our talented designers can help you with projects like this one.  Just stop by your local Steinhafels!

Our designers are hard at work on many more quick and easy design tips for you.  Check in next Monday for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

DS Tip Of The Week: A Modern Twist on the Classic Dining Set

Mixing wood and metals in home decor is very on trend right now.  Accenting a wood piece with metal hardware, like metal knobs or handles on drawers and doors, are a great way to make it pop!

Get out the notepad and jot down these pointers.  That’s right… it’s time for another Decorating Solutions Tip of the Week.  This week’s tip comes from Interior Designer Anne Hildreth, who works at our Vernon Hills store.  As a designer, Anne loves to look at what your architectural elements have to offer, so she can enhance the look of your home.

Anne’s Tip:  “Use this Belino Accent Chest as a server in place of what traditionally would come with a dining set.”

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Its clear glass doors, distressed finish, and antique brass hardware make it perfect for displaying in your eat-in kitchen or dining area.  You can store your extra dishes and utensils in this unique cabinet, rather than a drab old cupboard!  Find the chest online HERE.

Design options are endless if you’re willing to try new looks.  Our designers are hard at work on many more quick and easy design tips for you.  Check in next Monday for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

DS Tip of the Week: Keep It In The Family!

Spring is here!  Are you looking to refresh your room, but don’t want to spend money on a new set of furniture?  It’s time to make a trip to the attic, and take a step back in time!

This week’s tip comes from one of our Menomonee Falls #DecoratingSolutions designers.  Aaron Keller is known for his ability to take the old and make it new again.  He’s a master of the ‘Reclaimed’ look, and this week he’s talking about family heirlooms.

Aaron’s tip:  “Don’t be afraid to refresh a room with your antique pieces–turning your room from drab to fab!!  In the photo below, all of the furniture is the client’s.  By changing paint, floor, rug, accessories, lighting, seat upholstery, and wall color, you can really make your treasures shine.  Remember to use lemon oil to shine your antiques or new wood furniture.  I personally use Guardsman Lemon Oil on my wood pieces–sold at Steinhafels!”

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Interior design doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive!  We post a quick and easy decor tip every Monday.  Check in next week for another #DSTipOfTheWeek.

Don’t Overlook the Accents!

When it comes time to buy furniture, we often think about the big ticket item–like a new couch, dining room table, or a bed.  Well, those high profile items look a lot better in our home if they are surrounded by a strong supporting cast!  That’s why Accent Furniture is such an important piece of our inventory at Steinhafels–so we can provide our customers with every piece necessary to round out an entire room.

Big statement items help fill a room, but it’s the accent pieces that truly show a homeowner’s personality, and tie a room together.

Step inside Steinhafels, and it’s easy to see some of the principal trends in Accent Furniture right now:  Metal and Wood Combos, Reclaimed Furniture, and the colors Turquoise and Red.

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Jenny Kordus is the Accent Furniture Buyer for Steinhafels.  She says she has seen some interesting changes in the industry lately, along with some tried and true constants:

-Customers are reacting to “mixed media” pieces that feature both metal & wood accents.

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-Some pieces have “chicken wire” in place of glass on the doors.

-Some pieces have caster wheels.

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-Some items feature “barn doors” with rolling doors.

-Occasional pieces usually feature wood tops with metal bases, frames, etc.  This trend is working in transitional and contemporary styles and at low and high price points.

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Kordus notes we are also seeing some changes in the furniture that is designed for entertainment areas.  Flat screen TVs have basically replaced tube televisions. As for TV consoles, The smaller and sleeker the better!  Most do not look like big, bulky walls anymore.  In many cases, homeowners are simply putting wall-mounted or pedestal-mounted TVs over slimmer consoles–providing for a more modern look, but still supplying space for storage of various media and gaming devices.

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Many Accent vendors are also adding “wire management” to pieces.  These are ways to make it easier to plug electronics into the wall, without a wiry mess.  For example, many furniture manufacturers now cut a hole or several holes in the back of a piece, so wires can remain hidden in the back.

There are many other accent pieces we haven’t touched on–fireplaces, curios, clocks, and benches–just to name a few!  Go ahead, get out of your comfort zone and show your personality with a unique accent piece you won’t find anywhere else.

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