Having spanned the country in what can only be described as “Market Madness Month,” the Furniture, Lighting & Decor team took flight for Dallas (Lightovation and the Total Home & Gift Market) first, then the newly renamed Atlanta Market next. Finally, we spent eight days in Las Vegas, where we perused kitchen, bath and building trends at KBIS/IBS, followed by the Las Vegas Market for even more furniture, lighting and decor.
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t all a little bit of a blur as I got on that final plane ride home last week. However, having had a few days to scroll through photos, notes and fond memories, there was, as always, so much to see and do as the home industry kicked off 2020 in the way it does best, with strong optimism for the year ahead and lots of new stuff.
Attendees across the country showed up to do business, according to market centers and exhibitors, who touted strong attendance, for the most part, as well as an uptick in orders. Several exhibitors considered this January’s markets as some of their strongest in several years.
KBIS/IBS, for example, continues to see attendance climb, this year with upwards of 130,000 attendees. Observationally, walking through those aisles was akin to heading to Penn Station in the middle of the New York City rush. FYI, that’s a good thing at a trade show! Aisles, elevators and escalators in Dallas, Atlanta and Las Vegas home furnishings markets boasted significant crowds as well.
So, as a retailer, designer or other attendee, you don’t come to market to vacation — well there’s no harm in a few cool restaurant excursions, a few hours at the spa or winning at the casino, networking with peers and friends at galas such as the ARTS Awards and Gift for Life Party, right? — but really, we’re all here to see what’s new and coming next, and I must say vendors from Dallas to Atlanta to Las Vegas did not disappoint!
The New, the Trends, the Products
From new exhibitors — 20+ new and expanded showrooms at Lightovation for example — to new categories and product lines, exhibitors came to markets armed with updated showrooms, new marketing plans, new categories, and of course, lots of new products.
From continued adoption of LED and smart technology in lighting, kitchen and bath, to more natural materials, such as rattans, cane and natural fibers in furniture and decor, the trends we saw at markets in January spanned the spectrum. A key takeaway from a market trend perspective across the home was catering to the personal tastes of consumers, be they retail customers or design clients.
Through mixed finishes, custom furnishings and decor designed for everything from the most modern spaces to a still rustic, farmhouse finish — depending on the showroom — exhibitors were catering to their retail and design audiences with products that represented a diverse array of tastes and styles.
Some overarching trends we continued to see this January included matte black and warm gold finishes in lighting and kitchen and bath hardware (often mixed together), as well as more painted finishes; organic, hand-thrown shapes in glass lighting and decor; and a further lean toward blending indoor/outdoor spaces through natural materials and motifs.
Color and pattern continue to trend as well, with greens still relevant, warm mustardy golds finding their way onto upholstery and even refrigerators, and of course blue. Pantone's Classic Blue Color of the Year could be seen across categories and showrooms. While blue never really goes away in home design, this deep, soothing blue has taken hold and was a focal point of new collections across the country, regardless of style.
For more on the new products and trends we saw during January, watch for our gallery updates of each market. We’re pulling our images and thoughts together as we speak!
We Got Our Learning On
It certainly wouldn’t be market season without a slate of seminars, keynotes and panels where attendees had a chance to rest their weary feet and learn something about their businesses, from the Aerin Lauder keynote at Dallas Market Center to our very first Home Design Business Think Tank with/for designers at Las Vegas Market. Watch for our insights from this Think Tank — Right Brain/Left Brain: How to Build a Business with a Creative Mind — on the website and in our March issue.
Opportunities to connect with peers and gain insights into your businesses continue to grow at markets all over, adding value and experience for all attendees. KBIS/IBS featured ample educational opportunities for the design community, from a full lineup of seminars at the Lightovation Lounge and the KBIS Salon to panels and speakers at the HOUZZ booth throughout the days.
We even got to see technology and trend updates affecting new builds at the National Association of Home Builders' New American Home, in Henderson, NV, Show Village at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and the Armoniosa Show House, also in Las Vegas. That was in addition to a pre-market Saturday tour of historic Mid-Century Modern homes in Las Vegas, a trend that still impacts home design today.
While we still feel like we’re recovering from a whirlwind January that had us traversing the country in trains, planes and automobiles, along with a bevy of market shuttles, the energy and thoughtfulness that went into these markets on every level offered up an exciting experience that Furniture, Lighting & Decor editors were happy to be included in. And, of course, we’re looking forward to what’s next!