tricia guild/torstar file photo
Upholstery is changing this season, and the design team is loving it!
Sweeping in with regal elegance is a much more formal look. The fabrics are gorgeous! Shimmery fabrics have made a comeback, as have rich deep colours such as royal purple or red, and bright ethnic accents, such as hot pink or bright yellow.
Many people shy away from metallic shades, but their time has come again. Tammy and I just love the bright and shiny colour trends influenced to a large degree by the beautiful fabrics of the Far East and India. In fact, metallic brass, pewter, copper and bronze hues are starting to be considered a “neutral” colour.
Purple in any shade, and especially in a dark purple is hot. Bright red could almost be considered a neutral upholstery shade these days. And orange and an 80’s style gold is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Gray in deeper shades and other stone-like neutrals are showing up as a backdrop for Indian-themed jewel-like throw pillows and other accessories.
Along with the ethnic spin on upholstery fabric, we are also seeing the popularity of softer spa-inspired colours that just breathe relaxation. Soft blue and a yellowy-green associated with nature are two hot colours.
The popularity of chocolate brown combined with blue or green accents has waned, and black and white upholstery is declining in popularity as well. Instead, the most stylish upholstery is tending toward earthy and mineral tones that have emerged as a strong trend. The look oozes elegance with deep plum and purple infused with browns, olive greens and vibrant reds.
The casual look is definitively out, and decorative details such as tassels, rope welting, tufted backs and nailhead trim are becoming popular once again. Fabrics we love to see are rich damasks, shiny chenilles or the sheer elegance of high-quality nubby silk.
In terms of patterns, romantic floral patterns have reappeared in both realistic and abstract representations. Formal stripes, plaids and masculine-looking herringbones and weave effects always remain popular, and have traditional and contemporary versions. Bamboo patterns or other tropical-themed patterns can work well in a spa-like or contemporary setting. And last, but not least, geometric patterns of many colours and styles remain popular because they are versatile and can fit many different types of environments. Colours can be bold and defined, or muted and soft, depending on the effect you want.
The popularity of the ubiquitous leather upholstery is continuing, but with an emphasis on ever-so-soft, expensive leathers, and leather embossed with patterns such as alligator, or snake skin. Some furniture has a collage look, with leather seats and backs, and fabric on the armrests and frame.
Have no doubt that upholstery is a strong design element. Buying even one piece with a dramatic colour or pattern can add a real punch to your décor. If you reupholster, do not hesitate to mix a solid sofa with a dramatic piece or two. And if buying new furniture or reupholstering is not part of your household budget, slipcovers can add the same dramatic effect at lower cost.
Tammy Schnurr and Jeffrey Fisher are hosts of Arresting Design on W Network. Tammy is an interior decorator. Jeffrey designs home furnishings and bedding through his company Jeffrey Fisher Home.