Bold and bright make for beautiful furniture, just one of the trends seen at this year’s Spring High Point Market.

In Stanley Furniture’s Accent Chest, cherry wood perimeter framing surrounds drawer fronts finished in Cinnabar high-sheen lacquer.

New furniture hitting stores this summer and fall will be bold in color and sometimes architectural line, but overall restrained in style. Manufacturers showing at the Spring High Point Market stuck mainly to a transitional, informal feel enlivened with unexpected touches — a ribbon trim here, or an unusual use of mirrors there.

Reds, blues and yellows that used to be confined to upholstery are now the hues in which chairs, tables and chests are painted. The color is often custom — the customer can order from a palette — and it is paired, in the same piece, with stained elements.

Stanley Furniture’s Continuum Collection is just one example of this new trend. In it, Stanley offers an Accent Chest with cherry perimeter framing, but with drawer fronts of lacquered Cinnabar (old-barn red), Crème, Ocean (gray-green) or Java.

Kincaid also offers five painted finishes, plus cherry, on each piece of the 70 pieces in its American Journal Collection. Besides cherry, there are eggshell white, mint green, taupe, raspberry and blackberry. “Color adds a dash of personality in the same way jewelry does. You don’t want a whole room of it, but a splash here and there serves as a focal point and improves the mood of any living environment,” says Edward M. Tashjian, vice president of marketing for Century Furniture.

Century’s 60-piece, Spanish-inspired Barcelona Collection of bedroom, dining room and occasional pieces is suggestive of “the blues of the sky and sea, the green of the hillsides, the fruit markets overflowing with lemons, the bright mosaics of the Alhambra,” Tashjian says.

Barcelona inspired this vivid Blue Credenza with rub-through finish from Century Furniture.

Forms and Function

Customization goes beyond color combination in many collections. Lines are likewise bold in architecturally-inspired pieces that feature circles, squares, rectangles and triangles. Stanley Furniture’s Continuum Collection incorporates them all, with a special emphasis on a “woven wood” effect on bed headboards and some storage pieces.

Atlanta interior designer Suzanne Kasler looked to the French for inspiration in the first collection she’s done for Hickory Chair. Quatrefoil forms outline the back of the hand-carved, upholstered Alexandra Chair.

Kasler then segued from curves to rectangles with the Tuxedo Armoire/Entertainment Center. Here, reproduction hardware contrasts with the severely architectural doors.

In another example of customization, Hickory Chair offers a Suzanne Kasler chest with a mirrored side and top. The same chest may be ordered without mirrors, in the customer’s choice of one of the company’s many finishes.

For customers who would sometimes prefer to do their dining at counter height, Lane offers a Dual Height Farmhouse Table in its Country Living Heritage Collection. Leg extenders are used to raise the square farmhouse table to countertop height.

The Country Living farmhouse table also takes distressing to new lengths with a surface that is so “worn” that it ripples slightly. Simulated “pegs” in the table mimic early joinery, and another table, this one gateleg, is supported on elaborately turned spindle legs.

Looking Back

The nod toward the rural past, usually American, was pronounced at this market. In his bedroom collection for Vaughan-Bassett, well-known designer Alexander Julian opted for simplicity, in a Chairback Bed and Meg & Alex Dresser that looked almost Shaker. The bed is a series of slightly curved slats. The dresser is unadorned except for recessed, “pocket pull” handles, a design note that was repeated in several other collections throughout the show. The “Authentically American” Collection is in oak solids and veneers and is offered in two oak finishes, a lighter Camel Hair and a darker Sable.

Broyill’s Attic Heirlooms brand has added a Fireside Cherry franchise collection that also takes its cues from a previous period. The panel bed, night table and chest on chest are in cherry solids and veneers with hand-rubbed cherry finishes.

Martha Stewart also creates a blend between city and country, past and present, with her 50-piece North River Collection in collaboration with Bernhardt Furniture. North River blends elements of Americana — like a bonnet-shaped armoire — with sleeker shapes.

“Our unique and functional pieces capture both the charm of heirloom-inspired furnishings and the clean refinement of modern design,” Stewart says. Encompassing two bedroom groups, two dining room groups, and seven accent pieces, it is her sixth collection with Bernhardt.

Shown here in a Crème finish, Stanley’s Glass Top Desk is a new twist on classic design.

The popularity of the laptop computer opened the design door for makers of home office furniture, and at each market, several step through it in adventurous ways. No longer obliged to offer work and storage space for bulky, desk-bound hard drives, designers are offering desks that will get from light to heavy use and can go in various rooms of the home. A Chippendale Glass Top Desk in Stanley’s Continuum collection has both open and closed fretwork as architectural detail.

Just as laptops have impacted home office, flat-screen TVs have transformed entertainment furniture. Sauder is among those companies offering a combination hanging-wall and storage center for the large sets.

One Size Fits All

Since many consumers prefer to keep their options open about what kind of TV they plan to own, they turn to consoles. Many manufacturers, including Sauder, are catering to these consumers with pieces that support large screens, but can do double duty elsewhere in the house. In Sauder’s LynWood entertainment grouping, slats give a console an airy feel, but the piece can support most 42-inch, 16:9 (aspect ratio) TVs.

Sligh Furniture, which specializes in home office and entertainment pieces, came up with two striking architectural shapes for consoles. One is a sweeping oval. Indented ends on the other give it a vaguely bow-tie shape.

Furnishings manufacturers say they expect technology to continue to be a huge presence in American lives. Sauder quotes the Consumer Electronics Assn. (CDA) as saying the average U.S. household owns 24 consumer electronics products, with TVs leading at 92 percent.

Therefore, they can only guess at what the future holds, as electronics shift gears and consumer tastes change. But this year’s market proves that they are on the job, and trying to give consumers as broad a selection as possible.

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