HIGH POINT, N.C. — American Walnut is on the rise with furniture designers in bedroom and home office categories at the Spring 2014 High Point Furniture Market.
The American species gained popularity in those and two other furniture categories according to the 2014 Annual Wood Species and Design Survey
administered by Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers, Inc. The annual research was completed in April by more than a dozen survey crews tallying the species and
designs of wooden furniture.
Walnut was the leader in bedroom and home office categories, was second in entertainment centers and wall units and third in dining room. It was the first time in
more than a decade that Walnut topped a category and the results for 2014 were surprising, reports Tom Inman, AHMI president.
“Walnut lumber and log sales have been increasing in the past year but we were shocked to see how many groups were on display this time at the furniture market,”
he said. “Designers like the beauty of Walnut, the unique grain patterns and the ability to craft it into fine pieces of residential furniture.”
Several manufacturers had existing designs that were introduced in Walnut for the Spring market in High Point April 4-9. Others expanded groups to include Walnut
One of the largest gains was made in home office where Walnut had 17% of the pieces on display, topping Cherry at 16.4% and Red Oak at 15.8%. The top five were
rounded out by Maple at 9.8% and Mahogany at 8.3%. That is a significant change for 2012 (the last time the survey was completed) when Red Oak was the leader in
home office, Cherry was second, Maple and Mahogany tied for third and Walnut in fifth.
“That is significant that in two years there was that much change in the home office category,” Inman said. “We are seeing more office furniture designs focusing
on detail and that involves specifying hardwood that showcases it. We see manufacturers targeting a higher price point.
“Many of these home office designs are a work space for professionals at home but also at the office,” he said.
Birch, Pine, White Oak, Alder and Elm rounded out the top 10 species in home office, each with 5% or less of the pieces on display.
Design trends remained constant for home office with more than 80% in traditional styling and 16% in contemporary. This has been the trend for the past 10 years as
contemporary and casual have not captured much of the office market.
The survey counts individual pieces in home office and entertainment centers/wall units. These are typically the large standalone pieces but entertainment centers have
seen a decrease in size as wide screen televisions continue to expand.
Cherry was the top choice for entertainment centers and wall units for the third survey in a row, making up 16.4% of the pieces on display. Walnut maintained
second place at 14%, Mahogany third at 10%, Maple fourth at 8.5% and Alder coming in fifth.
This category has responded dramatically to the rise in new television and electronic products. There were more chest-style pieces where the flat panel rests on
top and shelves or doors house the electronics.
One bedroom manufacturer has modified bedroom drawer and chest designs to develop entertainment cabinets. The pieces are included in bedroom groups and
enable homeowners to use them in bedrooms or throughout the home.
These units are drawing attention as homeowners consider this as a piece of furniture rather than just a cabinet for the television.
Completing the top 10 in species for entertainment centers and wall units were White Oak, Birch, Pine, Red Oak and Poplar. Respectively each had 7.5% to 5% of
The volume of other materials like painted or printed was down in this category as fewer low-priced goods were on display. Much of the printed pieces are ready-to-
assemble pieces that have a small showing in High Point.
Bedroom has the largest number of pieces on display annually at the Market. Walnut increased to 15% of the pieces on display. That was a dramatic rise from the
sixth place two years ago.
“Medium and darker tones were common in a lot of bedroom groups this market and designers were seeking a more elegant look,” said Inman. “There are few
species as elegant and timeless as Walnut and we saw that from both large and small manufacturers.”
Cherry moved to the second spot with 14% of the pieces on display, equal to 2012. Maple maintained third place at 11%, down slightly from the 12% in 2012.
Completing the top five were painted wood at 11%, down from 13%, and Mahogany at 7.3%
Rubberwood fell to sixth place with 7% and remaining species were, in order by volume, Pine, White Oak, Birch and Poplar. Styling for bedroom groups saw an
increase in traditional styles to 68%, up from 65% in 2012.
“Bedroom is such a strong category for solid hardwoods and wood in general because consumers seek beauty and enduring quality of solid wood in their bedroom
furnishings,” Inman said. “They typically have bedroom pieces for several years and often pass them on to other family members.”
A bedroom group for the survey includes a headboard, nightstand and dresser or other side piece. This grouping counts as one for the survey.
Traditional styling maintained its lead over contemporary for the 10th consecutive year with 82% of the designs at market.
Dining room groups made up the second highest volume of pieces and Rubberwood moved into the top spot from fourth place in 2012. The imported species
was used in 15% of the dining room furniture on display with Walnut in second at 9.7% and Cherry in third at 8.6%. Walnut moved up from third in the last survey and
Cherry was down from first place.
Completing the top 10 were Mahogany and Hickory/Pecan tied at 6.3%, Alder and Maple tied at 5.7% and painted wood followed by Red Oak and Pine.
“This is clearly an indication of the volume of imported pieces of dining room furniture that are on display in High Point,” Inman said. “Rubberwood is a tropical
species that is less expensive and available to manufacturers in China, Vietnam and Southeast Asia.”
The survey found that the volume of wood on display increased slightly in 2014 over the previous survey with more total pieces included in the research.
“This is very good news for American hardwood producers because we have an increasing hardwood forest, especially in the Appalachian Region where a ratio of
2.44 trees are growing for each tree that is harvested or is dying combined,” Inman said. “We can assure furniture manufacturers that these species will be available
from this sustainable forest for a very long time.”
AHMI represents 200 hardwood lumber producers and distributors from the Appalachian Mountain region. Its mission is to promote Appalachian hardwood
lumber and products around the world. For more information, contact AHMI at (336) 885-8315 or visit online at www.appalachianwood.org.
The survey has been completed for more than 60 years and was moved to the Spring market this year. It tracks the hardwood species, the style and where the
furniture is manufactured.
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