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Gazing Into The Crystal Ball Of Furnishings

The 1995 Trend Update and The Trend Curve are aimed at those on the business end of furniture: manufacturers, retailers, designers, advertising agencies and public relations types.

But there’s plenty of good reading in both publications for us “little guys” who end up buying all that stuff that’s supposed to be oh so au courant.

Both books are a part of the offerings of Marketing Directions Inc. in Minneapolis.

The 1995 Trend Update offers plenty of interesting design information, aimed at predicting what we’ll see in decorating in the next 12 to 24 months. Here are some things we spotted:

The interest in natural materials has not subsided. Instead, it has become an undercurrent in virtually all the key trends. Handmade papers, natural fibers and all-wood construction have become the norm in an era when ecology is an important theme. Ecology represents the broadest direction in home furnishings.

Country style, which represents about 40 percent of the industry, is the strongest design theme by far. Look for country to go a bit more formal with the addition of more refined details while maintaining a look of homespun charm.

Luxury continues as one of the strongest emerging design stories, signaling a return to formality. But the return won’t be strict. Elements of formality will blend with more casual elements, fostering an eclectic look that will lean more to the formal over time.

Emerging is Classic American style. The trend is demonstrated in simple lines, beveled glass, gently flared shapes and natural materials, including light wood finishes with strong graining, burnished metals, smooth leathers.

After several years of the masculine lodge look, the pendulum is swinging back to femininity, but it will not be a rerun of Victorian. Instead, it will evolve into an updated look that blends textured and smooth surfaces, one-of-a-kind pieces, mixed materials, unique embellishments and hints of multiple cultures.

Corduroy is making a comeback, and the “shabby” is gone from shabby chic. While washed, weathered and textured fabrics are the look of the moment, gone is the rumpled, worn-out appearance. The denim look has peaked.

Watch for gargoyles as decorative elements. They originally served as spouts in the form of grotesque human or animal figures projecting from a roof gutter. Now the figures are cropping up as statues in gift markets.