In any industry, professionals must stay on top of trends, new products and changing tastes. Whether in commercial or residential settings, trends do change, and keeping up to date is essential.
In the industry nearest and dearest to our hearts here in Napa, for example, the San Jose Mercury News recently reported that in Napa and Sonoma counties, the ubiquitous standing wine tasting bar decor is giving way to a more living room and lounge relaxed settings in which to sample a winery’s offerings. This is especially attractive to the millennial consumer, the fastest-growing segment in the wine market.
I am a big fan of this trend. Not only is a relaxed seating arrangement more comfortable for the customer, but the data is compelling for increased wine sales in a seated tasting. According to the Silicon Valley Bank 2014 Tasting Room Survey published in Wine Business Monthly, a seated tasting generates $110-$150 in sales per person, compared with the average of under $80 standing at a tasting bar. At 2,100 tasting room visitors per month, that’s a big difference.
In the residential context, trends can be observed in magazines, vendor offerings and at trade shows. Twice a year, interior designers and buyers flock to Las Vegas for the furniture, home decor and gift show.
I attended the show last month, and I can confirm what you probably already know: Bohemian-inspired interiors are all the rage, especially for the youngish home decorator. Part of the reason why this theme is so popular is that it is comfortable, and at the same time, has plenty of room for creativity and individual expression. It is not the hippie chic of yore; rather, bohemian style these days is colorful and playful, with island, tribal and regional patterns throughout.
Midcentury forms are also popular. Think “The Dick Van Dyke Show” meets “Mad Men.” A great 1950s chair or couch in a lush and sumptuous color is a bona fide craze.
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In addition, I saw a lot of romantic floral patterns used on everything from bedding to accents. Coupled with that, blues and bright teal colors were found on almost every new lamp, vase and vessel (notwithstanding the recently revealed Pantone colors of the year, Serenity, an almost periwinkle blue, and Rose Quartz, a peachy pink).
One surprising trend was the prevalence of gold and brass trim to furniture, lighting, and all manner of objects. Page through any decor magazine and you will find gold or brass adorning the edges of tables, chairs and appliances. Call it “retro” or the new modern. Having taken great pains to remove the gold fixtures from my ‘90s-built house, I was dismayed to find this trend return. I have to admit, though, that its current incarnation feels fresh and glamorous.
Not surprising was the popularity of bar carts and drink-mixing accoutrements. With mixology still widespread in restaurants and bars, having the right entertainment pieces to bring that trend into your home is a must.
Finally, the industrial chic trend isn’t going away anytime soon, if viewing the vendors’ presentations is any guide. Reclaimed-looking wood pieces with wheels, gears and all manner of metal touches are still very much in style and fit very well into the Napa lifestyle, if there is such a thing.
I would end with a note of caution about trends. As anyone who has lived through a few trends over the years knows (remember avocado-colored refrigerators anyone?), fashions come and go quickly. When it comes to furnishing your business or home, think about whether the decor you are choosing is more like a bell-bottom jean or a classic sheath dress. Would this item still look fresh and modern 10, 15 or even 20 years from now? Unless you can refurbish frequently, adopt new trends in moderation and combine them with timeless pieces.