Our design team recently returned from High Point, North Carolina after visiting the largest furniture and interior design market in the country. If you’re unfamiliar, High Point Market is the premier market for anyone in this industry to attend – I would recommend it to any designer! There are thousands of exhibitors across a massive campus of 180+ buildings – it’s 12 million square feet of showrooms!
Sure, it could be overwhelming, but having a schedule and a plan is the key to success. Before we go, we always make appointments to the showrooms we absolutely want to visit, write lists of all the products we are hoping to source for our clients, and make our reservations for meals and the hotel.
A couple years back I shared a post about behind the scenes of design markets, but today I’m giving a full recap of this season’s HPMKT trip, including our goals, five of our favorite showrooms, trends we saw, and even how many miles we walked (it’s a lot!)
Our Main Goals This Trip
It’s our job as designers to always stay on top of the latest collections, trends, and product information when it comes to furnishings, and High Point Market is THE place to do that. In addition to seeing what’s new, we had a few other goals for this visit:
- Source specific products for our clients. A few of our projects are in the design development phase, so the timing was perfect!
- Find new upholstery vendors (particularly those with shorter lead times)
- Sit on all the sofas & chairs from vendors we order from. Our clients trust that when we recommend a sofa, the “sit” is what they’re looking for, whether that be firm, soft, deep, and most importantly – comfortable. Sitting in furniture and taking detailed notes is how we know what to recommend, and assure our clients that even though they won’t be able to sit in the chair we spec’d, we have.
5 of our Favorite Showrooms We Visited
From furniture to lighting to accessories, there is no shortage of incredible showrooms to visit across the entire HPMKT campus. Below are just a handful of our favorites so you can get a glimpse of just how exquisite the showrooms can be!
Highland House always has beautiful silhouettes and bright, fresh color palettes. We love sourcing from them for their elevated, tailored style and punchy colors.
Summer Classics/Gabby Home (sister companies)
Summer Classics is the epitome of stylish coastal living – we loved their bright and open showroom. Gabby Home showcased rich colors and moody contrast.
A favorite for sourcing high quality accessories like trays and boxes, and they also have some really beautiful light fixtures and casegoods. A special thank you to our Rep Lynn for the invitation to a beautiful Made Goods dinner!
Our go-to for lighting, from lamps to sconces to chandeliers. Be sure to look up, down & all around in this illuminated showroom.
In a fresh color palette of blues, greens and whites, this showroom of made to order furniture was simply gorgeous!
What’s Trending This Spring?
From taxidermy wall mounts to animal print upholstery, there was no shortage of safari inspired furnishings, such as this oversized leopard area rug and zebra upholstered chairs in the Woodbridge showroom (left).
Earth Tones & Natural Fibers
Think soft palettes of greens & neutrals, rattan wrapped fixtures and mirrors, wicker furniture, and woven rugs (epitomized in this chair from Summer Classics).
Large Scale Light Fixtures
We love using oversized, statement light fixtures in spaces that can handle the scale, so we are all about this trend!
Not Your Average Outdoor Furniture
Outdoor lounge spaces have been requested by our clients more frequently in the past year, so it’s refreshing to see more and more stylish outdoor furnishings. From unexpected colors & fun prints to fully upholstered pieces, the outdoor furniture we saw throughout many showrooms felt reminiscent of indoor pieces.
Another great part of market is connecting with our reps in person; they are a great resource, and can often provide information about the industry from a first hand perspective. Because of the ever changing state of the industry, lead times are always a topic of conversation as of late. In short? Most vendors are still seeing extended lead times well beyond what we are used to seeing pre-pandemic – on average, custom upholstery pieces are taking 30+ weeks from start to finish.
Although the majority of them are still running with extended timelines, we did accomplish one of our goals of finding a couple new vendors with shorter lead times! Additionally, many are trying to find the work-around through quick ship programs for their pieces that don’t require customization. Fingers crossed it starts to get better soon!
High Point Market by the Numbers
High Point Market provides a unique opportunity for the design team to get inspired outside of the office and be fully immersed in design together. While Becky and I are seasoned vets (we’ve both visited over 10 times) Brianna and Ali experienced their second and first market trip. From walking the show rooms to attending dinners, to sneaking in some time to work on client projects, we had an amazing time and returned to the studio feeling inspired and ready to dive back into our projects.
Until Next Time…
There is so much to see in such a short period of time, and some vendors actually didn’t open their showrooms this season in an effort to focus on their existing accounts and continue manufacturing. Lucky for us, High Point Market comes around twice a year, so we are already looking forward to returning in October. In case you missed it, check out this Instagram Reel for more behind the scenes photos & videos.