24 Ways to Make Your Showroom More Beautiful, Current, and Profitable

lamps

Wesley Hall

I go to High Point Furniture Market every spring and fall to source furniture and artwork for my clients, get educated, and (of course) get inspired!

If you are a retailer with a showroom, High Point is THE place to go. You’ll discover unique ways to incorporate current colour trends into your showroom, create gorgeous vignettes, and design a space that your customers and clients want to spend time in and shop in.

When I was there last month, I was so inspired by everything around me that this post practically wrote itself. Grab a snack, everyone, because you’re going to be so inspired at the end of this post that you’ll run straight to your showroom and forget to eat. Homeowners, these tips apply for you, too!

Here are 24 ways that the trendsetters at High Point are setting up their showrooms for 2015 and beyond.

1. Display your White or Painted Cabinets

 

So many people are looking to incorporate “fresh” into their decorating, and white, cream or colourfully painted cabinets are just the way to do it. Make sure you display them attractively to make it easy for your customers to visualize how they’ll will work in their home.

whiteAntiques by Zaar

2. Add layers

 

Thomas O’Brian is a master of vignettes. Check out his work below. Mirrors over fireplaces add sparkle and reflect light, and they’re also great for layering artwork. Maybe you don’t need to hang anything? It’s so much easier to switch things up without adding extra holes in the wall for rotating vignettes.

3. Sneak in some unexpected baskets

 

A basket in a faux fireplace in a showroom adds colour and texture:

thomasobrienCentury Furniture

4. Use the Triangle Principle

 

Recently, one of my True Colour Experts™ wrote a guest post on using the Triangle Principle when creating vignettes. The reason why this bookshelf looks so attractively styled is that this principle has been used expertly:

triangle

Century Furniture

 

5. Use the styling tools of the trade

 

– Books, laying horizontally and vertically

– A mixture of different sizes of vessels and vases

– Seashells (here, there are small ones in glass jars, too!)

– Textured frames

The gang’s all here! And look how good it looks all pulled together:

bookshelfvignette

Century Furniture

6. Add lots of cream or white when your room is dominantly neutral.

 

7. Divide a large room with drapes to define two spaces and create a cozy feeling.

 

Mary McDonald designed this room for Chaddock:

mary

 

8. Bring in some orange.

 

Libby Langdon declared orange to be an accent colour that her clients are embracing. Copy the tips in the photo below to get the gradations of colour correct in your vignettes.

9. Fake a window with drapery.

 

One thing that makes High Point showrooms so pretty is the abundance of drapery panels everywhere. Sometimes they were simply hung up with tacks, but hey, whatever it takes!

Faux drapery panels are still better than no fabric on the walls at all. Fabric hanging against a wall instantly gives you the feeling of a window:

corallivingBraxton Culler

10. Add an animal print

 

Ever notice animal prints are like jeans? They go with everything. If all else fails, add a cowhide or zebra print to add some interest and texture to your decorating:

cognacottoman

 

11. Celebrate curves

 

I’ve never been a big fan of plain sticks in a vase, but if you get the curly willows and mix them with dried boxwood? Gorgeous!

curvysticks

 

12. Raid the junk drawer

 

You might have something sitting in a junk drawer that you could display along with shells and stones:

thomas

 

13. Try this affordable drapery hack

 

For an instant transformation, keep your panels neutral, but introduce contrast banding to pick up the accent colour:

contrastHighland House Furniture

14. Did I mention shells?

 

All you need are some coffee table books, baskets, and seashells to create interesting and artful vignettes:

shells

 Stanley Furniture

15. Try deep turquoise and navy

Below is a glimpse of Tobi Fairley’s new line for CR Laine. The colour combo feels so fresh and new.

16. Spray paint your books

 

I was so impressed that each book in a heavily styled bookcase had been individually wrapped in turquoise paper. . . until I walked right up to it and realized they were spray painted! You can catch a glimpse in the mirror below.

So smart! And way faster!

17. Consider small print fabric instead of a plain solid

 

turquoise

 

18. Make paint-by-number vignettes

Vignettes are not easy to create for many, but once you understand them, you win. They instantly create a wonderful look and feel. If you’re not sure where to start, copy this one:

vignetteChaddock Home

19. Hide an old floor with a neutral rug

What if you have Travertine or dark, busy tile in your showroom, but you want to show a trendy, white, and colourful geometric area rug? Layer it on top of a much larger, natural fiber rug. It will look a lot better and sell better, too.

travertinepinkChaddock Home

20. Sell your chairs with flowers

 

Look at this artful display that drew me right over at Arteriors! You could copy this look in your showroom with faux flowers or real greens. Some can last up to a month in a vase.

diningchairs

21. Go for the gold

 

Gold has been on the fringes as a trend for two or three years now. It’s finally hit the mainstream, and it’s here to stay, so don’t be afraid to introduce it in your decorating.

goldBernhardt

22. Is your art too big? That’s perfect

 

I was recently in a client’s home where the art we wanted to hang in the dining room was large. Inspired by the styling here at Bernhardt (below), I made it work. . . even though it hung 3 inches below the sideboard.

23. Repeat your accent colour more than twice

 

Notice the accent colour in this vignette (below) is found in the ottomans (in front of the mirrored coffee table), the throw pillows, and the vases on the table.

bernhardtartBernhardt

24. Add drama with dark walls

 

A lot of people said that dramatic walls were trendy because we noticed them at High Point, but I believe they are actually required in showrooms that don’t have any natural light. This post I wrote about that very topic includes my favourite quote from Donald Kaufman:

 “A light colour will never come to life in a dark room, but a rich, deep colour can make a dim, somber space feel warm and luminous – even though it receives no natural light.”

lilianLilian August (All Photos by Maria Killam)

If you have a showroom that is lacking in natural light, break out the dark colours. That’s the big tip to take back to your business from this season’s High Point showrooms.

I’ll be at High Point again this fall. Will I see you there? Mark your calendars now, and make it a priority to attend.

See you there!

Related posts:

The Trends you Need to Know Right Now for 2016

Maria Killam’s Trend Forecast for 2015

Grey is OUT! (Maybe) The Colour Trend is IN

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  1. I have been a fan of vintage chinoisere forever. I see so much of the new inspiration is reflected in what’s shown. Loving the ideas for keeping it fresh and styling it in new ways without getting cheesy.

  2. Standout inspirations are the mantle with layering art on mirror. So easy to make a change when the mood strikes. I also like the large art installation. The example is so luminous and shows a beautiful way to add color.

  3. I don’t have a single shell or piece of coral in my home. I always thought it was only appropriate if you lived near the ocean. Thanks for making me see the error of my ways.

  4. Excellent advice. This came at a perfect time. We are designing several booths for a trade show this fall. You’re right – basically the same principles apply to showroom, booth and home. Will be referring back to your post. I’ve never been to High Point. Sounds like it’s really the place to be. Thanks for all the work you do to spread the word.