Last week, I attended High Point Market 2019, and it was a blast! This is my twelfth year going (yes, you read that right), and I still get excited every time. The energy cannot be beat. Hundreds of designers descend on North Carolina. For five days, they rush from one showroom to the next, with little tipples of champagne in their hands and dreams of their next design project in their heads.

I made the trip with my Principal Designer, Letecia, and our Director of Digital, Melissa, who chronicled our whirlwind journey. It was a fast trip, with only 2 full days to source for projects, sit on panels, and meet with my fellow designers.

When I say whirlwind, I mean it. We flew into Charlotte and drove straight to High Point to attend the Hudson Valley Lighting party. I’m usually not that well-dressed on a flight!

Laura U hits High Point Market 2019

This year marks the introduction of HVL’s brand ambassador program, and I’m proud to announce that I’m one of them. It’s a partnership that makes a lot of sense, considering I use HVL all of the time: for clients, for the Laura U studio, and for my own home.

So, a little bit on Hudson Valley. They have 4 lighting lines: Corbett (the glam collection), Troy Lighting (their industrial collection), Mitzi (their young and fun collection), and their umbrella Hudson Valley Lighting. HVL has been around for 30 years and they are family owned. I cannot think of a time when I haven’t sourced them for a project!

As an ambassador, I will be featuring some of my favorite HVL pieces throughout the year. And during High Point, I came face to face with my first one: the Carayes. Hailing from the incredible Martyn Lawrence Bullard Collection, this showstopping fixture is HUGE. It also reflects one of the big trends found at HPMKT: natural elements.

The Carayes at High Point Market 2019

The Carayes at Hudson Valley Lighting

In nearly every showroom, I saw rattan and wicker, or curving branches supporting glass tables or mirrors. So let’s get right to it, the stuff you want to know about: High Point Market 2019 Trends.

#1 Natural Materials

Rattan and wicker were a big hit last market in the fall. This time around, I’m adding bamboo and reed-like styles to the trends list. I love the grounding warmth of natural materials. They’re very versatile. I’ve seen highly structured rattan and looser, more organic rattan. So, they can be used in literally any interior.

Lighting made of natural materials at Hudson Valley Lighting

Lighting made of natural materials at Hudson Valley Lighting

HVL showcases natural materials stunningly well in these statement fixtures.

Wicker ottomans at the Four Hands showroom at High Point Market 2019

Fun ottomans at Four Hands warm up this space.

Outdoor lights of natural materials at Palecek High Point Market 2019

These outdoor lights from Palecek will work well with any style

Four Hands and Palecek showcased a lot of these natural materials in lighting, chairs, and accessories. I think the lighting integration is perfect. Can you imagine the lovely way the light casts shadows from inside their wooden cages?

#2 The New Cane

Step anywhere at market and you will surely run into a caning piece. Chairs, stools, credenzas, consoles, even as frames for mirrors…Caning was everywhere!

Small caning detail on a chair

A great example of small, delicate caning.

Letecia is a fan of the small caning. And I have to agree. I love a more delicate weave. I find the caning to be reminiscent of Louis XVI chairs, whose namesake furnishings are distinguished by their caning. But this market, a more modern take has emerged especially at Bungalow 5, Noir, and Roberta Schilling). I’m a fan.

Small caning on a wardrobe

Small caning makes a fabulous appearance here at Four Hands

A chair featuring caning and leather straps at High Point Market 2019

Caning + leather straps = my love affair with Roberta Schilling chairs

 Caning was big at the Bungalow 5 showroom

Caning was big at the Bungalow 5 showroom

#3 Nested Round Tables

Nesting tables are certainly not a new trend, but this market I noticed that the stacked tables were paired in a new way. Similar shapes + different materials = 2019 nested round table trend. My favorite showrooms for rounded tables? Bernhardt, Vanguard, and Century Furniture.

Stacked round tables at High Point Market 2019

Stacked round tables of different materials create visual interest here.

Rounded tables at High Point Market 2019

I really like these rounded, organic shapes together at Bernhardt.

Stacked round tables at Century Furniture

Century Furniture nails this trend with a soft + hard surface

Mixing an upholstered piece with a hard surface provides seating and a place to set a cocktail or book. Perfect for entertaining spaces and quiet reading nooks alike. Who doesn’t love options?

#4 Color Trend: Mauve

Staying in line with new spins on older things, is the new shade of mauve. I’m loving this sumptuous, earthy hue. Thom Filicia’s collection for Vanguard showcases it best in a leather. I also saw the shade in art pieces, accessories, and decorative pillows.

Mont Blanc Mauve at Vanguard High Point Market 2019

New color obsession: Mont Blanc Mauve at Vanguard

Thom Filicia collection at High Point Market 2019

Sooooo comfortable…

#5 Mondrian Proportions

Piet Mondrian was a Dutch painter and innovator of neoplasticism, a type of abstract art. His compositions and tableaus are instantly recognizable, which is why his influence was so easy to spot! Take a look below to see what I mean.

Noir Showroom console at High Point Market 2019

This trend was big at the Noir Showroom

Mondrian proportions at Noir at High Point Market 2019

Another example of this trend at Noir – the pattern keeps the look cohesive, despite the introduction of different materials.

The repeating pattern of rectangles caught my eye in more than one showroom. I really like how some pieces use the defined borders to introduce different materials, while keep some consistency in terms of shape.

#6 Imperfect Shapes

And speaking of shapes, I noticed a lot of imperfect ones at High Point Market 2019. Almost free-form drafts created the tops for tables and the frames for mirrors. Edge treatments were casual and organic.

Imperfect mirrors at the Palecek showroom High Point 2019

Imperfect mirrors at the Palecek showroom

Imperfect, gessoed sculpture at High Point Market 2019

Imperfection at its finest

“The organic edge was also a prominent element during this Spring market. It was refreshing to see something imperfect next to a structured piece.”  – Letecia Ellis-Haywood, Principal Designer

Remember trying to draw perfect circles as a kid? No stencils, no cheating. And remember the squiggly little eggs you made on paper? Now imagine that and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

A touch of imperfection at HVL at High Point Market 2019

Imperfect and organically shaped tables

This is a trend that I really love. As an interior designer, it is the human touch that makes our trade a true luxury. So to see pieces of gesso or plaster molded by hand makes me very happy. I love introducing artisan, benchmade quality pieces to my clients’ homes.

#7 Color trend: Oxblood

Oxblood is one of Letecia’s favorite colors. “To see it in marble, gives it that little bit of edge,” she says. Personally, I think Oxblood is pretty edgy already! It’s a deep shade that completely commands any room it enters. Oxblood is not a wallflower. I found a lovely collection of this hue at Made Goods, whose new showroom is so much fun!

Oxblood marble at High Point Market 2019

Luxurious and royal, oxblood in marble makes a bold statement

Oxblood accessories at Made Goods High Point Market 2019

Oxblood accessories at Made Goods

#8 Practical Furniture

This trend is an answer to my biggest client challenges: functional beauty. I can’t tell you how many times a client has adored a sofa from afar to only hate the thing as soon as they sat in it. Furnishings are not decorations. They are useful pieces with a function and a purpose.

Leather bench plus table at High Point Market 2019

A Bernhardt leather bench gains new purpose with this overlapping table

“I’m personally happy to see more and more vendor incorporating trays and tables into upholstery. Our clients request comfort and function and this is a perfect solution to those requests!” – Letecia Ellis-Haywood, Principal Designer

Table + sectional = added functionality at High Point Market 2019

A table integrates perfectly in this sectional

That is why I can’t wait to show my clients the practical furniture trend. Mixing a tabletop with an over-sized sectional makes so much sense, but traditional proportions have not made it possible. Until now!

#9 Leather Strapping

Saving the best for last. Leather strapping was about as ubiquitous as the caning, and in some instances, combined! Roberta Schilling’s showroom does this trend in a sleek, modern way that fits a variety of home styles. One of her gorgeous chairs would look good anywhere honestly!

Leather strapping at High Point Market 2019

In love with the leather strapping on this chair – Roberta Schilling showroom

Baker Furniture is another showroom that makes me a leather strap devotee. Their furnishings honestly transported me to another place. Effortlessly blending both masculine and feminine styles, Baker’s well-made collection was hands down the sexiest at High Point. I’m not ashamed to say that!

Baker Furniture leather at High Point Market 2019

Leather strapping like a work of art – Baker Furniture

Can you imagine we assembled these 9 trends in just 2 days? And in between that time, we hit the talk circuit too. A panel at Surya, with the esteemed LuAnn Nigara and fellow designer Christopher Grubb started my Sunday. I love chatting about the business of design.

Surya panel at High Point Market 2019

And that love continued to my first chat with Nick May of the Chaise Lounge Podcast. Happy to sit in on a panel with Jaye Mize and my friend, fellow Houstonian Nina Magon. Her collection at Universal Furniture is Good. Capital G good.

Laura Umansky at the Chaise Lounge in High Point

While not so publicized, my dinner with Monogram was a lovely treat. I’ve gone on and on about my love for their appliances, but did you know that I love their company too? Such great conversation and memories made with these ladies.

Monogram dinner at High Point Market

From left to right: Laura Umansky, Melissa Grove, Anne Sage, Mitzi Beach, Linda Holt, Elise Raydo and Alex Skobel from Monogram, Vanessa Helmick, Jeanne Chung, Letecia Ellis-Haywood, Lisa Mende.

Whew, that’s High Point Market 2019. Let’s just say, I met my step count. All the more reason to celebrate with another glass of rose! Cheers!

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Laura U Interior design at High Point Market 2019