Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Interior Design Show 2016

If you were decorating a living room, and money was no object, where would you start?

Most designers would probably tell you they'd start with a fabric or a key piece of furniture. Me, I'd start with a great piece of art. 

I know, I know, this is backwards thinking to the way most designers work. Whenever I see those decorating shows on TV, artwork is practically an afterthought. Most good designers wouldn't go so far as to choose artwork that matches the sofa, but co-ordinating a piece of art with the decor seems to be foremost among their thoughts.

For me, it is a little deciding on a red sports car because, the red car will work perfectly with the style and color of your house when it sits in the driveway. 

Artwork is always such a personal choice and has such a dramatic impact on a room, I'd always put it first.

One of the next things I think I'd purchase is an amazing rug. These were rugs I saw yesterday at the Interior Design Show in downtown Toronto. I thought they were a fabulous colors mix of colors!

With a statement making choice like one of these rugs, I'd keep the sofa and chairs quiet and neutral. I'd even be tempted to keep accessories neutral. For a person like myself who loves color, this would call for some restraint, but I think it would let the room's key pieces really shine. Wood furniture for my imaginary room would be an curated mix of modern pieces and antiques. 

It's fun to daydream isn't it? Certainly there was lots of inspiration at IDS to fuel those imaginings.

We arrived at Toronto's IDS in the afternoon on the final day of the show. Our furnace (which is actually a boiler, as we have hot water heating) began making loud rumbling sounds at 3 am the night before.

It honestly sounded like the boiler was about to explode! My husband made a panicked trip to the basement only to find one of the boiler's pumps was overheating. Even though Harold flipped off the switch to the boiler immediately, the smell of the burning pump filled the house. Calls to the gas and heating company in the wee the hours of the morning ensued. We finally crawled back to bed around 4am, only to have to get up to greet a repairman at ten.

By the time we made it downtown for the interior design show, it was late in the day. 

Andrew Richard Designs usually has a huge display booth. This year's effort was 
modest in comparison.

What were my impressions of the show? 

To be brutally honest, IDS 2016 seemed somewhat diminished in scale and ambition from past years. 

These recessionary times seem to have really taken a toll on large industry shows like this. Nobody seems to have the budget any more for the expensive show displays. I noticed lots of retailers (like Ikea) were missing from previous years.  

There also seemed to be a noticeable lack of show displays.

Urban Barn's casual dining display

I hate to be overly negative however, we had a good time at IDS. What booths and displays we visited, we did enjoy seeing.

Urban Barn: Reclaimed pallet-style furniture, rustic signs, pops of orange 

Urban Barn's bedroom display

More Urban Barn, this time with a garden theme.

What trends did we see? Big scale light fixtures seem to continue to be a hugely popular.

These large scale metal fixtures had an almost organic feel that made me think of molten bubbles.

These glass light fixtures reminded me of the ones you used to see in old department stores or industrial spaces. I could imagine them in a large entryway. 

I am calling this trend "stick lighting". Spiky starbursts and stylized twig fixtures seem to be one of the most popular mainstream trends in lighting. 

One of House and Home's Ten Trends for 2016 is peg-leg furniture. 

Chairs with skinny legs were certainly in evidence at the show. I not sure that peg-legs are a trend though. I think that its more likely a fad that will come and go quickly.

Furniture inspired by the 60's and 70's has been trendy for a few years now. 

Unlike the chairs with skinny legs, I see this as a trend that is more likely to have a long term appeal.

The two-man furniture company Coolican & Company seems to be a Canadian success story. I remember seeing their stools in the up-and-coming section of IDS a few years back. This year they were in the main part of the show with a big display.

Not everyone will like their spare aesthetic, but there is a certain classic appeal to their furniture designs.

More evidence of that retro-modern look is still hot amongst the under-forty crowd.

The trend toward patterned ceramic tiles and patterned rugs doesn't seem to be losing any steam. 

Same is true of these free-standing tubs. For those of us who have long dreamed of having one, the price seems to have become a bit more affordable in recent years.

Before we move away, look at the size of the shower stall in this display bathroom! I find myself at a loss for words.

There was a time when barn door hardware was hard to find. Now it seems to have 
found its way into the mass market.

One of my favourite parts of IDS is the young designer area of the show. There is always something amazing to see there. 

One minor complaint however: Why, oh why, do young designers routinely throw comfort out the window in favour of style? 

None of this furniture looks comfortable!

In conclusion, I hope IDS manages to stay a strong show despite the economy. IDS gives up-and-coming young designers an important chance to showcase their designs. 

And the show is always great way to fill a wintery January weekend!


  1. I'm almost glad I didn't have time to see the show - I would have passed out from "the vapours" in front of those magnificent rugs. Love how technology is making it possible to make layered-type designs in rug form. Love the look of distressed, spilled colour layered over traditional-worn...Yummy! Just gorgeous. Thanks for sharing!

    1. They were really gorgeous rugs Ruth. I love the large abstract one best, although the traditional rug with the spilled turquoise was amazing too. Either rug would make the room.