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Anita Bloom, Creative Director for Decorex Africa, shares her top five furnishing trends for 2020. Read on for ideas and inspiration to make sure your next event has a fresh, contemporary feel – or even your office space, if you are lucky enough to be renovating.

1. Get back to nature, with a Contemporary Organic style

The Contemporary Organic style uses natural materials in a contemporary way to create cosy, tactile spaces. This has seen the growing popularity of features such as wooden floors, burnt timber cladding, textured stone, feathers, indoor plants, and even dried branches.

“We’re moving away from sleek materials and sharp architectural lines as ultra-modern design adopts softer, more texturally rich touches: furniture with sensual forms or timber with an irregular grain,” says Bloom.

To achieve this look, Bloom recommends things like rustic stools and seating sculptures, handcrafted fabrics, and cosy lighting effects which can be achieved with fireplaces, lamps, lanterns and candles. .

2. It’s all about multi-use

Modern lifestyles tend to blend all areas of our lives, which has prompted furniture design to evolve in the direction of multifunctional pieces. Equally, events often incorporate multi-purpose spaces that promote learning, networking, health and wellbeing, and even the option to catch up on work.

In order to achieve this, Bloom says, “Look for furniture items that provide you with options in a variety of spaces – like sofas with several accessories as part of their structure, for example to recharge electronic devices, and which you can configure according to whether you want to promote group discussions, private conversations, or a relaxation zone.”

3. Revel in texture and tactility

“In a digital age, we’re crying out for more contact with the physically tangible,” says Bloom. While Scandinavian design has maintained popularity for some time, we’re now ready to embrace a softer, more comforting look. This means smooth lines, bulkier forms and lots of texture.

To achieve this look, Bloom recommends the following; “Opt for rounder, organic shapes with a slightly retro look, like velvet armchairs or ottomans. Maximalist statements are in, along with charmingly awkward shapes, so don’t be afraid of bold statement items.”

4. Go East

Mixing things up is another modern trend, and in furniture design this is taking shape as a mash-up of Scandinavian and Asian trends, like Japandi (a blend of Scandi and traditional Japanese details) and Wabi Sabi (the Japanese notion that beauty can be found in imperfections). Chinoiserie (a Western interpretation of Chinese motifs and techniques) is also making a comeback.

“Look out for lacquered cabinets, oversized paper lamps and Chinoiserie wallpaper, along with items that celebrate good craftsmanship, a hallmark of the Japandi style and an antidote to throwaway culture,” advises Bloom.

5. Celebrate handcrafted items

Handcrafted furnishings and textile arts are having a revival, partly as a pushback against the ubiquity of technology and mass-made, disposable goods. This has seen a rise in artisanal design, which translates into “bold abstracts and linear art on fabric, ceramics and stationery, as well as artworks featuring hand-painted lines, visible brushstrokes and energetic doodles”, says Bloom.

To achieve this in your event design, Bloom says, “Opt for pieces that show evidence of traditional woodworking methods, Vienna straw – a classic pattern for woven furniture that’s re-emerging this year – and handcrafted ceramics. Textile arts are likely to loom large in 2020. Look out for big, beautiful, tactile statement pieces which are that much warmer and more welcoming.”