Spring is in the air – and we sniff out the trends for the coming year

Spring is in the air – and we sniff out the trends for the coming year

Two years on from the first lockdown in 2020, here at Kernow Furniture we have been considering how people’s relationship with their homes has changed. We have also been asking ourselves whether the trends we saw in home design and furniture during the pandemic will continue in the months ahead - and what that might mean for vintage fans and the industry, including online retailers like ourselves.

Lifting the lid on working from home

 People forced to work from home found themselves needing to re-think their space at home to create optimum working conditions. As dining rooms and kitchens were commandeered as offices, we saw a marked increase in demand for antique escritoires, retro writing desks and vintage bureaux.

 Styles are varied but often feature drawers and pigeonholes above a flat writing surface that pulls down and can be locked to keep mess at bay or paperwork private. Some models may have a concealed compartment to add to its attraction.

 These statement pieces enable home-workers to create practical yet stylish working spaces with a piece of antique furniture which will stand the test of time against any pandemic. And demand has remained strong as more people are working form home more often and for longer periods.

 This Georgian writing desk on bracket feet would provide a beautiful work station with its decorative inlay, central kneehole and recessed cupboard.

Georgian inlaid writing desk


Tall, dark and handsome

Dark or, more commonly, ‘brown furniture’ has seen a huge renaissance and our sales ledger indicates it’s going to remain in fashion for 2022, especially among younger people who can’t seem to get enough of the stuff.

 Granny’s Victorian Whatnot is making a comeback along with other items from this era. Traditionally placed in the corner of a drawing room to display china, ornaments and other ‘what nots’ – hence the name – these pillared shelves are now gracing kitchens and offices in modern homes and even student digs. Pretty enough to show off storage pots and kitchenware, they also make a handy and unusual desk tidy, with plenty of space for pens and stationery items.

 This black lacquered Chinoiserie corner whatnot is a stunning example from the 19th Century and bang on trend with its nod to oriental allure.

Black Chinoiserie Corner Whatnot


We consider that are three keys reasons why brown furniture will retain its appeal for a while to come. Firstly, re-using vintage is an on-trend way to display your green credentials and saves it from ending up in landfill. Secondly, it looks great in a variety of settings. A carefully-chosen antique chest of drawers, for example, placed against a wall can add character and quirkiness to a modern room. Old wood has a richness and depth that adds instant glamour and beauty. Finally, brown furniture is well-built and will stand the test of both time and pocket. Just don’t invite your Granny round to admire it though – she might be asking for it back!

Coming up roses

Patterned and floral fabrics, especially in upholstered furniture, is another trend we don’t think will be nipped in the bud just yet.

Having chucked the chintz in the nineties, there has been a resurgence in demand for bold, retro designs in the style of Sybil Colefax, John Fowler and Laura Ashley. Driven perhaps by the current popularity of the English Country House look, modern designers are turning back to the colourful elegance established by their predecessors for modern-day inspiration. Upholstered furniture is certainly a perennial favourite with our customers looking to update and recover classic pieces with jazzy materials.

For lying down on the job, this unusual teak chaise longue ticks all the boxes. It comes with a loose seat cushion and scrolled ends.

Teak chaise longue



Turning the tables on tableware

Vintage plates and dishes remain one of the most popular collectables that we sell, from kitsch designs to classic china. Majolica, for example, is a decorative pottery which fell from fashion some years ago but has made a significant comeback. Old pieces are highly prized by collectors.

This majolica corn jug is with pewter lid is a great example and would add a quirky touch to any dining room or kitchen.

Majolica corn pewter jug


Glazed pottery, which is often brightly coloured, is also gaining in popularity and sales soared during lockdown as people used the time to review their home décor. According to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, almost 60% of UK consumers used the spare time to refresh their homes, including buying homewares.

Perhaps as an antidote to the prevailing mood, many looked for inspiration from vintage tableware to add a splash of colour and interest to their homes. And as dining at home became a necessity and more informal, buyers also rejected formal functionality for fun, one-off, mis-matched pieces - a trend which started a few years ago.

For anyone looking to start plate collecting, this attractive assortment of vintage china tea plates from the 1930s would be an inexpensive place to start.

Vintage tea plates


In conclusion, it would appear the pandemic has encouraged us to reach back into the past for ideas on what is important to us in our homes, and also what makes us feel both comfortable and happy.

Antique furniture and retro designs that might have been thought dead and buried are coming to life once again with an exciting new take for buyers and sellers alike.

February 22, 2022 — Francesca Peterson

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