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From the Homefront: Peppy patterns can brighten your day

Big buffalo checks. Garden florals done up in indigo blues. Splotches of color gone mad on velvet.

I recently read that bright colors and bold prints made a big, happy showing on upholstery at the Spring Furniture Market in High Point, N.C.

Neutrals, these are not.

“You can’t help but sit up and take notice of today’s boldly upholstered chairs. A chair is just a place to plop until it’s dressed in the new, brighter solid and patterned fabrics that are lifting the profile of upholstery,” wrote Patricia Sheridan in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette earlier this month.

Now, even though I keep my upholstered pieces pretty neutral – black, off-white, off-white, black – and throw in color and pattern through accessories and accent pieces, I must admit I have never met a buffalo check I didn’t like. So when I looked at the photos of the upholstery Sheridan was writing about, my eyes fixed on a pair of spindle-framed chairs upholstered in big buffalo checks – in raspberry and cream!

“Fabric choices are instrumental in setting the tone of a room,” artist and designer Dana Gibson told Sheridan. Gibson chose the Bon Air buffalo check pattern to upholster the Parthie chairs from MT Company.

“It suggests a casual weekend vibe,” she said.

I like casual. I like weekends. Could I picture a serving of raspberry Bon Air in my own home?

Bold patterns show up on more than upholstery for 2016. Cynthia Rowley, the fashion designer, includes a writing desk in a black floral print in her Cynthia Rowley for Hooker Furniture collection. This “Fleur de Glee” desk is part of Rowley’s “Curious” collection. You can check it out at

I also came across this 2016 trend highlighted by Elle Decor: “Granny prints.”

“This year, designers look to the big, blowsy blossoms of the past, filling fashion runways and the home with blooming granny florals,” the editors wrote online.

Not that all of Western New York is going pattern crazy. “People are still stuck in the grays. Gray is No. 1. They will add a couple pillows in a bold pattern but most people are keeping things pretty neutral,” said Michele Dzikoski, owner of Fabric Warehouse, 6599 S. Transit Road, Lockport.

She does, however, see a return to jewel colors – forest, navy, gold, burgundy – which work well with the midcentury modern look that is popular now, she said. Shades in the blue family – indigo, aqua, turquoise and teal – are considered basic enough for large upholstered pieces as well.

As for pattern? Elephant prints, she said, are coming back. Call it a trunk show.

Anyway, I can recall covering the High Point furniture market years ago when bold patterns were once again a strong trend. Showroom after showroom showed sofas in dazzling patterns.

I remember seeing one sofa upholstered in a large floral pattern and wondering how jarring it might be to have someone dressed in bold polka-dots or pumped-up plaids take a seat among this sofa in bloom.

Still ... I can’t stop thinking about those raspberry buffalo checks.


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