If you are in the States and love interior design, you've no doubt heard of High Point Market. If you're in the UK, you'll know Chelsea Harbour Design Centre. Bigger and arguably more exciting (who doesn't relish a trip to Italy?) is Salone del Mobile in Milan.
It's the place to see some of the world's best known design brands showing off their 'novelties', as they coin them. These new launches are powerful: they often influence designers the world over, and make their way, in one form or another, into many of our homes. Without a doubt, Salone is where we journalists spot furniture trends for the year ahead.
Last week, we visited Salone del Mobile to see the latest launches. This is just some of what caught our attention.
1. The just-as-good-from-behind super-sized sofa
Huge sectionals seemed to be a running theme on many of the stands at Salone, which is a signifier of just how confident furniture brands are that, post-pandemic, we are still very invested in spending leisure time at home, as families and with friends.
But while more prevalent than ever, super-size couches aren't a sofa trend as such. What was noticeable was the effort that been put into the design of the back of many of the models we saw. The same can be said of the armchairs we spotted, which suggests furniture brands are still selling in huge numbers to customers who live in open-plan homes where seating acts as a room divider, too.
Our favorite is Zanotta's Bumper sofa; for those who aren't fans of low-backed seating, it's worth knowing that this particular model is super-comfortable for laid-back lounging (grab the corner spot if you can); and its low-slung design is perfect for making small living rooms look bigger.
2. The sideboard bar trough
Another clue that the big furniture brands are designing for home socializing is this rather fabulous inset marble 'bar trough', possibly the smallest of small home bar ideas we've seen, but one that captivated us.
It sits at the end of the long, low, walnut sideboard designed by Marcio Kogan for Minotti, and it's a wonderful way to add texture and marble (a material that's always featured heavily at Salone, no surprise).
And, of course, it doesn't have to be used to store alcohol: it's a great repository for coffee table books or shapely vases, too.
3. Outdoor furniture that takes a new leap
Outdoor furniture seems to get better and better every year. Don't take the range by Roche Bobois above as a typical example, most of the outdoor furniture we saw was pretty restrained. Instead, consider this joyful example as you would a catwalk piece: an indicator of just how adventurous, thoughtful and excited designers are becoming in making pieces for our yards.
Meanwhile, Poliform's outdoor collection goes from strength to strength, noticeably with its Mad Out sofa collection (below) in collaboration with Marcel Wanders. Reinterpreted from the iconic Mad collection, Wanders has created seating that's almost too beautiful to go outside.
4. The on-show pantry
If you are at all invested in kitchen trends, it's worth a look at Cesar Kitchens, which has been leading the way in thoughtful, ground-breaking design for some time. There are many stand-out features to highlight, from burnished cabinetry colors, to curvaceous kitchen islands, to luxurious materials used for kitchen sinks.
However, I loved this on-show, behind-glass kitchen pantry. It's smart yet so practical, and if you don't have space for a separate walk-in, it offers you the chance to live the pantry dream, and show it off, quite rightly.
5. The grill with movie star looks
Not furniture but worth a mention: if you're hunting for one of the world's best grills (for looks at least, we've not tested this one out), Ethimo's is hard to beat. Compact, it's actually part of their outdoor kitchen range, and this piece can be placed next to a matching unit with an induction hob, and one with a sink.
6. Burnished spice shades endure
Like last year, color trends are leaning towards warm, spice shades, often juxtaposed with pale, dirty blues. My favorite combinations were to be found again this year at Gallotti and Radice. This table is one of the best examples and it was a (rare) nod to sustainability because it's hand made with recycled glass. No two are the same, and that uniqueness is a wonderful find at a show dominated by huge brands.
In other news...
Bontempi has reimagined the way it approaches Salone, by opening a brand new showroom, in which you can see the latest pieces, and eternal favorites, all together in room sets. It has been a big success for the company and loved by customers who get to see the product under natural light, in natural arrangements. Bravo!
Where is Salone del Mobile?
Salone del Mobile is held at Rho Fiera, just outside of Milan, Italy every year. Every other year (on even years), the EuroCucina (kitchens) and the International Bathroom Exhibitions run alongside it; on odd years, the Euroluce (lighting) Exhibition runs at the same time. There are many pop up events in the town center too. The show runs in April.
Sign up to the Homes & Gardens newsletter
Decor Ideas. Project Inspiration. Expert Advice. Delivered to your inbox.
Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens since 1990, working her way around the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-nineties. She was Associate Editor on Ideal Home, and Launch Editor of 4Homes magazine, before moving into digital in 2007, launching Channel 4's flagship website, Channel4.com/4homes. In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for Realhomes.com, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she has also taken on the editorship of the magazine.
How to light a closet without wiring – energy efficient ideas
Incorporating wireless lighting solutions illuminates your closet without the need for complex wiring while adding modern convenience to your daily routine
By Lola Houlton Published
5 simple ways to make a Christmas tree fit in a small space – from someone who has mastered it
Struggling to know where (and how) to put a Christmas tree in a small space, I have all easy tips and tricks
By Hebe Hatton Published