Skip navigation
Special Events
Bold tropical colors will heat up the event scene in 2014 says Leslee Bell CSEP of Decor and More Here a vivid lounge from her company
<p><em>Bold, tropical colors will heat up the event scene in 2014, says Leslee Bell, CSEP, of Decor and More. Here, a vivid lounge from her company.</em></p>

Decor Forecast: What’s Hot, What’s Not and What’s New for 2014

Top special event designers share their predictions for top trends in floral, props, tabletop and other event elements for 2014.


Leslee Bell, CSEP, Decor and More

What’s in for themes: “Cirque is still popular, as is 'Alice in Wonderland,' both the Lewis Carroll rendition as well as the darker side of Alice, which has renewed interest due to the release of the show 'Once Upon a Time,'" says Leslee Bell, CSEP, founder of Decor and More, Toronto. "The club look is still huge for stand-up receptions, with shades of gray—soft pewter to deep charcoal—and patterns from men’s suiting adding more character than basic white on white. Circus, unless it is vintage, is on its way out. The ‘Streets of Name-Your-City’ theme is being replaced by the ‘Festivals of Name-Your-City,’ which is a lot more fun and eclectic.”

Prediction for 2014: "The fusion of two cultures blended into one event, such as Asian and South American, and themes with single names that give incredible lateral breadth in design, food and entertainment, such as ‘Caliente,’ ‘Fierce’ or ‘Exotica.’”

On props: “Bold pieces that make an impact, rather than smaller pieces that are lost in big rooms. Giant mirrors, oversized walk-through frames, moveable walls with fireplaces—props that are functional and oversized to add depth and drama.” For 2014: “Mirrors, mirrors, and more mirrors! Also, architectural elements such as pillars, balustrades, palladium windows, fountains and boxwood hedges at entrances are all on trend for 2014.”

On color palettes: “Bold tropical colors, and black and white are strong, with gray a serious contender, as well as a variation on celadon green. We’ll see less yellow, less brown, less bronze and less turquoise as we move towards another jewel tone anchor color.” For 2014: “The Pantone color of the year for 2014 is Dazzling Blue, which is a bright cobalt/sapphire blue. Add to that soft blue and sand, shades of lilac and pinkish purple and gray for an oceanic feel.”

For floral: "French designs, lush with blooms and paired with fruit in huge urns, reminiscent of a Della Robbia look, is beautiful. Huge, staggered frames--either gilded or made of moss, birch or bamboo--transform flowers into works of art. Mercury glass containers for both florals and candles are best-sellers.” For 2014: “Opposites attract—the use of the natural items with the elegant, such as bamboo and crystal, mirrors and driftwood, moss and crystal beading. Peacock feathers are still moving forward into 2014, as are pheasant feathers for a more rustic look.”

On tabletops: What's in--“Linens enhanced with sequins, rosettes, embroidery, appliqués, and every kind of texture are popular, as are animal prints.” What’s out: "For linens, Visa fabric and Spandex is not being used much anymore. Fabric place mats and runners are not as popular, but moss and stone mats are on the rise, and chair covers are being used less as the price of chairs is coming down.” For 2014: “Ethnic patterns in glassware and fabrics are on the rise. With chairs taking over a large segment of the marketplace, chair enhancements from skirts to jackets and sashes will replace chair covers.”


Matthew David Hopkins, 360 Design Events

On color palettes: “Bold colors are in, and will be for the next few years," says Matthew David Hopkins, head of New York-based 360 Design Events. "Combining metallics is white-hot. Gunmetal paired with chrome or brushed gold and copper is very of the moment.” What’s out: “Orange is fading, as is the combination of orange and lime.”

Prediction for 2014: “Of course the Pantone color for 2014 is 'Dazzling Blue,' yet I think an even deeper tone of blue like Congo Blue will be just as hot. Pair it with last year’s Pantone Emerald and add a neutral like oatmeal, and you have a super-hot, forward-thinking color palette.”

On floral: “Big, lush open blossoms arranged in a modern style with masses of each blossom separated out is in. This is the opposite of even distribution as done in classical arrangements. Also, mixing styles like woodsy with glam.” What’s out: “Woodsy without the glam and country blossoms used in country ways.”

On tabletops: “Metallic tableware is hot, and so is tinted glass. Neutral linen with a pop of color is very now. Irish linen to the floor is a very clean look that feels luxe and high end. It works best when combined with glamorous centerpieces to contrast its understated elegance. Layering of linens, like a heavy base cloth with multiple overlays, is still out, as is ‘all-purpose’ anything.” For 2104: “Keep an eye out for cobalt glass. It will be everywhere in the next couple of years.”


James Douglas, Shiraz Events

On themes: Come into the cave, says James Douglas, head of communications for Shiraz Events, with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and London. “A reinvented version of the ‘man cave,’ using industrial pieces, a free-standing fire pit with a faux flame, an assortment of novels, an array of blue throw pillows as accents and gray wool and hound’s tooth fabric to create a warm environment" is the ticket, he says. “Rustic modern will be hot for 2014. Raw materials with wood finishes and a color palette of black and silver all gesture towards this new trend. We see Mason jars illuminated with tea lights and lounges featuring black leather Chesterfields, wood coffee tables and rural decor. To play homage to the industrial element, marquee lit letters can accent the lighting from vintage barn pendants. The entire space calls upon a rustic environment, but with a modern twist.”

On props: “Anything distressed for a rustic modern look. The Sonoma Bar from Chrome beautifully marries urban repurposing with a modern twist. Also, black and gold decor.” What’s out: “Gathered or pleated stage skirting, and light-up Plexiglas bars.”

Prediction for 2014: “Incorporating technology into existing props will only increase as event marketers look for more innovative ways to communicate with their audience. Furniture and decor pieces with neon outlining are on the rise.”


Edgar Zamora, Revelry Event Designers

On themes: “Eclectic mixtures of ‘trend’ and ‘Old World’ for a one-of-a-kind residential-style dining experience that has historically been found in fine estates for private parties of six to 10," says Edgar Zamora, head of Los Angeles-based Revelry Designers. "We create that look for 100 to 200 guests using our collection of reclaimed wood, mirrored and antique tables, coupled with our vast selection of upholstered dining chairs and high-back settees.” What’s out: “Shabby chic is out. Our clients want an experience that includes design elements with a history and a legacy; they do not want flea-market finds.”

Prediction for 2014: “Event design that mirrors what is going on in interior design, and installations that are grounded in comfort, luxury and legacy are on the rise.”  

On props: "Light fabrics for drapery are on trend. They provide a more open and organic feeling with a lower thread count. It is a brand-new way to drape high-end events. Laser-cut pieces are also becoming a popular and affordable way to personalize events. Coffee tables, room dividers, and even fabrics can be laser-cut to create a truly custom piece.”

On color palettes: “We’re seeing a lot of clean whites with pops lavender and purple at weddings.”  

See the full story in the January-February 2014 issue of Special Events, which is available to ISES members for free and to subscribers. Not a subscriber? We can fix that; just click here.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.