What furniture styles are flying out of rental warehouses today? Ann Taylor, vice president of sales and marketing for A Chair Affair in Orlando, Fla., sums it up in one sentence: "Vintage glamour, rustic farmhouse and country couture."
Many experts in furniture rental agree with her.
Todd Johnson, CEO of Houston-based Aztec Events and Tents, notes that clients often want rustic pieces complemented by vintage accents, which soften the look.
"There’s pairing of rustic-vintage with earthy organic textures and materials, like various types of wood, metals, glass and accents of burlap and linen," Johnson explains. "Burlap ottomans, vintage wood tables, and linen sofas, chairs and ottomans are most popular." (In photo, the Maison Linen line from Aztec.)
WOOD WORKS In a high-tech age, the earthy, organic appeal of wood is irresistible.
To keep up with client demand, Choura Events of Long Beach, Calif., is in the process of creating a full line of wood-top tables, Colonial benches and the like, says CEO Ryan Choura.
Along the same lines, Los Angeles-based-based Designer 8 Furniture Rental, exclusive furniture provider to big Classic Party Rentals, plans to introduce a furniture collection with a "reclaimed wood" design, notes Maureen Harkness, Classic senior account manager.
BRINGING UP BLING The "bling" trend as grown softer and more sophisticated, as shown by the gleaming velvets and glowing mirrors of the Hollywood Glamour look.
The "Cadillac" line from Los Angeles-based Rrivre Works "won't stay on the shelves," notes company founder Rrivre Davies. The line—which includes bars, tables and even a wall in a sleek, geometric style—features mirrored surfaces.
"Silvers and grays and pewters are in," Davies says. "They are a perfect backdrop for elegant lighting and candlelit romance, as well as working magically with the modern lighting technology. Pair this with mirrors, and bingo--glamour, romance, sexy and strength, which is a favorite of corporate clients. Few colors other than white can do as much for an event as gray and silver." (In photo, the Cadillac wall from Rrivre Works, used at an end-of-season polo party in Santa Barbara, Calif., created by Merryl Brown Events. Photo by Coast Photography.)
Thanks in part to the hit TV series "Downton Abbey" and the upcoming release of Baz Luhrmann's version of "The Great Gatsby," art deco looks to be an up-and-comer. And Designer 8 has put both art deco and the color gray into play with its furniture.
Drake is "is an art deco-inspired collection and has become one of our more popular designs," Harkness says. And as for gray, "We took a risk in introducing charcoal gray because while not a typical event color, it has become one of the most requested colors in our inventory," she adds. "In fact, we custom-made pieces for the AEG Grammys after-party that consisted of tufted bournes and curved booths in charcoal gray." (In photo, Designer 8's tufted curved booth in charcoal gray, used at the AEG Grammys after-party.)
FROM RUSTIC TO INDUSTRIAL Also coming on strong: "industrial glam," as Lindsay Masterson dubs it, and it's the antithesis of cozy charm. "After the past two years, we need this," the southeast manager of AFR Furniture Rental says.
"Think the opposite of Mason jars and overly cute," Masterson says. "This is a balanced design approach, where feminine meets masculine. This is about metal and aluminum paired with crystals, or masculine heavy leather sofas positioned with delicate French Provincial side chairs. We are seeing that words like 'steampunk' or the 'Soho lounge' are a part of our daily lingo, all with feels that are more masculine, but still very chic."
She adds, "This masculinity can find itself even in the weddings market; we are hearing that the groom’s lounge will be a popular request: man-cave decor--with a bride’s touch, of course--will be a retreat area for cigars, craft beer or bourbon tastings."
EVENT DRIVES STYLE But it's important to bear in mind that at the end of the day, the event drives the furniture style, not the other way around.
The styles clients ask for "depends on the client and the type of event or meeting," explains Kevin Dana, director of marketing and product development for CORT Event Furnishings in South San Francisco.
"In general, white is still the most popular color for furniture because it’s clean and modern; and can be mixed with any other color to create an individual look. Modern and mid-century furniture is by far the biggest renting style, but Modern French mixed with contemporary furniture is all the rage."
And in contrast to the luxe of velvet, "On the high end, incorporating animal prints and textiles is a trend that’s become important, especially for social events," Dana says. "Our Lounge 22 Wild furniture represents this trend with sophisticated furniture that makes a statement." (In photo, a chair from CORT's Lounge 22's 'Wild' line.)