Six New Design Trends to Pep Up Your Product Displays

Make attention-grabbing “statement pieces” the focal point of your sales floor.

By Lyn M. Falk, Retailworks, Inc.

With 2021 nearly here (thank heavens), it’s not too early to ask, “What’s on the horizon in the world of design?”

With people “nesting” more than ever due to COVID, consumers continue to look for ways to re-do, renovate and re-invigorate their homes. Projects that were put off have come around front and center, and with vacation plans on hold, homeowners have a little more money to spend on their living spaces.

To help inspire them to spend that disposable income in your store, here are six essential design trends for 2021. Keep these in mind when updating your showroom or creating in-store displays to sell your on-trend merchandise.

Bring it On!

Mixing and matching colors, patterns and styles continues to be popular. Whether it’s combining modern with rustic, or stripes with florals, the mixing wars continue. But there’s a fine line between a balanced eclecticism and visual chaos. Create displays that show how it can be tastefully done. Pare traditional pieces with contemporary finishes. Show how fabric patterns can be mixed. Create color/finish boards (think Pinterest!) to inspire customers to think out of the box and feel confident about the end results.

Large Art

Oversized works of art or large, bold statement pieces are providing visual surprises both inside and out. Spending money on that key piece, then letting the rest of the room support it, is a way to feature a favorite artist’s work or place a fun signature piece in one’s home or yard. Filling in with less expensive accessories can help justify the larger expenditure. Find a special oversized prop or piece of art that takes center stage in your store, then support it with coordinating pieces of furniture and accessories. It’s sure to attract attention and get people talking — and buying!

Nature

Anything that has to do with the outdoors — plants, trees, sun, water, hiking, biking, picnicking — is in. Bring the outdoors indoors, read up on biophilia and get connected with what makes us healthy! Create displays with small, medium and large plants. Show lifestyle photos of the outdoors. Feature merchandise that reflects nature and outdoor activities. Show how outdoor cooking can happen all year long. Build a “living” wall as a semi-permanent backdrop. Give customers maps of local parks and preserves with groomed cross-county ski and hiking trails. Change the mid-winter blues into a buying mood!

Sustainability

Items that are made from eco- and people-friendly materials and have a closed-loop lifecycle are attractive to many, especially the younger generations. Bioplastics, reclaimed or repurposed products, and all-natural items are important to the discerning shopper. Create displays that communicate these features with signage declaring the source and content. Showcase the raw materials and maybe a map showing where they came from and how the contents can be recycled at the end of the product’s useful life. The more customers know about a product the more likely they are to buy it.

Cleanability

With everyone tuned into cleansing and disinfecting these days, it’s important to talk about the “cleanability” of products. That’s especially true of high-traffic materials like upholstery and high-touch surfaces like refrigerator door handles. Create displays that show how easy something is to keep clean and sanitized. Create displays that feature cleaning tools for your products and signage with cleaning how-to’s. You’re sure to draw attention and interest!

Vintage/Retro

What goes around comes around, especially in furniture and appliance design. What may be a tired look to older generations is a fresh new trend for the younger ones. Mid-century is still going strong and shabby chic has not disappeared. With the rise in resale shops across the country, it might be time to think about creating a “gently used” department for the cost-conscious customer. This also speaks to the trend toward sustainability and a growing interest in reusing and repurposing items. Whether you’re into the ’50s through ’70s reboot of furniture styles or not, don’t underestimate the value of the retro look when buying products and creating displays. Dust off the lava lamp and set out the shag rug, or set up a revamped version of Dick Van Dyke’s living room. Show customers how to revive the old in an inspiring new way. You’re sure to get people talking and re-thinking!

If your store is large enough to warrant displays that promote each of these six categories, you’re sure to be on-trend, will impress your customers, and get them buying.

Lyn M. Falk is owner/president of Retailworks Inc., an award-winning design, branding and display consultancy. A registered interior designer, BrandSource guest speaker, and contributor to AVB’s showroom Makeover Manual, Falk has devoted over 35 years to helping retailers build healthy, purposeful and productive spaces that move hearts, minds and merchandise. Contact Lyn at lfalk@retailworksinc.com.