By Wesley Mancini

This article originally appeared in the October 2011 issue of Rug News andDesign, which may be viewed in its entirety here.


The dominant color palette that sells furniture historically has been neutrals. Today is no different. The challenge however, is how do you make this category look fresh?


Pancrazio is a washed, casually elegant damask shown here in color Annatto.

This season the neutral palettes have evolved into colors like: Shitake, Ecru, Almond, Terrier and Tigre.

“Shitake” illustrates the creamy grey neutrals of all types of mushrooms. “Ecru” is defined as a ‘raw, unbleached neutral’. “Almond” mixes both colors of the inner and outer nut kernel. “Terrier” is about the many colors of man’s best friend, ranging from rich dark browns to assorted greys and white. “Tigre” represents the colors of jungle cats, from tawny gold, to black and ivory.

Gustavo is a midscale and mid-century fret work design in color Tigre. The coarse texture is Balsamo with a luxurious hand looks hand woven.

Grey has become a mainstay that every perceivable type from warm to cool, light to dark is depicted in a color name “Newsprint” (as represented on the printed page).

There are color palates galore as in every season that go beyond the neutral realm. While color is very personal it remains the single most important aspect of any purchase.

Persian inspired Agostino in color Feather is shown with Valente which exemplifies a new approach to a texture.

Other colors with a neutral base are: “Citron” which mixes with shades of graphite and a shot of golden green creating a sort of color cocktail and

“Feather” which brings to mind the color essence of game bird plumage.

“Annatto” is the natural food coloring from a tropical tree in Central and South America. This is what gives butter its color. I’ve mixed Annatto with Lima (bean) green and Pimento.

Greens are represented in families of Ginseng, Verdigris, Hollyhock and Savanna. “Ginseng”, a wild plant native to North Carolina, suggests a soothing, warm green color palette. “Verdigris” with its weathered patina, includes various shades of soft greyed greens highlighted with bleached linen. “Hollyhock” presents a variety of fresh floral colors as seen in a spring garden. “Savanna” represents the verdant colors of grasslands; reeds, palmates, sod, and the summer sky.

Cascata emulates an ikat technique softening the edges of this medallion in color Sandalwood.

The blue family can be seen in combinations such as: Venezia, Macaw, Tricolour, and Papillion. “Venezia” reflects the watery blues of Italian canals as they flow between marbled palazzos. “Macaw” is epitomized by the blue and yellow parrot of the New World. “Tricolour” celebrates the many flags of the world that are red, white, and blue. “Papillion”, French for butterfly, springs to life with flickering accents of apricot and azure.

Moving into the red family we see Pink Champagne, Freesia, Sandalwood, Cardinal and Cordovan. “Pink Champagne” creates a sense of celebration by mixing rose’ with French desert colors. “Freesia” uplifts our mood with vibrant persimmons, plum, and chili. “Sandalwood” creates the essence of warmth through adobe, terra cotta, and fired earth. “Cardinal” red enlivens various neutrals to create a modern day classic. “Cordovan” is a rich shade of burgundy that refers to the renowned Spanish leather color of the 17th century.

The final color categories are Damson and Violet. “Damson” exemplifies the inner flesh, pit, and outer skin of a ripe damson plum. “Violet” is subdued with flaxen grounds making a dusty potpourri of color.



Shown at Market will be washed and textural damasks evoking comfort and casual elegance.

Gratia is an entire calligraphic alphabet made into an allover in color Shitake. Apparita is a stripe composed of faux Latin words, also in color Shitake.

Mid-scale simplistic fret work designs continue to be on the forefront of motifs.

Solid textures sell more than any other type of textile. Creating unique and unfamiliar surfaces is vital for any textile design studio.

Multicultural inspiration is a mainstay for more casual living.  Ikats (emulating an ancient technique of dying patterns in the filling or warp yarns prior to weaving) have become more deeply rooted as a design trend. While ever present, this effect softens edges making a line more ethereal. Using the ikat technique with a nomadic tribal inspiration will be seen throughout market.

Visual as well as tactile texture is apparent in pattern Peppino in color Hollyhock.

As well, Persian influences with historic cashmere shawl reference exemplifies the importance of Rajasthan and Uzbekistan as sources for design inspiration.

The written word continues to become a trend evolving beyond novelty status.

Gaspari (in color Newsprint) is modern and simplistic coupled here with Carmelita (color citron) which demonstrates an example of extreme texture.

Extreme texture is another trend  you will see at market.  Whether you sense the texture with your eyes or your hands, fabrics will have captured the essence of a bulky surface.

Modern has gone “simplistic” yet interesting and always with surface interest. In pattern: Gaspari, an oscillating drawing similar to a pendulum sand drawing has raised curvilinear elements while atop a fine linen like ground. Both parts of this design are simple, yet the end result is visually complex.

Taking a historically inspired motif and updating it with a minimalistic drawing while making it bold with color coupled  with a coarse weave can modernize this category,  Visentium does just that.

While there is a cacophony of color options to buy and a world of pattern options, what will sell are the “neutral textures.”

Bold, bright and a new classic, Visentium is shown here in color Cardinal.