Everything old is new again.

Watching trends at the gift markets can be approached in two different ways: look for trends that are repeated in various showrooms or note things that may not be everywhere but meet a need or touch a hot button in the market. Both approaches provide need-to-know information buyers can use to make trend-wise purchasing decisions.


One of the most observable trends is the farmhouse look. Research shows that a large majority of consumers identify casual décor as their preferred style. With this in mind, the farmhouse look is one that retailers cannot afford to miss and will be a trend horse to ride for a while.

The Fixer Upper TV show’s popularity is helping to build and sustain this trend’s momentum. Repurposed or items that mimic vintage goods appeal to those with a taste for farmhouse style, which features galvanized metals, natural woods, muslin or natural fiber fabrics, and simple homespun looks.

Farmhouse style may also feature typography words and simple sayings and items that mimic goods from a general store or are simplified to offer vintage appeal. Look for natural canvas, distressed wood or wood-look frames, pottery and ceramics, flour sack or vintage looking tea towels, and almost anything made of pallet wood or with a recycled wood look.

Patriotic products can pair well with farmhouse style. Think of picnics in the town square and create a merchandising area that echoes Americana nostalgia.


Geometric shapes, stripes, and other patterns appear on everything from wall art to ceramics and from furniture to pillows. The chevron seems to be waning, but other patterns bring line, color, and shape to many products. Look for wall décor with printing on glass and pattern underneath. Watch for letter or shape cutouts with patterns that peek through wood or mats.

Wood, stone, concrete, geodes, and mother-of-pearl are trends to watch for in 2017. Metallics are making a comeback on a variety of goods. Gold, silver, and copper accents mixed with wood, glass, and other mediums add a little shine to gifts and decor items.

Add metallic finishes to merchandising vignettes to create an on-trend feel. Remember that anything added to store displays as props or risers could be marked with a price and sold.


The color palette of market showrooms reflect a change from brightly colored accent walls to more muted tones of gray, navy, soft whites, and beiges in many hues. Simple and appealing, this shift in wall color reflects the casual décor trend and provides a backdrop for farmhouse style.

Crates, reclaimed wood, and pallet styles still appear in many showrooms, but the rectangle shape is giving way to other shapes. Circles, triangles, and hexagons framed merchandise on walls and shelves and in nooks and niches. Made of wood to create shelf space or just made of cork or other materials to accent walls, these new shapes give products a geometric backdrop and focused visual appeal.


New trends in both gift and décor harken back to the 1970s. Some showroom goods dally in decades past. Watch for the gift and décor market to bring back more forgotten gems: macramé, domestic arts like embroidery and knitting, and bohemian textiles. Boomers will smile at the “groovy” stuff they remember; Millennials will just see things that are new to them.

The fun thing about trends is that they come and go. The next big thing isn’t always discernible even to a trained eye. Add some trending goods and merchandising to the store mix to keep customers coming to see what’s new.

— Sherry Morris