Style: Our fave furniture styles for 2016

Mary Carol Garrity

Going to the huge Highpoint Furniture Market is a highlight of my year. I can’t wait to see what fresh looks are emerging onto the interior design stage, and spending time in this creative oasis always revs me up for the new year.

What am I loving for 2016? Timeless classics re-imagined through subtle changes in silhouettes and reinterpreted with exciting new fabrics. I opt for pieces that are so stylish, they transcend trends.

Here are some of my top picks, the sofas, chairs and ottomans that are making my heart thump hard:

George Smith classic: Sometimes you just can’t improve on perfection. That’s how I feel about this ageless classic, an English rolled arm sofa made popular years ago by British designer George Smith. You can pull out a copy of Architectural Digest from the ’60s, and see this lovely sofa staring in a beautiful room scene. And, you can find it still turning heads and winning hearts in the world of design today. The features that make me swoon? The turned legs with castors on the front legs, the two- or three-cushion seat and the tight back. If you have a pet that likes to sleep on the back of your sofa (like my cats do), this sofa is a great pick because it won’t break down under the furry weight.

Chesterfields: Chesterfields have been turning heads for a long, long time. Any why not? These sheltered arm sofas provide the perfect little corner where you can prop up with a few pillows and watch TV or read.

I really like this current rendition of the Chesterfield because the arm is not too wide and it has just the right amount of tufting on the back. If you get too many tufts on a sofa like this, it starts to look like a Victorian piece, too fussy for my taste.

When I’m designing a larger room for customers, I often pair this Chesterfield with the English rolled arm sofa above — they look lovely together, similar enough so they harmonize, but different enough that they each bring a different voice to the grouping.

Comfortable Classic: With its clean lines and loose back pillows, this gorgeous sofa is the right pick for any style home. A timeless classic, it can go traditional to contemporary, depending upon the upholstery fabric you select. It’s not just its good looks that turns heads and steals hearts — this is one of those magical pieces of furniture that fits everyone who sits in it. This sofa is comfortable for people who are petite and those who are taller.

Hollyswivel gliders: Recliners, rockers, swivels — I had seen so many bad examples through the years I didn’t think this style would ever be for me. But our younger customers started asking for swivel chairs. So I took another look. Now, I’m crazy about these super comfy, lovely chairs and have two in my own home. Mid-sized and wonderfully shaped, the Holly chair is a go-to chair for our designers when they are creating a comfortable, stylish space. It’s the kind of super-comfy chair everyone in the family will fight over.

Compact comfort: Motion chairs come in smaller versions, too, which makes them ideal for spaces where a larger motion chair just won’t fit, like a hearth room. If you are downsizing or live in a smaller square foot home, like a condo or cottage, this chair gives you all the comfort and look without eating up any extra floor space.

Vintage feels: Those of us who are sentimental at heart always want a few pieces of furniture in our homes that have a warm, cozy, vintage feel to them. My mother-in-law had a pair of Allerton chairs in her home, and I always adored them. I love the classic lines.

Ottomans for open spaces: When we are helping customers design large living rooms, our goal is to make the lofty rooms feel cozy. So we often start with this wonderful 53-inch square ottoman, placed in front of the fireplace, surrounded by sofas and chairs. It’s amazing how adding this beautiful ottoman, with its tufted top and turned legs, instantly warms up a big open space. It also comes in different sizes, so it will fit any room.

My granddaughter has learned to walk by cruising around an ottoman just like this one. It’s just the right height for babies to hold on to, and super soft to protect little heads, making it my pick for young families. Disclaimer: Cheerios love to roll into the tufts, so if vacuuming out breakfast cereal will make you crazy, go for the non-tufted option.

Oval ottomans: Some of us prefer a world without so many straight lines. This oval ottoman is just the ticket. It’s graceful and elegant, soft and sensual.

Half-round ottomans: The very first person I sold this pair of half-round ottomans to, years ago, was a very dear friend. I can still see it in her sun room, a room as full of warmth as she was. I lost her a few years back, so this versatile and striking piece of furniture will always have a very special place in my heart. What’s cool about this ottoman is it is sold in half-circles, so you can get one or both. When the two sides are pushed together, they are 48 inches round. Slide a half under a console table, place it against the foot of a bed or in a long hallway. Use two to make a round ottoman, then split it when you need extra seating or several foot rests. The ottoman transforms with the fabric you select.

This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at