I got an icy welcome when I arrived at the huge Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market in January. You probably remember the news — Atlanta was covered in a sheet of ice that grounded flights, held up shipments of merchandise and left restaurants and hotels near the convention center without the supplies they needed for the nearly half a million people who attended the world’s largest gift and home furnishings market.

But despite these inauspicious beginnings, my heart began to thaw as I raced from showroom to showroom, hunting for this year’s “finds” – truly unique home accents I love so much, I’d want them in my own home.

Here are a few of my favorite picks from market this year, plus today’s hottest trends.

To-Die-For Accents

Sensational Ceramics

It felt like the sun was bursting through the clouds when I drank in all the delightful, colored pottery featured at market this year. Orange, red, yellow and the most amazing teal I’ve ever seen. I found tiny vases that stood no more than a few inches high – a perfect way to add a pop of color to a tabletop tableau. And I saw large statement pieces that stretched almost three feet tall, big enough to be an arresting addition to the top of an armoire, a ledge in a two-story entry or even on a dining room buffet.

The styles of these playful pieces were just as varied. Some were rustic and rugged, and others were sleek and contemporary. And, the prices were unbeatable, with some pieces costing as little as $5!

Like me, Nell Hill’s customers are really craving color right now. Those of us who live in colder climates are yearning for vibrant hues, since we see so much gray and brown outside our windows this time of year. Others, who are tired of today’s decorating trends that lean toward muted, neutral palettes, are also clamoring for color, and lots of it. I can’t think of an easier, less expensive way to add some zest to your décor than with these bright and happy vases. I’m going to tuck them in and around the displays in my own home—in bookcases, on side tables, on my kitchen windowsill and my bedside table.

Amazing Artwork

One of my goals at market this year was to find beautiful artwork that spanned all design styles, from traditional to contemporary. I scored! This year, I found something for everyone, no matter their look or budget.

I really enjoyed scouting through the galleries of art this year because the home decorating industry is finally recognizing that everyone has a unique look in her home. Before, the industry tried to dictate set trends, telling us what was “in” and “out,” and asking us to adjust our home decor to accommodate the ever-changing new designs.

But now, designers are offering a wide array of pieces that help us celebrate our own style, not mimic someone else’s. I’m thrilled with the new liberation, and the artwork I spotted at market this year will help Nell Hill’s customers find pieces that reflect their unique personalities.

Luminous Lamps

To me, accent lamps are like artwork – you need to absolutely love them in order to display them in your home.  You should never compromise by getting lamps that leave you cold. So I was thrilled to also find a great selection of lamps at market this year and ordered scores of different styles so our customers can find the ones that are perfect for their home and life.

Following my quest for color, I spotted some fabulous lamps that featured colored ceramic and glass bases. I’m in love!

Today’s Trends

Color is Coming on Strong

Right now, when it comes to color palettes, neutral is still king, with many designers still showing lots of grays and creams. But an increasing number of designers are starting to quench our desire for color by working with sensational shades of teal, yellow, orange, red and green. My favorite new shade this season is teal. I’m sold on this hue of blue because it fits in most any décor with ease. I like it when teal accents blend with the colors around then, adding a light, bright glint of blue. But I’m also crazy about teal when it stands out from everything around it, stopping the show with is perky presence.

Glass Still Shattering the Mold

The designers are doing lots of fun stuff with glass now, shaping intriguing jars, vases and hurricanes that stretch from traditional to modern. I’m a huge fan of apothecary jars – they are a bedrock of the Nell Hill’s look—so I always enjoy seeing them reinvented, made fresh once again for a new season.

“French Market” Look Still Capturing Our Imaginations

Designers are smitten with France, and the French market look that hit the scene a few years ago is still going strong, dominating the Atlanta market again this year. Showroom after showroom displayed furniture painted a soft gray, furniture covered in ticking, and oodles of gray and white accents. After three years of eclipsing the market, I don’t see this look going away soon.

After days of rushing about market, ordering willy-nilly, now comes the fun part: Seeing the shipments arrive at the stores. Visit us soon to snatch up the treasures, then come back often because new things will be arriving every week.

Next Week … With spring around the corner, it’s time to celebrate new life. What better way than by throwing a wedding or baby shower for a loved one! Next week, I’ll share some tips for hosting a fun and memorable shower.

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30 Responses to “Market Report: Great Finds and Hot Trends”

  1. Betsy Sweeney Says:

    I would like to receive your blog,I used to get it but have not received it for several months.I love your stores and decorating ideas.Thanks,Betsy Sweeney

  2. pamela goodmon Says:

    hi mary carol,
    i enjoy reading your monthly blog and especially enjoyed this month’s column regarding color. in the last pic you have a chair with writing on the fabric. is this a fabric you carry? kind regards, pam

  3. Mary Ann Says:

    Perfect timing, we are doing a baby shower the first week in April!

  4. Heather Says:

    Thank you Mary Carol! I will come & see you soon!


    I love the look of all the new colored pottery. Is it in the store now?

  6. Billie Aye Says:

    I also LOVE that fabric covered in writing! I hope you’ll have it in the Atchison store, my particular go-to place to find treasures!!

  7. Jeanene Johnson Says:

    Hi Cutie Mary Carol, It looks like spring may finally arrive after seeing your “hot trends” It’s time to bring a busload of my people up for a shopping extravaganza. We will be happy to see your lovely face and cool goods.
    Fondly, Jeanene

  8. Mary Says:

    Love it! Will any of the items be available for purchase on your online store?

  9. Joan Says:

    I love your new finds! Are any of them going to be available online? Chicago, unfortunately is a little too far for me to just stop by but I would love to add some of your beautiful things to my home decor.

  10. The Tablescaper Says:

    Hi Mary Carol:

    You are so right, we all need a burst of color right now. Hope you’ll be featuring some of these finds on line!

    - The Tablescaper

  11. Patty Says:

    I am excited about your new finds. I live in Dallas but when I return home to KC I always visit your wonderful store. If I send you photos and measurements can you help me decorate above my kitchen cabinets? Time for a redo! I have shipped from you many times over the years. Let me know.

  12. Marilyn B Says:

    Can’t wait for my next trip to KC so I can visit the store. It’s is always my required stop when in town. Right now we are buried in 14″ of snow.

  13. Heather Says:

    Thank goodness color is coming back!!! And I love the green and blue lamps.

  14. Staci Says:

    Would like to know where you get the atlas paper for wrapping the books?

  15. Terry Says:

    I love seeing all the colors! As an artist, I have always enjoyed some bright colors, even when I wasn’t in style. I was just at Nell Hill’s at Briarcliff and loved all the new blues and greens, along with the darker colors on the walls! Always an inspiration.

  16. Mimi Tafour Says:

    hi mc, luv seeing mail from nh and always enjoy all your offerings. u know i luv all your stores…my kind of entertainment and therapy for whatever. what more can i add to all the accolades except to say you are a jewel and a blessing. like me, many friends are welcoming new grandbabies. baby showers are wonderful, but i think the grammas also need a party….so that is what i plan to host for some of my friends…a little tea/luncheon where we can share photos and rejoice over all our little blessings. :)

  17. Marge Says:

    Love all the new color!! We just redid our living room and am looking for fresh new accent/color pieces to make it all “pop”. Thanks Mary Carol, looking forward to a trip to Atchison real soon.

  18. Mary Carol Says:

    To all those asking about the items above (Pamela, Lisa, Joan, Mary and Staci), most are available through the stores. Feel free to call Janet @877-746-4320 and she can get the items shipped out to you. Great new pottery in the stores NOW. They are seasonal items, so of course I can’t keep them on my online store. Thanks so much for all your interest and kind words—go Spring!

  19. Mary Carol Says:

    Isn’t that an adorable chair, Pamela. We have a similar fabric to the one shown– in our bolt room at the Briarcliff store. Call 877-746-4320 and ask for ‘Fabrics’ and they would be happy to send you a swatch.

  20. Mary Carol Says:

    Patti–Please feel free to send all your info to concierge@nellhills.com and myself plus my fabulous staff will get right on it!

  21. Mary Carol Says:

    Betsy–Just send your e-mail to concierge@nellhills.com so we can get you back on the blog e-mail. O.K., I have edited this twice and I still get all the spaces–oh well, lovely technology.

  22. Betsy Woods Says:

    Mary Carol,
    I so miss living in Leavenworth and Leawood because I cannot pop into Nell Hills whenever I have guests to bring or just need a Nell Hills shopping fix….Since leaving Colorado Springs (brought 2 friends from there to your stores) we have lived in St. George, Utah – the North end of the Mohave Desert -we love it but we don’t have you here so it is not perfect. I outfitted my grandson’s nursery with fabric from Dieboldts (Playtime) and it was stunning. Now I need more fabric from Dieboldts. Can I access them?

  23. Angela Says:

    Thank you for your insight, style and grace. I loved stopping by the Atchison store on my last visit to Kansas. I live in Los Angeles and have not found a store here that compares. I wish you were closer for the shipping and extra baggage charges (loaded with Nell Hills treasures) are killing me.

  24. sheila Says:

    Please open a store near me!!! How do I get to your on line shopping sit?

  25. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Betsy–We miss you too! We have moved all the bolt fabrics to Nell Hills Briarcliff–in Kansas City. Call 877-746-4320 and ask for ‘Fabrics’. They will be able to help you with swatches or whatever you need. Hope to see you soon.

  26. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Sheila–To get to our online shopping site–just go to our website–nellhills.com and click on online shopping. Have fun!

  27. Pamela Jo Says:

    Dearest Mary Carol,
    I love every room, tablescape, and wall that you decorate. Bless you for showing us what can be done! But it is also somewhat of a problem for me. I tend to see a certain vignette or room that you do, come to the store and buy all to reproduce that look on my sideboard or a table, but I am noticing that I have a lot of individual vignettes and my rooms (and house) are starting to look not pulled together. (I.E. I don’t totally get it!) How would you advise I tie these great collections and rooms together to make them flow? I have all your books and the ones of your home suggest you know how to do this, I just can’t figure out the key.

    Would you suggest committing to a color scheme for the entire house or to mix and match? A similar question for design. I.E. if I like the bird theme that you have this month (which I really, really do) should I commit to vignettes, fabrics and layers of bird things throughout the house and just adjust certain displays for each holiday or season? I am just not sure whether to run with colors and designs for the entire house for continuity or break it up. Thank you so much for all your inspirations and great merchandise. I feel sorry for those who haven’t found you!

  28. what trends today Says:

    thanks for sharing useful post.. i like it

  29. Tywanda Oliver Says:

    I’m looking for a set of three shattered glass vases similiar to the one in the pic. Plz help? Thanks Tywanda

  30. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Tywanda,
    Thank you for your inquiry, we use to have those vases/candleholders at Nell Hill’s however, we no longer have them. Hope you will come see what is available today in the stores.

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