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At its heart, office furniture is about fashion. Manufacturers consistently strive to accommodate changes in the workplace and with that comes new looks and trends. Below are a just few things you can expect to see in the upcoming year.

Steampunk and Vintage/Modern Grunge















Many designs in 2012 will incorporate some of these concepts. If you’re not familiar with the steampunk movement, it’s where vintage meets industrial. There is also a complementary trend that marries earthy tones and materials with modern aesthetics. The eco-friendly movement has brought us new offerings that incorporate reclaimed materials and scrap-wood construction. And wood is always good, even if it’s painted red, black or white.


Technology meets collaboration


technology meets collaboration

The trend in recent years at industry trade shows, has been a steady rise in furniture with baked-in technology. This includes everything from hidden outlets and cable management to built-in speakers and wireless charging systems. Most recently, manufacturers have focused on more ad-hoc collaborative areas that people tend to utilize in open plan offices. Expect this to continue, with more focus on built-in screens and wireless technologies.


Textured Textiles and Monochromatic Colors

textured textiles












There will be more focus on textures like leather, metallic and fur (possibly), with less focus on patterns. The most popular colors will be red, black, white and gray – gray being the relative newcomer this year. Bright colors, contrasts against neutral tones or two-toned shades of the same color, will be reserved more for utility driven areas such as open meeting spaces, waiting and children’s areas.

LED Lighting

led lighting












Under-counter, color-changeable lighting will continue to be popular, as will the proliferation of task lighting. While the promise of CFL lights is all but dead, new breeds of LED lights are on the way that will likely make their way into work spaces across America.

Materials Exposed

exposed materials












Transitional styles utilizing wood, metal, glass will continue their meteoric rise in popularity this year. Expect more foil/aluminum/stainless steel and mirror finishes. Where plastics are utilized, expect them – along with glass – to be bright, bold and translucent.

What trends are you seeing as we enter 2012? What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.