Trendy Furniture: Ideas for the Busy Grad Student

By Stephanie Anderson Witmer

Grad school is never easy, and moving into a new apartment or other living space is just one of the many challenges. Rather than shelling out big bucks for “forever” furniture and accessories, consider turning to furniture rental as a flexible option that allows you to experiment with the trends that fit your lifestyle at a given time.

Mix It Up

If there’s one word to describe on-trend home design right now, it’s “eclectic,” says Henrietta Heisler, owner and head of design for Henrietta Heisler Interiors Inc. in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Current trends include a lot of the clean lines of mid-century modern design mixed with Art Deco and Hollywood glam accents, such as plush upholstery and gold touches.

Spiff up the bedroom by swapping out a standard square headboard with a curvy tufted or leather one. Real estate website Trulia chose statement headboards as one of 2017’s top interior design trends.

Bring an eclectic feel into every room by using accent pieces such as chairs, credenzas, and bookshelves that blend different materials. Think lighter or whitewashed woods with metal, warmed up by touches of leather and textured upholstery and fabrics.

Talk Among Yourselves

The way you arrange your furniture also matters. Heisler says to take a cue from mid-century design and those swingin’ “Mad Men” style conversation pits. “Float” your furniture by moving it a few inches from the walls and arranging it in a way that encourages chatting face to face with friends. (Positioning a recliner and sofa in front of the TV? So over.)

Ultimately, the amount of space you have available is the determining factor, but try a sofa ringed with a few chairs, or two facing sofas flanked by chairs, or even a sectional and an additional seat or two. The key is that the furniture — and the people — face each other.

Heisler says this trend extends into eating spaces as well, with round dining tables becoming more popular. The round shape facilitates conversation, but there’s a downside. If you want to seat six or more people, a good deal of space is required. A small round table for four is ideal for an apartment setting.

Open floor plans are popular, so if you’ve got some space to work with, arrange furniture to define each area or vignette, Heisler recommends. Place a comfy armchair and lamp in a corner or next to a window to create a cozy, inviting reading or study nook, for example. Use area rugs to delineate larger living and dining spaces.

Make an Impact

“2017 is all about bold color and texture,” says Heisler. Furniture and accessories shouldn’t just look good; they should also feel good to the touch. Texture is one of the top trends of the year, according to style predictions by Trulia and Elle Decor. Jewel tones — emerald and bright greens, burgundy-reds, and navy blue, in particular — are trending colors for furniture, area rugs, and even walls. Velvet tufted sofas in a deep color bring all these style elements together with a nod to movie-star glamour.

Play with mixing bold, vivid patterns on accessories, bedding, and even on the furniture pieces. Accent walls covered in wallpaper in oversized geometric or floral patterns is also trending. If you can’t paint or paper the walls, fake it by covering a tall paneled screen or room divider in paper or fabric to achieve the same effect. Heisler also suggests framing wallpaper in a trio of large frames and hanging them in a row. When you want a new look, simply change the wallpaper inside.

CORT Furniture Rental offers everything you need to set up your living space, from accent chairs and dining sets to bookshelves and headboards. No matter what style you choose, CORT takes care of delivery and setup, so you can focus on hitting the books.