3 Event Design Trends for 2018

Last year, CORT Trade Show & Event Furnishings announced the top event, meeting, and party décor trends for 2017. Organic and earthy environments, eclectic modern designs, and functionality were taking the furnishing design world by storm at the time, and a look at what’s hot in 2018 makes it clear these favorite 2017 styles aren’t going anywhere just yet.

Keep reading to learn more about how design and party décor trends for 2018 might be evolving and shifting, and see for yourself what the latest event decoration trends coming out of this year’s CORT Events look like.

Organic and Earthy Movements

The 2017 year saw a big push toward organic and earthy environments that were created by using earth-centric colors and mixed materials in tables, ottomans, accent pieces, and rugs. Trends in soft seating featured shades of gray and light colors, allowing for a clean palette that boasted lush textured fabrics with a soft, organic touch.

Earthy furniture design is more popular than ever, and a focus on gray is even more significant this year. Deep greens, terracotta, and desert rose are big earthy tones for 2018, although they’re now being joined more prominently by Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year, Ultra Violet, to leave bold, lasting impressions.

Using life-like greenery to divide space and lend an organic feel is a simple, effective way to warm up an event space while paying tribute to current furniture trends and earthy vibes.

“Clients want a space that exudes warmth and facilitates connections, whether it’s a meeting in a hotel ballroom or an evening gala,” says Kevin Dana, executive director of marketing and product development at CORT Events. “In addition to organic and earthy décor, we’ve seen a shift towards adding more eclecticism onto ever popular Mid-century and Danish modern-inspired designs in order to build these comfortable, organic environments. Events are utilizing rich fabrics, textures, unusual shapes, and mixed materials.”

A group of young employees meet in a comfortable office space

Eclectic Modern Designs

To achieve this look, event planners are using a surprising mix of wood, marble, metallic finishes, lush fabrics, and greenery. When mixed with simplistic or geometric furnishings and pops of color that appear in nature, it’s easy to create a fresh look that feels natural.

Geometric shapes continue to be a prominent focus for party décor trends in 2018. Minimalist furnishings in gray tones embody the clean, neutral mid-century trend and serve as the canvas to layer pops of color and other décor elements such as rugs, pillows, and lighting that provide an eclectic feel. Warm-toned metallics are especially big for event planning trends in 2018 as well.

The rustic and vintage looks of the recent past are morphing toward this love of the eclectic too, combining art deco, modernism, and urban industrial for a more sophisticated residential vibe. Black- or gold-toned metals set off by glass, wood, or marble surfaces are trending in accent and dining tables, shelving, and other occasional furnishings.

“The look of the season is marble surfaces,” says Jordan Carbotti, designer at Perfect Surroundings. “You’re seeing it incorporated into nearly every event design, and it mixes easily with other materials and fits into any theme, not to mention it’s really sophisticated.”

A meeting room with gray fabric chairs, a large conference table, and metal décor


Functionality is important in satisfying changing expectations set by the millennial generation as well as facilitating networking, engagement, and connections. The natural aesthetic still must accommodate technology, and by adding charging tables and powered seating to designs, designers can assure they are addressing those needs as well.

Ottomans are a great way to create campfire seating and small theater groupings that can be easily rearranged for impromptu creative gatherings within larger meeting spaces. Not to mention, they add a wonderful pop of color.

“Today, planners must think about creating meeting environments that are comfortable and functional. Gone are the days of typical theater seating using uncomfortable banquet chairs. Attendees expect a higher standard to help foster creativity and learning,” says Dana. Upgraded meeting furnishings can be mixed together to set up a room for maximum engagement among guests, colleagues, or friends.

A collection of white, modern chairs arranged in an empty room for an event

To learn more about CORT’s exhibit and event rental collections or the latest in event planning trends for 2018, visit CORTevents.com.