Recently I was reading an article in a "popular trade publication" about current design trends. I was hoping to get a take on what was hot and what was not. But all I got was confounded! The current trends were presented in a bulleted list format and it seemed like every "trend" presented on the list was the antithesis of the previous item.
The first thing mentioned was that straight grained woods were extremely popular. The next item stated that highly figured woods were "hot." Rustic styles are "in," according to the article, but so are slick high gloss finishes. Uniform color schemes are "big" but so is the use of contrasting woods.
The article went on like this for two pages, leaving me with the sense that the design words have become completely schizophrenic. The best conclusion I was able to come to is that, in today's market the rule is that there are no rules. When it comes to design, anything goes. There is no one big thing that everyone wants.
What this means for makers is that in order to be competitive, it is important to be able to work in as many styles as possible. You can spend years becoming proficient at producing high gloss finishes but if the customer standing in your office wants the French Country look, you better be able to provide it or you are not getting the job.