Summer 2019
Distinctive Décor By Debbie Eisele

Midcentury modern, boho and farmhouse décor provide retailers avenues to entice a variety of shoppers

In home décor, stylish options abound, yet three distinct categories are stand-outs: midcentury modern, boho, and farmhouse. Retailers can provide merchandise to match trends within each or all three categories.


Midcentury modern décor is timeless, typically features wood and architectural components, and stresses functionality. Products that scream personality fall into boho, short for bohemian design and include bright colors and lots of layers and patterns. Farmhouse décor is warm and stylish with natural elements and textures that provide a sense of comfort.



According to Candace Campbell from Abbott Collection midcentury modern continues to be popular. “It is simple, clean, timeless, and palatable for the masses,” she explained. Rich color palettes, such as jewel tones for those who prefer the art deco trend are beginning to trend she shared, but earthy reds, teals, ochres are also available and popular.

Toby Barlow from Nora Modern, a retail shop featuring midcentury modern designs gave her take on this trend. “We live in a post-trend era. Instagram and Pinterest have overtaken the old editorial style, no tastemaker gets to dictate the look and feel of a season like they used to,” said Barlow. “It’s about finding the things that people connect with; stories and things people love,” she stated.


Alberto Leonardo Kraidelman, owner of Karma Living, noted although the “spicy coral signature” is popular, it is well-suited for mixing with other colors. He also said textiles are an important component to boho décor.


Shelly Kennedy, owner of Drooz, said boho is the “art of combining — metals, wood, fabrics, textures and patterns — in an organized way.” She described the balance between layers and solid colors and patterns is the “key to a desirable boho look.”

She expressed the hot colors are neon or bright colors and “pattern on pattern, floral on floral, organic” elements are also trending. Kennedy also indicated there are no real trends in boho: “By nature this style is almost the opposite of trends — unconventional, rule breaker, free- spirited — a ‘more is more’ décor philosophy.”


Stuart Miller from AHS Lighting & Home Décor, said neutral tones and gray are still performing well in this style but “it is important to show some color to let consumers know what is trending.”

“When you describe the updated trend of urban farmhouse, think modern home meets farmhouse flair! It’s comfortable, cozy and classic,” Deb Swisher from Creative Co-Op said “cotton, canvas, chenille, natural wood and other materials” are elements that blend with this style.

Devanie Adams from Adams + Co sees farmhouse with a little boho mixing in. “Today, our style has evolved into a cleaner, more modern farmhouse look with naturals, blacks, whites and grays and surprise pops of color,” she said. Recently Adams conducted a poll asking consumers about color trends and the result “was hands down still neutrals for the win (white, gray, black, ivory) with a lot of shades of blue.” She also noted textiles are “huge right now” as is “bringing nature indoors.”

While Peter Friedmann, vice president product development for DEMDACO, explained farmhouse has trends within the style. “We are migrating to a fresh perspective. You’ll see a more streamlined aesthetic that has a more Scandinavian feel,” he said.


Karma Living noted creating displays within “the moment and the mood” works best. “Displays that are the fastest to refill without losing the attention of the buyer are the ones that we prefer,” Kraidelman said. His tip: attend markets to find inspiration.

Karma Living Boho Merchandise Display
Boho style merchandise display by Karma Living.

Abbott discovered trend zones that “take the customer on a journey throughout the store” are quite successful. While AHS suggested retailers use a variety of merchandise from multiple styles within displays to “inspire the customer.”

Swisher noted “anything goes” for displays: “Every person has their own style and what these design trends mean to them. Make it creative, change it often and keep the displays full and well-maintained.”

Drooz merchandise display
Drooz merchandise display.

Barlow understands small shop display challenges. She said to “trust your passion” and keep “mixing it up” for displays. Barlow discovered showcasing merchandise on a simple tabletop is the best method in a small space and shared that creating customer engagement is important: “We are a small shop without much room for big displays, so we connect with customers on a one-to-one basis. We have had a great success with special events,” she said.

drooz boho display for a baby's room
Drooz display showcasing boho elements ideal for a nursery.

Drooz sells small items mixed in with larger pieces in merchandising techniques that help “set the tone of a collection or display.” Kennedy said layers of color and texture work well, especially for showcasing boho décor. “We are very careful about keeping items very neat and tidy; books are lined straight and the card wall is very neat,” she said. “We always try to tell a story with our displays.” Kennedy also suggested they should have “a very relaxed, care free vibe” and “pillows and throws are a must have.”

Another option Adams suggested is to create a theme or story for a display. “(It’s) my favorite way of merchandising,” she said. “It also makes décorating so much easier and exciting. Show items that work for all three trends by placing the same item in all three spaces to show the different looks it can easily take on.” DEMDACO shared creative displays “can be sold to consumers.” With this in mind, Friedmann suggested placing items next to one another to show a range of product formats to “inspire the consumer and allow them to create the look by purchasing the display décor piece.” The most effective displays “capture attention with larger statement pieces built around them” Swisher shared. “Your visual display should have a 360 degree eye-capturing excitement from every angle,” she said. She also said to use hanging rugs, filled containers, vases, baskets, and other storage items to “make it look like something the customer would want in their home.”


Retailers may showcase various styles as vignettes. According to Miller an effective merchandise arrangement can include lights as it is “an inexpensive way for a consumer to change the look of their room.” He also expressed pillows and rugs “help set the tone and tie together the look of a vignette.”

Drooz vignette display
Drooz store vignette display.

“Thoughtful vignettes within the store create a lifestyle feel,” Campbell said. “A ‘buy this, with this’ is easy for the customer to understand.” Merchandise should be the focus. “Have a common thread, both a visual and thematic commonality, it will create a dynamic display,” she said.

Merchandise arrangements should be changed often. “Moving things around keeps the store fresh and updated.” said Swisher. And DEMDACO said a “curated look” alongside very regimented single format lines works well. Freidmann said single lines break up space “so that it doesn’t become overwhelming.”

Adams suggested arranging styles into vignettes and name them. She said this is a great way to engage customers. She even provided a few name suggestions: “Love Freely” for boho; “Welcome Home” for farmhouse; and “Live Fabulous Darling” for midcentury modern.

What do consumers want? Adams asked them. “The categories were farmhouse, midcentury modern, boho, and classic,” Adams shared. “I was not surprised how many replies came back with ‘a mix of some or all’ — I agree 100 percent. In today’s décorating, anything goes really!” Barlow’s view is similar and noted “always sell what you love. If you do, you will find a way to make the pieces work together.”


Retailers can enhance any merchandise display by incorporating a little something extra — a unifier. Plants, greenery, and even lamps work well to create focus and share a story with customers.

DEMDACO noted succulents are “hot” and last longer for merchandising techniques. While Abbott noted the importance of keeping plants healthy as “dead plants are not a good look.”

Creative Co-Op suggested to “always” add “fluff” to complete a look. Pots, containers and baskets are ideal to use when adding greenery. Drooz found adding flowers and greenery help “fill the space” and draw the eye to a display/table to set “an overall vibe for the story of the display.”

AHS Lighting said lamps are an excellent way to create a cohesive look and when retailers use them as a unifier it allows them to “capitalize” on the growing trend for accent lamps.


Creative Co-Op

“Your visual display should have a 360-degree eye-capturing excitement from every angle!”

Karma Living

“I think planning works great but identify whom can do it best — it is worthwhile getting help.”

Nora Modern

“Always sell what you love. If you do, you will find a way to make the pieces work together.”

Adams + Co

“In today’s decorating, anything goes really!”


“Inspire the consumer and allow them to create the look by purchasing the display décor piece,” said Friedmann.


“Keep the greenery hydrated and manicured; dead plants are not a good look!”


“We are very careful about keeping items very neat and tidy; books lined straight, card wall is very neat and lined up.”


“It is important to show some color to let consumers know what is trending.”

Debbie Eisele

Debbie Eisele is the former managing editor for Gift Shop Plus, Stationery Trends and a variety of special issue publications, including: The Guide, Holiday Shop, Celebrations & Occasions and Waterfront Living.

Social Connections

🌻 Specialty Retailers and Independent Garden Centers, unite! 🌻 Get ready for The Garden Center Show on August 6-7, 2024. Connect with fellow professionals, learn from industry leaders in an updated education program, and discover the newest trends and products. Don't miss out on the chance to revitalize your business with local garden center tours! Registration is FREE. Reserve your spot today. 🔗 Register here:🌿 Learn more: #gardencentershow #networking #RetailStrategies #specialtyretailers #gardencenter #giftshops #retailmanufacturers ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
Gift Shop Plus Winter 2024
Get one year of Gift Shop Plus in both print and digital editions for just $16.

Interested in reading the print edition of Gift Shop Plus?

Subscribe Today »

website development by deyo designs