Design Spectator: Behind the Scenes Made in the USA Emily Morrow Finkell for Floor Covering Weekly



While considering which of the beautiful trends are most likely to succeed in the American homes, it is an ideal time to examine what matters the most in the world of design. Let’s consider the “curator” or design team’s design direction, overall aesthetics, the inspiration, what demographic group that the design is targeting and more.

One intriguing company in particular, Aria, is owned by Hunt Broyhill who opened the High Point showroom doors for a sneak preview of the newest market introductions. His team’s eye for design is laser-focused on what American homeowners are seeking for their homes, comfort, quality, performance and seamless design styles that work with practically everything they already own. Aria is bucking the trend of outsourcing all their manufacturing by making their furniture frames in Conover, North Carolina and is a model that seems to be shifting back stateside industry-wide. As far as why they’re being examined for “Design Spectator”, their design approach is a good correlation to what I see going on in the floor covering industry, the cross merchandising of the various flooring categories and the careful curation of specific looks, making it easy for consumers to find a well-designed look and for designers to put together projects quickly. These are responses to what American homeowners are demanding and it’s far easier to tune into the pulse of the consumers when it’s all done stateside.

Aria, like several floor covering manufacturers, sells to retailers across the United States and internationally and naturally the retailers have a great deal of input. Hunt Broyhill said Aria’s target audience is “the highest end of lowest end and the lowest end of highest end”. When asked about Aria’s design direction, Broyhill said he has the placed the design decisions into the hands of Ms. Robin Hoff. Ms. Hoff cited that they’re aware of the purchasing power of both millenials and baby boomers, each “wanting comfort and price point with the fashion, in furnishings, the pillows and accents are the accessories to the outfit. Colors include minerals, taupes, mushrooms and natural linens. Sofas for example are almost always a basic neutral where the colors and patterns are what adds emotion to the sale.” When asked about customization, their response is that there’s no need for any customization per se since the process of choosing the components is very individualized while still manufacturing friendly.

First the sofa frame, then the arms, thirdly the fabric and finally the pillows. Key trends for Aria are in step with interiors universally, gray is still essential, rock-tumbled linens, casual damasks, clean lines and overall must be lower maintenance. Performance fabrics have come a long way and have taken back a large share of what was once held by leather upholstery. Sounding very much like carpet and hard surface programs like Shaw Floors’ “Life Happens” and “Pet Protect” to name a few. The designs are not compromised by the protection and performance that’s engineered into the product.


Aria (above) makes an impressive statement on their facade drawing in record numbers of buyers this spring market. Their styling for Americans tastes is spot on.
Focusing on the most salable upholstery frames that interchange fabric colors and patterns, featured Greek key motifs, buffalo watch plaids as well as some chic acrylic legs for the smallest hint of an uber trend.


Grays, all shades from lightest dove gray to darkest charcoals, are holding their own strongly at every price point and in every “design style”.

Basic frames can create instant drama depending on the details…mega-sized exposed nail head trim, faux-fur accent pillows, or metallicized fabrics for example.

Textural, nubby solid fabrics pair nicely with many of the accent pillows, flame stitched ikats, chevrons and even other solids we a different texture. Visual interest is key while forgiveness of everyday lifestyles is essential.

Driftwood gray framed chairs mix it up  beautifully with shades of Navy Blues, Wedgewood blues and whites. There’s a sense of implied patriotism when you see the whites and blues in interiors.

Hunt Broyhill (above) of Hickory, NC explains how his team research consumers’ preferences. “It’s all about having the most important design details that are still attainable.”

For the floors, most of the newly purchased furnishings are going to be placed into home interiors with beautiful hardwood floors, softened by rugs. Today consumers who are tuned into social media and the news are asking for Made in the USA products and the dealers are responding. American-owned manufacturers are a necessity, whether it’s for flooring or furniture. Wood is one material that just about any demographic group desires, considering it a safe investment and way to increase their homes value.


Hardwood floors of wider widths and longer lengths were featured in multiple vignettes at this year’s High Point market such as this one (above) in Stanley Furniture.

For “To the trade” bespoke hardwood floors, contact Emily Finkell at EF Floors & Design or via the Design Spectator blogpost. Thank you!

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