Oly's showroom is designed to inspire your imagination with larger-than-life motifs.

Oly’s showroom is designed to inspire your imagination with larger-than-life motifs.

This is a busy week for designers and furniture retailers. It’s the start of the fall furniture market in High Point. It is the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world, and it happens right here in North Carolina. More than 75,000 people will flood the small town looking for the latest trends in home furnishings. It’s been said if you can’t find what you are looking for here, it probably doesn’t exist.

If you are planning a decorating project, now is the time to give your designer a quick call and let him or her know what to add to the list of must-finds.

This is my favorite show of the season. I generally spend three days walking and working the show. It’s not an event for the weak at heart or the tender of foot. There are 180 buildings that offer more than 11 million square feet of show space, you’ll find a lot of businesses each with a large trade show banner trying to get your undivided attention. That’s a lot of walking, talking and buying. More than 2,000 exhibitors will vie for designers, retailers and catalog merchants’ business.

For designers, the trip to High Point is a smart way to use your time. This is the place to spot new colors, fabrics and styles as well as design celebrities. Yes, the industry has its rock stars and divas. Long before there were how-to shows on TV, there were design stars such as Eames, Florence Bassett, Breuer and Bertoia. Today you are more likely to see Barbara Barry, Ralph Lauren, Charlotte Moss, Bob Timberlake and Alexa Hampton. Of course, television personalities-turned-designers will also be in abundance.

I am always looking for fresh ideas and creative applications. The showrooms are beautifully decorated, complete with exquisite floral arrangements. Along with help from friendly design staff, the event also brings great wine, martinis and chocolates. If we all could shop for furniture this way, it wouldn?t be a struggle to get our partners off the old sofa and onto a new one.

If you?re looking for inspiration for your next project, visit your local retailers in about six to eight weeks, when the new items should start arriving in stores. If you can’t wait that long then it’s a great idea to hop online and check out interior design ideas. Explore themes and check the galleries of online companies for ideas. They don’t have to be local – I recently found some amazing window dressing inspiration on www.shuttercraft.co.uk and discovered how much I love the look of shutter blinds. If you are shopping for more eclectic one-of-a-kind items, watch for after-market sample sales. Many of the showrooms sell their floor samples at the end of market, and some retailers take advantage of this opportunity to freshen their inventory and get a jump on the latest trends.

I’ll be back next week with my favorite finds from this season?s market and will continue to share them with you throughout the next few months. Aren’t we fortunate to live in the heart of the furniture world?