Furniture is like fashion - there are trends and seasons and 'looks' that come and go, although like the little black dress there are some classic pieces of furniture that never date.
Any number of Eames' chairs for instance, or fabric by Liberty.
I've often marvelled at how buyers keep ahead of the game and this weekend I was lucky enough to find out more when I flew to Paris for the Maison & Objet trade show.
Talk about visual overload! There were eight ginormous halls (each the size of about 6 football pitches) with nearly 3,500 different exhibitors from around the globe.
Each stall had been carefully designed to showcase everything from bed linen to dining furniture, lighting to occasional chairs, wallpapers to vintage style accessories.
One hall alone was dedicated to fragrances and kitchenware - who knew there were so many ways to design an espresso cup!
One of the highlights for me was seeing how designers use colour to create a mood and to tie everything together within a scheme.
Colour-coordinated flowers were big, bold and beautiful, with roses and hydrangeas high on the list. Indoor plants featured heavily too, with yuccas (remember those from your student days!) making a big comeback, as well as rubber plants, palms and giant cactus. Plants like these make a really strong impression in a room, acting as living sculptures within a design.
The glamour and opulence of Hollywood was a continuing trend, with lots of shiny surfaces made of brass, chrome, mirror and coloured glass. Sumptuous velvet upholstery and strokable faux fur throws completed this uber-lux look.
I love the pared-back elegance of this room set. The sofa was made of the softest mint green leather, with linen cushions the colour of peppermint creams. Everything was beautifully understated, with accents of teak wood and copper. The picture behind the sofa was created using rolled up newspapers, end on. A similar picture on another set used the cut-off corners of magazines.
I love the way the magazine corners create a geometric shadow pattern.
One of the most exciting stands was by new Dutch designer/maker Mariska Meijers. Her hand dyed Ikat fabric featured in the September issue of Living Etc, and covers her extensive range of soft furnishings including cushions and throws.
Ikat (meaning 'tie') is an Indonesian tie-dyeing technique used to pattern textiles, where the yarn is dyed before being woven.