The Latest in Event Design Trends

March 14, 2019 Jessica Stewart

We’re three months into 2019 and starting to see that event design trends have evolved and grown rapidly. To be a part of the events industry this year feels like you can’t even blink without something changing in the existing design formula. Of all event planning categories, meetings seem to be evolving the most and being that the design formula has zero constants, applying new methods to achieve perfection is quite the challenge. So, what do you need to be an “A student” in the science of event design trends?

Well, to succeed in event design trends you’ll have to be more dynamic, flexible, and, most of all, you’ll have to be very in tune with what guests and attendee desire. For event planners and venues, that will mean learning how to look into the crystal ball to stay ahead of expectations.

In this post, The Event Planner Expo team will cover event design trends that promise to shake things up a bit in your event planning approach.

Event Planning Design is Making a Huge 180

Now that we’re well into the year, The Event Planner Expo team is loving the event design trends that we’re seeing. There is an obvious move towards being more modern. However, what we’re mostly seeing is a 180-degree change from the rustic, distressed fabric, and weathered wood look that has been dominating event design for the past five years. What we’re loving even more is the gap between what we have been used to for so long, and what we’re now moving towards.

Minimalist event decor will have maximum appeal.

Whether we’re talking about modern decor or millennial lifestyle, less is more in terms of the materials being used. Minimalism has become the cultural tenant for the younger generations who have demonstrated that they favor experiences over possessions.

This form of societal thrust is also leaving its mark on event design trends, because it has set the tone for décor, particularly with weddings. Wedding Wire stated that couples are leaning towards:

“a bold, minimalistic look for a variety of aspects of their wedding day, from venues to invitations, wedding cakes, and more.”

Moving further on in the year, event planners will progressively look towards choosing venues that have sprawling open space with industrial features (like exposed HVAC, or white-washed brick) as their blank canvas for minimalist design. It’s a undertaking that stands in opposite direction to the go-to gaudy ballrooms.

The 70s and 80s are going strong in 2019.

… but event designers will expand how they look at "retro."

The old-fashioned styles of the ’70s and ’80s are going to stay the same in popularity when it comes to event design trends, but in the upcoming year, Creative Directors will start digging way deeper into old times for inspiration.

Retro is still going strong In 2019, and designers have been sourcing their inspiration from the past in numerous ways—from color palettes to patterns. According to Kristen Rollins, who is the senior marketing manager at Peak Event Services, in Woburn, Mass, retro is a huge influence in textiles.

“I think the retro vibe is going to carry over to 2019, especially during the end-of-winter-into-spring transition,” Rollins says. “Rich velvets and suedes--sometimes reminiscent of your grandmother’s house--will continue to be a popular fabric for linens and lounges, as they provide texture and a pop of color to any look.”

Shereé Bochenek, creative director for Apres Event Decor and Tent Rental in Minnetonka, Minn. states that retro style is also popping up in event furniture decor. The popular mid-century modern design trend has been the look of choice for her clients.

“Mid-century styling is emerging as the go-to for rental furniture, favoring clean lines, bold colors and a lower profile,” Bochenek says. “Rental seating will be taking this direction as well.”

Product manager Nichole Hart and Stylist Mia Fattrosso with Teterboro, N.J. Party Rental Ltd. stated that can’t help but to be inspired by the past, but with more of a contemporary edge:

“We see a trend toward a modern approach to art deco and Hollywood Regency style.”

This modern approach often means a balance of minimalism and elegance. While several event designers are implementing this to newer retro-inspired designs, it is also shifting some long-time trends.

“The ever-present rustic style is evolving into a more refined look with an elegant feel”

Good-Bye Shabby Chic

Let’s be honest, and this may not go over well with everyone but, who’s not over shabby chic? We have seen enough bird cages, mason jar centerpieces, and barn doors to last a lifetime.  What people love about modern décor is that it’s actually finished. The wood is nicely polished, the furniture has definite and angular shapes, while the décor delivers a simple ease that delivers a bold statement (instead of mismatched clusters that are intentionally placed to appear unintentional).

Though, it could be hard to move instantly from one trend to another, do it.  We’re seeing furniture options where tables have beautiful finished wood tops, and you can see the grains in the wood right under the polish. You’ll still see metallic touches but moving more toward chromes and polished with a lot of shine instead of the metallic finish that mercury glass has. These transitional décor pieces will help bring your clients into the new event design trends, without forcing them out of their comfort zone or what they might have found on Instgram.

Beyond the Chevron

We are ecstatic to bid adieu to the good ole chevron and welcome the new prints and patterns. Now don’t this the wrong way, most event designers are organized people, and the strong definition and angles that chevron offers are mentally right in their wheelhouse. However, it’s had a great run, and now it’s time for fun prints that come in multiple colors and shapes that are popping up everywhere.

The preppy chic look that chevron delivered has not disappeared either. The navy and turquoise that were ever so popular are still being used, only now with diverse geometric shapes. A well-placed throw rug or pillow is a nice subtle way to add new prints into your design. Or, you can go big and work with printed linens on the dinner rounds, then ensure that it’s the focal point in the event design plan.  You can even find complimentary patterned linens that will give every table a distinct yet cohesive appearance!

Texture Forever

2019 has been the year of the event experience, where we’ve focused our planning efforts on how our guests are experiencing the event, absorbing the content, all while trying to take our events to the next level. It’s not one big thing, it’s all the little things event planners add to the event design that can boost the experience factor, explicitly by pleasing the senses.

A good way for event planners to do that is with texture. Placing an obviously textured sofa at any event will be inviting and comfortable. You can go with linen that has a rough spun fabric which is interesting, and the “flaws” will draw attention, while a diversely shaped wall décor piece can add depth to a room, especially if it’s paired with the right lighting. Most event planners know the basics to transforming a room. However, in a world where there’s so much to draw our attention, and we’re continuously bombarded with the big, bold and brazen, we find it’s always a nice surprise to find a small, yet interesting detail that will catch the eye.

Focusing on texting is a bit different than patterns because it wakes up the senses because it changes the experience. By seeking items that are meant to be inspected and touched, you’re taking your guests into a deeper part of the complete event design.


Change can be hard, and sometimes within event planning design, it can be challenging to move clients toward what is up and coming rather than what they see all over social media. However, with so many great ways to bridge that gap between the outgoing and incoming event design trends, it is easy to put on an event which will satisfy your clients.

We'd love to hear from the pros who work with Event Design Trends! Contact us if this is your niche because we'd love to have you submit a guest blog post on the latest in decor!

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