The Evolution of Décor


Visual. Visual. Visual. Décor is basically a reflection of the person or group hosting the event. Whether it’s an elaborate wedding or a corporate sales meeting, the décor communicates as much as the host does. Guests get a glimpse into a bride’s personal vision or an idea of a corporation’s spending budget simply by taking in their surroundings.

The recession affected everyone, including those creating and requesting elaborate décor. But Clint Paton, principal at Chicago-based special events management company The Revel Group, observes, “The décor pendulum is swinging back from DIY to a more elegant and refined feel with both weddings and corporate events.”

“We’ve seen a change for the positive,” adds Tom Kehoe, founder/president of Kehoe Designs, who’s well known for his highly creative work running a full-service décor company. “The corporate segment is spending again and the social segment is spending more…especially on technology.” The improving economy has clearly had a profound effect on décor, and the impact of technology cannot be overstated. “It’s where décor is moving,” observes Mr. Kehoe.

One significant way that technology has changed event décor is through increased opportunities for branding. “Corporations are looking for unique ways to highlight brands in event décor, through technology and social media,” shares Mr. Paton, who further describes new technologically possible décor options like LED elements, tabletop plasma displays, iPad check-ins and intelligent lighting. These innovative elements show just how much technology has changed what is possible to accomplish with décor.

In addition to technology, two intriguing new trends that Mr. Kehoe has noticed are geometric shapes and décor inspired by the ‘70s and ‘80s. “We’re taking some of this inspiration from fashion and turning it into bar fronts, dance floors and backdrops, creating a whole entire room,” says Mr. Kehoe about what a little inspiration can become in the hands of the right event designer.

With weddings, Mr. Paton has found a soft color palette to be a popular trend. “With the introduction of Instagram and other digital photo filters, the perception of a pretty color palette is going more sepia-toned, with neutrals, pinks and taupes,” he comments. Regardless of current trends, Mr. Paton relishes the opportunity to bring a client’s vision to life: “We did a throwback to Studio 54 – a corporate gala for 900 people. We custom made rotating disco balls, 10-foot in diameter, all throughout Navy Pier. It’s fun for us to be able to take a theme and really run with it.”

In 2014, Mr. Kehoe believes that technology will continue to change the landscape of event designing and décor. His second prediction is a style he describes as ‘Garden Utopia,’ inspired by the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. This style will involve a lush, tropical feel and bold blasts of color. Mr. Paton also believes that vibrant color is the future of décor. “The next big wave will be bold colors in dining table décor, both through linens and blossom selection,” he says. “The future for décor looks bright and beautiful.”

By Jessica Smietana | Above: Jen Wojcik Photograph



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