Spending on quality furniture can pay off in years to come, according to The Wall Street Journal. In fact, the publication asserts that buying top-grade pieces can be a good investment: good furniture, along with other home design elements, can last a lifetime and increase in value.

Meanwhile, if you’re planning on selling your home, attractive interior design can certainly help close the deal: It’s no secret that staging your home can help you sell it faster, The Journal notes.

With that in mind, the Straight Talk blog sought out the most impressive modern interior design at the annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair. Held recently in New York City, the ICFF gives craftspeople a showcase for their latest wares while offering buyers a marketplace to see the latest cutting-edge home pieces and accessories. With the help of Elle Decor magazine market editor Orli Ben-Dor, we identified some current designs you may want to consider for your own home.

Gaming Tables as Art


Made of low iron crystal glass and walnut wood, this foosball table—available from Bespoke Global—holds its own against any piece of furniture.

Recreation pieces like Ping-Pong tables are fun, but sometimes they don’t fit with your decorating scheme. But purchase, say, a foosball table made from low iron crystal glass and walnut wood and you have something that’s both entertaining and beautiful.

“We’ve seen some really amazing game pieces,” says Ben-Dor. “ICFF is a place where people push the limits. People are playing with a lot of different materials and showcasing them in a show like this.” Ben-Dor notes that companies, in particular, tend to gravitate toward high-end recreation furniture. “One company I know of has a pool table with a top. The company uses it as their conference table. After work, they take off the top and shoot pool.”

Greater Options in Wall Coverings


New from Octopus Products’ Octoterra Collection, this wooden wall covering is a far cry from the paneling of dens in the 1970s.

Wall coverings have come a long way since wallpaper and the faux wood paneling common to dens in the 1970s. “There’s more variety than ever,” says Ben-Dor. “There are textures like laminate that have become more interesting. The other thing is that they’re making the fauxs really good now. So if you want to get the look of leather or the look of stone without buying stone or upholstering your walls in leather, there are ways to do that now that are not so cheesy looking. A lot of them are also using authentic materials but taking out the custom part, so you can buy a tile made from wood instead of having a woodworker. The beauty of wall coverings is that you can transform your space – you can create a totally different architectural feel.”

Aside from the aesthetic benefits, wall coverings can also better a room’s acoustics. Reducing echo and balancing tone can add value to spaces like media rooms and bedrooms, according to the site.

Naked Bulbs


Seen at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, these King Edison Pendant Lamps by Young & Battaglia take the naked bulb movement to the next level.

Updating the lighting in your home can help increase its value, according to RealEstate.com. So if you want to keep your interiors looking fresh and up-to-date, you may want to go with exposed bulbs – a very contemporary look.

“I would say people are paying attention just as much to the light bulbs as they are to the fixtures – particularly if it’s exposed,” says Ben-Dor. “Especially those Edison bulbs, where you can see the filament.” Plus, there’s been a lot of creative play going on with glass lighting fixtures. “People are getting more creative and modern with it,” says Ben-Dor. “There’s different shapes and clusters and colors. I think it makes sense for people to be exploring glass lighting fixtures because they reflect the light so beautifully.”

Digitally Printed Custom Wallpaper


Real wood paneling? No, just an incredible wallpaper simulation. Called Scrapwood Wallpaper, it’s by Piet Hein Eek and is available at NLXL.

Besides the various wall coverings mentioned above, Ben-Dor pointed out another new development when it comes to dressing your room: digitally-printed custom wallpaper. This trend allows you to create any kind of wallpaper you like simply by uploading an image file.

“It’s whatever you want,” Ben-Dor says. “With the high quality printing, these photographic images, like of wood paneling or scrap wood, is really convincing and it looks great because it really looks like it. And it’s a little fun. It’s a little cheeky. It’s trompe l’oeil.”

And just for the record, Yahoo! Homes notes, wallpaper in general has again become very popular. As an example, Yahoo! showcases how wallpaper in one powder room seems to give the room value beyond its price tag.

Unique, Hard-to-Reproduce Furniture


This table comes from Akke Functional Art, a modern furniture design studio that specializes in combining elements such as wood, metal and stone in its pieces.

Furniture at ICFF often pushes the boundaries of originality. Stone, metal and wood can come together in combinations, shapes and styles never seen before.

“What’s fresh about this is how they’re putting it together,” says Ben-Dor. “I think these combinations make for great design.” But there’s more to it than marrying concrete and bamboo just for the sake of doing it. Explains Ben-Dor, “I think it’s not so much combining the wood top and metal base as much as it being about craftsmanship – doing special things. Unfortunately, one of the driving forces for design right now is making something that can’t just be knocked off – that it will just be too difficult to make. And that will inform the design. It’s a funny place to come from, but it sometimes produces unique things.”

In terms of return on investment, The Wall Street Journal points out that collecting modern furniture may not yet be in the same league as collecting art. But, the publication adds, if you think long term, at the very least, you’ll be able to enjoy some quality pieces now.

What’s your favorite new trend in interior design? What’s the most you’d spend for fine home furnishings?