The first consideration for furniture designed for the US and that for Europe are the differences in the markets. You have to look at the core markets, their styles, their environments, their cultures.
Consider that Europeans tend to be located in more urban areas, geographically, than Americans. Consider that the average American residence is 2349 square feet, double that from 1950’s. (http://www.census.gov/const/C25Ann/sftotalmedavgsqft.pdf). Europeans are (in modern times) apartment dwellers. Furnishing an apartment vrs furnishing a home are distinctively different: scale, efficiency, customization, etc. Americans will tend to move out further from a city for a larger home and more land. Transportation issues are another matter that I won’t discuss other than you might see a reversal of urban spral in the US.
So, Americans have bigger homes, they like to stuff them with a lot of shite.
Culturally, Europeans have a stronger sense for contemporary design. This is more ingrained in their culture and everyday life. Larger populations live around cities that have centuries of established architecture, planning, and diversity over that in the United States. The European consumer has an affluent taste for the contemporary because of location and environment. This is a large market. Modern/contemporary furniture cannot afford to be fussy and one-sided in its purpose. There isn’t room for that.
For the American market, styles tend to fight for the meatiest market: middle American suburbanite. They have the dollars to spend and they have a pretty big home to fill. Culturally, Americans are still romanced by the periods that the country came to exist or by that which their first relatives arrived. This isn’t a blanket statement, it’s an observation. Architecturally-speaking, the American home appeals to a comfort-area that hits the meat of the curve also. Colonial, Cape Cod, McMansion, Southern plantation style homes are extremely common throughout 2/3 of the US.
Now, onto manufacturing. Furniture today is all about sourcing. Most of contemporary furniture is designed for mass-production. The attention is in the details, or lack therof. Some contemporary furniture lacks expensive, laborious detailing that adds a lot of cost and adds time it takes to produce. The details are in the quality of execution.
Traditional styled furniture gives the impression that it is more expensive because of some of the details it possesses of the quality of the construction or even the materials. A lot of consumers just don’t understand how modern-day traditional furniture pieces are manufactured. Still they think a craftsman or team of craftsmen built everything by hand. Not necessarily true, but the appeal is still there.
A lot of this sort of furniture can be still made by hand, but mainly overseas. By the way, you should consider the loss of American manufacturing job as a tragedy. I have worked in the Carolinas as a designer and have never been afforded a better opportunity to work with true craftsmen as I did while I was in that area. They know far more about producing and executing modern, contemporary furniture and upholstery than you will ever hope for.
I believe the desire for more contemporary styling is increasing. Our generation is one that has experienced a sharing of ideas and information like none before. We are more exposed to other cultures and styles than our parents. As we become the power market, the styles will change accordingly. I am a firm believer that only rich people can afford cheap furniture. It is very expensive to replace , let alone unhealthy on the environmental side. I have an eclectic collection in my own home. I buy pieces I like, but because I am intimate with the industry, I like to buy well-executed, well-built pieces that I choose carefully. The only “collection” I bought was the bedroom set in our guest room.
If the originally poster is concerned about have to move to Europe to design housewares and furniture to suit this/her own taste, then that person has a LOT to learn about this career as a designer. It is far more rare to design for yourself or what you like than it is to design for someone else. It is also more difficult to design for your consumer than yourself. If you feel you can only design for yourself to be successful, you may want to reconsider your current career path.