The furniture industry, supported in part by a recovering housing market and increased consumer spending, is expected to grow at 6 to 7% annually in 2016 and 2017. This continues a recent trend of the industry outpacing the growth of the overall U.S. economy since the 2008 financial crisis. Notable industry trends include a rise in demand for home-office furniture as telecommuting becomes more commonplace. There also is increasing export business for U.S.-based furniture companies as global demand rises with the continuing development of emerging market economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Here are five of the top bets for investors in furniture stocks for 2016.

Stanley Furniture

Stanley Furniture Company (STLY), headquartered in High Point, North Carolina, is a major designer and manufacturer of upscale wood furniture products for both residential homes and offices. The company’s furnishings are sold across the United States, as well as internationally, under three brand names: Stanley Furniture, Stone & Leigh, and Coastal Living.

Stanley Furniture, as of August 15, 2016, was trading at $3.30. The company has a market capitalization of $48.9 million. The stock is up 18.99% year to date (YTD), considerably besting the home-furnishings industry average of 12.2%. Two notable private equity firms — Hale Partnership and Solas Capital Management — recently took sizeable equity stakes in the firm, indicating their confidence in the company's future earnings.

Basset Furniture Industries Inc.

Basset Furniture Industries Inc. (BSET) recently had two top-level insiders purchase substantial shares, a fact that should cause investors to take notice. Bassett is a massive manufacturer and seller of various home furnishings throughout the United States. The company operates through three segments to produce and distribute its product portfolio and takes its name from its headquarters in Bassett, Virginia.

Bassett Furniture was trading at $25.25 as of August 15. 2016. The stock has a market cap of $273.5 million. It offers a dividend yield of 1.43%. Bassett is only up 1.40% YTD, but it may be a bargain, having previously found support around the $25 a share level and having traded as high as $33.68 earlier in the year. Consensus analyst price targets peg the stock at $31 a share. Its five-year average annualized return is an impressive 30.64%.

American Woodmark Corporation

American Woodmark Corporation (AMWD), based in Winchester, Virginia, is down 5.98% YTD, trading at $75.20 a share in early August 2016. However, it is one of the strongest performers in the industry over the past five years, with a five-year average annualized return of 35.23%, and its stock price has surged since a favorable annual report in late April that showed increases in net margin, earnings per share (EPS) and return on equity (ROE). Consequently, this stock is poised to be a strong finisher in 2016.

American Woodmark, with a market capitalization of $1.2 billion, manufactures and markets kitchen cabinets and vanities, offering a wide variety of home construction and remodeling choices with approximately 500 different lines of cabinets marketed under brand names such as Timberlake and Waypoint Living Spaces. The company sells its products through home builders, independent distributors and various retail outlets.

La-Z-Boy Inc.

La-Z-Boy Inc. (LZB) is engaged in manufacturing, exporting and retailing furniture products and accessories throughout the United States and worldwide. The Monroe, Mich. company is best-known for its various popular styles of reclining chairs, known colloquially as La-Z-Boys. Founded in 1927 and initially known as the La-Z-Boy Chair Company, the company changed names in 1996.

As of August 2016, La-Z-Boy has a market cap of $1.5 billion. The stock is currently trading at $30.29. It offers investors a dividend yield of 1.25%. YTD, the stock is up 24.86%, more than double the industry average. The five-year average annualized return for the stock is 31.98%. Ultimately, La-Z-Boy’s strong brand name and worldwide exposure make it a stock with considerable staying power and growth potential.

Leggett & Platt Inc.

Leggett & Platt Inc. (LEG) stock is up 25.37% YTD as of August 2016, trading at $52 a share. The stock has been in a strong, sustained uptrend since early 2009 when it was trading just above $11 a share. The company's second-quarter 2016 earnings report showed a 33% year-over-year (YOY) increase in earnings compared to the second quarter of 2015, as well as an increase over first-quarter 2016 earnings. The company's ROE and return on assets (ROA) also markedly improved on a YOY basis.

The Carthage, Missouri, company, with a $6.9 billion market cap value, operates through four business segments that produce furnishings, industrial materials, commercial products and specialized products. Its diverse manufacturing gives it a broad revenue base, serving customers in the furniture industry, the automobile and aerospace industries, and telecommunications companies. Leggett & Platt has manufacturing facilities spread across the globe.