We’ve noticed a trend in the past few years regarding the shopping and purchasing behavior of our customers. Although the furniture industry is certainly not the only one to experience a change in the pattern of sales, it’s interesting to note how current/past events and situations influence American consumers’ behavior when it comes to furnishing their homes. And because your buying habits have changed, that means our business has had to change, too. Here’s our take on the influences that have shaped – and will continue to shape – the world of home furnishings and décor.
The Economic Effect
Of course, the biggest influence is directly related to the economy. When incomes and investment profits decline as they did several years ago, it always causes a drop in spending. Homeowners didn’t stop purchasing furnishings for their homes; but they did give greater thought to their selections. After all, they were spending more time at home planning staycations and entertaining so it was important to make their surroundings beautiful and peaceful.
For instance, instead of replacing a sofa with the cheapest model to save money, they chose a sofa of high quality because it would last longer. As far as style goes, homeowners opted for classic lines and a more neutral color or pattern so that it would look beautiful in any setting, no matter how much it changed. It’s easy to update a room’s style each year when working with large pieces in neutrals such as taupe or gray.
Another way that the sluggish economy has affected home furniture shopping is seen in the move from opulent excess to a more minimalistic style. When times were good, it was reflected in the opulence of our surroundings; the opposite was also true with a tendency to pare down during economic hard times.
Now, even with the economy slowly recovering, minimalism is still in vogue. We continue to gravitate toward clean design and less cluttered living spaces. If a piece of furniture or accessory doesn’t directly enhance the room or its functionality, it isn’t brought in. Everything is less “fussy”, as in geometric patterns as opposed to florals, clean lines as opposed to flourishes, open spaces as opposed to clutter, bright centers as opposed to dark corners.
The Green Movement
Another large influence on furniture shopping is the importance of protecting the environment. Over the past decade or so, the green movement has been steadily building up steam to the point that many American consumers base their purchasing decisions on eco-friendliness and sustainability. Buying American is another big trend, as well, not only because it sustains our own economy, but because it causes less of an environmental impact in regards to transportation of goods.
While it matters how and where our furnishings are made, it also matters that they blend into environments with an emphasis on natural materials. Organic design is a huge trend this year and will probably continue to be so for some time to come. It’s the perfect way to marry exceptional style with a return to natural, more simple elements that portray environmental awareness and authenticity. Wood, stone, leather and textured fabrics continue to be very popular.
Environmental concern is also reflected in color schemes. Last year, tangerine – the softer-than-orange but more-exciting-than-peach tone found in ocean sunsets – was big. This year, teal blues and pale greens such as celery are very popular, most likely because they are hues found in nature. Consumers are done with dark wood finishes, too, and embracing natural, light wood finishes perhaps to welcome a new era of simplicity – the calm after the storm.
How we treat our homes is a direct reflection of our values, our focus and the current state of affairs. At Lawrance, we believe in keeping up on all trends so we can best satisfy the needs of our customers. Come in to either of our showrooms and let us show you what you have indirectly told us you want in your home.