Home style preferences mirror some prevalent furniture designs

Final Consumer Insights Now research reveals popular trends in the marketplace

HIGH POINT — In the final segment of our latest Consumer Insights Now research, we identified some home design preferences that also reflect popular styles of furniture in the marketplace, particularly in case goods.

Style leaders in the category will be pleased to know that half of the consumers surveyed prefer minimalist styles, followed by 32% who prefer modern farmhouse styles. Beyond this were rustic, favored by 20% of the respondents, industrial and midcentury modern, tied at 19%, maximalist at 18%, contemporary at 16% and traditional 13%.

While 31% of the youngest Gen Zers ages 18-26 favored contemporary styles, followed by 24% of millennials ages 27-34, most younger consumers, along with Gen Xers and baby boomers, favored minimalist and modern farmhouse, followed closely by industrial styles. The least favored across age groups was traditional, favored only by 11%-13% of those surveyed with the highest response from baby boomers at 16%.

The good news for retailers is that the case goods segment in particular offers plenty of product across all style segments, with modern farmhouse and industrial both being major players in the past few years, each complementing both suburban and urban homes. While at opposite ends of the design spectrum, rustic and midcentury modern styles also have been prevalent in both case goods and upholstery, reflecting an appreciation for both nature and nostalgia.

Perhaps the most interesting to note is the interest in minimalist styles, which tend to favor a less is more approach of clean lines and less ornamentation that ties in with a perhaps simpler lifestyle devoid of clutter. Yet these styles also tend to favor more functionality that complements new technologies in the home.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are the more maximalist trends identified in the survey, which tend to feature bolder colors and prints — as we’ve seen in some upholstery of late — plus larger-scale pieces that fill up larger master bedrooms or great rooms, for example. Art and houseplants also complement the maximalist aesthetic. Thus, it’s interesting to note that 64% of those surveyed, representing all ages, regions and ethnicities, own houseplants.

Another final area worth noting covered by the survey is the amount of households that own either antique or secondhand furniture. While only 34% said they owned antique furniture, 55% of those surveyed said they own secondhand furniture, or furniture likely passed down from a family member. The largest segment owning this type of furniture is younger consumers, from Gen Zers to millennials, including those living in an apartment.

This should come as no surprise as many of us have been the beneficiaries of furniture from parents and other relatives in the past. The author of this article is pleased to be writing this from a formal dining room with a Harden sideboard and a retro American of Martinsville dining set from the early 1960s complete with a dining table and chairs, a buffet and china hutch unit and a bar, all passed down. 

But the rest of the house is almost all furniture that we have purchased over the past 15 years or so. The same will be true for younger consumers as they represent the largest customer base for furniture in the first half of this year and beyond. They are your customer to serve now and well into the future and we hope all this research that we have presented provides a glimpse of the opportunity they and many others in the market for home furnishings represent.

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at tom@homenewsnow.com and at 336-508-4616.

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