Housing 2021: A picture of the mood

Bonn. The imm cologne, the trade fair that kicks off the year in the furniture and interior design sector, is cancelled. Nevertheless, things are happening in the home, because new trends in furniture and interior design develop independently of international exhibitions. The imm cologne's impulses and inspirations will be missing, but the manufacturers' offerings and the customers' demand show the market. So even at the beginning of this unusual year, there are bestsellers, new products and slow sellers in the furniture and furnishing sector. The managing director of the Initiative Furnier + Natur (IFN) and long-time living analyst Ursula Geismann, summarises the developments of the home.

The year 2020 was like three years. We spend 90 percent of our time indoors anyway, and last year we spent most of it at home. We lived in our home three times as much, saw our partners and children three times as much. We got to know our home really well in 2020, then changed it, improved it and often invested in it.

Housing is a self-portrait. It's clear, we show ourselves in our home as we really are. We furnish it according to our taste and our personal ideas. We have reinforced this because we were more at home. According to the commandment of Ferdinand Avenarius: "Show yourself in your home as you are", it has become a reflection of our self. So that we don't get bored in this hell of our own taste, we have claimed more media with news, games, films and series so that we don't lose sight of the outside.

We are looking for something special. Checking out the internet is expressly desired. The disadvantage: on the internet we only ever find what we are looking for. On the other hand, social media also offer a lot of inspiration. It is noticeable that the share of DIY sales for repairs has experienced enormous growth. People are asking themselves the questions: What can still be salvaged from that old cupboard? Can anything be repurposed on this table? What can be cannibalised? This makes pimping and upcycling more popular than ever, and more than half of Germans consider repairing something to be a meaningful activity that teaches patience and serenity. In addition, upcycling contributes to conscious waste avoidance.

The future begins in the mind. This statement is also valid for housing. To get one step closer to the future, many smart home devices are so dear to us and are considered bestsellers. We are modernising our habits with the help of mobile control apps for the oven and coffee machine, digital voice assistants for light and sound, vacuuming and cleaning robots and security controls for heating, windows and doors. Our home must not become a digital fortress where we end up being controlled and monitored ourselves and lose our privacy.

New floor plans are coming. The division of our flats into three/four rooms plus kitchen and bathroom, has been replaced by the open floor plans where the kitchen-dining-living areas merge. It is now time to rethink this open floor plan. In future, the working world will no longer be so separate from the living world. The home office, or Hoffice for short, has long since become reality. Homeschooling or digital education will also remain after the pandemic. Architecture and interior design must now respond to the social transformation of the working world and life models. In modern homes, there must be spaces for retreat and appropriate furniture, as well as space for fitness.

The tops and flops at the beginning of 2021

Mid-century design remains in vogue in the general design language. Mid-century design is visually reminiscent of furniture and furnishings from the 1940s to the 1960s.

More warm tones Grey, black and white still score points in the kitchen furniture range, for example. But more and more warm tones are appearing on the colour horizon. Warm colours, often pastel, create a homely atmosphere. Individual strong colour accents, for example on sofa cushions, are beautiful individual eye-catchers. The colour theme "Orient" is gaining in importance. The trend metals brass and copper go well with this. Pantone's colours for 2021 are the friendly Illuminating Yellow and the soft pastel Ultimate Gray. They also fit well into this trend.

Original wallpapers and colourful radiators. Modern living is always an individual mix of different furnishing styles and materials. The new range of original wallpapers is increasing and completes many a living wish: from tropical beaches to abstract block stripes and vintage patterns. Personalised wallpaper with your own drawings or photos is also possible in all sizes thanks to the many online offers. Colours are finally also coming into play for radiators. Previously white and thus rather discreet, the radiator is increasingly becoming a colourful object with its own self-confidence. A new design trend is emerging here.

Good lighting is a must-have. Maybe because we've been home more, maybe because what's on offer is getting better and better: A home needs good lighting. Gone are the days when only a ceiling light illuminated a room. Today, many different light sources are preferred. "Good light is when the luminaire doesn't stand out," is something more and more people understand.

The box spring bed is on the retreat. Beds with a bed frame, also gladly in comfort height, are coming back more strongly. Wood and wood-based materials are more popular for bed frames than metals.

Veneer is a trendy all-rounder. Veneer has always been used as a furniture surface, but is increasingly conquering other home accessories such as lamps, screens or decorative objects. Oak is the queen and still tops all other veneers. But there is also movement in the market. There is increasing demand for the light Maple veneer, the medium to dark brown elegant American Walnut and the calm and yellowish-light Birch. There is a noticeable increase in demand from the international furniture industry for softwood veneers. Here it is larch, pine and fir that are increasingly being processed into veneer for furniture.

Initiative Furnier + Natur (IFN)
The Initiative Furnier + Natur (IFN) e.V. was founded in 1996 by the German veneer industry and its partners. Today, it is supported by European companies from the veneer industry, trade and veneer processing industry as well as professional associations of the timber industry. The aim of the association is to promote the natural all-round material veneer.