12.–16.01.2025 #immcologne

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Short-term lets

What a furnished apartment needs to offer

Furnished short-term lets? What began as a necessity appears to be evolving into a trend in Germany. From temporary contracts to projects in other cities, people are becoming increasingly mobile and living space is becoming increasingly scarce. Furnished flats present a fitting solution, but the demands placed on them are growing – they need to be both practical and comfortable. What constitutes the ideal furnished apartment? And what effect is this trend having on the furniture industry?

Furnished flats are on the rise

A 2018 study by the Hans Böckler Foundation pointed to a shortfall of two million flats in Germany. The problem is particularly acute in big cities where affordable housing is becoming scarce and living space ever more limited.

At the same time, a different trend is emerging. Due to low interest rates and rising rents, buy-to-let properties continue to be lucrative investments – and are increasingly let furnished. According to a study by the property research institute F+B, there were four times as many furnished flats in 2018 than in 2005, revealing a rise in the market share of furnished apartments from 3 per cent in 2005 to 14 per cent in 2018.

Not only functional. The furnished apartment should be aesthetically pleasing.

Not only functional. The furnished apartment should be aesthetically pleasing. Photo: Foto: Kim Idris at Unsplash

Short-term contracts as a business model

But it’s not just the world of work and the housing market that are calling for more flexibility. Many people are consciously choosing a mobile lifestyle with as few burdens as possible. This trend plays to the strengths of providers of furnished apartments, too. In addition to flats, co-living spaces are also all the rage – that is to say, fully and stylishly furnished shared flats for expats and young professionals. In Berlin alone there are already several start-ups that are focused on this living concept. Company housing is also celebrating a comeback.

In line with these developments, other trends are becoming established on the market, too, such as multifunctional furniture for small spaces and rental furniture from the premium segment. After all, the demands placed on a furnished flat are high.

Big ideas for small spaces

Whatever the age of the building, many furnished flats are intended for single occupancy and offer little space. That means that the furnishings need to be thought out all the more carefully. Custom-fit solutions, modest, Scandi-style pieces of furniture and multifunctionality are key. Lounge suites and bulky wardrobes are needlessly restrictive in small spaces. Free-standing, two-seater sofas with folding armrests, futon beds with pull-out drawers, and slim larder units make better use of the available space.

Even smarter solutions involve multifunctional furniture, as in the case of the Work-Dress concept presented at imm cologne in 2017. The wardrobe offers plenty of storage space and even accommodates a desk with a roller cabinet. When work is finished for the day, the desk disappears from view – and it’s time for the evening to begin.

Flexit is a multifunctional piece of furniture designed by Pieter Peulen.

Flexit is a multifunctional piece of furniture designed by Pieter Peulen. It’s able to grow and change to suit the user and their needs – from bunk bed, to desk, to double bed and back again.

Furnished homes with like-minded co-residents

It doesn’t matter if you’re a trainee or a senior executive, when you move to a new town or city, you usually don’t know anybody there. Co-living spaces and apartment buildings are one solution. In addition to your own stylishly furnished private area, these forms of accommodation also offer communal rooms. Residents therefore have the opportunity to exercise together in the fitness room in the morning, focus on work in the co-working space during the day and bring the evening to a close in the lounge or on the roof terrace.

The “public” rooms not only give tenants the chance to get to know one another, they also function as an extension of each person’s own four walls. After all, the individual flats are quite small and primarily intended as places to sleep. In addition to long tables and generous seating areas that encourage communication, the communal spaces should also offer quiet refuges through the use of room dividers, for example.

Das Apartment HAUS 2021 imm cologne

“Das Apartment HAUS 2021” will present a total of four flats and communal areas: different solutions for private living spaces with a bathroom and kitchen as well as creative proposals for semipublic, managed spaces for working, holding meetings or relaxing.

“Das Apartment HAUS” at imm cologne 2021

You’ll be able to discover how these areas have been laid out for yourself in the “ Das Apartment HAUS ” exhibit at imm cologne 2021. Every year, the platform showcases a different residential concept by a selected designer. “Das Apartment HAUS” offers a fascinating glimpse into the future of living. With living space becoming ever more restricted and scarce, and occupants usually only staying for a short time, innovative solutions are required. At imm cologne 2021, which will be held both face-to-face and digitally for the first time due to the coronavirus outbreak, you’ll be able to experience the interiors concepts of the future live.

One thing is certain: short-term lets are also becoming increasingly sought-after in Germany. From a design perspective, that means a welcome challenge to take a brand-new approach to combining homeliness and functionality .

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