19.–23.01.2022 #immcologne

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Homing 2.0

Six home-living trends in the time of coronavirus

In the course of the pandemic, the subject of home living has become increasingly important. The fact that many people are spending much more time at home is having an influence on their living habits and thus also on the demands placed on furnishings. We take a look at the new trends – and those that are enduring even through the crisis.

Vitra living room at imm cologne

Vitra living room at imm cologne

In the course of the pandemic, the subject of home living has become increasingly important. The fact that many people are spending much more time at home is having an influence on their living habits and thus also on the demands placed on furnishings. We take a look at the new trends – and those that are enduring even through the crisis.

Matthias Pollmann
Vice President Trade Fair Management Koelnmesse

New trend: refuge light

At present, the frequent requirement for us to seek refuge within our own four walls and our need to return to a socially active life are at odds. This has resulted in a trend that can best be described as a compromise. We’re deliberately concentrating the freedom available to us on local settings and, when we do go out, we’re preferring to sit outside even on colder days. In terms of living trends, therefore, structures that can be opened to the fresh air as required, such as gazebos and covered outdoor areas, are just as much in demand as dedicated spots for newly acquired bicycles and packages ordered online.

kitchen from Papatos

2. During the coronavirus crisis, kitchens in particular have been upgraded and have become cosier. Photo: Constantin Meyer; Koelnmesse | Exhibitor: Papadatos

New trend: the new cosy

While “cocooning” always includes the notion of shutting oneself away from the world, the popular term “homing”, which emerged in the early 2000s, refers to a longing for a beautiful home that takes a more positive direction by sharing it with one’s social circle. It would be hard to find a more accurate description for a living trend in the times of COVID-19. The home becomes a place of shelter and provides a sense of security, not least thanks to cosy furnishings. Hygge, vintage, Scandi and other trending styles of recent years offer plenty of inspiration and reveal our need for a beautiful home.

Homing also divides flats or houses into private spaces, such as bedrooms or bathrooms, and (semi)public zones, where residents can spend time with friends, relatives and acquaintances. In these times when we have to keep our distance from others in public spaces, family and friends are more important than ever. Gathering places may include the island unit in the kitchen, a large dining table or the garden patio. The general interest in enhancing our outdoor spaces began before the coronavirus hit, and cosiness and comfort are playing an increasingly important role here too.

Our shrinking orbits have also led to the emergence of other trends in addition to this one. Style statements are now being discussed to an even greater degree on social media, and the very principle of home living is becoming more important overall.

Multitasking furniture from Ambivalenz

3. Pieces of furniture designed for small spaces cater to the urbanisation trend. They can be folded away, converted, collapsed and easily transported. Photo: Constantin Meyer; Koelnmesse | Exhibitor: Ambivalenz

Still with us: living space is becoming ever scarcer

Alongside climate change, urbanisation and its consequences – including rising land prices in metropolitan areas – is a major topic of public discourse. Matthias Pollmann, Koelnmesse’s Vice President Trade Fair Management, believes that this trend will have a direct impact on the interiors industry: “As housing becomes a commodity that is traded on a global level, the furnishings sector must also react to these developments, which it has played no role in producing. Otherwise, it will inevitably find itself split between luxury and cheap goods.” In Pollmann’s view, a trade fair like imm cologne is the only platform where the essential debate on such matters can be conducted on a fruitful and interdisciplinary basis.

But how is the industry already responding today to urbanisation and the scaling down of living space? Solutions come, for example, in the form of innovative furniture with multiple uses – without requiring any compromise on comfort. Overall, interior design is being optimised to suit restricted apartment dimensions. You can find more on this topic, as well as examples of furnishings, in the article “Smart ideas for micro-apartments”.

Shared-Housing-Apartment from Sebastian Herkner

4. Top trend: shared housing also opens up new opportunities for the interior design sector. This apartment concept by Sebastian Herkner stands out for being both uncluttered and comfortable. Photo: Commerz Real

New trend: boom in apartment buildings

For all modern nomads, experts, students and singles who want to combine an urban vibe with modern comfort – and are prepared to live on a smaller footprint in return – managed properties represent attractive new living concepts. The flats are usually furnished, moving in and out can be arranged flexibly and the rental package – although usually not especially cheap – includes everything from heating bills and the radio and TV licence to repairs and sometimes even cleaning costs. The co-living and co-working spaces in these apartment buildings are just as much in keeping with the spirit of the times as their attractively designed rear courtyards, roof gardens, street cafés and other available forms of local infrastructure. With its small flats and shared facilities, the shared housing trend also offers the interiors sector the opportunity to develop innovative new solutions.

Still with us: living with a clear conscience

Long before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, it was increasingly common for sustainability criteria to play a role in furniture shopping. The durability of furnishings – due to factors like higher-quality design and workmanship – is becoming ever more important, as too are the “green” stories behind certain pieces of furniture.

Professional buyers and design decision makers focusing on sustainable products not only pay attention to “intrinsic” qualities like appropriate materials and production conditions but also to whether or not the overall result is balanced with the item’s decorative properties and particular usage context. In terms of design, floral patterns and the colour green, for example, are seen as signals of sustainability.

Livingroom with Homeoffice von Vitra

Long before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, it was increasingly common for sustainability criteria to play a role in furniture shopping. The durability of furnishings – due to factors like higher-quality design and workmanship – is becoming ever more important, as too are the “green” stories behind certain pieces of furniture. Professional buyers and design decision makers focusing on sustainable products not only pay attention to “intrinsic” qualities like appropriate materials and production conditions but also to whether or not the overall result is balanced with the item’s decorative properties and particular usage context. In terms of design, floral patterns and the colour green, for example, are seen as signals of sustainability.

New trend: bringing the world of work into the home