Customisation at the click of a mouse
Custom-made furniture? What used to be considered a luxury is now a successful business model. Innovative technology means that personalised furnishings can be produced inexpensively and shipped promptly. It’s easy for customers to configure their furniture themselves – without even needing to leave the house. The trend reflects the strong desire for individuality among young people and their price awareness. Below, we introduce you to some suppliers.
Designer furniture tailored to individual requirements and adapted to personal style – companies that offer affordable, custom-made furniture are conquering the market. Polish shelving start-up Tylko is a case in point. Photo: Tylko
Made-to-measure furniture as an expression of a changing world
Digital transformation, sustainability, self-realisation and COVID-19: our society is undergoing a period of fundamental change, and the interior design sector is no exception. For young people in particular, the home is playing an increasingly important role – as a focal point for our lives, a place of refuge , a means of expressing one’s own personality and a place of work . Custom-made furniture mirrors this trend perfectly.
Customers are free to design items themselves, because each piece of furniture can be configured online and adjusted to meet individual needs. Sustainable materials and the high-quality workmanship of the products are good for the environment. And innovative processes make bespoke furnishings affordable for customers and profitable for companies.
Custom-made upholstered furniture in the USA: soft and inviting
A large market has already sprung up in the United States. While some companies have based their entire business model on bespoke furniture, others offer a mix. They all have one thing in common: a focus on comfort.
- At BenchMade Modern , every centimetre counts. Customers can choose from 14 sofa collections and adjust the width of the couch flexibly using a slider. And, with a free choice of cover fabrics, cushions and legs, there you have it – one dream sofa! BenchMade Modern uses regionally and responsibly produced materials, provides free delivery and offers a 100-day return period.
- Interior Define is another company that allows customers to configure their own sofas to suit their needs and tastes in just a few clicks. The augmented reality function on the app also lets buyers see in advance what the new couch will look like in their own living rooms. Design specialists are on hand via video, chat and telephone to help answer questions about the individual configuration steps. There’s an option to pay in instalments, which is particularly appealing to younger customers.
Upholstered furniture specially manufactured in line with customer preferences. With US company The Inside, customers are spoilt for choice when it comes to fabrics: colours, patterns, material. Photo: The Inside.
Here are more examples of suppliers that focus on luxurious fabrics, individuality and exclusivity:
- Society Social manufactures a wide range of furniture by hand and in limited special editions. Some armchairs are available in a wide choice of upholsteries, and customers can even send in their own preferred fabric. In addition, the company also produces pieces of furniture and accessories designed by its customers.
- Coley Home is known for The Crown Bed, which can be customised in five steps. Customers can select the bed size, the shape of the headboard, the upholstery fabric and design, the colour of the legs and the fabric piping. The company produces locally and delivers in a matter of days, and its regal bed is easily assembled by the customer. Armchairs and benches can also be personalised in terms of both size and fabric.
- Upholstered furniture is front and centre at The Inside . Sofas, armchairs, dining chairs, ottomans, beds: it’s not the individual pieces of furniture themselves that stand out here but rather their unique upholstery. Customers can choose from countless colours, patterns and fabrics – and at affordable prices too.
European suppliers: a need for order
Made-to-order furniture is gaining ground in Europe, too. While US companies are increasingly turning their attention to upholstered furniture such as sofas and beds, European manufacturers seem to be concentrating mainly on wood and shelving systems.
- Polish company Tylko combines high tech with sustainability. Its stylish shelves are made to measure from birch, and customers can view them in their own homes even before delivery thanks to the app’s augmented reality function.
- Hamburg start-up Pickawood also favours sustainable wood and innovative features. Users can take advantage of the company’s intuitive configuration tool to design tables, cupboards, shelves and sideboards – customising everything from the base to the drawers.
- Online shop Audena from Berlin produces beds, tables, sideboards, cupboards and chairs to order from solid wood. Customers can specify the dimensions and the type of wood themselves.
- Frohraum is also focused on solid wood and direct sales. The Berlin-based company’s handcrafted high-quality shelving and other furniture items are made to measure exclusively from wood sourced from sustainable forestry.
German company Frohraum offers affordable furniture, made to measure from solid wood. Customers design their furniture item themselves using the online configuration tool. Photo: Frohraum
More trends in the furniture industry
Not only have the changing needs of customers spurred many start-ups into action , they’ve also given rise to new trends. Cardboard beds, organically shaped shelves and stylish rented furniture are just a few examples of the creative business ideas on the market.
More and more established companies are jumping on the bandwagon, expanding their collections to include bespoke furniture, introducing sustainable lines and trialling rental concepts. A sure sign of the powerful impact the forces of change are already having. O ur magazine focusing on the theme of “Future Living” is the place to discover more topics that are expected to dominate the agenda going forward.