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Top 10 Furniture Trends of the Decade

New Directions for Furniture in the 21st Century

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The top 10 furniture trends of the decade came about the way trends in furniture always do, dictated by who is buying, and how they live. Trends should not to be confused with fads, which are fickle, but should be seen as the undercurrents that drive what you see.

Some of the forces working behind the furniture trends for this decade are that furniture buyers are younger, and women, with more buying power than ever, are more involved in choosing and buying furniture. Technology is an integral part of our lives, the globe seems to be shrinking, and there is a rising concern for the environment.

1. Furniture Going Green

Santos Coffee Table from Environment Furniture

Green furniture has always been available, but now it seems to be going mainstream. Environmental concerns such as awareness of how deforestation impacts climate change and the effects of toxic finishes on the air inside homes have led furniture buyers to demand green furniture.

Manufacturers are transitioning into greener resources and ways of production. In the last decade furniture imports rose due to lower costs, but the concern for a smaller carbon footprint is behind the beginning of a gradual shift towards locally manufactured furniture.

Diminishing resources and pollution concerns have led to more recycled or repurposed materials. Material from torn down buildings is being used for furniture as a step taken to reduce landfills.

2. Furniture With a Smaller Profile

Desk and Hutch, Origin Collection, aspenhome
Photo (c) aspenhome

Since our living spaces are shrinking, this decade has seen furniture with a smaller profile.

Large and ponderous furniture pieces seem out of place in today's shrinking homes. The shift towards smaller piece also goes hand in hand with a liking for less ornate furniture, and a preference for a more contemporary style.

Since rooms are smaller more streamlined furniture seems to be the logical choice for consumers making an efficient use of the available space.

Recliners and chairs with a smaller profile are becoming increasingly available as a result of women wanting to buy furniture more suited to their preferences.

3. Multifunctional Furniture

Multifunctional furniture is not a new concept by any means. But it has really come into its own as there is a rising demand for it. This could also be a factor of smaller space living.

When space is at a premium, you need furniture that can perform multiple tasks. A lot of buyers are looking for extra storage to reduce clutter. You can find storage in tables, under beds, and also in entertainment consoles.

Multifunctional furniture is not just for added storage alone, it can serve any number of additional uses other than its main function. Multifunctional furniture can be used for sleeping guest or even pets, as shown in this picture.

4. Technology Driven Furniture Design

Envision Collection, Hooker Furniture
Photo (c) Hooker Furniture

The use of modern technology has determined furniture design as well. It is most apparent in the design of entertainment centers.

While entertainment centers are obviously made to accommodate the new entertainment paraphernalia, bedroom sets, accent tables and other furniture pieces are also being made to accommodate our gadgetry. A traditional piece such as a roll top desk can be updated to accommodate laptops and peripherals.

The nightstands in the Hooker bedroom collection pictured here have pull-out shelves, outlets and USB ports for charging laptops, iPods and phones.

5. Popularity of Vintage Furniture

Vintage furniture has really come into its own as a result of a few factors. Yes, there is nostalgia involved, but also the search for green furniture.

Vintage furniture is green on many counts. The finishes, though not originally non-toxic, have finished off-gassing so they are safe for indoor air. By buying or using inherited vintage furniture you rescue it from going to landfills. Since it has survived so many years, it has a chance of being well made and therefore durable.

Nostalgia plays a part, too. And popular culture such as movies and TV shows feed it and feed on it. The hard economic times in the later part of of this decade also make buying vintage furniture a feasible choice.

6. Globally Inspired Furniture

Tanzania Collection, Lane
Photo (c) Lane

The globe seems to be shrinking, and other cultures no longer seem as distant or foreign. The idea of bringing the world to our homes is catching on.

It is not just confined to bringing in furniture from other parts of the world, but other gone-by eras as well. It is the search for the exotic and romantic.

In the case of Asian inspired furniture it could be a search for a more Zen-like interior space or drama. Whatever the reason behind it, the lure of travel and days of yore has made globally inspired furniture very popular.

7. The Growing Importance Outdoor Furniture

Photo (c) Century

Casual furniture or outdoor furniture has made leaps and bounds in the last decade or more.

This has come about as consumers discovered they could significantly add to their existing spaces by using outdoor areas as well. Outdoor rooms have become very desirable, and the quality and design of outdoor furniture has developed tremendously. Many furniture pieces can be used indoor or outdoor.

Outdoor fabric has improved tremendously, too. The colors, textures and patterns can just as easily be used indoors with the added benefit that they are easier to maintain.

8. Custom-made Furniture

Photo (c) Vermont Woods Studios

Customization of furniture seems to be a trend that continues to develop and evolve. While some manufacturers such as Norwalk have been offering it for years, the growing demand has made more manufacturers take notice.

Smaller studios have offered customization for years, but more mainstream manufacturers such as Ethan Allen and Thomasville are offering an increasing amount of customization. It can vary from fabric color or pattern to changing the style of an arm or leg on a sofa. Many let the customer provide their own fabric. In casegoods, their are choices in finishes, colors or veneers or hardware options. It depends on the manufacturer, but customization seems to be a trend that is catching on.

9. Specialty Sleep Surfaces

Photo(c)Ergomotion

An interest in specialty sleep surfaces began with waterbeds and has grown and developed over the years so that now specialty sleep products make up a sizable share of the sleep market.

With specialty sleep products there is the lure of finding the perfect product for you. With our hectic lifestyles, a night of perfect and comfortable sleep seems like the ultimate reward. While it is possible to find your perfect sleep surface, it is not the easiest of tasks, and might entail a long period of research before you settle on a product to buy.

10. Leather Furniture

Leather furniture has a new found popularity because now it comes in different shapes and colors. Leather is an old favorite, but it now has a new face.

There is plenty of good leather furniture in colors and designs that were never seen before in leather. American Leather is one of the leaders in leather furniture, but other manufacturers offer plenty of choices as well.

Leather is easy to maintain and clean and retains its appeal much longer than fabric.

One downside of leather's popularity is that some stores are offering bi-cast leather also known as by-cast leather, that is not even leather. It wouldn't be so bad if they did not classify it as leather which can be misleading for consumers.

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