Specialized furniture brands are spelling out your lifestyle

Amidst the trend of homes moving away from livable spaces to lifestyle plus living the dominant aspect is living spaces increasingly reflecting our lifestyle choices, and doing this at more than just one level, be it overt or subtle.

The time when doing up interiors meant a couple of months of your personal space turning upside down while carpenters sawed and hammered away has been replaced by ready to use off the shelf furniture.. Buyer preference oscillates between cheap mass produced panel based furniture (what is referred to as China made stuff) to more designer and functional imported and, manufacturing furniture in various materials like wood, veneer, lacquer, glass and steel. Each has its own distinct design and color ranges, but to a large extent, the buyer preference seems to be motivated more by the price structure and life of the furniture.

The buying experience has also spilt into two distinct aspects – the specialized furniture and furnishing store that offers a wide array of products to help create your dream interior to the large format malls and hyper markets which also offers other products besides furniture and furnishings. The current market perception on this issue seems divided – the larger portion of the buyers swear by specialized furniture retail brands, while others suggest a retail platform like a Mall is more for window shopping. Ultimately the customer buys from the outlet he/she is comfortable with.

The impact of Climate on how suitable some materials will be is increasingly coming into focus, and customer education vis-à-vis different materials used and how it translates into long term, hassle-free usage has to be juxtaposed with the trend of changing the interiors more often than the trend used to be some year back.

The economic scenario plays a major role in how trends are defined, because in economically challenging times, these decisions tend to be impacted by price tags and value added offers and service than sheer design excellence. Planning for the interiors, be it the home or workplace, makes a statement about the user /owner. Design trends as we reach the end of 2008 seem to be all about reinforcing individuality, which means the rule is: interiors reflect your individuality.

Contemporary design features continue to hold sway going into 2009, although the move away from minimalism, harsh lines and a clinical ambience has been replaced with a touch of old world warmth. The trend seems to be one of modern design meeting mid-century interior concepts to create spaces that give customers the best of both worlds, modern and traditional. So, one can place a colonial/antique piece of furniture alongside contemporary straight line sofas and it won’t look out of place.

Mix and Match seems to be the trend in sync with aesthetic independence becoming more pronounced. Ornate fixtures and accessories alongside straight line minimalist metal furniture do not appear to be out of place.

Trend wise the preferred colors seem to be bold. Wood remains an extensively used feature of design trends – the only difference being that it is now mixed with other mediums, from metal to leather. Natural wood veneers, lacquers and laminates are seen t be used on furniture, in tines of matt and high, gloss and any such more options. Development in this aspect of interiors is likely to get more and more creative as we move into 2009,

In residential, kitchens seem to focus on exteriors as much as on interior accessories. Storage and flexibility have acquired more prominence. Open plan dominance has retained focus on more natural light, and glass is being used in many innovative ways in interior design. Mirrors have rekindled their appeal.

In homes, the trend continues to be the open plan, where the aim to remove isolated areas and boundaries and create a living space where one area flows into another, doing away with rigid definitions.

Essentially, trends in interiors are fast becoming a scenario where our lifestyle choices reflect our thought process – at least the one we wish to project to the world at large.