The 2020 pandemic has resulted in an increase in more people actually living — as well as working and schooling — at home.
“From haven to home office to home school to staycation, we’ve demanded more of our indoor and outdoor home spaces than ever before,” said Pat Bowling, vice president of communications for the American Home Furnishings Alliance.
Foremost in home furnishings designers’ minds regarding fall trends are functionality and practicality.
“Families need a lot of work space without taking up too much floor space,” says Sophie Drouin, marketing and innovation director for South Shore Furniture, a North American manufacturer. The company’s work stations, for example, are equipped with durable melamine tops and a charging area for multiple devices.
Other important utilitarian furniture considerations include:
• Options and flexibility to configure pieces different ways to accommodate multiple uses in the household.
• Locked drawer or cabinet for financial items or homeschool test answer keys, for example.
• Plenty of storage and organization capabilities.
• Different-height desks for various ages.
“Adding function has been and will continue to be the biggest motivator for home furnishings sales this year,” said Bowling.
She said one company offering “affordable solutions to a whole variety of multi-function challenges” is Sauder: “They have a team of young designers who look at things in a fresh way.”
Sauder’s Cottage Road is an entry or exit storage piece for housing car keys, charging phones, displaying to-do lists and storing hats, gloves, dog leashes, mail and more.
Other considerations this fall for possible workspaces are stand-alone kitchen islands.
“They could easily function in a playroom, second bedroom, dining room or family room for work/study space,” Bowling said.
Homestyles’ Americana and Sedona designs, for example, offer extra storage for books, paperwork, technology, office and craft supplies, and paper.
Also, around 22% of adults changed their residence because of the pandemic, according to a June Pew Research Center survey. To accommodate college students moving back home or family members or friends who can no longer afford housing, upholstery companies convey ingenuity not through the standard (and historically uncomfortable) sleeper sofa design, but by introducing upholstery ideas such as trundle bed storage underneath (Norwalk Furniture) or with arms that fold down, futon-style, to become a single bed (Dorel Home Products).