The way we live is changing as we become more aware through the Internet: news, social media but, more often than not, lifestyle television. Manufacturers need to be aware of what the trends are so their product can appeal to as many buyers as possible.

There’s not a lot going on around the world that we don’t know about and possibly watch regularly on the many lifestyle programs on both free-to-air and cable television. Throw in access to the Internet and add some social media and we are as well informed as a society as we have ever been in history. The way we live is more attuned to world trends and design than ever before and manufacturers need to be aware of what’s ‘hot’ to keep their product in the public eye. Furniture is a fashion item and people are more inclined to buy what’s trending: price is another story.

Alessandra Tracogna is an industry market analyst with CSIL Milan. She writes that: “Growing mobility, web connectivity, wellness and environmental consciousness all contribute to change in furniture consumption”. The many innovations and furnishing products seen at International fairs this year include multi-functionality of products such as extendable and adaptable furniture, often with invisible or one-handed mechanisms. Surfaces are more often than not used for a variety of purposes so anti-scratch and fingerprint materials are becoming more popular. A trend towards natural wood, especially in bathroom and kitchen bench tops, is evident as stone surfaces can be seen as drab and cold. Furniture made from easy-to-assemble-and-move, lightweight panels; hybrid and adjustable bed bases and mattresses and upholstered seating with motion are all becoming more popular.

There is also a worldwide trend towards furniture with certified eco-labels that focus on the materials used including the finishes applied. Domain reports that Australian trends include the use of metallics, not only in appliances and homewares but furniture as well. Making furniture items a feature of the home, rather than just functional, is desirable. The common bathtub is no longer used regularly enough to justify the space and expense; however, strangely enough, the toilet makes Domain’s top ten trend list with closing heated seats, automatic flush, a night light for the boys, inbuilt deodorising and male and female wash settings with temperature adjustable drying.