Top 10 Furniture Trends for Today's Homes and Communities
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Top 10 Furniture Trends

What are the latest furniture trends for the home? Find out in this article from furniture.about.com

Comfortable white double sofa
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Top 10 Furniture Trends

New Directions for Furniture in the 21st Century

By Abe Abbas

Furniture trends are dictated by who is buying what and why they’re doing it. Trends should not be confused with fads, which are fickle. Trends are the undercurrents that drive the results.

Some of the forces working behind furniture trends of the 21st century include younger buyers and technology. Women have more buying power than ever and are more involved in choosing and buying furniture. The globe seems to be shrinking, and there’s a rising concern for the environment. All this has resulted in some furniture riding a wave of popularity in the millennium.

1. Furniture Going Green

Furniture trends are dictated by who is buying what and why they’re doing it. Trends should not be confused with fads, which are fickle. Trends are the undercurrents that drive the results.

Some of the forces working behind furniture trends of the 21st century include younger buyers and technology. Women have more buying power than ever and are more involved in choosing and buying furniture. The globe seems to be shrinking, and there’s a rising concern for the environment. All this has resulted in some furniture riding a wave of popularity in the millennium.

2. Furniture With a Smaller Profile

Our living spaces are shrinking, and large and ponderous furniture pieces seem out of place in many of today’s smaller homes. The shift toward smaller pieces goes hand-in-hand with a preference for furniture that’s less ornate and more contemporary.

More streamlined furniture seems to be the logical choice for consumers trying to make efficient use of their available space. Recliners and chairs with smaller profiles are increasingly available as women tend to want to buy furniture that’s more suited to their preferences.

3. Multifunctional Furniture

Multifunctional furniture is not a new concept, but it has come into its own — perhaps as a result of those smaller living spaces. You need furniture that can perform multiple tasks when space is at a premium.

A lot of buyers look for extra storage to reduce clutter. You can find storage in tables, under beds and in entertainment consoles. Multifunctional furniture can serve any number of additional uses other than its main function. It can be used for sleeping guests — or even pets.

4. Technology-Driven Furniture Design

Modern technology has an effect on furniture design as well. This is most apparent in the design of entertainment centers.

Entertainment centers are obviously made to accommodate our entertainment paraphernalia, but bedroom sets, accent tables and other furniture pieces are also being made to accommodate gadgetry. Even 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 is enjoying a surge in popularity. Yes, nostalgia is involved, but the search for green furniture also contributes.

Vintage furniture is green on many counts. Although the finishes weren’t originally non-toxic, they’ve finished off-gassing so they’re safe for indoor air. When you buy vintage furniture or use furniture you’ve inherited, you’re rescuing it from going to landfills. It’s already survived a lot of years so it’s probably well-made and durable. Hard economic times also make buying vintage furniture a feasible choice — it’s often less expensive.

6. Globally-Inspired Furniture

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

This isn’t just confined to bringing in furniture from other parts of the world but from their bygone eras as well. In the case of Asian-inspired furniture, it could be a search for a more Zen-like interior space or drama. Whatever the reason, the lure of travel has made globally-inspired furniture very popular.

7. The Growing Importance of Outdoor Furniture

Sales of casual and outdoor furniture have grown leaps and bounds. Consumers are discovering that they can significantly add to their existing spaces by utilizing 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 either indoors or outdoors.

Outdoor fabric has improved, too. The colors, textures and patterns can just as easily be used indoors, and they’re typically easier to maintain and keep clean.

8. Custom-Made Furniture

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 as well.

It can vary from fabric color or pattern to changing the style of an arm or leg on a sofa. Many manufacturers let the customer provide his own fabric. There are choices in finishes, colors, veneers and hardware options in casegoods. It depends on the manufacturer, but customization seems to be a trend that’s catching on.

9. Specialty Sleep Surfaces

The interest in specialty sleep surfaces began with waterbeds and it’s grown and developed over the years. Specialty sleep products now make up a sizable share of the sleep market.

With our hectic lifestyles, a night of perfect and comfortable sleep seems like the ultimate reward. Although it’s possible to find your perfect sleep surface, it’s not the easiest of tasks and it might require a great deal of research before you settle on the product you want to buy. There are a lot of options out there as this trend takes hold.

10. Leather Furniture

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

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 to clean. It retains its appeal much longer than fabric. One downside is that some stores offer bi-cast leather, also known as by-cast leather. This is not leather. This wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t classify it as such, but it can be misleading for consumers.

Click here to see more from furnitre.about.com.