Canada’s residential real estate sector experienced a massive boom during the pandemic thanks to record-low mortgage rates, which helped boost furniture manufacturing and retail industries. While the housing market has turned amid a series of aggressive interest rate hikes by the Bank of Canada to tamp down too-high inflation, furniture sales are poised to grow at an annual rate of 3.6% through 2027, according to research by Mordor Intelligence. However, higher borrowing costs can cool consumer demand or impact purchasing decisions. In the latter’s case, we can expect three trends to gain momentum and be around for the long haul.
The Big Three
With consumers more conscious about spending, investment pieces are poised to become more popular. Yes, they cost more upfront, but higher quality furnishings like sofas, credenzas and accent chairs that are well-made don’t need to be upgraded year-by-year, bucking ‘buy it and throw it away’ consumerism. There are 9.8 million tonnes of furniture waste created yearly, and conscious customers realize they don’t want to contribute more to the landfills.
Creating a lasting style instead of what’s trendy at the moment is also good for the environment, supporting a second trend that continues to gain a foothold among consumers. People are shopping more sustainably, buying responsibly sourced and produced items, and bringing as much of the outdoors as possible to emphasize the beauty of nature, making homeowners’ humble abodes more eco-friendly and helping reduce their carbon footprint. Materials like solid wood, rattan, jute and bamboo cane are increasingly preferred, as less toxic glues and fibres are used to manufacture furniture products. Regarding fabric colours, earth tones, soft blues, and greens are coveted since they add to the people-planet connection.
Fashion and Function
The pandemic accelerated the need for multi-functional spaces as people worked from home. While many have either returned to the office or are heading back soon, the demand for at-home workspace may be waning, but it’s not gone for good as the hybrid work era is here to stay (at least for now). As living areas still play double-duty, dual-purpose furniture like storage benches, writing desks and lift-top coffee tables are necessary to save space and make the hybrid model work for homeowners. A bonus is a versatile furniture provides more bang for consumers’ hard-earned bucks.
Smart and Curvy
In addition to these trends, two others are worthy of furniture manufacturers’ and retailers’ attention: smart designs and curvy lines. Technology is becoming front and centre as homeowners today want high-tech furnishings that offer function and utility for added convenience. Pieces like accent tables that house speakers and controls, remote-controlled shelving that slides open to reveal television and beds outfitted with bookshelves, a reading lamp, an area to plug in and charge devices and even a pop-up desk for the ultimate work-from-home setup.
As seen in the kitchen, where counters and islands are forgoing their classic straight lines, furniture and case goods with arcs and curves are embraced by consumers as they bring lightness into interiors, naturally drawing the eye through a room. From rounded sofa backs and fluid style sectionals to curved sideboards, furniture with a circular silhouette is having a heyday.
Clare Tattersall is an interior designer and decorator in Toronto and the editor of Canada’s floor covering magazine, Coverings.