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Defining Design

Marcia BlakeMarcia Blake
Our homes should be a place where we can be ourselves. Where what we value and appreciate in this world matters and takes precedence. We are all so driven to give in to the demands and expectations of our society as soon as we walk out our front doors that we have a tendency to forget what is important to us. It's when society becomes a bit muddled that we finally can take a step back and look inward.
     This is a time when we are doing just that. We have all become a bit more introspective through the hardships of the past few years, looking to what it is we value and truly want out of life. We have all gone through a lifestyle cleanse. This cleansing and redefining has influence over every decision that we make - where we shop, what we buy, why we buy. And when it comes to defining our own homes, our place where we can truly make the rules and live by our ideals, inevitably, our lifestyle decisions affect the design choices that we make.
     So what is it that we, and consumers, value in this world? What are the precious commodities that define these new lifestyles? We have become a society that works to both learn from the past and yet optimistically look toward the future. Consumers want spaces to enjoy the simple things in life - a summer night spent with friends, a quiet morning with the newspaper and a cup of coffee to welcome the day. They are now measuring indulgence based upon the happiness and health of body and spirit. How do I feel in this space? Am I comfortable and relaxed? Would I want to spend a large amount of time here?
     These are questions that are being asked by consumers everywhere before taking the plunge and purchasing. As designers, retailers and manufacturers, we should provide materials, furnishings and design solutions that answer these questions before the consumer even thinks to ask.
     People design the lives they desire. There is now more of a demand for quiet yet sophisticated spaces where people can reflect and find health and peace of mind. There is an increase in outdoor rooms and a life lived outside because of these newly established mindsets.

Outdoor living
family and
Outdoor living spaces reconnect us with natture and remind us of the simple pleasures – friends, family and well being.

     Furthermore, this reflective trend very clearly presents itself in the color, material and furnishing choices being made by consumers. There is a call for quality and more natural materials. More neutral color foundations are found on furnishings, with the options of color splashes through pillows, throws, rugs and accessories. Organic forms inspire the shapes and details of furnishings and fabric patterns. In general, a sophisticated combination of organic and modern has become the demand.
     The design world is largely a consumer-driven market. Retailers, manufacturers and designers alike must be cognizant of how consumers' perspectives change as the world we live in changes. Without a doubt, what the general public values is represented in the design decisions that they make. This is an incredibly valuable concept to keep in mind in order to drive our businesses forward and keep us relevant as time goes on and trends change.
     Overall, the desires and definitions of comfort and indulgence have changed to a more natural and balanced sense of well-being, where we take care of ourselves through our bodies, emotions, minds and spirits. Just as this is reflected in our consumers' design choices, it should also be reflected in how we do business.

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