How and why home design has become our comfort bubble

Home design is one of the (few) sectors to have benefited from the pandemic and is still riding in its wake. Although its trend has normalised, the way it has transformed the sense and perception of home environments seems destined to remain dominant. This is why


Fortunately, the lockdowns and restrictions on individual freedom imposed by the pandemic have ended. Fortunately, people have started travelling again, although not to the same levels as before 2020. In fact, until a few months ago, they were struggling to resume the same normal social activities they did before Covid. There is a reason for this. It is very simple.

People, even though they have regained a taste for sociality, are spending more time at home with all that this has entailed and is consequential for the interior design sector or, more generically, home design, one of the (few) sectors that has benefited from the pandemic and is still riding on its coattails to reap the benefits. Because Covid has profoundly changed the concept of the home, which is now defined as a multifunctional centre of personal services. Today, the home is also an office, a school, a university, a cinema, a meeting place and sometimes even the branch of a hospital room.

The comfort bubble of home design

In his book ‘How the pandemic has changed us‘, sociologist Vanni Codeluppi defines the home as ‘ a coexistence of needs: study, work, entertainment. It oscillates between a private and a public dimension, between needs for intimacy and openings, including digital ones, towards the community”. Based on this new conception of living, people buy, design, and modify their ‘comfort bubble‘. This trend continues to dominate the design world, influencing everything from colours to materials.

Trends such as biophilia (incorporating nature into the home) and neuroaesthetics (harnessing the way design affects the brain to create more inclusive spaces) have emerged. Interior design and fashion seem to have become related worlds where the quiet luxury trend prevails. “We’ve all had enough of dramatic interiors with wafer-thin bricks and uncomfortable furniture designed to look good only in an image,” says Vicky Charles of Charles & Co. Consumers’ growing interest in ‘experiential goods’ has led to the purchase of important objects to be used and displayed while entertaining at home. “2024 is the year to banish sterile environments,” Swedish architect Martin Brudnizki tells Vogue, “and embrace things that truly reflect our personalities and loves.

Standardisation and robustness

But will 2024 be another year of growth for the sector? Analysts believe that there will be that normalisation of growth that we are seeing in luxury. The sector’s performance will still be higher than its pre-pandemic trend. Busines of Fashion’s reportThe Lifestyle Era: Luxury’s Opportunity in Home and Hospitality‘ estimates that the lifestyle sector is worth $4.3 trillion. If, between 2018 and 2019, sales of home design products rose by 3% per year, between 2022 and 2023, it is expected to rise to 5%.

Not only that. According to the report’s estimates, the increase looks set to continue at a rate of 5% per year until 2026, as luxury consumers continue to prioritise experience and place greater value on the spaces in which they live, work and socialise. “The luxury design sector,” explains Daniel Lalonde, CEO of Design Holding, “was an industry that was growing at 3 or 4% per year and all of a sudden, during the pandemic, we saw growth of 25% and even more. We are convinced that it is not a bubble but that it can have a faster pace because people have changed the way they live and their experiences by investing in their homes”.

Scent of home

Attracted by the boom in the sector, fashion and luxury brands have invested more in home design. More home collections have been released on the market since 2020 than in any previous period. Some 70% of high-end consumers in the US, UK and France, in fact, say they are more likely to buy designer home products from the same fashion houses of which they are already loyal customers. Nearly 50%, on the other hand, say they expect to spend more on textiles, home furnishings and fragrances.


There is no rose without thorns

In the midst of a mood that rewards home design, there are, however, significant shadow cones. Furniture companies know that they face a slowdown from the record sales growth recorded between 2020 and at least the first half of 2023. Not only that, they have to find answers to some question marks on which much of their business this year will depend. For example, how will the Red Sea crisis evolve? What will happen to the Chinese market? Will interest rate and inflation trends change? Will consumer spending continue to slow down? More than question marks, these are boulders weighing on both the present and the near future.

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