Exclusive research: Minimalist design still rules

Minimalist and modern farmhouse continue to be the popular design styles among consumers who plan to purchase furniture before June, according to new Consumer Insights Now research.

Those style preferences also topped the list when similar research was conducted last summer. Trailing behind are rustic, industrial, midcentury modern, minimalist and contemporary. The least popular home design style is traditional. By generation, Gen Zers are more drawn to contemporary design than their older counterparts. Gen Xers and baby boomers, in contrast, prefer rustic styles more than other groups.

The survey queried shoppers about their plans to buy home furnishings in the first half of 2023, along with their shopping habits, style preferences, budgets and more. It was conducted in conjunction with our sister publications Home News Now, Casual News Now and Bedding News Now.

In addition to some interesting findings about decorating preferences, the most recent round looked at consumers’ preference and plans to buy rugs in the first half of 2023. More on that in a moment.

But first a few more decor findings:

Despite the quality and breadth of design of new wallpaper offerings — and their starring role in many home designs featured in the consumer media — consumers aren’t as keen on such wallcoverings. A whopping nine out of 10 consumers say they prefer paint over wallpaper for their living spaces and primary bedroom. It could be that consumers are unsure how to properly install wallpaper and are less comfortable with the bolder designs that wallpaper often offers.

Interestingly, both Gen Zers and millennials — the two youngest groups of consumers — are more likely to appreciate wallpaper.

Overall, consumers more comfortable with plants as decor, with more than six in 10 saying they own houseplants. They also are fans of secondhand furniture, with 55% saying they own the category and another 35% saying they own antique furniture. Gen Zers and millennials are most likely to own secondhand furniture, according to the latest survey. Other research and anecdotal reporting has shown that younger generations see secondhand furniture — and other items like clothing — as part of a more sustainable lifestyle, repurposing existing pieces rather than buying new.

To the floor

Nearly a third of furniture shoppers are in the market for a rug with demand highest in the South and West of the United States. Like other furniture categories we’ve reported on in recent weeks, shoppers are most likely to head to a brick-and-mortar location to purchase their rug, with Gen Zers, younger millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers all likely to buy in-store. Only older millennials are more likely to buy online.

Most of those rugs will be placed in the living room and more than three-quarters are intended for places consumers consider to be high-traffic areas of the home, which makes performance features, such as high-performance materials and washability, important.

But rug budgets are low, with the majority of shoppers planning to spend between $100 and $299 for their rug. And that’s for large sizes. Most shoppers are looking for 8’x10’ or 10’x14’ sizes.

The survey shows that consumers don’t know a lot about rug materials or constructions. It could be that they shop based on color, design and feel overall. Rug makers may need to do more to explain and educate consumers about the benefits and best uses for specific constructions and materials.

What you might have missed: Read more about what consumers actually bought in the second half of 2022, an overview of the furniture and accessories categories they plan to buy in the first half of 2023, a deep dive into their plans to buy sofas and massage chairs, and looks at their plans to buy primary bedroom furniture and mattresses.

About the survey: This survey was conducted among 1,868 U.S. consumers who planned to buy one or more home furnishings products between January 2023 and June 2023. All respondents are either the primary or joint purchase decision-maker. The sample includes a mix of females and males, ages 18 to 75, and a representative mix of ages, ethnicities, household incomes and homeowners/renters. The survey was fielded Jan. 21-25, 2023. Consumer Insights Now research is led by Dana French, who has more than 20 years of experience in home furnishings and consumer research.

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