The furniture designers who design products for the markets of Western countries note that customer needs differ considerably: Lithuanian residents choose completely different soft furniture than, for example, Germans. The trend both in Western Europe and in Lithuania is clear: not a single, even the most minimalist, apartment can do without a sofa, which has become a real standard of a multifunctional item of furniture and got painted in bright colours.
German shopper
German shopper
© Scanpix

The choice of a sofa also depends on age

"The most important position at home, as far as furniture is concerned, has been clearly taken by the sofa in the recent decades. These days, it is no longer only a piece of furniture on which we sit or receive guests on some occasions. The sofa is a multifunctional product where people spend their leisure time, get entertained and work, and even eat. It is like a home hub which fits in even in the smallest homes," said Agnė Razminė, product development manager at SBA Group company Kauno Baldai, which exports more than 90 per cent of its production, SBA wrote in a press release,.

Producers note that, for different markets, they sometimes have to design sofas of completely different styles or functions. For example, Germans prefer seaters with more hardness. Residents from Scandinavia and Benelux countries more often opt for softer sofas.

"Lithuanians are closer to Scandinavians in this regard – we more often choose softer and more comfortable furniture. Young people like particularly soft, loft-style furniture which looks fluffy even visually, where both the seats and backrest cushions have batting," told Agnė Razminė.

Another distinct difference between the markets, according to the producers, is a different attitude to functionality.

"It is still very important for Lithuanian buyers that the sofa should have the sleeping function and that it could be used not only for seating but also for sleeping guests. Such need is not very relevant in the Western markets where much more attention is paid for the aesthetic view and how the item of furniture fits in the overall interior. Such trends, although slowly, are also coming to Lithuania and it is likely that they will become stronger in the future," noted Agnė Razminė.

According to the manager of Kauno Baldai, the age of customers also often predetermines the choice of functional parameters of the sofa.

"Young persons look for large corner sofas to be able to seat a large number of friends. Older buyers prefer "tidy" design furniture. They more often choose more compact corner seaters where they could rest their legs and spend the time peacefully at the TV, read books," the specialist described the customer habits.

Most trendy colours – bright

The main fashion trends for sofas are set in the largest global furniture exhibition that takes place in Milan in spring. Even those who do not visit this global furniture fiesta can clearly see on the internet that bright colours have been especially popular and become a highlight for homes in the recent years.

"Present-day consumers welcome modern furniture trends, textile developments and bright colours. They make daring choices from interesting textures and texture fabrics. Grey and brownish colours are no longer the top favourites. The retail chains that sell our products in the Scandinavian and Benelux countries are highly successful in selling for the final consumer furniture of bright colours: ocean blue, dark, deep royal green and even ash rose colour products," described the trends Agnė Razminė.

Now the buyers also often choose sofas on high wooden or metal legs, which give the impression of lightness for the piece of furniture. Such furniture does not overload the interior and may be positioned in the centre of the living room.

"We get special orders for golden, brass legs of furniture, for special decorative stitches," added Agnė Razminė.

Lost attachment to things

According to Agnė Razminė, one more trend can be seen: buyers purchase sofas, as well as other pieces of furniture, for shorter periods of use – five years at the most.

The expert says that 20 to 30 years ago furniture was highly valued because their supply was scarce, while the demand and, accordingly, the prices were high. Now the assortment is so wide that each buyer can choose furniture according to the criteria important to him or her – the price, design, quality, durability.

"Customers not only keep an eye on the trends of the interior more attentively but also have more opportunities to change housing or at least renew it more often. That could possibly be the reason why furniture is bought for shorter periods of use, without treating them as an investment of the whole life and simply without developing attachment to things," said Agnė Razminė.

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