Published on : Monday, July 29, 2019
According to Mitzi Beach: a huge shift in consumers’ awareness of their health status is underway. Not only is the wellness topic on trend everywhere, the shift is driving the development of new industries to meet anticipated demand for products and services that promote healthier living.
First and foremost among the many reasons for this trend is a growing awareness of the stress and busyness of life today. Consumers are seeking solutions that ease their everyday challenges, and help soothe and restore from the fast pace of their daily lives.
This concern for wellness definitely affects all ages, but it increases as we get older, which is one of the factors that gives this trend staying power. By 2030, 40% of Americans will be over 50 years old. The US Government Spending Survey tells us that people over 50 outspend younger generations by $400 billion each year. Accumulated over the course of the coming years, this amounts to a market with vast potential for profound wealth.
Being fit and aging well are also becoming new markers of status, and smart consumers are demanding products that do more to promote wellness. In furniture, this translates as products that go beyond their basic needs, deliver more than style, and help create an environment that gives them the luxury of feeling cared for.
Our industry has long known and accepted that design can have a positive – or negative – effect on all aspects of life. Buying or living with poorly formed or improperly fitted furniture can indeed sabotage a consumer’s wellness, causing stiff necks, back, and shoulder pain, and headaches. Designing for wellness means designing for the real life that most people live today, and is realized as upgraded function, greater ergonomics, and multipurpose storage.
At the Spring 2019 High Point Market, she outlined the wellness trend in a CEU-accredited seminar at the Alden Parkes showroom, and offered a few practical ideas for designing more healthful environments. Here are a few of the highlights:
Benches at the end of the bed, at the back door and other entries, as well as ottomans in bathrooms, give needed seating for ergonomics and safety.
In dining chairs, correct pitch, seat depth, and arm height are crucial to not just creating comfort, but in promoting a posture that minimizes neck, back, and shoulder pain, as well.
Wellness as a function of storage
Not only is clutter a visual stressor for many people, it is a major cause of falls and accidents. A little creative storage can make for a much calmer, safer environment.
Think also of the opportunities in lighting. A set of beautiful sconces can shed a soft, subtle and safe glow along stairways and hallways. Easily accessible task lighting can alleviate eye strain and prevent minor mishaps with scissors, embroidery needles, and other tools used in crafts. Lamps that create personalized pools of light can allow each person in a shared space to create a mini-environment conducive to what they want to do in any particular moment. Consider also the benefits of softened corners on end tables and accessories.
As a steadfast advocate of wellness in their industry, she has devoted an entire chapter to this topic in her book, Design SMARTS Inspiration for Home + Life to creating environments that promote well-being.