When people think of Italy, they think about luxury. Excellent food probably ranks high, however that is a topic for another day. Luxurious food, clothing, and furniture are usually regarded as desirable and well-made. The question of why this belief is so common can be answered by taking a look at what Italian designers value, and how that can be helpful to those amatuer decorators wanting to add Italian furnishings to their home.
The History, the Culture: To Discover What Inspires Designers, Look to the Past.
Some Italian designers insist that they have a lot to live up to, and it is that expectation of excellence that keeps them relevant. Perhaps public opinion is a factor, but it is far more likely that it is the ethos of the region that keeps Italian furnishings and Italian fashion in demand.
A rich history based on elegance and innovation gives new designers a lot to live up to with their work. As time goes on, modern Italian furnishings have proven that even when Italian designers are following a trend, they still like to put their own spin on it. The result has been interesting new designs that still retain a semblance of fragility and beauty. But who does this style appeal to?
Who Is Buying Up All the Furniture?
While furniture is needed by just about everyone, some groups do more shopping than others. A recently graduated college student out on their own for the first time will need more furniture all at once than a 65 year-old retiree. However, it is important to remember that the college student will likely have a much smaller budget than the retiree. While luxury Italian homeware might last a very long time, most younger buyers cannot shop for the bigger investment pieces. Many Baby Boomers grew up around a furniture style that emphasized originality and clean lines, something the current Italian furniture designers seem to favor.
The age group known as Baby Boomers (51 to 69 years of age) used to be the biggest buying group, which was last reflected at 42% in 2013. Just two years later in 2014, the number dropped to 29% of all buyers. So who grabbed the top spot? Millennials of course. Back in 2012, this group only made up 14% of furniture buyers. That number surged to 37% in 2014. As we age, our incomes tend to rise. Just as with the Baby Boomers before them, it is likely that Millennials will become the largest group buying furniture within a few years.
What Makes High End Furnishings So Valuable?
High end modern furniture may be more expensive than other options for a few reasons. One, the design is simply better. This isn’t a reference to Italian furnishings, although that type of high end furniture does count. It refers to the materials used, the methods of construction, and the durability of the piece. Of course, having a famous name attached does increase its value, but one should always double check that a piece of furniture reflects quality.
Some techniques help a piece last. Italian furnishings may look interesting, but they are also required to be well-made to be considered high end. A well-made piece will use durable yet fashionable materials. For a sofa, chair, or tufted headboard, the piece will hold up better if the fill portion has compartments. This technique prevents the fluff from settling to the bottom and looking unsightly.
Another method of construction that will indicate whether an item is high end is the way the fabric is attached to the frame. Any sight of staples or glue are signs of a slapdash job, not masterful construction. This feature is also a sign that the piece may break down under heavy use, which is not good when buying investment pieces.
Finely made Italian furnishings may not be within everyone’s budget. But that doesn’t mean that quality furniture will always be out of reach. If you are outfitting a home for the first time, perhaps you’ll need to buy what is affordable first. As time goes on, consider re-evaluating your furniture budget. A well-furnished room has its own elegant appeal.