Category Archives: Featured Post

What will the UK’s homes look like in 5, 10 and 20 years’ time?


With the government pledging to build 300,000 new homes a year AXA Insurance has asked the public what they think homes will look like in 5, 10 and 20 years’ time.

Key Findings

  • Homes are becoming increasingly multi-purpose, with a quarter of people now viewing them as places of work as well as leisure;
  • Technology will ramp up in 5 years’ time, with 26 per cent believing all homes will include smart technology;
  • Sustainability is the name of the game in 10 years’ time, as 20 per cent expect houses to have access to driver-less vehicles and be made of sustainable materials

Homes of Today – A mishmash of work and leisure

Twenty years ago most people thought of their homes as a place they go at the end of the day to unwind and catch up with their families, however today a quarter of people use them as places of work as well as leisure. Thirty-six per cent of people feel that there are more people working from home today compared to ten years ago, while 64 per cent think that even more people will be working from home in the future.

However, even though there are now more people working from home than ever before, only a few of us have dedicated spaces to do this work in. Only a third (29 per cent) of people work in a dedicated office at home, while another third (32 per cent) work in their living rooms and 15 per cent in their bedrooms. Most people work on their laptops (69 per cent), while less than half have a dedicated desk, office chair or monitor!

Homes in 5 years’ time – Technology becomes more widespread

We often forget how quickly technology can become commonplace, however considering the fact that the iPhone came out less than 11 years ago, it’s not surprising that over a quarter (26 per cent) of respondents believe the UK’s homes will include technology such as Hive and Alexa in the next five years.

What’s more, 27 per cent believe there will be smart screens (e.g. TV screens you can use to call people etc.) throughout their homes in the next 10 years, while 25 per cent think people will have the ability to charge electric cars at home instead of having to go to charging points.

Homes in 10 years’ time – The Sustainability Era

Conversations surrounding sustainability are becoming increasingly prevalent as the world envisions the type of environment they want to live in in the future. Concerns over sustainability appear in respondents’ hopes for homes in 10 years’ time, with almost 20 per cent thinking they will be made mostly of sustainable materials (e.g. solar panels, flood resistant technology etc.) and will also be better equipped to withstand environmental factors such as storms, rain and wind.

Meanwhile, one in five believe homes will have access to driverless cars in the next 10 years – just 5 years after having the ability to charge electric cars at home. There is a good reason why sustainability is so important in the future: a quarter of people (24 per cent) think the UK’s electricity network as it currently stands would struggle to keep up with demand in 10 years’ time.

Homes in 20 years’ time and beyond

Along with determining what homes will look like in 5, 10 and 20 years’ time, there were some general observations from respondents regarding on-going trends that we are seeing today and expect to carry on in the future. At the moment, only 20 per cent of people think homes have the ability to change rooms depending on their purpose (work, leisure, relaxing etc.), however 43 per cent think they will have this ability within the next 20 years.

Throughout the decades AXA has seen a number of changes in the way people live their lives and the homes they reside in. Today more than ever, people are starting to use their homes for multiple purposes and are relying more heavily on new technology, and this is set to continue. In the next five, ten and twenty years we expect homes to change once again, but into what is a conversation we all need to have.” Gareth Howell, Managing Director, AXA Insurance

Other predictions include:

  • Nineteen per cent of people think UK homes already have more people living in them; this increases to 38 per cent within 20 years’ time.
  • Twenty-three per cent of people think UK homes already house multi-generational families; this increases to 35 per cent within 20 years’ time.
  • Twenty-five per cent of people think UK homes are already smaller in size in general; this increases to 31 per cent within 20 years’ time. A quarter of people also think homes will never become larger in size again.


Source:  AXA insurance


Latest research into adding value to a home


New research from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and the HomeOwners Alliance (HOA), estimates that it’s possible to add almost £50,000 to the value of a home in just seven days.

The key findings from this research into the projects which can add the most value to a home, in the shortest space of time and in particular parts of the country, include:

  • Removing an internal wall to create an open plan kitchen and diner can add £48,417 in seven days to an averagely priced home in London;
  • Building a garden room or outside playroom for the kids can add £35,611 in 14 days to an averagely priced home in Surrey;
  • Investing in kitchen improvements such as new flooring, a new worktop and new cabinet doors can add £26,838 in eight days to an averagely priced home in Dorset
  • Converting a cupboard under the stairs into a downstairs toilet can add £26,708 in seven days to an averagely priced home in Surrey;
  • Converting part of the master bedroom into an en suite bathroom can add £14,525 in 11 days to an averagely priced home in London;
  • Building a new driveway can add £13,354 in nine days to an averagely priced home in Surrey;
  • Installing decking and lighting in the back garden can add £8,946 in seven days to an averagely priced home in Dorset.

Below is their list of projects, costs and the value they can add to a home, broken down by region

Trend-Monitor-FMB research


Source: Federation of Master Builders


What happens behind the closed bathroom door?


Why do we spend so long in the shower?  How often is a double-flush required?  How deep is the bath filled?  Is it hot water or cold water first?  How often is the toilet really cleaned?  Does face washing require the plug to be in or out?

What really goes on in the privacy of our bathrooms? 

In April we will be finding out ….

We have asked 50 UK householders to take part in a unique 7-day study into what happens behind the closed bathroom door, in order to get a real understanding of bathroom habits and behaviours,

The study, which is a collaboration between Trend-Monitor and The Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA),  is in the format of an online interactive diary with two-way, real-time communication between the researchers and the participants.  This enables daily tasks to be set, further details requested, images uploaded, different workday and rest day behaviours to be captured, and much more.

Alongside the diary study, a quantitative survey will question 500 homeowners on their decision-making process when purchasing a new bathroom and evaluate their satisfaction levels after purchase.  Plus record their awareness of water regulations and legal compliance whilst making their purchases.

“This is the first time any organisation from our industry has questioned the consumer in so much detail about their bathrooms and how they use bathroom products,” said BMA CEO Yvonne Orgill.

“The results of the research will aid the BMA to talk with clarity and credibility when working with the government and other organisations on water issues.”

Jane Blakeborough, research director at Trend-Monitor comments “We have been wanting to run a study of this type for some time now and partnering with the BMA has meant that we have been able to work closely with bathroom manufacturers to understand what it is they really want to know about bathroom product usage in the home environment”

The results of both studies will be made available to BMA members and Trend-Monitor Insight Partners.

For more information, please contact, tel 0113 209 3288


Top 10 Innovations for the Bathroom of the Future


A recent survey has revealed that 68% of people believe their bathroom is outdated.

DigitalBridge, a room visualisation tool for home decor and kitchen/bedroom/bathroom retailers, questioned 1,100 consumers to find out which innovations they’d most like to see in the ‘bathroom of the future’.

They found that one in five (46%) thought the most exciting innovations will be in the bathroom.  A further 28% said that the kitchen is most ripe for innovation and just 9% believe that the living room will see most technological change in future.

Half of people also claimed that they would be more likely to shop with a brand that offered them access to technologies such as augmented reality (AR) or artificial intelligence (AI).  This figure rises to 59% among 25–34 year olds.

Despite this, when questioned on their current bathroom tech, 68% of people said they believe their bathroom is outdated — with 42% of these even stating that it is very outdated. Just 14% thought their space was of a modern standard and only 6% believed it to be very modern.

When asked which innovations they would most like to see in the bathroom in the next 10 years, this was the top 10 list:-

  1. A face recognition system which automatically adjusts water temperature and pressure to your personalised settings
  2. A hovering drone mirror which allows you to style the back of your hair with ease
  3. An in-shower voice recognition that allows you to add shampoo, toothpaste and other essentials to your shopping list when they are running low
  4. An augmented reality simulator that shows how a hairstyle could look on your head and provides step-by-step instructions on how to achieve it
  5. A pep-talking mirror that gives you advice on your outfits based on a link to your personal calendar
  6. Three taps — one for hot, cold and ‘just right’
  7. A dressing machine that chooses your outfit and dresses you
  8. A full body air-dryer
  9. A height-adjustable sink, toilet and mirror that moves up and down depending on who is using them
  10. An ambient display which allows you to make a cup of coffee and answer the doorbell from the shower


Source:  Digitalbridge



Tile Trends Spotted at Cevisama 2018

Once a year, the best-known names in the Spanish tile industry come together at the Cevisama fair in Valencia. It’s a chance not simply to showcase the latest tile trends but also to reveal the best of manufacturers’ innovation and quality.

This year’s event, held between 5 – 9 February, also highlighted a commitment to sustainability, a trend that’s increasingly important to consumers. Read on to discover some of the other trends on show, including the looks likely to emerge over the next 12 months.


Trend #1: Going for Gold

The allure of gold has long captivated designers, and it’s clear that it’s here to stay.

Take a look at the Scale collection by Equipe Ceramica for an example of how the age-old metallic look has been brought into the 21st century. It includes a sumptuous gold tile that’s available in five geometric formats. All-over shine can be brash, so Scale comes in a choice of other colours, although none dial up the drama more than the killer combination of black and gold (shown).


Scale range by Equipe Ceramica


The gold rush continued over at the Vives stand at Cevisama. Dashing examples included its Kokomo wall and floor tile, made all the more interesting with its use of contrasting textures on a 20cm x 20cm format.


Kokomo porcelain tile from the Nassau collection, Vives


Trend #2: Figures of Fun

We don’t tend to think of tiles as being fun, but the quirky Glimpse Bulldog range from Aparici proves us wrong. It’s created using a double-firing technique for deeper shine and sharper colours, and it’s sure to raise a smile.


Glimpse Bulldog range by Aparici


Elsewhere, Pamesa took a chance on love with Agatha Mille Cuori, a white-body ceramic wall tile bearing a heart motif and seen here in playful pistachio. Maximalists may gravitate towards all-over pattern, but if you prefer a more subtle look, go for a feature wall instead.


Agatha Mille Cuori from Pamesa


Trend #3: Modern Encaustic

There’s nothing new about encaustic tiles: they’ve been falling in and out of favour for centuries. (Think of the ornate Victorian era for a sense of the look.) With the pendulum currently swung in their favour, there isn’t a room onto which encaustic or encaustic-style tiles haven’t stamped their rich artisanal vibe.

The key to working with them is to make sure the pattern and colourway you choose suits the style of your home. The good news is that they work with spaces of all styles and ages.

For example, if you’re looking for a light-hearted touch, the soft pastel palette of Dune’s Stella porcelain tiles is a good choice; offered in 12 designs, the 20cm x 20cm format demonstrates how effective digital printing can be.


Dune’s Stella collection of porcelain tiles


Feeling bolder? Saloni’s new Pobles range could be for you. It’s available in a choice of five designs including Sitges (shown) in an 18.5cm x 18.5cm format.


Sitges from Saloni’s new Pobles collection


Trend #4: Imperfect Beauty

Move over polished elegance – imperfection is a far more manageable look. The key to mastering it is to look for beauty and character. Who cares if your wooden dining table is weathered or your leather armchair is well worn? It’s just a sign of a life well lived.

The fascination for faded elegance translates well to walls and floors. Take the A.mano collection of porcelain tiles by Apavisa: it’s faded for an aged look but maintains a note of elegance.


A.mano collection of porcelain tiles from Apavisa


The FS Briati range by furniture designer Francisco Segarra for Peronda has captured the trend well – look for the worn patterned décor tiles in a large format (45.2cm x 45.2cm).


S Briati range by furniture designer Francisco Segarra for Peronda.


Trend #5: Textured tiles

A plain white bathroom is always a popular look but it can easily start to feel clinical. Guard against this with textured wall tiles and, rather than sticking to one texture, why not throw a few into the mix for maximum visual interest?

To avoid a fight between patterns, copy Pamesa’s example and run with a restricted colour palette to create a cohesive look.  In the bathroom below, a stunning damask-effect tiled splashback steals the spotlight when paired with plainer tiles.

Vellore is available in a 40cm x 120cm format and four colourways.


Damask-effect Vellore tile by Pamesa.


Trend #6: So Retro

As decades go, the 1970s gets a bad rap. Sure, there were some questionable choices – think avocado bathrooms and lurid colour combinations – but that doesn’t mean the whole decade deserves to be written off. In fact, bold retro-inspired patterns are back in a big way, but as Regio Figaro by Aparici proves, they’re a lot easier on the eye.

Even so, this trend isn’t for the faint-hearted. Lima by Pamesa makes a strong 70s statement, but the Trend Monitor team remain divided on its swirly design.


Aparici’s Regio Figaro porcelain tiles


Lima ceramic wall tiles by Pamesa


TREND #7: The Pared-Back Look

Concrete, cement, chipboard: there’s a surprising amount of beauty in the bones of a building. The tile industry is celebrating these materials by replicating their look and feel on ceramic and porcelain. The result is a wealth of tiles with a rough-luxe aesthetic that recalls warehouse conversions with their exposed brickwork, original wooden floors and steel-framed windows.

Top picks include Concrete from Grespania’s Wabi Sabi collection, which features a subtle spatula-effect (available in 31.5cm x 100cm) and Strand by Vives, a porcelain floor and wall tile inspired by chipboard.


Grespania’s Wabi Sabi collection includes Concrete


Strand porcelain floor and wall tiles by Vives


The beauty of tiles is that you can get the effect without the hassle. Hankering after a distressed wall? Fake it with Harvy from the Industrial range in Saloni’s Street Art series.


Harvy from the Industrial range in Saloni’s Street Art series


Trend #8: Marvellous Marble

We tend to think of marble as part of a traditional look, but since making it big in contemporary and cutting-edge interiors, it’s shaken off its classic connotations.

Its appearance in the mainstream is also due to giant leaps in manufacturing technology. Marble-effect tiles look increasingly realistic, and they’re much easier to care for than the original.

Look for the richly veined replicas rather than their plainer counterparts and use them all over. Top picks include Medusa from Grespania’s Coverlam brand – available in a variety of formats with a natural or polished Antracita colour way – or Azalai by Inalco, making a bold statement here in Negro Natural.


Medusa from Grespania’s Coverlam brand


Azalai in Negro Natural from Inalco



Wellness and the Home

Over the last few years, Wellness has become a word many have heard all too much. It is something we see on social media, on the news, and in magazines, and is now a word hard to escape from.

With various industries across the spectrum capitalising on it, a look into what Wellness really is, and what it can do for us, is long overdue. Holiday companies are selling out of mindfulness and yoga retreats, health-food accounts on Instagram are monopolising the web, and spa treatments are more popular than ever.

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Why are experiences more valuable than possessions?

Seeking out experiences rather than purchasing more stuff has been a trend lurking in the corners of psychology for the last few years.

Research in 2014 by Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor from the University of Cornell, concluding that “experiences are the glue of our social lives”, mattering much more than the latest i-gadget.

Why do experiences matter?

  • Experiential purchases enhance social relations more readily and effectively than material goods
  • Experiential purchases form a bigger part of a person’s identity
  • Experiential purchases are evaluated more on their own terms and evoke fewer social comparisons than material purchases.

Studies also suggest that the anticipation of an experience is also crucial. Thomas Gilovich’s research showed that people reported being mostly frustrated before the planned purchase of a ‘thing’, but mostly happy before they bought an ‘experience’.

As that happy feeling is tied up with a memory, it lingers longer. Colin Strong, head of behavioural science at market research group Ispos, calls it the ‘hedonic adaption’, claiming that the hedonic payoff of experiences is much greater than material purchases.

The Experience Consumer

We are now seeing how this trend is affecting our spending habits and the way we consume, such as a 55% increase in ticket sales to events and live experiences, as research by the world’s largest event technology platform, Eventbrite, found.

And according to Barclaycard, which processes about half of all Britain’s credit and debit card transactions, their figures for April 17 show a 20% increase in spending in pubs compared with the same month last year. Spending in restaurants went up 16%, while theatres and cinemas enjoyed a 13% rise. Meanwhile, department stores suffered a 1% drop, vehicle sales were down 11% and spending on household appliances fell by 2.5%

Clothes retailer Next claim their first fall in profits in eight years is due to the experience economy, and Ikea’s head of sustainability, Steve Howard, is of the opinion that consumption of many goods has reached a limit, referring to this limit as hitting ‘peak stuff’

Building a Brand Experience

Fuelled by social media, the experience economy is a trend that will continue to grow. Instagram accounts used to be about our new car, handbag or pair of shoes, but now that seems slightly vulgar compared to our friend’s yoga holiday or sky-diving weekend.

Building a product brand that taps into the experience economy involves going beyond a ‘sell and forget’ mentality. When Meile launched their revolutionary steam oven, they also developed a set of cookery courses for their steam oven customers. After completing a hands-on steam oven cookery session, attendees proudly tweet, instagram and facebook the results to all their contacts, turning them into a very effective sales force for Meile, without even a mention of a Meile product.


What homes do the over-55’s buy?

The over-55s are an important and growing segment of the new-build housing market.  In their  report ‘Moving Insights from the Over-55’s‘, The NHBC Foundation looks at the reasons why the over-55’s move and the types of homes they buy.

The research is based on a sample of almost 1,500 homeowners aged over 55 who moved to their current new-build home between 2010 and 2016.

While equity release is a key motive for some, 46% of those surveyed invested more money in their home when making the move, and just under a third upsized to a home with more bedrooms. At the same time, hidden deeper in the evidence, is a strong demand for two-bedroom homes among those choosing to downsize.

Overall, a large proportion of households (40%) in this study moved either down or up to a four-bedroom home, making this the most common home size purchased by the over-55s.  The findings challenge the assumption that older home owners normally downsize to smaller properties, and instead highlight a diversity of moves: in terms of size (bedroom numbers) 39% of households downsized, many upsized (28%) and a third same-sized (33%).

While much of the evidence reveals a wide range of different motivations among the over-55s thinking of moving home, some key themes emerge with important implications for house builders. Older purchasers considering downsizing are about 20% more likely to choose a new-build home, and are particularly attracted by the prospect of living in a home which is easier to manage and enjoys lower maintenance and running costs, manageable gardens and a new home warranty – features which are high priorities for this age group.

Although new-build homes are particularly appealing to the over-55s, the report finds that they often feel that new build marketing is directed at families or young people and argues that more should be done to reflect the needs of older home buyers in this sector.  There is a strong antipathy among those aged 55 to 75 to being described as ‘old’ and there are important lessons to be learnt for marketing to this age group.

The NHBC Foundation was established in 2006 to provide high-quality research and practical guidance to support the house-building industry as it addresses the challenges of delivering 21st-century new homes.

Moving house over-55s

Download the full report here >>

Source:  The NHBC Foundation

Ikea launches furniture range for pets

Ikea pet furniture range

Have you ever felt like your cat or dog wasn’t just a pet, but a member of the family?  You are not alone.

IKEA felt there was a gap in the market for reasonably priced, but nice-looking pet products and developed a pet product range.  The new LURVIG collection, which means “hairy” in Swedish, was launched in five countries — Japan, France, Canada, U.S and Portugal at the start of October.

Ikea pet furniture range

Created by pet loving designer, Inma Burmudez,  with support from veterinarians,  according to Ikea “the range covers all the bases of our shared life with pets indoors and out, so you and your pet can enjoy your home together“.

Ikea furniture for cats

Ikea furniture for dogs

Source:  Ikea 

Dulux Colour of the Year 2018

Dulux colour of the year 2018

Pantone has announced 18-3838 Ultra Violet as their colour of the year for 2018.

In a provocative contrast to Greenery, their 2017 colour of the year, which was chosen for its fortifying attributes, encouraging us to take a step back to breathe, oxygenate and reinvigorate, Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking that points us towards the future.

According to Leatrice Eiseman Executive Director of the Pantone Colour Institute “We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination.  It is this kind of creative inspiration that is indigenous to PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level.  From exploring new technologies and the greater galaxy, to artistic expression and spiritual reflection, intuitive Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come

Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.

Enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance. Musical icons Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix brought shades of Ultra Violet to the forefront of western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality. Nuanced and full of emotion, the depth of PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.

Historically, there has been a mystical or spiritual quality attached to Ultra Violet. The color is often associated with mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today’s over-stimulated world. The use of purple-toned lighting in meditation spaces and other gathering places energizes the communities that gather there and inspire connection.

Pantone 18-3838 Ultra Violet

About the Pantone Color of the Year

 “The Pantone Color of the Year has come to mean so much more than ‘what’s trending’ in the world of design; it’s truly a reflection of what’s needed in our world today.” – Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute.

As individuals around the world become more fascinated with color and realize its ability to convey deep messages and meanings, designers and brands should feel empowered to use color to inspire and influence. The Color of the Year is one moment in time that provides strategic direction for the world of trend and design, reflecting the Pantone Color Institute’s year-round work doing the same for designers and brands.