Category Archives: Surfaces

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.


Kitchen Worktop Performance Report 2018

This report identifies consumer needs and expectations with regards to the performance levels of worktop, assesses worktop usage within the kitchen, and evaluates the price versus performance ratio for worktops

The study is the result of an online survey carried out with 1000 UK homeowners

This research has been undertaken in partnership with Wilsonart, the UK’s largest manufacturer of laminate worktops.

Available to download from June 2018

If you are a Surface category Insight Partner, this report will automatically be added to your account

Tile Trends Spotted at Cevisama 2017

TREND-MONITOR went tile trend-spotting at Cevisama, the Spanish tile industry’s annual exhibition in Valencia

Once a year, Spain’s tile manufacturers come together at Cevisama to exhibit the best of what the ceramic tile industry has to offer including textures, glazes and colours. Covering over 10,000 sq m of exhibition space and attracting 86,000 buyers, also on show was bathrooms, as well as complementary sectors such as natural stone, raw materials, roof tiles and bricks, materials and tools for laying and installing tiles, and machinery used in the ceramic tile industry.

We spotted eight dominant tile trends among the exhibitors.

Tile Trend #1: Go Geometric

Triangles are the way forward, with manufacturers working the trend for geometrics into many of their designs. Favourites included Gayafores’ Melange, a wood-effect porcelain tile featuring triangles in blue, natural or black, and Caleidos by Undefasa, a striking hexagonal porcelain wall and floor tile in five matt colours.

Melange Blue by Gayafores
Melange Blue by Gayafores

Caleidos by Undefasa
Caleidos by Undefasa

Undefasa wasn’t alone in using shape to create a standout proposition. Equally shapely was Diamond Triangle Garden by Realonda, a matt porcelain wall tile available in eight designs and six colours.

Diamond Triangle Garden by Realonda
Diamond Triangle Garden by Realonda

Bellavista has put a refined spin on its Savona collection. It’s available in four neutral colours with a matt finish; we fell in love with the sophisticated greys seen in the bathroom below.

Savona by Bellavista
Savona by Bellavista

Tile Trend #2: Pretty in Pastel

The peril of using pastels is that your home can feel a bit sickly sweet. Fortunately, advances in technology mean manufacturers can now create a wider range of colours. The result is that pale can now also be playful.

Lenos by Onset is an excellent case in point. A new addition to the Harmony Signature collection by Peronda, this porcelain wall and floor tile is available in multiple pastel shades.

Lenos by Onset by Peronda
Lenos by Onset by Peronda

Also check out the Cottobello collection (a lesson in combining patterns and pastels) by Natucer or Apulia R Multicolour by Vives. It’s pretty and practical, and suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

Cottobello by Natucer
Cottobello by Natucer

Apulia R Multicolour by Vives
Apulia R Multicolour by Vives

Tile Trend #3 Mark of the Maker

Surface embellishment was another strong trend at Cevisama , with tile manufacturers delivering an ode to artists. Cue hand-drawn sketches: think chalk marks, pencil and paintbrush strokes used either large scale or as an accent.

Stealing the spotlight was Cas Cerámica’s Carson Relax, a ceramic wall tile with an original art design by American graphic designer David Carson. No less noteworthy was Maritima Alboran by Grespania, a ceramic wall tile featuring a hand-drawn effect in a matt or satin finish.

Carson Relax by Cas Ceramica
Carson Relax by Cas Ceramica

Maritima Alboran by Grespania
Maritima Alboran by Grespania

The mark of the maker is not exclusive to conventional art forms. Underground by Dune is a porcelain wall tile available in a range of patterns that can be mixed and matched to create a graffiti effect. It’s available in matt, satin or a mixed gloss-matt finish.

Underground by Dune
Underground by Dune

Tile Trend #4: A Lesson in Lines

Lines never go out of style and at Cevisama they were everywhere: running vertically or horizontally across the surface of tiles, and criss-crossing to create more drama. Some designers opted for the subtlest of suggestions, while others allowed their lines to stand out – quite literally – using texture. Examples include Mileto by Saloni and Arame by Metropol Ceramica.

Mileto by Salone
Mileto by Salone

Arame buy Metropol Ceramica
Arame by Metropol Ceramica

Designers certainly don’t seem to have felt hemmed in by lines. Instead, they’re feeling inspired. Eleusine, the work of Japanese designer Jin Kuramoto for Peronda, is a natural-stone wall tile inspired by the shadows of lines cast by the sun on a wall. Elsewhere, Osaka by Gayafores is a porcelain wall tile sporting a rough hewn linear effect that can be used to create striking textural patterns.

Harmony Collection by Peronda
Jin Kuramoto created Eleusine for the Harmony collection by Peronda

Osaka by Gayafores
Osaka by Gayafores

Tile Trend #5: Familiar Looks – Refreshed

Even if you are not familiar with the name of Terrazzo flooring,  you’ll have seen the product: a specked surface first used in Italian palazzos and later in offices and public spaces because of its distinctive look and reputation for durability and affordability. It’s made of chips of stone or resin set in concrete and polished to create a smooth surface.


Terrazzo Decor buy Apavisa
Terrazzo Decor by Apavisa


Tarrazzo Natural by Apavisa
Terrazzo Natural by Apavisa

The classic Mediterranean look of Terrazzo has taken off in the last couple of years, conjuring up a sense of relaxed style that’s inspired everything from furniture and furnishings. Terrazzo itself now comes with a twist; metallic accents and unusual colour choices have been thrown into the mix

Portofino by Vives
Portofino by Vives

Tile Trend #6: Turning Back Time

Nostalgia is no longer the preserve of furniture manufacturers: the makers and shapers of the tile industry are turning back the clock too. The Concept collection by Cas Cerámica is an excellent case in point, comprising satin-finished ceramic tiles in five retro designs that give owners the opportunity to create dramatic effects on both walls and floors.

Concept Collection by Cas Ceramica
Concept Collection by Cas Ceramica

Nostalgic prints remain popular because they’re versatile. Take Forma, for example: it’s a relief-effect porcelain wall tile by Apavisa, available in two finishes and four colours, and used to striking effect in the bedroom below.

Forma by Apavisa
Forma by Apavisa

Meanwhile, Royals Noble by Pamesa offers a contemporary take on a traditional pattern and comes in seven colours including Ocean (shown).

Royals Noble by Pamesa
Royals Noble by Pamesa

Our favourite is Moon Deco Pink by Realonda, a retro porcelain tile for walls and floors featuring 10 designs with four patterned colours and two plain colours .

Moon Deco Pink by Realonda
Moon Deco Pink by Realonda

Tile Trend #7: Say it with Flowers

The latest ceramics are in full bloom, featuring flowers either as a feature wall or as a strip effect. At Cevisama, there was barely a brand that didn’t embrace the trend, with collections featuring everything from ditsy buds to statement blooms.

Proponents include Mainzu’s Livorno Sonata collection (think big, bold and exotic) and Futura by Pamesa, which is more traditional in its appeal but no less noteworthy.

Livorno Sonata by Mainzu
Livorno Sonata by Mainzu

Futura by Pamesa
Futura by Pamesa

Of course, there was a counterpoint to all this boldness; after all, florals can be as much about tranquillity as they are about making a statement. Cas Cerámica made a case for a more muted aesthetic with Forever, a handcrafted tile with a homespun feel.

Forever by Cas Ceramica
Forever by Cas Ceramica

Tile Trend #8: Special Effects

While 3D-effect tiles are by no means new, progress in production methods means that manufacturers have evolved the aesthetic to create designs that skillfully draw in the eye. Coming up trumps is Apavisa with Nanoforma – a 3D porcelain wall tile in six colours including seductive silver (shown) – and Natucer with Dual, an extruded porcelain wall tile with a micro crackle glaze, available in six neutral colours.

Nanoforma by Apavisa
Nanoforma by Apavisa

Dual by Natucer
Dual by Natucer

The trend is further crystallised by Colorker’s Lincoln and Realonda’s Frame, a relief-effect porcelain wall tile in two matt colours including Negro (shown) and two metallic colours

Lincoln by Colorker
Lincoln by Colorker

Frame by Realonda
Frame by Realonda

Source:  Cevisama 2017

Find out the key home improvement product trends from other international trade events here

Bespoke Research commissioned by Wilsonart

Bespoke Research for Wilsonart

Wilsonart UK has partnered with research firm JM Blake Associates (now part of Trend-Monitor) to carry out consumer research that is designed to “identify who is buying laminate work surfaces in the 21st century and for what reasons”, with more than 1,000 consumers who had recently bought a worktop questioned through face-to-face exit interviews with retailers and online questionnaires.

Close to half of those questioned said they were purchasing a new worktop to replace surfaces in an existing kitchen, rather than as part of a completely new kitchen installation. Furthermore, only 15% of surfaces purchased were being used for utility rooms, garages, home offices and bedrooms, with the remainder being bought for kitchens.

According to Wilsonart, laminate was the most popular choice of material, followed by solid surface. Slightly more than half of those questioned said they had researched surfaces online, with only 3% having purchased from an online-only retailer.

The survey also found that surface performance, the best material type for a budget, and being suited to certain kitchen designs were the most important factors for consumers when purchasing a new surface.

“Wilsonart has always focused research on design, trends and styles but we wanted to find out about the consumer purchasing motivation,” said Wilsonart UK marketing communication manager Ruby Kiernan. “Who is buying, where are they buying, what are they purchasing and what other uses do consumers have for our products.”

She added: “Most consumers are seeking knowledge, design and customer service hand-in-hand with a competitive price. Notably, though, of all the buying decisions, being the cheapest is at the bottom of the list of reasons to purchase, supporting our theory that confidence has grown in the market and consumers buy on design, not price.”


Source: Wilsonart

Spotted at ISH 2017

ISH bathroom trends 2017

TREND-MONITOR went bathroom trend-spotting at ISH 2017, which was held at the Frankfurt Exhibition Centre between 12th and 16th March 2017

ISH Frankfurt is the world’s largest showcase for innovative bathroom design, energy energy efficient heating and air-conditioning technology and renewable energies. Over 2,400 international exhibitors, including all market leaders, launched their latest products, innovations and technologies onto the world market at ISH, which has been running for over 50 years.

Here’s our top eight bathroom trends from the exhibition …


10 Kitchen Surface Trends for 2017

kitchen surface trends 2017

At the Surface Design show in February, Houzz, the online platform for home renovation and design, presented their top 10 kitchen surface trends for 2017.  Here’s what the Houzz community are doing with their kitchens.

Trend #1 Dark Blue Cabinets

Not such a big leap from the dominant greys we’ve been seeing for the past few years, Dark Blue is growing in popularity, with Dark Green following closely on behind.

Keepable Kitchens - Little Greene


Trend #2 The New Metallics

The softer metals; brass, copper and rose gold,  have been key surfaces in interior design for a couple of years, and now we are seeing these move into more organic oxidised and rusted finishes.

Copper Splashbacks


Trend #3 Concrete Softens Up

Again another popular surface gets a face-lift as the industrial trend becomes less popular in UK homes.  Concrete is becoming smoother and lighter in colour as the technology behind implementing this surface into the home is developing.

Kensal Rise Kitchen


Trend #4 Marble Moves On

The depth of colour within marble is being celebrated in a move away from classic whites, showing the unique colouration that marble can bring to a kitchen

Dartmoor Farmstead


Trend #5 Solid Un-fussy Natural Wood Cabinet Styles

Capturing the natural beauty of wood instead of sanding and filling to a smooth finish

New Home in Devon


Trend #6 Plywood

Scandinavian Kitchen


Trend #7 Matt wins over Gloss

Contemporary Kitchen


Trend #8 High on Herringbone

Trend #9 Antique Mirrors



Trend #10 Cork


Highgate Family Home


Source:  Houzz and Surface Design 2017

Spotted at The Surface Design Show 2017

Surface Design Show 2017

TREND-MONITOR went trend-spotting at The Surface Design Show which was held at The Business Design Centre, London on 7th – 9th February 2017.

The Surface Design Show exhibits the latest materials in architecture and interior design and for the past 10 years has been the only event in the UK focusing solely on interior and exterior surfaces – connecting architects, designers and suppliers to innovative surface design trends and materials.

Here’s what we spotted …


Spotted at Living Kitchen 2017

Living Kitchen 2017

TREND-MONITOR went kitchen trend-spotting at Living Kitchen, which was held in Cologne between 16 and 20 January 2017

With more than 200 exhibitors from around 20 countries, LivingKitchen is the benchmark for the global kitchen industry and the international trade fair for kitchen furniture, kitchen appliances and accessories.

Our top six kitchen trends show that technology and personalisation lie behind many of the looks seen at this biennial kitchen exhibition.


Spotted at Sleep 2016

Sleep Event 2016

TREND-MONITOR went trend-spotting at Sleep 2016 which was held at The Business Design Centre in London on the 21 and 22 November 2016

Sleep is Europe’s hotel design, development and architecture event and has inspired hotel interiors across the globe for over 10 years.

Here’s what we spotted ….


Spotted at 100% Design 2016

100% Design

TREND-MONITOR went trend-spotting at 100% Design in Olympia London which was held between 20 – 23 September 2016 to assess the latest trends coming out of the design industry.

As the largest and longest running design trade show, 100% Design is a key event for industry professionals in the UK and takes place each year in Olympia London.   First staged in 1995, the show is the commercial cornerstone of the London Design Festival, with over 27,000 visitors to the show  across the 4 days in September.  A diverse audience of architects, designers, specifiers, retailers and developers visit the show, as well as multi-national companies looking to source directly for their latest projects.

Here’s what we spotted ….