Furniture is (Finally!) Shrinking...for Now

Wall Street Journal 03.21.08

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Good timing - just on the eve of our annual contest that celebrates small space living, the furniture industry is getting in step. We've been seeing it happen, slowly but surely. Mass market retailers, like Pottery Barn (shown here) have finally started to focus on those of us who live in smaller spaces by tailoring specific lines to a scale that fits our non-mansion homes.


Growing demand for smaller scaled furniture seems to be finally tipping the balance back away from giant sofas, overstuffed club chairs and monolithic armoires. In the WSJ today they discuss the trend and list some very specific reasons for it...

They cite Baby Boomers downsizing to condos, first time buyers settling into urban neighborhoods AND, most specifically; homeowners whose plans to "trade up" are on hold due to the current market.

Pottery Barn launched its Small Spaces lines and according to the article, "sales have been terrific...and the company has already double the size of the assortment online". An Ethan Allen spokeswoman says that while they have always had different sized pieces, this year it is a focus.

The piece doesn't mention those, like many of us who read AT, who have chosen to live small purposefully - who simply never felt the pull of "more more more" when it came to square footage - and who now may be enjoying the wider selection of pieces that actually fit comfortably in our homes.

We don't totally dig the assumption that comes through in the article that that the bigger furniture and giant homes is what we all will want to get back to, which is backed up by the final quote of the piece by Ed Tashjian of Century Furniture. He says that Century won't walk away from big furniture because "one should never bet against the American Dream". Ugh.

Check out the full article here.

Photo: Arlington Sofa from Pottery Barn

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Janel Laban is the Executive Editor of Apartment Therapy and has been working here, at the dreamiest of dream jobs, since March 2006.

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