New trends in home furnishings at Tendence 2010

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"Products with personality," "Functional at second glance" and enhanced comfort are some of the main themes visible at Tendence 2010 home furnishings and décor trade show.

The Tendence trade fair is an international exhibition held August 27-31 in Frankfurt, Germany; the exhibition focuses on everything to do with home furnishings and decorations.

The key trends in this year's home furnishings, according to exhibition organizers Messe Frankfurt, are "products with personality," "Functional at second glance" and comfort in the home.

The organizers and exhibitors claim that the time of "clean chic" has passed: consumers now no longer want white, sharp, edgy products that appear to sanitize their homes. Rather the demand is for authenticity and a highly individual style. Chairs, sofas and other home furnishings which exhibit signs of wear, or "products with personality" are set to be the next big thing.

Organizers and exhibitors are also charting the idea of "functional at second glance" as a developing trend. The idea behind these household objects is to take objects which are functional in one context, then transfer them to another, where, "out of place," their function is transformed. Examples are chair socks which provide protection for delicate floors and can be chosen in a color and style which reflect the homeowner's personality

Gemütlichkeit is a German word which roughly means to feel good and have a good time, this translates into the consumer's desire to, in particular, feel comforted, for instance by changing the type of materials used on household furnishings. Materials traditionally used in winter sweaters and coats such as wool and felt are being applied to carpets and home textiles, and even accessory objects like flower vases.

Other minor trends are expected to be fresh ideas for functional designs like innovative bookmarks or iPod cases and versatile flexible jewelry designs.

The Tendence exhibition is one of the biggest home design and furnishing exhibits of the year: a total of 2130 exhibitors from 57 countries are expected to attend, and an app for visitors in German and English is available to download for free from the iTunes store.

The upcoming interiors and home trade show Maison & Objet ( runs from September 3 to 7 at Paris Nord Villepinte near Paris, France.