Over 150 Years of Service to the Furniture Industry

 Furniture World Logo

"Designing Out" Survey Gauges Homeowner Perceptions Of Furnishing Outdoors

Furniture World News on

Regardless of age, sex, or geographic region of residence, American homeowners are designing outdoor living areas that mirror their unique personalities and lifestyles, according to a nationwide survey released by Laneventure. Over 500 homeowners across the United States were polled for “Designing Out: The 2006 Home Lifestyle Report”. The respondents were equally divided geographically and by their experience with homeownership (first-time homeowner vs. experienced homeowners who have owned more than one residence in the past). Additional focus was placed to determine the impact of a homeowner’s “life stage”, i.e. whether they were a “New Nester” (0-5 years in their current home); “Settler” (5-16 years in their current home); or “Lifer” (16+ years in their current home), on their outdoor living space. Six in ten respondents stated it is important to extend the living space and personality of their home to the outdoors. In addition, when customizing their outdoor areas, homeowners say that creating a “comfortable” space is the most important (69%) characteristic. Homeowners also perceive functionality (65%) and upkeep/maintenance (62%) to be essential for outdoor areas. “The outdoor room phenomenon is ever growing and it comes as no surprise that homeowners’ desire to personalize their outdoor space in the same manner as any room within the interior of their home,” said Gary McCray, vice president of Marketing for Laneventure, the North Carolina-based manufacturer of outdoor furnishings, which commissioned the survey. “Whether they’ve lived in their residence for 5 months or 25 years, homeowners are focusing on the outdoors and are merging personal style with comfort and functionality to create their outdoor design scheme.” Home décor and fashion trends are merging more than ever before, which is why home décor ties with clothing, shoes and accessories as the top choice for how to express personal style. And while closets are restocked to keep up with changing runway styles, homeowners are applying the same mindset to revive their outdoor rooms: nearly half of homeowners indicate their outdoor areas go through seasonal changes and close to one third (31%) of all homeowners look forward to redecorating their outdoor area every year. While geographic region does not have a significant effect on most respondents’ outdoor preferences, homeowners from across the country favor different design elements to customize their outdoor areas. Southerners favor rocking chairs and built-in kitchens and barbeques. Homeowners in the East turn to hammocks, and ornamental water features, such as fountains, are most popular in the West. “For years I have believed in the concept of the garden home, a place that blurs the lines between indoors and out, expanding our living space into the garden and our garden into our homes,” said P. Allen Smith, America's most recognized expert in gardening and garden design. “This concept is catching on and nature provides a beautiful backdrop for homeowners to create a personalized, outdoor haven.” Other key findings from Designing Out: The 2006 Home Lifestyle Report include: New Nesters and Lifers are more likely to want the look and feel of their outdoor spaces to reflect the look and feel of their home. Settlers do not feel as strongly about uniting indoor and outdoor living areas. Homeowners most frequently express their personal style in outdoor areas with eating or sitting areas (70%), flower or plant beds (66%) and potted plants and trees (56%). Outdoor lighting is also used by many homeowners (52%). When it comes to entertaining, outdoor living spaces (24%) are more popular than the kitchen (12%). And while homeowners are most likely to turn to the living room (35%) when guests arrive, their next choice is a gathering in the great outdoors (35% vs. 24%). Homeowners report that outdoor areas bring great personal enjoyment (78%), provide an opportunity to bond with others (69%) and provide a warm-weather alternative to the living room for relaxation and entertainment (66%). While some homeowners redecorate their outdoor spaces regularly, more than a third (36%) of homeowners believe that their outdoor living space is “in dire need of a makeover.” One in three homeowners seek guidance, expertise and ideas about personalizing their outdoor area, a sentiment shared across age, sex, region, income and homeowner life stage. Finally, as the availability of outdoor furniture, kitchens and accessories escalates, homeowners have the opportunity to easily personalize their outdoor retreats and customize the complete environment, from seating arrangements to colorful rugs to creative accoutrements. According to the report, the majority of respondents turn to home improvement centers to purchase both furniture and non-furniture items. Other top choices when purchasing furniture include: discount stores (41%), outdoor furniture stores (39%) and furniture specialty stores (29%). When making non-furniture purchases, in addition to home improvement centers, homeowners are likely to visit nursery or garden stores (54%), discount stores (50%) and specialty stores (32%). The 2006 Home Lifestyle Report is the second installment of Designing Out. The first report was released in 2004, which polled Realtors, interior designers and landscape architects and revealed statistics on how an outdoor room adds value to a home at resale. Lane®venture, one of the leading premium indoor-outdoor furnishings manufacturers in the U.S., has positioned itself as the leading marketer of outdoor living environments. For more than 30 years, Laneventure has offered the best in casual furniture for inside, outside and all around the home. Laneventure creates lines for designer and national names including Raymond Waites, Ernest Hemingway, At Home In Tuscany by Frances Mayes and Bob Timberlake. Laneventure is a division of Furniture Brands International (NYSE: FBN). To learn more, visit www.laneventure.com.

Furniture World Magazine-Business solutions for furniture retailers