Magazine article Newsweek

Nesting Instincts: Despite the Economy, We Want Comfy New Things Where We Live

Magazine article Newsweek

Nesting Instincts: Despite the Economy, We Want Comfy New Things Where We Live

Article excerpt

Byline: Cathleen McGuigan

Not so long ago, we Americans were excoriated for lounging on our sofas, chips and remote control at hand, when we were supposed to be out training for a 10K race. But no one's hurling the epithet "couch potato" these days. If it's not exactly patriotic to retreat to our nests, it's become good citizenship to feather them. Retailers of home furnishings are noticing distinct trends toward the comfy and cozy. Before September 11, furniture sales were flat, along with the economy, but since then certain items have spiked. (People who aren't buying holiday plane tickets may feel they can spend more on the home front.) At Pottery Barn, for example, upholstered-furniture sales are up. "People are hunkering down and being at home," says Peri Wolfman, vice president of product development for Williams-Sonoma. "I would say that people who'd been putting off purchases are now saying, 'What the hell, let's not put this off'."

What this yearning for comfort means for design is just beginning to emerge. Current lines of furniture were created months before the terrorist attacks, but designers are noting--sometimes with surprise--what's now catching fire. "People want to be cozy and warm, but they also want bright, happy things," says Mitchell Gold, who manufactures upholstered chairs and sofas for such chains as Restoration Hardware. "In the recent market, we showed vibrant, jazzy-looking stripes--and our customers said, this is just what we want, we're selling happy things." According to Crate & Barrel spokesperson Bette Kahn, "Red is a very good color this year--red leather, red felt. …

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