The World’s Leading Home + Housewares Show

March 2–4, 2025 | McCormick Place | Chicago, IL

The World’s Leading Home + Housewares Show
March 2—4 | McCormick Place | Chicago, IL

Consumers are embracing a simpler way of life welcoming natural style influences inside the home, trend analyst Nancy Fire said during a keynote presentation on day two of IHA’s Connect FALL virtual event.

“We’re seeing a reinvention of real life,” said Fire, founder, and principal of Design Works International, specializing in trend research and guidance on product development, pattern and color. “Real life is the key.”


Fire outlined four key style themes for 2022 emblematic of organic, calming lifestyles embraced by post-pandemic consumers in home and housewares products: Nature’s Way, Staycation, Living in Color and Flourish.


Nature’s Way

Rooted in growing consumer passion to bring positive change to the world through their home product choices, Nature’s Way spotlights organic, sustainable materials; warm, earthy, neutral tones; and slight imperfections in texture and shape.

“Imperfect is the new perfect,” Fire said. She identified such prevailing product materials and design factors as leather detailing, bamboo, wood, cork, woven materials, ceramic, shells, organic shapes, creative storage and mixed substrates.

Fire, a member of the Sustainable Furniture Council, highlighted the emergence of new resources for sustainable, organic materials, including leftover shells acquired from the seafood industry, cork threads and 3D-printable algae.



Noting that Staycation is not a new concept, Fire said its appeal in the COVID era centers on wellness.

“It’s relaxing and practical,” she said. Fire pinpointed a range of blues, such as indigo, Delft, Adriatic, powder and Scandi as a core color foundation for this lifestyle. She noted such design characteristics in home products as faux finishes, pebbled surfaces, block print and cut glass.

Although the kitchen is a central showcase for many of the prevailing consumer lifestyles, the bathroom, as a personal wellness sanctuary, figures prominently in the Staycation lifestyle, Fire said.

She cited Morning Consult research revealing Millennials and Gen Z embrace the Staycation lifestyle the most among generational groups.


Living in Color

Fire cited color as the connective tissue enabling mixing of contrasting themes: natural/manmade; playful/sophisticated; and hard/soft.

The wide range of colors in this lifestyle are neither bright nor pastel, Fire said. “They are beautiful mid-tones,” often mixed with sustainable elements, such as recycled plastic.

She spotlighted the growing importance of color in storage, the appeal of transparency through color and personalization of mix-and-match color blocking.



Looking at what was originally forecasted to be a 2023 trend that could arrive in 2022 with the emergence of the Cottage Core trend, Fire described Flourish as a feminine lifestyle for “romantics… who take comfort in the past and want to make it the future.”

This nostalgic lifestyle favors such design qualities as harmonized, organic, floral prints; and pure, sweet colors that are not fully saturated.

“It’s almost as if you are putting a filter over your life and seeing it through rose-colored glasses,” Fire said.


Fire stressed that lifestyle trend is fluid for most consumers and not prone to sudden changes. “[Trends] will evolve more logically,” she said, noting how consumers are inclined to draw from multiple lifestyle influences when equipping and decorating their homes.

“It’s about the mix and making it core to who you are,” she said. “It’s not about hard stops. It’s about a flow of lifestyles and how you live.”