The future of home textiles
The functions once attributed to the home are changing, and with them, the way we conceive of domestic spaces. In this paradigm shift, digitization has proved to be an indispensable ally for creatives and manufacturers, especially in the online printing segment.
Due to the pandemic, the use of domestic spaces has become fluid, as has our way of conceiving interior decoration.
To compensate for the social functions we have long had to give up, homes have become multitasking, as have those who inhabit them. The rigid separation of spaces linked to their primary use has been progressively abolished.
The task of designers, brands, and manufacturers is to intercept the needs that have emerged in the last two years, creating spaces that are as safe as they are comfortable. In this sense, digital printing technologies represent an indispensable ally, guaranteeing maximum production flexibility and high customization.
Trends 2022: between nature and texture
Recently, the magazine of IMM Cologne, an international trade fair for interior décor, reported on some of the trends that will characterize interiors in 2022.
In line with the previous year, the connection between nature and domestic life is accentuated through the use of soft colours, soft textures, and natural substrates (linen, cotton, wool) capable of infusing warmth into any environment. Floral patterned prints also continue to enjoy success, lending sumptuousness to any décor, especially when they are present as details in combination with monochrome fabrics.
According to Devin Shaffer, lead interior designer at Decorilla Online Interior Design, in the wallpaper segment, customers are looking for special effects and three-dimensionality that can add personality and embellish any corner of the house.
The focus on sustainability remains unchanged, prompting users to prefer ecological and recycled materials. Equally sought-after is furnishing textile, used in a variety of applications: wallpaper, bed linen, kitchen and bathroom linen, curtains, upholstery, and furnishing accessories of all kinds. The bed linen and kitchen linen segment mainly use mixed fibres in the sense of cotton/linen blends, which are printed using dyes and pigment inks. High-quality substrates such as silk, frequently mixed with linen or cotton, are preferred in applications destined for high-end customers. When designing, it is crucial to consider both technical and aesthetic requirements, so fabrics used in domestic environments must guarantee excellent resistance to rubbing and frequent washing. In the case of curtains, good lightfastness and a degree of shrinkage close to zero are also required.
Digitization and new business models
According to an analysis by Grand View Research, the global of the home textile market is set to reach USD 133.4 billion by 2025, with an annual growth rate of 5.01%. Analogue printing technologies remain benchmarks for high run lengths and certain speciality processes. The evolution of inkjet printing processes and the development of increasingly high-performance and sustainable inks have allowed digital printing to progressively establish itself in this market segment as well.
Among the main advantages provided by digital textile printing is that it has opened up a series of unprecedented opportunities for designers and creatives, but also for online printers who need to guarantee high customization even on very small print volumes. The latter, thanks to digital, can create high-quality, highly customized, large-format applications without any limits.
The digitization of processes has also contributed to an improvement in logistics, which has resulted in a lower percentage of unsold goods and inventories. The change in the supply chain has allowed the emergence of new business models that are more sustainable from both an environmental and economic point of view. They are based on the logic of print-on-demand, which allows production volumes to be adapted to the real needs of users, reducing water and energy consumption and, more generally, the environmental impact of processes and products. Consequently, a progressive relocation (the phenomenon known as reshoring) of production plants is expected after decades of delocalization.