Salone del Mobile Milano

Trend research: Home – Homedulgence, sensory gratification


There is a popular Facebook page ironically named “Staying IN is the new going OUT”, which has around 70,000 followers and is the mouthpiece for a well-accepted feature of the contemporary lifestyle. Today’s home is a comfortable and welcoming ecosystem infinitely preferable to the outside world. No matter how sophisticated the range of public places on offer – cinemas, bars, restaurants etc. – nothing can compete with the comfort of one’s own sofa.

In contemporary society, spending time in and actually living in our houses is not an isolationist urge but a choice dictated by a conscious search for quality of life and sensory gratification. There’s nothing you can’t do at home these days, from shopping to culinary and entertaining experiences, relaxing and socialising, with the added value of maximum ease and intimacy – that no public place, conceived in the spirit of “one size fits all”, can ever manage to recreate in full – and maximum personalisation. Two values that impact powerfully on people’s choices as individuals and as consumers.

Just one example is the way in which phenomena such as Netflix have rejigged the rules of domestic television entertainment.

Homes become access portals to a more varied offering than a cinema, for example, but above all tailored to the needs, the preferences and the habits of individuals. 


In Russia it is by no means unusual to come across home cinema design solutions in the houses of many “young” 30/40-year olds, with screens that appear when necessary for watching their favourite programmes – even in really small flats.

What is happening to home entertainment also applies to food, selfcare and shopping (ecommerce most of all). The walls of our homes are increasingly becoming our favourite setting for gratifying, multisensory and good quality consumer experiences that are at least as satisfying as those outside. From the KITCHEN, a now “sacred” area that has become the hub of the domestic space and the scene of new rituals linked to food, to the BATHROOM, which has been transformed into a veritable "private spa”.


Self-indulgence that usually has something to do with food, both in a cultural way, involving a process of information and choice, and in a multisensory one, involving the process of transformation and consumption.

It is exactly the spread of this new food-related culture that has put the kitchen and the areas earmarked for the practicalities that go with it right at the heart of domestic and relational life. Kitchens are getting to look increasingly like those in real restaurants, both in terms of semi-professional domestic appliances (a subject that will be explored in the megatrend Customized Home), and in terms of the quality of the meals consumed in it. 

Eating at home is no longer a fallback situation, nor does it imply any sort of renunciation of taste or gratification. One can now sign up to services such as Cortilia ( and Portanatura ( for a weekly supply of fresh, Km0 and/or organic fruit and vegetables, and there are food delivery services like Deliveroo, that deliver food from premium city restaurants, enabling them to “set up a table” in their clients’ homes. 


The bathroom sets the scene for our most intimate and personal indulgence, where we attend to our personal care and that of our mental and physical wellbeing. It is no accident that the word room is used because, from both a functional and an aesthetic point of view, bathroom design is increasingly taking on the same characteristics as the other parts of the home, merging with them in some cases.


One of the many examples of the current hybrid style comes from the Australian furnishing brand Zuster, which has teamed up with Reece – Australia’s leading bathroom furnishing company – to bring out Issy, its first range of bathroom furniture, incorporating references and suggestions from other contexts to bring new meaning to personal beauty rituals, both male and female, making for simpler execution and even greater gratification.

Drawing inspiration from the personal care opportunities offered by luxury hotels and spas, Issy brings superlative luxury touches into the domestic bathroom – such as the comfort of being able to sit while putting on make-up or getting dressed, and every single object from the hairdryer to the laundry basket has its dedicated space in easily-accessibly drawers and cupboards that open and close at a touch. 


The cosiness factor is decoupled from the superficial extension of spaces. A feeling of comfort can emanate from a spacious home just as it can from a small or minute house.

Czech designer Michael Tomalik provides an effective example of this with Idol. Idol is a self-sufficient microcosm that the young designer has conceived by reverting to his childhood, and, in particular, to the feelings of pleasure and security achieved by building one’s own personal refuge.


The refuge-armchair is created from a linear iron frame shaped within the space to accommodate useful extras: shelves, spaces for books and/or newspapers, brackets for light sources, attaching other objects or displaying plants. The frame is fitted with huge soft cushions for sitting in alone or in company. The result looks like a private oasis of calm.

“I wanted to go back in time which was, for me somehow easier, untouched by design and style” says Tomalik, “I realized that one of the most magic memories from my childhood was building different kind of forts and bunkers. I used this inspiration with the intention to build one, once again, but for me … an adult person”.

Idol thus becomes a sort of home within a home, capable of capturing that sense of ease, even in a tiny space, in which everything – or rather everything that is important to us – has its place, just as it does in children’s games.