Part One: Lifestyle Influence Drives Casual Dining

The first of two excerpts from a special HomeWorld Business Casual Dining report, which looks at how retailers and vendors are establishing casual dining as a category. See the March 18 edition of HomeWorld Business for the full report.

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In large measure, retailers who feature casual dining products are focused on trend-right products as a way to differentiate their offerings from more conventional furniture store merchandise that is less in tune with the latest home fashions.

As vendors innovate and shoppers respond, market trends have been shifting. Heavy rustic-industrial looks, with their rough reclaimed features are less prominent in markets as vendors have paced consumer demand, giving ground to farmhouse styles with more subtle and transitional enhancements. Modern looks, which had grown less contemporary and more heavily influenced by mid-century and Scandinavian features, have again been gaining cleaner, lighter elements. At the same time, vendors have been rethinking the consumer fondness for looks enriched by gold metallic components, putting in glam and retro designs, frequently contrasting rich velvet upholstery fabrics.

Although present looks are mellower and less closely devoted to a particular design format, casual dining furniture in the market has in common a commitment to style and rejection of blandness, giving consumers an opportunity to brighten and define spaces.