Due to rapid advancements in technology, consumers now have access to an unprecedented number of home entertainment devices. Now, they just need somewhere to put them. The home entertainment furniture sector is growing along with the rest of the industry, expanding by approximately 3.5 percent to reach over $7 billion in sales in 2017. While the portion of the collective home furnishings sector occupied by the entertainment furniture market hasn’t changed, the prevailing styles of entertainment furniture are changing alongside the technology.
Following are some of the major trends shaping design and consumer preferences in the area of entertainment furniture:
In general, the physical footprint of entertainment devices in the home is shrinking. As televisions, video game consoles, and other home entertainment devices have become more technologically advanced, their design has become more streamlined, and the number of peripheral accessories required to power them has also declined.
While big-screen flat panel televisions are becoming more affordable and, therefore, more common in American homes, even the most expansive screens now require spaces with minimal depth. These TVs are typically lighter than their recent counterparts, the big-screen rear-projection televisions popular in decades past, allowing consumers to easily mount them on their walls. And while full, multi-speaker surround sound systems are still a staple of the home audio market, more consumers are turning to floor-standing tower speakers or simple pairs of soundbars and subwoofers to heighten their home entertainment experiences while taking up less space.
With the advent of digital cable and the growing number of media streaming services becoming popular among consumers, fewer find themselves searching for a place to set their devices, such as DVD players and cable boxes. New technologies continue to consolidate multiple sources of home entertainment into fewer devices. For example, individuals with a smart TV might require only the television itself and a soundbar to create the ideal entertainment environment.
All of these tech trends point to one reality for consumers: we now need far less space to accommodate our home entertainment systems. More furniture shoppers are turning to small, sleek TV stands rather than full media centers, opting for pieces that require minimal storage for a few small devices rather than full wall units with rows of shelving for movies, DVDs, and accessories. Some consumers are choosing to free up their TV stands to serve as extra storage by wall-mounting their TVs.
As home entertainment furniture declines in size to accommodate a smaller number of more technologically robust electronics, ventilation has become an issue. When storing their media equipment in smaller, often concealed spaces, consumers must take care to ensure that all of their devices are positioned to ensure adequate air flow.
With consumers moving toward more minimalist credenzas for the centerpieces of their entertainment furnishings, furniture retailers have begun to offer a wider range of flexible, modular designs for entertainment centers. Consumers can now choose from hutches, shelving, and extra cabinetry to fit their unique multimedia storage needs. In addition to allowing consumers to customize their home entertainment centers, these modular designs can facilitate easier access to the various devices and wiring necessary to power today’s entertainment systems. In addition, modular designs can make it much easier to reorganize the entertainment center, which is sometimes required when consumers upgrade or replace their technology.
When shopping for new furniture for a home entertainment room, most shoppers will select from smaller, sleeker pieces with a wider range of modular additions and decorative side pieces. Now that consumers are demanding less functionality from their entertainment furniture, they are finding more diverse uses for both entertainment pieces and rooms. The reduced need for expansive wall units is also allowing consumers to focus more on style. Now, what once served as a decorative accent table could very well become a home entertainment hub. Furniture companies are taking note of this trend, and many are producing TV stands to match a wider range of aesthetics, with a number of them offering unique features such as drop-down fronts.
The trend toward scaled-down entertainment furniture has also blurred some of the boundaries between functional rooms in the home. For example, an individual who regularly uses a smart TV to access email and surf the web might outfit an entertainment hub to serve as a temporary office. Advancements in home furnishings and automation are also lessening the need for consumers to dedicate an entire room to entertainment. Due to aspects such as lighting, projector screens, and audio systems accessible from a smartphone, it is now easier than ever to transform a high-traffic family room or understated office into the perfect venue to watch a movie.