Background to (un)sustainable furnishings and fittings

The consumption of furnishings and fittings and home textiles in Sweden has undergone a marked change over the last two decades. Since the economic crisis of the early 1990s, consumption of furnishings and fittings has developed into a dynamic market with high growth. Between 2006 and 2016, the ‘furnishing and fittings, household articles and maintenance’ sector has been one of the fastest growing consumption areas in Sweden, with growth of 44%, which is well above average growth in the same period (23%). This development is thus significantly different from the pre-crisis period, when the sector underwent three decades of growth that was below the average growth for all Swedish consumption.

A number of factors may explain this change in trends. The change began after the serious economic crisis that Sweden experienced in the early 1990s. Then the housing market began to recover, first slowly, and then with increasing value growth.

At the same time, the number of tenant-owner apartments and owner occupied homes increased compared to rental apartments, and low interest rates, together with low unemployment, led to a more active housing market. This development affected consumption patterns in Sweden in several ways. Among other things, the media landscape developed around the increasingly active and high-value housing market and several new magazines and TV programmes were established that focused specifically on interior design.

In addition, home furnishings and fittings were increasingly presented as creating lifestyle and identity in marketing the home. All in all, this meant a changed view of the home, from a private place managed primarily by a woman in the home, to an increasingly public and identity-creating space that engaged everyone in the home and which also served as an investment object. The development of social media also contributed to this change.

In spite of the growing importance of interior design consumption for the consumer and the economy in Sweden, the sector has received relatively little attention in research linked to its environmental impact.

The environmental impact of the home furnishing and fittings sector relates to climate impact and air pollution from production and transport, chemical emissions, consumption of raw materials and water, an increased amount of waste etc.

Sustainable consumption practices in the interior design sector can be described as niches and cannot be said to have made their way into the wider market in Sweden. Although, for example, the secondary market for interior design has received a lot of attention recently, the share of the total market is very small.1The same applies to the repair of furnishings and fittings.3In other cases, the trend actually runs counter to sustainable consumption patterns. As the home has increasingly become a lifestyle issue, consumption of furnishings and fittings is also increasingly changing to resemble the fashion industry, with trends and seasons assuming greater significance. Individual ownership rather than shared use is also more common. Among other things, during the last decade there has been a decrease in access to laundry rooms in newly built apartment buildings and instead it has become more common for each household to have its own washing machine.

This text has mainly been taken from our report “Sustainable decor”. Read it here.

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2022, ISBN: 978-91-87357-79-4.

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62 sätt att möjliggöra hållbar konsumtion Technical Report

2022, ISBN: 978-91-8040-202-6.

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Schoonover, Heather; Mont, Oksana; Klintman, Mikael

Communicating access-based business models: Company framings of home furnishings rental Journal Article

In: Cleaner and Responsible Consumption, vol. 4, 2022.

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Dalhammar, Carl; Hartman, Cornelia; Larsson, Jörgen; Jarelin, Johan; Milios, Leonidas; Mont, Oksana

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no. 1:12, 2022, ISBN: 978-91-88041-38-8.

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Dalhammar, Carl; Hartman, Cornelia; Larsson, Jörgen; Jarelin, Johan; Milios, Leonidas; Mont, Oksana

Moving away from the throwaway society - Five policy instruments for extending the life of consumer durables Technical Report

2022, ISBN: 978-91-88041-39-5.

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Mont, Oksana; Dalhammar, Carl

Våra prylar måste gå att reparera och återbruka. Aftonbladet Miscellaneous


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Carlsson-Kanyama, Annika; Nässén, Jonas; Benders, Reneé

Shifting expenditure on food, holidays, and furnishings could lower greenhouse gas emissions by almost 40% Journal Article

In: Journal of Industrial Ecology, 2021.

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Mont, Oksana; Lehner, Matthias; Schoonover, Heather

Business models for sustainable consumption Technical Report

2021, ISBN: 978-91-7873-789-5.

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Årsrapport 2020 Periodical

2021, visited: 03.05.2021.

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Schoonover, Heather; Mont, Oksana; Lehner, Matthias

Exploring barriers to implementing product-service systems for home furnishings Journal Article

In: Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 295, 2021.

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Lehner, Matthias; Mont, Oksana; Mariani, Giulia; Mundaca, Luis

Circular Economy in Home Textiles: Motivations of IKEA Consumers in Sweden Journal Article

In: Sustainability, 2020.

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Årsrapport 2019 Periodical

2020, visited: 30.03.2020.

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Carlsson-Kanyama, Annika; Baraka, Noha; Benders, Reneé; Berglund, Mårten; Dunér, Fredrik; Kok, Rixt; Losada, Raul Lopez I

Analysis of the environmental impacts of 218 consumption items. Greenhouse gas emissions, land use and water use per SEK and kg. Technical Report


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Lehner, Matthias; Schoonover, Heather; Mont, Oksana; Bradley, Karin; Kamb, Anneli; Svenfelt, Åsa

Att inreda hållbart? En kartläggning av vad hållbar heminredning kan innebära Technical Report

2019, ISBN: 978-91-7873-130-5.

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