IH+HS Chicago Highlights 2019

Written by Rebecca Charlton

14 March 2019

Left to Right: IH+HS, Cepriani, Laurie Gates, Design Ideas, Coway  

Trend Bible attend the leading home and interiors trade shows globally to evidence and document emerging trends within this sector. This month Senior Trend Strategist, Naomi Pollard, travelled to Chicago to attend the International Home and Housewares Show 2019.

This year, across the show we saw less of a focus on IoT technology and a greater focus on mindful rituals & selfcare. The continuing global concern around sustainability saw brands centre their attention to rethinking disposability & single use plastics. In terms of colour it was clear that PANTONE’s colour of the year Living Coral, had a significant impact across the show, with more and more designers incorporating this throughout their product ranges.

SLOW RITUALSLeft to Right: The Chicago Kitchen, Manuel, Aroma, Bodum, Laurie Gates, Bodum

In a world of declining religious affinity, people are exploring ceremony and ritual as a means of finding peace and relaxation. We weren’t surprised to find a dedication to a slower pace of life at the show this year, but we were delighted to see some truly beautiful and thoughtful examples of this trend.

The idea of ceremony, repetition, methodical activities and self-care were all celebrated by designers who shifted towards slow pouring kettles, ritualistic inspired product collections and even slow cooking methods like no-knead breads.

RETHINKING DISPOSABILITYLeft to Right: DesignWorks Ink, Green Upward, Kikkerland, Smidge, Sodastream, Dopper

Sustainability has been creeping up the agenda for housewares for many years, particularly coming in to focus in more transient categories like food prep and storage. As this trend evolves, consumers are upgrading their material choices, opting for glass or ceramic where once plastic was acceptable.

Eco-friendly alternative materials were seen throughout the show, from recycled glass to corn starch cups. The credentials of recyclable or biodegradable items is also becoming more pronounced, with brands needing to talk about exactly how quickly the item biodegrades, or exactly how recyclable it is.

WABI SABILeft to Right: Laurie Gates, Zrike Brands, Lifetime Brands, Gibson Home, Laurie Gates, Zrike Brands 

From a tabletop stand-point, the influence of Japanese aesthetics was one of the most stand out at the show this year. Designers explored Wabi Sabi; the joy in the transient and imperfect, through tactile effects, pock marked surfaces and splattered glazes as well as chunky, unrefined and hand thrown shapes.

In the quest for a more sustainable way of life, the imperfect becomes appealing. This trend sows the seeds for an increasing focus on Japanese culture in the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.


This year the IHA announced it will be changing the name of the show to ‘The Inspired Home Show’, shifting from functional home design to aspirational lifestyle development. The newly named show will maintain all relevant aspects of the International Home and Housewares Show while introducing new elements which reflect the changing needs of the consumer and their need to feel inspired.

Sign up to our free monthly Trend Updates and receive a complimentary International Home + Housewares Show 2019 highlight report in the next edition. To sign up, complete the form to the top right of this post.

Easy to digest, visually inspiring, and just the right dose of information.

Webb deVlam

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