What Are We Buying for Our Homes During the Pandemic?

The Four Percent


Even as parts of the country start to reopen after several months of coronavirus lockdown, many of us are still focused on making our homes as comfortable as possible while we weather the pandemic. We surveyed several furniture and design companies to find out what people have been buying since mid-March.

The best-selling items included the usual top sellers, like IKEA’s classic Billy bookcase, as well as other, newly popular items — things that might help you become a better cook, improve your outdoor space or liven up an interior space that’s become a little too familiar.

“In the last several weeks, our bread makers have sold more than the entire year in 2019,” said Samara Tuchband, Crate & Barrel’s vice president of merchandising. They were never best-sellers in the past, she added: “These are such specific specialty items within the cookware and prep-tools space.”

Other homeowners began looking for ways to remake outdoor space in the spring, and that trend has continued into the summer. Overstock has seen an increase in sales of outdoor toys, said Ron Hilton, the site’s chief sourcing and operations officer.

“One category that has seen significant growth is outdoor recreation,” he said. “Customers are buying play sets, hot tubs, trampolines, pool toys and yard games now more than ever.”

At Wayfair, one of the most popular items is a pop-up movie theater, complete with a projector, portable screen and speakers, for movie nights in the backyard.

Many homeowners also seem to be on a quest to stay cheerful, sprucing up their spaces with quirky and colorful decorative items.

Anna Brockway, a founder and the president of Chairish, an online marketplace for décor and furniture, said she was “delighted” by the demand for statement-making dining pieces, linens and tabletop accessories: “This speaks to shoppers’ newfound desire to make everyday moments of life beautiful and special.”

One of the best-selling items at One Kings Lane, another home-décor site, is a white sofa with a blue-and-white pattern. “We’re seeing it sell extremely well, and noticing a lot of customers showing off their spotted sofas on Instagram,” said Ann Haagenson, the company’s vice president of buying.

Remodeling a house when the entire family is stuck at home may seem like a crazy idea. But it has been happening, said Mr. Hilton, of Overstock, who noted a jump in sales of kitchen appliances and dining furniture: “We see customers revamping their kitchens amid all this quarantine cooking and family time.”

Alexa Battista, a public relations specialist at Wayfair, said she has seen an increase in sales related to bathroom renovations, including vanity sets, light fixtures and faucets.

Her theory? “Given the pandemic, it’s also likely that many have found a new appreciation for their home and are even more interested than ever in making enhancements to their space.”

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