Sustainable Living in 2020: The Trend from Heimtextil fair

At Heimtextil 2020 we once again saw a wealth of innovations in carpets, upholstery, wallpapers and decorative fabrics for bed, couch and window. But also some hints as to which trends in home textiles could establish themselves for 2020/2021. An equally big topic for many retailers and manufacturers was sustainable living in 2020.

The 50th edition of Heimtextil took place at the Frankfurt exhibition grounds from January 7th – 10th, 2020. The fair itself offered a lot of events, so that the trade visitor had plenty of chances to find out about the novelties in the industry.

According to initial information, there were only around 63,000 visitors and with an increasing share of foreign countries it becomes clear that Heimtextil is increasingly becoming an international fair.

The organizers conclude that the smaller number of visitors is due to the fact that the fair took place relatively early this year. However, it’s also an indication for us that the German specialist trade in this sector is weakening and has to reorganize. And that in the future few buyers for large retail chains and furniture stores will pick up the trends at trade fairs. We can only hope that they’re as brave and curious as the dealers have been since, so that the diversity in the home textile industry is preserved.

Various textile and material trends were presented again at Heimtextil 2020.

Various textile and material trends were presented again at Heimtextil 2020.

A major mega trend that kept coming up through the halls of the Heimtextil fair was sustainable living in 2020.

There was hardly a fair booth that didn’t claim the topic as their main motto of Heimtextil 2020. Slogans and eco-labels such as “Clean Ocean”, “Sustainability”, “Eco-friendly” or “Repreve” were coveted labels to clarify their own concept of sustainability. Some advertised the support of fishermen, who get the plastic out of the ocean. A mattress cover was then made from the obtained material using a recycling process.

Strategies for sustainable living in 2020 were particularly present at the fair.

The other approach was to use PET bottles to make fabrics for upholstery, curtains or pillow cases. Or to use recycled fabrics for their products. Other companies went even further, presenting products completely without plastic and clearly publicizing the absence of plastic. Still others impressed fair visitors with predominantly natural products. A good example was Organoid with their wallpaper from raw materials such as hay.

Companies like David Fussenegger from Austria or Royal Vriesco from the Netherlands offered a completely different, more holistic approach.

The Dutch have aligned their entire corporate goal with ecological guidelines. They try to act sustainably in-house and in terms of material. For example, avoiding non-recyclable materials, plastic and wasted energy. According to Royal Vriesco, they were one of the first curtain manufacturers to present a completely environmentally friendly product line in 2017. The company introduced a new printing process in 2018 that uses biodegradable ink and 80 percent less water. More than half of the electricity requirement is generated by solar panels on the company’s roof.


Sustainable living in 2020 par excellence: Royal Vriesco has been subject to strict requirements since 2017 in order to produce ecologically.

Sustainable living in 2020 par excellence: Royal Vriesco has been subject to strict requirements since 2017 in order to produce ecologically.

The home textile company David Fussenegger works in a very similar way. They have been producing exclusively in Austria since 1832 and therefore have good prerequisites in terms of their ecological footprint. The booth personnel from David Fussenegger explained to us: “… sustainability has long been part of the company’s DNA and is firmly anchored in the company’s goals”. Recycling and the consequent avoidance of plastic have a high priority here.

David Fussenegger does not use plastic even when packaging and shipping the products.

For example, Bed linen is shipped in a small fabric cover, which can also be used as a small additional pillowcase. Many David Fussenegger products don’t use synthetic fibers, or are added from recycled material if necessary. Even the booth did not use materials that would probably have to be disposed of after the fair.

There was no fancy carpeting and the shelves were easily removable and reusable. These are concepts that deserve praise. Because here unnecessary waste of any kind (not only in the production process) and complex recycling processes are largely avoided.

Resource conservation and recycling was a big topic at the Trendspace in hall 3.

However, as every year, the special show also served as the first point of contact for trade visitors regarding interior design trends and current market developments. In collaboration with the Heimtextil team, an internationally renowned team of design and trend experts analyzed current trends. To this end, they worked out trend topics that were presented in a complex manner in hall 3. On the one hand, we really liked the approach of the “experience” this year. This means that the visitors had the opportunity to look at and touch the fabrics. One part of the exhibition dealt with the topic “Sustainable living in 2020” and another with the trend colors 2020 / 2021.

At the Trendspace area in hall 3 at Heimtextil 2020.

At the Trendspace area in hall 3 at Heimtextil 2020.

The helpful tips on the trend colors and their possible combinations were also clearly presented and explained. This time the color worlds were divided into five themes: “Maximum Glam”, “Pure Spirtual”, “Active Urban”, “Heritage Lux” and “Multi-Local”. What they all had in common was that the color world for 2020 / 2021 is rather muted. Exception for maximum glam: colors get the necessary glamor factor through shine, shimmer and tinsel.

The inspection tables which showed more closely the sustainability in the home textile industry, were also a successful approach. Sustainability concepts from various companies and designers were presented here. For example, how new materials can be created for the industry from natural materials or how new products can be created from waste products. The division of the tables into “Remade”, “Biological Byproducts”, “Living Materials”, “Natural Assests” showed different ways of thinking about materials in the future.

Part of the area for sustainability concepts at Heimtextil 2020. (Source: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Pietro Sutera)

Part of the area for sustainability concepts at Heimtextil 2020.

Solutions to questions such as: “Can we use existing materials in a more agile and imaginative way? What if material would grow instead of having to be produced? What innovative recycling options do designers and product developers offer today? Which biological waste product can be the raw material of tomorrow?” were explained with wall charts. You could see the production process from the raw material to the end product. The show was always well crowded by visitors. An indication of how interesting sustainable living in 2020 is for everyone.

Of course, we don’t want to forget to mention the material and color trends for 2020/2021. Here are some of the novelties that we noticed at Heimtextil 2020.

In general, it was large floral patterns that were incorporated in the wallpaper segment, as well as in the upholstery and curtain area. It was striking that most of the motifs were presented in a more romantic way. This was mostly as a print, less as an embroidery, or as a woven motif.

Large floral patterns are also popular with Welspun from India.

Realistic prints of paintings, abstract, romantic or even baroque nature were very present in the upholstery area. Here it is astonishing how real and photo realistic some products looked. Such prints are now also used for artificial leather. It remains to be speculated where such large motifs could be used on upholstery fabrics. But the fact that this is possible means that architects, interior decorators or interior designers will surely get creative.

At first glance, these upholstery fabrics look like photographs.

Another trend for upholstery covers was the 3D effect, or sewing, knotting, embossing or embroidery processes. These gave a upholstery fabric a 3D look and feel.
Christine HillerTrend analyst

Large geometric patterns still stay in wallpapers, as with pillowcases, bed linen or plaids. Two trends were also evident for curtains: curtains with perforated embroidery and mesh-like structures were common. Despite the sometimes glamorous glitter effects or earthy colors, they still seem relatively light. Feathers as a motif have been present in curtains for a while, now feathers are literally used in curtains. Unlike a printed motif, such a curtain appears opulent and luxurious.

Sustainable living in 2020 also works in currently trendy furnishing styles such as the Scandinavian style.

There were fewer surprises in terms of color. Since we were at a specialist trade fair, there were color combination suggestions for every taste and every style. In the upholstery segment we saw both wool white to beige fabrics. As well as many gray, dark blue to petrol-colored or darker green examples and also intense orange and red shades. In terms of materials, in addition to velvet or velour surfaces, structural materials can also be found.

Velor / velvet played a major role in the Deco-Team presentations at Heimtextil, here in the "Colorful" area.

Velor / velvet played a major role in the Deco-Team presentations at Heimtextil, here in the “Colorful” area.

There was a large selection in the curtain segment, but not bright colors – rather intense or muted. One trend is that the classic “curtain curtain / store” has had its day. In many cases, two types of curtains that match the color or pattern of the transparent or semi-transparent store were used. Optimally, the store still has elements that can also be found in the curtain. If you hold back with wallpaper and colorful patterns, you can use large patterned curtains to set accents in the apartment.

This year, we noticed with the bathroom textile manufacturers that there’s also a trend towards high-low optics, as well as towards random patterns on bathroom runners and rugs. The new maritime trend, which we saw last year at Traços Singelos and which can be found under “Marine Sea Life” in our new e-book “Interior Trends 2020/2021”, was increasingly present here.


As an animal companion, we found the peacock and its feathers as a popular motif at Heimtextil 2020. No matter whether curtain, bedding or pillow cases, we’ll certainly see it more often as a new trend animal for 2020 / 2021. In terms of style, it fits very well in an Art Deco-oriented ambience but also very well in traditional contemporary furnishings.

Secret star of Heimtextil 2020: the peacock in its natural shape and intense color palette at the Papillon stand.

Secret star of Heimtextil 2020: the peacock in its natural shape and intense color palette at the Papillon stand.

So much for our impressions from the 50th edition of the Heimtextil fair in Frankfurt.

We’re excited to see what decorators, architects and interior designers will make of their fair impressions and which trends will establish themselves further. Have you been to the trade fair – did you also notice the topic of sustainable living in 2020? Or are you in Paris at the Maison & Objet or Imm Cologne, which are now also taking place in January? Please contact us and write us a message using the contact form.

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