The interior décor market is constantly evolving. From businesses and homes to industrial environments and retail, the new wave in interior décor is a dynamic, fast-growing market, and it shows no signs of slowing down. The rapid development of digital printing has accelerated this, creating new and exciting opportunities within the interior décor space. Digital printing has also allowed key consumer trends to rise, such as personalisation, individual expression and sustainable living.
Today’s Interior décor market
In 2019, the home décor market was valued at $616.6 billion, according to alliedmarketresearch.com, and is expected to rise to $838.6 billion by 2027. New technologies within the digital printing space is allowing this trend to progress, spanning across a range of different industries including industrial, retail, hospitality and domestic.
Interior décor within the industrial market is primarily used to reinforce a company’s brand identity and image, whilst making an impression for any visiting customers or guests. They can also be used to motivate and engage a workforce, particularly with printed wall graphics such as quotes and imagery. Printed décor and floor graphics have been one of the fastest growing applications in this sector, and are continuing to rise. The Covid pandemic has seen rapid growth in wall and floor signage, used primarily to promote safety and social distancing.
Interior décor within the retail sector remains competitive when competing for customer loyalty. Creating memorable experiences remains key, and brands are continuing to use printed décor in order to generate genuine, emotional reactions with their customers. The fast pace nature of retail also allows a great deal of flexibility with their décor, allowing spaces to be refreshed whenever necessary. The rise of Omni-channel marketing has also increased the need for high-quality interior décor within retail spaces, ensuring a seamless experience both online and in store. Retail trends are now a major driver behind the increasing demand for printed signage.
Similar to the retail sector, businesses in the hospitality industry heavily rely on their interior décor to provide an immersive experience. Whether its floor graphics, menus, wall coverings or parasols, large format printers with the right technology give print service providers the ability to bring a creative vision to life.
When focusing on consumers, personalisation is key. Living spaces are beginning to become an extension of ourselves, driving the need for unique interior elements such as bespoke canvases or personalised wallcoverings. As this trend continues to develop, it will help to define the interior décor market as we move into 2021.
The growth and evolution of the interior décor market sparks several opportunities for large format printers. With new technologies available, it gives print services provider’s almost total creative freedom when it comes to designing their interior spaces. No longer are designs restricted to a particular shape or size, or having to be repeated across entire walls. High-resolution photographic images can be used, along with personal photographs, wall stickers or on-trend gradient effects.
Large format printers can even respond to tailor made requests, providing opportunities for customers or businesses to design their own wallcoverings.
Whilst the interior market sparks an array of opportunities, it also brings with it several challenges. Interior designers are embracing the vast developments in this market, and are printing on a wider range of substrates including: papers, textiles, films, sustainable and/or recyclable materials; with a variety of smooth or embossed surfaces for light or heavy usage.
This poses several challenges for large format printers: the first being durability. Indoor wallpapers may need to ensure they resist fading, cracking, being scuffed or scratched, and potentially even needing to withstand being cleaned. They also need to ensure they’re easy to mount and remove/reposition for customers, especially when used for short-term applications such as events and promotional graphics.
In addition, the quality of interior graphics need to be outstanding. Customers are expecting the highest quality when shopping for interior décor, meaning the following challenges need to be met: Colour gamut, consistency in the print, and continuity from batch to batch. This is essential for brands and retail environments. The dimensional stability of all designs also need to remain perfect, in case panelling or wallcoverings are made to an exact size.
Challenges within current printing technologies
Within current printing technologies, these challenges are managed differently. Each technology has its own advantages and limitations when delivering the finished product, particularly within the interior décor market.
Traditionally, the digital landscape has consisted of four ‘classic’ printing technologies:
Dry toner technology has the advantage of producing odourless prints, meaning they’re great for immediate use without the need for drying. They’re also great for inline finishing however are scratch sensitive and are restricted to narrower media widths. Also, due to the heat involved in the fusing process of the toner prints, the substrates which can be used for printing are limited.
Latex prints are also odourless and don’t have the same width restrictions as dry toner, allowing for a more flexible panel width. They also boast some excellent green credentials, with the inks conforming to the recyclable properties of the substrate. The prints themselves are touch dry as soon as they come off the printer and can be laminated with very shortly after. The inks themselves have a good degree of durability. Latex printers, due to their evaporative ink technology, can restrict substrates with that are generally less dimensionally stable being used. They can also be more sensitive to their surrounding environments, in terms of climate and moisture presence. Colour consistency and dimensional stability can be a problem, which can result in panels not lining up or colour shift between the panels.
With traditional UV prints, they have very good water and scratch resistance. UV technology does have a flexible panel width too. These prints are very robust and boast an impressive colour consistency, however they’re never completely odourless, and aren’t seen as a particularly ‘green’ or environmentally friendly option either. The matt finish of traditional UV prints can sometimes appear quite dull, making this technology a less attractive choice, especially within the interior décor market.
Eco-solvent technology is good for producing vibrant colours & glossy prints. Depending on the ink colour configuration that is used, it can achieve a very large colour gamut. When printed using the correct profiles and allowed sufficient time to dry and outgas after printing, in general the dimensional stability of the substrates aren’t compromised, allowing for reliable joining of panels. Eco-solvent technology does have a flexible panel width too. This type of technology isn’t odourless and additional drying time will need to be considered during production. Prints have a degree of durability, but in general should be laminated to protect the graphic. They’re not seen as a particularly ‘green’ or environmentally friendly option.
UVgel is a technology delivers on print speed, productivity in terms of an instant dry and cured print, exceptional durability, and excellent substrate versatility. UVgel technology also has a flexible panel width. With a fully enclosed and temperature controlled printing area, the dimensional stability of the substrate remains completely unaffected, resulting in perfect panel alignment. The flexibility to print matt or gloss, regardless off the finish of the substrate allows for real creativity in the artwork. The UVgel inks boast more environmental credentials than traditional UV inks too.
For more information on UV gel technology, read our latest blog post for information on what it is, its benefits and why it’s important: Canon's UV Gel Technology – Explained.