If finding a new apartment presents a challenge in the Netherlands, furnishing it is likely to be even harder, a new study reveals. From tiny rooms to sloping ceilings, elbow-grazingly narrow corridors to vertiginously steep staircases, research reveals that Dutch homes are so unique in their architecture, residents are often unable to find furniture that fits.
Commissioned by made-to-measure furniture design brand Tylko, the research exposes the obstacles facing Dutch renters and homeowners alike. Almost a third of residents say they have to store items in inconvenient places due to space limitations, and 24% of respondents say they have to stop themselves from buying things because there’s nowhere to keep them in their home.
The lack of space even affects relationships: one in five Dutch couples argues about the lack of storage in their house.
Interior design is particularly difficult. More than one in 10 adults (13%) said they have had to buy furniture they don’t like, just because it fits. The same proportion said they have been stuck with furniture in their home that can’t physically be removed.
Struggle with Dutch stairs
Even flatpack furniture isn’t always an option – one in 10 respondents say they can’t find anything on the market to accommodate their individual needs, while a third say they’ve had to go to “extreme lengths” to get existing furniture into a new home.
Despite their homes causing daily challenges, a third of Dutch residents say they love the uniqueness of homes in the Netherlands – but wish they could find a way to store their belongings. In fact, when asked whether custom-made storage would improve their current living space, four out of five respondents agreed.
Tylko co-founder Hanna Kokczyńska says: “Homes in the Netherlands are celebrated for their unique design, but that shouldn’t mean residents are compromising on their living conditions and storage.
“That’s why Tylko has developed digital tools to allow customers to design their perfect, made-to-measure furniture, transforming challenging spaces with stylish, practical solutions that can be disassembled and rebuilt as many times as you need – without a huislift in sight!”
Navigating the challenges of Dutch architecture is the next step in Tylko’s mission to reform the global furniture industry. The furniture start-up emerged from Poland’s innovative design scene eight years ago, when University of Warsaw graduates Hanna Kokczyńska and Jacek Majewski joined forces with two architects, Mikołaj Molenda and Michał Piasecki, and financial strategist Benjamin Kuna.
Together, they created an app that would enable Tylko customers to design personalised shelving and storage – “perfect-fit” furniture, with minimum waste and minimum hassle.
The Polish brand’s bid to solve the Netherlands’ storage problems goes beyond empowering Dutch residents to design their dream homeware: Tylko’s made-to-order approach is an environmentally-responsible alternative to a “fast furniture” industry that sends 11 billion kilos of furniture to landfills in Europe each year – 250 million kilos of which originate from the Netherlands alone.
While fast-furniture brands knowingly manufacture products which last an average of five years, Tylko is built on a philosophy of durable design: quality pieces that withstand moves, and timeless design that transcends trends.
This means Dutch residents can purchase the perfect piece of furniture, safe in the knowledge that they can get it up the stairs – and back out again should they ever move (to an even more unique home) in the future – because Tylko’s unique clicksystem allows them to disassemble the furniture as easily as it is to put it together.
“We give people the tools to create versatile and timeless furniture that they will use for decades – a much-needed alternative to the fickle, faddish fast-furniture damaging the planet,” says Tylko co-founder Mikołaj Molenda.
“We want to make people in the Netherlands feel comfortable in their own homes, regardless of how original their home is, and how unique each individual is. Everyone deserves a home that feels like a perfect fit for them.”
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