A new toolkit for designers of furniture for the home and specialist furniture for elderly and bariatric users is set to be launched in January. Officially launching during the January Furniture Show – rescheduled from September – the Furniture Design Toolkit (FDT) aims to provide designers with the tools needed to incorporate ergonomics, user trials, standards and legislation into the design process for domestic furniture.

Written by Levent Çaglar, chief ergonomist, and Lorna Reed, ergonomist, at FIRA International, on behalf of the Furniture Industry Research Association, this domestic edition complements the first Toolkit, launched in 2013, which covered contract, hospitality, educational and office furniture.

Two seminars will take place on FIRA’s stand on Monday 25th January 2016 at 11am and 2:30pm, where Levent will offer his views on how to incorporate ergonomics into the design of domestic furniture. He will also be running a furniture clinic where visitors will be able to discuss topics one-to-one with FIRA’s ergonomics team. Visitors to the seminars will receive a free copy of the toolkit.

“Furniture designed for the domestic market is usually influenced by the latest fashion and trends, but as consumers become more aware of how furniture can impact their health and wellbeing, ergonomics is fast-becoming a key consideration for manufacturers,” explains Levent.

The Furniture Design Toolkit for the domestic sector is the only design resource to contain this valuable information, provided by industry experts.

Levent continues: “Consumers are looking for something that is visually pleasing, fit for purpose and comfortable. Ergonomics is not usually considered for domestic furniture, but it is already widely recognised as highly important in the workplace, so there is an argument that it should be just as important in the home. I am urging designers to make it one of the essential considerations when designing furniture for the home. The FDT provides designers with tools and guidance to help them concentrate on creating fit for purpose, ergonomic, yet visually attractive, and desirable products which also meet all standards and are ready for market.

"What consumers need is a good fit between form and function. We need an aesthetically pleasing design, which also incorporate good ergonomics. We need a sustainable design, using environmentally-friendly materials and production methods, and we need modern designed furniture, to complement new house designs, all that at an affordable price."

The toolkit will focus on three areas of furniture: domestic furniture; furniture for elderly and disabled users; and furniture for bariatric users. It will include key information about ergonomics, user testing, task analysis and standards.

Following the launch, the Furniture Design Toolkit will be available to download from the website as an interactive PDF. The toolkit can be accessed free of charge to members of the Furniture Industry Research Association or purchased for £90 by non-members.