The standards cell "Living Space" assists the sub-sector of interior textiles. This sector includes textiles used to decorate interiors, both for residential and public buildings (hotels, community centres, and companies).

Despite the fierce international competition, the sector remains mainly export-oriented. The international competition forces the sector to focus more and more on interior textiles with a high added value, by adding extra functionalities to textiles. In the past few years - urged by the Belgian textile sector - a lot of standardisation activities have taken place in this field (resulting in the development of new standards for floor covering, upholstery, terry cloth, mattress ticking). A lot of attention has been paid to the legal aspects, resulting from the directives for construction products (CE marking) and product safety.

The producers of interior textiles are therefore often confronted with requirements about the emission of volatile components and indoor air quality.

This export-oriented sector is highly exposed to international competition and increasingly focuses on the development and commercialisation of high value-added products by adding additional functionalities to the product.

Standards, which demonstrate the efficiency, harmlessness and durability of these functionalities, contribute to improved market access. Non-compliance with applicable standards is a de facto barrier to market entry.

Other safety and health related aspects concern burning behaviour and the presence of harmful components in textiles. It is to be expected that the introduction of the REACH legislation for the registration and authorisation of chemicals will affect this sub-sector rather drastically.