With the demand for more flexible living spaces on the rise, it’s more important than ever for merchants to be aware of the latest innovative building products and how they can help meet homeowners needs.

The way we use our homes is changing — whether it is adult children returning after university or converting a room into an office to allow home working. In fact, ONS statistics found that in the first three months of 2014, 4.2m UK employees worked from home. These trends have led to an increased desire for greater flexibility in the home, with us wanting spaces that can adapt to our needs as they change.

British Gypsum recently worked with innovation and design consultancy, IDEO, to learn more about how homeowners actually use their houses once they have moved in, as well as their aspirations for their homes. A key finding from this research was that homeowners want to express themselves through their homes and make day-to-day adjustments to rooms and décor that account for changes in lifestyle, seasonality and trends.

Using this insight, we then developed a range of products and new solutions which plasterers and dryliners can use in the home to give their clients the flexibility and greater creativity that they want.

Thistle Magnetic Plaster is one of the latest products to be launched as a result of this research. This new plaster is designed to attract magnets and can be used to transform walls into an interactive gallery or a functional noticeboard, without fuss or damage.

Quick and easy to use, it is applied to new or existing walls in a 3mm thickness and can be decorated with standard emulsions or combined with specialist finishes, including blackboard and whiteboard paint. This means it can be used in a variety of ways – for instance, an office noticeboard, photo wall, or a creative area in a children’s play room.

Thistle Magnetic Plaster is just one example of the new solutions we’re creating so installers can help their customers get much more from their homes. Likewise, for merchants too, by being up to speed on the latest products like Magnetic Plaster, you’re in a position to offer real cutting-edge solutions to your customers and help them meet their clients’ requests and requirements.

As the world around us continues to change and new trends and behaviours develop, it’s important that manufacturers like ourselves don’t stop innovating and creating new products that meet customers’ current and future needs. And alongside this focus on innovation, manufacturers must also give merchants and distributors the support they need so they can confidently advise their customers on what’s now possible.

Harjit Sandhu is domestic sector manager at British Gypsum.