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Mechanical, magnetic, and transport properties of arbitrary inhomogeneous composites are investigated by a Bruggeman-type mean-field approach. The theory yields materials parameters as functions of the volume fractions, geometries, and materials constants of the phases. Each system is described by a single response parameter g, which is equal to the percolation threshold of the composite. For macroscopic systems, the approach yields very simple expressions, but nanoscale and multiferroic effects yield relatively complicated corrections to g. In the respective cases, the parameter g depends on the length scale of the composite and has the character of a combination of magnetic, electric, and mechanical degrees of freedom.