Confinement is changing our attitudes toward our homes
Wednesday, October 07, 2020
Familiarity has not bred contempt for our living spaces, but it has set us thinking about what kind of homes we want now that we are spending more time in them. Recent surveys of consumers and home professionals show that after months of confinement homeowners have redesign on their mind.
In part, they are motivated by the changes in home life resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. The trend toward greater concern for wellness and more contact with nature has increased as well.
To learn more about how spending more time at home was impacting our attitudes toward the places we live, Sears Home Services conducted a survey of more than 1,000 adults who lived with at least one other person. The majority (44%) said they were feeling less satisfied with their home since the beginning of the pandemic.
Those living in homes of less than 1,000 square feet and/or with only one bedroom were more likely to be dissatisfied. In addition, a similar proportion (42%) said it was more difficult for them to find “alone time.”
Curiously, although only 9% of respondents said that exercise was a favorite form of “alone time,” when asked what features they would like to add to their home, the No. 1 response was a home gym (41%), followed by a home office (37%), a dedicated gaming space (32%), and more kitchen space (31%). Reversing a recent trend, adding a bedroom or a bathroom were lower down on the list — a sign of how people are shifting from thinking of their homes as social spaces to thinking of them as exclusively personal spaces.
Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery conducted its own survey to gather consumer views on home remodeling and showrooms during the pandemic. Respondents were fairly evenly split between those who wanted to remodel to increase functionality in the home (27%) and those who wanted a new look for the home (26%). Only 12% said they had no redesign plans in mind.
The majority said that, based on their experience during the pandemic, they would like to redesign either their bathroom (47%) or their kitchen (44%). However, those who owned a home other than a single-family residence, such as a condo or co-op, said their top choice would be to redesign or update the living room (41%) or bedroom (42%), where, presumably, they are likely to spend most of their time.
Taking a longer view, the International Furniture and Design Association (IFDA) followed up on a 2010 study, “Vision for the Future of Home,” in which it asked its members to predict trends in home design and homeowners’ preferences by the year 2030. Their responses reflect the impact the pandemic has had on what features people now want in their homes. They foresee a growing demand for sensor- and voice-activated home furnishings, as well as for indoor/outdoor rooms.
Although the trend in real estate in recent months has been toward buying bigger homes and moving away from open floorplans, the IFDA survey does not reflect that. Its members predict that homes will continue to shrink in size and that there will be waning demand for formal living and dining rooms. In addition, noting the impact of lifestyle changes, 96% said that aging-in-place would be considered in any design plan, and 94% said the same for wellness concerns.
Similar to the IFDA findings, a comprehensive study on the impact of people’s behavior, life stage and habits on kitchen and bath design, involving 750 home professionals, conducted prior to the onset for the pandemic by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) identified the desire for more open floor plans and larger kitchens as top trends. It will be interesting to see if these trends persist or return as the pandemic’s impact ebbs, of if our attitudes toward our home will be altered by the pandemic for years to come.
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