I’ve pondered the meaning of the term “home”, and I believe the definition varies depending on who you are and where you’re from. One thing I’ve noticed is how we have shifted in the way that we value material possessions in our homes and adapted a new mindset in terms of living downsized lifestyles. Above all, one of the most definitive ways that we define “home” is through the way we decorate the interior that we see everyday.
At the forefront of this revolution is IKEA, the Swedish-based retail giant. IKEA is the world’s largest furniture retailer, and for good reason. With nearly 300 stores across 26 different countries, IKEA can access a diverse range of consumers, both in age and ethnicity. Warren Shrouberg, an analyst for The Robin Report, writes that IKEA blazed a trail in the furniture industry by changing the fundamental way we thought about how we decorate our homes.
Before the Swedish company came along, shopping for furniture was often considered a stressful process, as pieces were considered long-term investments and thus had to be contemplated thoroughly. Now, Shrouberg observes how we “live for today and forget about tomorrow.” Instead, we pay more attention to the functionality of pieces and prefer a shorter lifespan to keep up with the latest trends. By creating simple and affordable pieces that can be exchanged if the owner grows tired of them, IKEA has been able to capitalize on our innate desire to feel younger and live a more dynamic lifestyle.
While the brand was originally aimed at influencing younger consumers, the fundamental values of the company are now particularly relevant to Boomers who are looking to downsize or move to urban environments where properties tend to be smaller. Pieces are sleek and come disassembled, which allows costs to remain low and easier transportation of the product from store to home (goodbye expensive moving costs!). In addition, the materials used to construct the pieces are both lightweight and inexpensive, which assists in keeping the overall costs low as well as an efficient product lifespan.
Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of home decorating that has shifted in recent years is the value we place on functionality and an item’s ability to multi-task. The age of large, heavy antique furniture pieces is dwindling, and now brands like IKEA are instead focusing on developing products that serve multiple purposes in a home. Mahogany coffee tables are now being replaced by chic white storage containers that can also become a coffee table or additional seating. These multi-purpose items are helping homeowners and renters alike transform their homes into spaces that are both comfortable and efficient.
However, the age of antiques is not completely over, so don’t throw away your vintage pieces quite yet. According to Tara Mastroeni, a writer for FreshHome, vintage accent pieces are going to be all the rage throughout 2018. Vintage pieces allow for moments of nostalgia, as well as opportunities to add character and personality to your living space. While our culture is beginning to appreciate the “minimalistic” lifestyle more and more, there is an undeniable charm to showcasing a select few timeless pieces throughout your home.
Thanks to the harmony between minimalist-modern and vintage styles, there has been a definitive shift in the way we decorate our homes that speaks to how we define ourselves as individuals. From cozy spaces designed for relaxing or clearing the mind to tidy offices dedicated to cranking out work, the interior of our homes continues to be personalized for the types of space we need it to be.
“At home, people are done feeling the pressure to impress their friends,” says Annie Kipp, an interior designer and owner of Annie Kipp Style and Design, “They don’t want a generic home that looks like a magazine. People are ready to get crystal clear on how they want to feel at home — and they will make design choices from there. Whether it’s ‘relaxed’ or ‘energized’ or ‘intimate’ or ‘professional’ — spaces have the power to help us feel the way we want to feel in our lives.”
With each new year comes new changes, and we’ve gotta admit… we’re loving this shift towards more personalized and efficient homes, but what about you? Do you think some aspects of home design have become too impersonal? What are some ways that you have made your home feel like your own? Share Your Story with us, and let’s have a conversation.
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