Future Homes: What Your Home May Look Like In 2020.

Convenience is key for the modern consumer. Take the smart phone – users can browse the web, schedule business meetings and record videos all from one single device; years ago we needed to use multiple products to achieve these things. This is very much the essence of the modern home. In our urbanised landscape, planning space and home building is fast becoming limited, yet one endearing outcome from this cramped effect is that both homeowners and designers are forced to make savvy decisions.

The Fluid Home

sofa sleeping
Sofa Is The New Bed

For instance, the living room; it’s no longer just a place to relax with family and friends. Living rooms have become make-shift bedrooms and kitchens. Before its newly discovered multi-functional guise it was just a television set and a comfortable sofa which determined the living room benchmark. And although this is still very much the case, people are now looking to the living room for further services.

The trusted sofa isn’t just for socialising any more. It’s used as a place to eat food, and for smaller apartments it’s growing as a favourable spot for sleeping. According to the Ikea furniture designer Marcus Engman the increase of people replacing traditional sofas with day beds is an example of “fluid home thinking.”

With the living room adopting a fresh purpose, the furniture and products that sit within will also have to change. Items such as chairs will be made to feature more functions; they’ll become a bedside table, a storage unit and a step ladder.

Another piece of important home furniture is also predicted to change – storage. As a whole, we as a society have less possessions than we previously owned. This is mostly down to the internet age with advanced technology like Cloud substituting physical items such as DVDs, CDs and books with digital copies that can be accessed and experienced using just one or two devices.

Although our home entertainment goodies may have downsized and in some cases turned completely invisible, the human nature of wanting to show off our interests, memories and achievements has not disappeared. This means what we do have, we will want to showcase – replacing wooden drawers and cabinets with clear glass storage units, similar to those found at museums and exhibitions.

The Smart Home

heating remote
LightwaveRF Product

Future homes have long been painted as digitally automated zones, completely interactive and full to the brim with unfathomable technology. To a certain degree we have seen these premonitions unfold, however smart home technology is still very much in its early days and many newly launched smart home products are still wiping off the unsavoury bile of customer complaints because devices aren’t communicating with each other. But for those established smart home products that are working well, such as LightwaveRF, more consumers are enjoying the delights of an automated home.

The main areas of the home which have benefited from recent smart products are lighting and heating controls. Light switches, dimmers, electrical sockets and heating timers have integrated smart home technology to allow users to experience a relaxed automated approach to controlling their appliances.

As it stands homeowners can now use remote controls and smartphone apps to control, edit and pre-plan schedules relating to their home’s lighting and heating. From the warmth of the bed, sofa or even the bath you can dim the lights and turn up the heating as you please. You can even prepare your home before you arrive back from work or the school run.

Other future plans will see furniture such as floor lamps providing much more than a light source. There’s already lamps out there that host wireless charging functions to help re-energise other smart home gadgets. This could be a significant peep into the future home, with the likelihood of nearly every single item/appliance sharing the ability to interact with one another.

From Flat To Function

flatpack furniture
Flat Pack Problems

In the beginning flat pack furniture had its critics. Its flimsy, lightweight and tasteless designs seemed to outweigh the convenience factor, but this was soon rectified by designers, and nowadays flat pack furniture is being created with durability strongly in mind. With a greater understanding of what materials can be used and what end results can be achieved, flat pack furniture has a prosperous future ahead of itself.

The standard fold-out table or chair with its basic four-leg frame has become a lot more adventurous with much more emphasis being put on style and aesthetics than ever before. There are rumours going around the future flat pack furniture world that programmable 4D materials will allow you to bend flat pack furniture into shape once it responds to water or heat.

Whether this has already been developed or it’s in pipeline, it’s the kind of technology that will see thousands of retailers reconsider the way in which they ship their goods. All in all future home furniture will be flatter and more concise. It may be more simplistic in its appearance but it has the potential to beam in intelligence.

Profound Personalisation & Strange Sensations

interactive table
Interactive Table

Personalised items are still a novelty genre; mainly limited to low cost items such as greeting cards, cups and stationary or high ticket/one off furniture pieces that promise to leave a major dent in the pocket. However it doesn’t mean that it will stay like this forever.

There’s already a pushing force for future items to become more personalised; falling further in-line to specific categories, themes, characters and tastes. Although this is a subject that designers and retailers are currently exploring there’s obvious hurdles to get over. It’ll take 10-20+ years for personalised home furnishings to become a viable option for the masses.

Another future feature in the offing is the development of textures and sensations. Furniture designers are well aware of how so many of us use our finger tips to swipe and interact with display screens, however this is yet to be introduced at a larger scale for furniture sets such as tables, sofas and chairs. Many predict that home furnishings of the future will be swamped with weird, wonderful and tactile materials, providing extra sensation and interaction for the owner.

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