One only has to look at the changing style and function of homes over the past 50 years to see this concept in action. Homes in the 1950s, for example, reflected the conformity of that decade, just as homes in the '60s and '70s were strong on experimentation. And if the '80s spelled image and status in interior design, then the first half of the '90s was about cocooning and the home as a safe haven.
What's ahead for the rest of the decade was the subject of a survey conducted last year by American Homestyle and Gardening magazine in conjunction with Yankelovich Partners, a Connecticut-based research firm. Yankelovich has spent 26 years conducting in-depth interviews with thousands of Americans across the country to track changes in consumer attitudes, beliefs and values.
What the Yankelovich study found was an even greater emphasis on the home with 61 percent of the respondents saying all or most of their satisfaction comes from home and family, up from 56 percent in 1992. Following are trends American Homestyle and Gardening found in the survey. Home is totally about living. People want homes for total living. They see home as a sanctuary and demand the best quality and durability for the increasingly different ways they use their homes. They want to entertain, work and relax there. The family matters. Traditional family rooms are becoming more comfortable and friendly as living rooms are becoming more stylish, but friendly too. Consumers are looking for designs that meet the comfort needs of their families. The indoor-outdoor connection. Whether it is a screened porch, Florida room or simple breakfast bay, special spaces that bring the outside inside big news. These spaces demand fabrics and accessories that match their bright, sunny spirit. Status is different, not dead. The '80s no shame flaunting of status symbols has shifted. Eighty-two percent of those surveyed listed not things, but intangibles such as being satisfied as signs of success. The comfort crusade remains strong. From casual, easy-care slipcovers to overstuffed ottomans that double as seating and low table space, comfort covers all styles from contemporary to traditional. Stress relief. Between 1992 and 1996, the number of respondents who listed watching television as their main way to relax rose 12 percent and listening to music went up six percent. This trend toward stress relief has created an increased demand for furnishings and accessories that fit these needs. Cyber-stuff: boot up or bow out. More people do part or all of their work from home offices. These areas can be dedicated just for work or spaces carved out of other rooms for other functions. Self-expression finds its way home.