Future Homes Will Be Smaller, More Eco-​Savvy and Multifunctional

Over-​size homes will give way to smaller, more eco-​savvy homes with fewer rooms while family rooms and kitchens will grow larger, according to a new survey of International Furnishings and Design Assn. members.  The new survey, "20/​20: IFDA's Vision for the Future," predicts the design scene for future homes. 

"American home life changed dramatically soon after we conducted our first survey in 2000. We were hit with a decade of circumstances we couldn't have foreseen," said Susan Hirsh, the former IFDA national president who directed the 2000 study.


The newest survey predicts that Americans will be living in smaller spaces with fewer rooms by the year 2020, according to more than 76% of IFDA members.  Formal living and dining rooms will become a thing of the past, according to an increasing majority of the design professionals (64%, up from 51% in 2000).  In fact, 71% of the respondents doubt that there will even be a separate dining room in most homes by 2020. The space will be put to multiple other uses (home offices, kids' study areas, etc.)

Continuing with the multipurpose theme, separate rooms are disappearing, blending into spaces that serve many different purposes, say 91.5% of the design experts surveyed.  Furniture also is going multipurpose, say 67.5% of the the IFDA forecasters. They see modular, moveable, and smaller-​scaled furniture overtaking built-​ins and big pieces, as well as more interest in ergonomic designs.

Although 52.2% of the surveyed members think the master suite will stay about the same size as now, they see it sharing space with the home office, media center and exercise room.  Spa baths will draw heated interest. Although the trend towards larger bath space has slowed down, 83% of the design industry pros feel that luxurious bathroom products such as spa showers, high-​tech fixtures and TVs are on the rise.

Other survey highlights:

• Eat-​in kitchens are voted most likely to succeed in 2020. More than half of IFDA's members said it is "likely or very likely" that eat-​in kitchens would replace dining rooms, and nearly 65% believe future kitchens will grow larger, thanks to Americans' escalating interest in home cooking.

• Everyone's working at home. A home office is a given, say more than three-​quarters of the respondents, but here's the news: Nearly 40% of the forecasters see more than one home office under every roof.

• High tech is here to stay. A whopping 97% of the IFDA respondents believe that by 2020 more home equipment and furnishings will be activated not by touch but by other means, such as voice and sensor. Top candidates for remote control are lighting, entertainment gear, environmental controls (heating/​cooling), and window coverings — 75.8% of the IFDA members believe that window treatments like shades, blinds and draperies will be motorized by 2020. Growth in other energy-​saving devices drew 83.3% of the forecast vote.

• Outdoor living is still in for 2020, but low-​maintenance is a must. The 2010 survey showed 69% expecting outdoor living spaces to expand by 2020.  About half the number stills think so. It's thumbs-​down on swimming pools and hot tubs; thumbs-​up on more low-​maintenance landscaping and "functional" gardens (herb/​vegetable) — 44.9% and 48.5%, respectively.  That's because about one-​fourth of the IFDA members believe we'll be spending more time gardening (26.9%) and entertaining outdoors (25.8%).

[Source:  "20/​20: IFDA's Vision for the Future."  International Furnishings and Design Assn.  (IFDA).  2 Sept. 2011.  Web.  28 Sept. 2011.]