About life at home

Our Research

We believe that home is the most important place in the world. That’s why we meet people where they live, to learn about what they need and dream about when it comes to life at home.

Our Research
about Life at Home
The more we learn about the way we live today, the more we can help people to make their life at home that little bit better, no matter where or how they live.

Every year, we publish a new Life at Home Report to share some of the interesting things we find out from our global research. This also gives us the chance to dig deeper into global changes taking place, from climate change to the rise of city-living, and see how they affect life at home in different parts of the world.

Over the years, we’ve asked some big questions. Here is what we’ve discovered so far, and how this influences the way we think about life at home today.

Keep reading to learn more about life at home.


What makes a home?

Homes around the world have a lot in common, despite looking very different.

We can all describe where we live in terms of the space we have available, where our home is located, the things we own, and the people we live with. These four dimensions help us explain the functional aspects of home.

The way people feel about these four dimensions also helps us understand what aspects of home are most important. We know that almost half of people say that home is where they have their most significant relationships, and 38% consider the neighbourhood they live in to be part of their home. Our objects often help us express who we are, and our senses help create a sensory experience of home that feels unique. Maybe you are one of the 40% of people who say that their home has a particular smell.

Homes today are typically more fluid than before, and need to provide spaces for different activities and needs throughout the day. That’s why it’s interesting to learn that one in four people say having a good WiFi connection is more important than having social spaces at home.

You can read more about what makes a home in our Life at Home Report 2016.

27% of people say society puts pressure on them to live more minimally.


What frustrates us about home?

Life at home isn’t always easy. Sometimes the people we live with, the things we own, the amount of space we have or the neighbourhood we live in can make us feel frustrated.

No matter where or how we live, we often experience the same pressure to declutter. In fact, half of people say the main cause of their domestic arguments is due to the different feelings we have about mess. Many of us share our homes with other people, but 42% say they find it hard to ask for their own area which helps explain why a further 17% of our arguments start when we intrude on other people’s space.

We’re often physically present at home, but as many as one in four of us say we struggle to feel mentally present when we’re there. Technology can both help and hinder this feeling, with over a third of us saying technology helps us feel more connected to the people we live with, whilst another third say we find it challenging to find the right balance.

What’s clear is that home is constantly evolving, so the more we’re prepared to be part of the change, the more comfortable – and less frustrating – life at home can be.

Learn more about the battles on the homefront in our Life at Home Report 2017.


How does home feel?

Home is more than a place; it’s a feeling. We have identified five emotional needs connected to the home – privacy, security, comfort, ownership and belonging. This is what people mean when they talk about the ‘feeling of home’.

These needs are universal but they play different roles at different stages of our lives, depending on how old we are, who we live with, and where we are in the world. Most of us believe that it’s important for our homes to meet these needs, but for many people there is a gap between expectation and reality, meaning that home doesn’t always feel like home.

We can see this amongst the one in three people who don’t feel their home gives them a sense of security, and the one in four people living with strangers who don’t feel a sense of ownership over where they live.

As a result, an increasing number of people – one in three – say there are places where they feel more at home than the space they live in.

We believe everyone deserves to feel at home, which is why we designed a simple tool to help people take steps to improve their life at home. You can take the Feeling of Home Quiz here.

"Home is arriving to a place where people take me as I am, where I can be myself and have freedom.” Anna, Berlin

“The four walls are important, but you need to have other opportunities outside the four walls to feel at home.”

Erik, Berlin


Where does home begin and end?

Our physical homes are getting smaller, smarter, busier and noisier. All of this impacts on how successfully a single space can deliver what we need from it – functionally and emotionally. When we can’t get what we need at home, we head outside.

Our research shows that life is on the move, and home needs to catch up. Life at home is becoming a network of places and spaces, and the boundaries are blurring between what we do at home and what we do beyond four walls. Our daily routines are changing as we take traditional home activities into other spaces and places, and bring more of the outside in.

For many of us, our neighbourhoods and communities offer us things we can’t get at home. Which helps explain why 64% of us say we would rather live in a small home in a great location compared to a big home in a less ideal location.

Discover a new era of life at home in our Life at Home Report 2018.

“Without privacy, there would be no space to provoke thoughts and new ideas. It would brutally kill all my creativity and passion.” Rinkal, Mumbai

How important is privacy at home?

Privacy at home is both a right and a necessity, but for too many people it can feel impossible to achieve. One in four of us say that we are concerned we don’t get enough privacy at home, and more than half of us say we feel frustrated as a result.

Privacy is necessary for our physical and mental health. More than 75% of us agree that privacy is vital for our wellbeing, because we need breathing space to recharge, to get to know ourselves, and grow as people. Yet many people struggle to ask for privacy at home, and rely on other signals, like putting on a pair of headphones, to avoid upsetting the people they’re with.

Our research revealed that we need to rethink privacy, to better understand the way it contributes to our wellbeing, and to empower people to ask for it. The home plays a significant role in helping us achieve privacy, whether that’s alone or with other people. Because while privacy is sometimes about being by ourselves, it’s always about truly being ourselves, and often there’s no better place than home to feel completely free.

Dig deeper into privacy in our Life at Home Report 2019.

85% of people believe they have a right to privacy at home.
How we do it

How we research life at home

Every year, we set out to understand more about what makes a better life at home by connecting with thousands of people where they live.

The combination of methodologies we use, in collaboration with our research partners, makes the Life at Home Report one of the most comprehensive research projects into life at home in the world today.

It’s not always easy for people to open up about their needs and dreams, so we strive to create safe spaces – online and offline – and use a variety of tools and activities to encourage honest discussion and reflection. Our research typically involves:

  • Creating secure online communities for open discussions
  • Visiting people in their homes, and spending time with them during the day
  • Meeting with customers at IKEA stores around the world
  • Conducting a nationally representative online survey in 30+ countries

Read our reports for more information about the research methodologies used for each one.