Read The Full Report


Last year’s Life At Home Report – “What Makes a Home” identified four key dimensions to life at home: Things, Relationships, Space and Place. This year’s research focused on the interplay between the four dimensions.

This led us on a fascinating journey into how people feel about home, how they behave, what they struggle with, and how they can succeed in creating a better life at home. We discovered that there are common tensions in homes all over the world, which result in five battles that unite us no matter where or how we live.

The myth of minimalismWhy we’re more likely to prioritise than minimise

We discovered that having “too much stuff” was the single biggest cause of stress in the home. Globally, 27% of people think society puts pressure on us to live minimally. And 49% of people say the main cause of their domestic arguments is due to different feelings about clutter. When we ‘clear out’, we tend to put our things into storage rather than get rid of them completely, but our shrinking living spaces means that we have to do more with less.

This likely explains the rise in rented storage facilities across the world, as well as the number of creative solutions at home. We explored the various coping mechanisms people use to manage the problem of living with the many things we just can’t seem to get rid off. We found that buying things that honour experiences can help us view our possessions more objectively, and help us to manage our stuff better.

I need my spaceHow we negotiate around personal space and things in a shared home

Negotiating what’s yours and mine can feel like the ultimate battle. Of all the arguments we have at home, 17% stem from intruding in each other’s spaces. But 42% of people say they find it hard to ask for their own areas, so the battle-lines are often unclear. Two in five people say that they live with things they hate which belong to other people, and the same number again have thrown away something that belongs to someone that they live with, without telling them!

This silent war means that many of us live with compromises which make us unhappy, or we argue over boundaries which are not clearly set. Our research shows that people who are happy to discuss what’s “yours”, “mine” and “ours” are the most satisfied at home and have fewer arguments.

Is anybody home?The quest for mental presence within the home

We are often physically present at home, but are we always mentally present? Our research shows that mental presence is something we seek out because we enjoy our life at home far more when we feel present there. The good news is that the majority of people (69%) say they feel peaceful when they think about home, but anything good and worthwhile isn’t always easy to maintain.

That sense of peace and positive mental presence in our homes has some powerful counter-forces from the outside, which are common across the world. As life becomes busier and work more demanding, the outside world – often via technology – seeps into our homes like never before. Planning for presence in the short and long term, from shared activities to bring nature into the home, can help establish better balance.

(Dis)connectedThe pursuit of balance around technology at home

No one can doubt the steady rise of technology, but there are dark and light sides to its use in our homes, particularly with regards to our well-being and relationships with others. We discovered that 27% of people spend less time with their partners because of their use of technology, and 17% feel guilty about time spent on social media.

But technology can also help nurture relationships: 36% are excited to bring it into their homes to feel more connected with the people they live with, especially when they cannot be physically present. And when technology takes on our household chores, we take back our time for fun activities. We explored the pursuit of balance around technology at home and found that agreeing on rules can be a smart way to achieve it.

The deliberately unfinished homeHow to have a home that stays one step ahead of your life

Life evolves, so why shouldn’t our homes too? Many people strive to achieve the “finished” forever home, even though their needs and dreams change over the years. Our research shows that making a change at home can feel hard: 21% of people are afraid to start a home project in case they can’t finish, and 26% want to make all the changes at once but simply don’t have the energy.

We tend to identify ourselves as ‘drivers’ or ‘drifters’, and it’s the drivers who are most open to a home that constantly evolves. As a result, they are better equipped to manage the changes in their lives too. It’s not only about the ‘big things’, but small things like re-arranging a room or redefining what role a space can play can be just as significant. We found that true home comfort is achieved when a home reflects people’s present needs, and not their previous or anticipated ones.

Meet Lydia Choi-Johansson, Intelligence Specialist for Inter IKEA Systems,
as she explains how we created this year’s report and what we discovered along the way.