How We'll Live in 2020

How We'll Live in 2020

Janel Laban
Sep 1, 2011

Working at Apartment Therapy, my email inbox could be compared to Grand Central - very busy, lots of arrivals and departures and definitely full of interesting characters. I never know what will arrive next. Yesterday evening brought something out of the ordinary that I thought you all would be interested in. 2000 members of the IFDA (International Furnishings and Design Association) took part in a once-a-decade survey all about how home life in America will change between now and 2020. Check it out and see if you agree with the design industry professional's predictions...

Small is Cool: 76% of the members forsee Americans living in smaller spaces with fewer rooms. When asked the same question at the turn of the Millenium the percentage who predicted a shift to smaller spaces was only 49%.

Goodbye Dining Room: 71% of the members predict formal dining room extinction in most homes by 2020 as the space gets used for other things, such as working from home.

in fact...

Separate Rooms Are Disappearing: A huge number of respondents, 91.5 %, said that the see single-use rooms morphing into spaces that serve many different purposes across the board.

which leads us to the idea that...

Furniture will become Increasingly Multipurpose: 65.7% say movable, modular, small scale pieces are going to overtake things that are built-ins and/or big. They also predict that interest in ergonomics will be up and interest in "designed to be disposable" furniture will have come to and end.

Eat in Kitchens Come Back in Style: As dining rooms disappear, a place to enjoy meals in the space where they are prepared will be the way things shift, which means kitchens are going to get bigger, says 65% of members.

Masters Get Busier: As homes sizes shrink and the number of rooms lessens, media makes a move to the bedroom as does the exercise room, according to 52.2% of the respondents.


Everyone has a Home Office: More than 75% say that a home office is a given, with 37.3% kicking it up another notch by suggesting that multiple home offices under one roof will be the norm.

Finally, and this stat is the one that influenced my choice of image...

Here Comes High Tech: The most resounding near-universal prediction is that voice and sensor controls will take over from touch as more and more home equipment and furnishings activation go high tech. 97% of the designers, retailers and other professionals say this is the wave of the (not so distant!) future.

Most of this sounds pretty right-on to me and there aren't huge surprises here, at least based on how my family lives now. How about you? Does your vision of 2020 line up with what the furnishing and design industry's crystal ball shows?

Thanks IFDA for the info from 20/20: IFDA’s Vision for the Future survey!

Image: Rosie! from the Jetsons by Hanna Barbera

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