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How To Future-Proof Your Home Design

updated Jul 16, 2020
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(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Think about the home you grew up in. (Or your grandparents’ home.) How different was it from your home today? Did it have a formal dining room used only for holidays? Were there weird furniture pieces that folks today would struggle to even name? The idea of home — what it looks like and what kind of things you find in it — not only differs from culture to culture, it’s evolving as we move through time. Here are some ideas on how we can we think about our current homes and design them in a way that helps us move smoothly into the future.

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We were fascinated by the future home predictions made by the head of design for Ikea Sweden Magnus Engman in this Fast Company article: “Ikea: 7 Predictions For What Your Home Will Look Like In 2020.”

In the article, he mentions a lot of changes that might happen to homes in the future. Like homes becoming smaller, and flexible furniture needing to do more than just one thing. Like technology becoming more entangled (hopefully for convenience) with our furnishings and more. Read through the piece for all his predictions; it’s fascinating.

Another aspect of future homes we already see happening (and we predict will continue in the future): Folks living not in one or two homes in their lifetime, but moving from home to home often as jobs change, relationships grow and end and more.

(Image credit: Justice Darragh)

So what can we do now to not only go with the flow of changing home design trends and transition into the future, as well as ensure our future homes are just as lovely and functional as the homes we’re living in now? Some ideas:

1. Always be aware of your home needs

One of the most important things is not getting caught up in other people telling you what a home is. This has got to be the number one thing you consider first: What makes a home for you? What do you need on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis to function for how you live? You can stay on top of your needs by really digging into what your home priorities are:

2. Stay flexible and reevaluate often

But as important as it is to “do you,” it’s equally important to be flexible. Sometimes we change without realizing it, and then our homes need updating. So by staying flexible — say, considering using your dining table as a double duty work station instead of investing in a separate desk and other sorts of ideas like that — you leave open your life and your home for improvements in whatever future form they may come in.

(Image credit: Elissa Crowe)

3. Opt for furniture that can do lots of different things

We agree with Engman on this wholeheartedly. Having flexible furniture that is sturdy, dependable and can do different things as it moves with you from home to home is just as important as splurging on art, accessories and trendy things that give your home personality. It’s not always about hunting down super specific “this coffee table also pulls out into a dining table!” pieces like sleeper sofas and more; it’s about looking for the multiple future opportunities of pieces when you’re facing design decisions. A right-height coffee table and some floor pillows can be just as handy in the future as a trendy just-got-to-have-it dining table, for instance. A stool that features space for extra storage might be more useful in the future than a sleek stool that just sits on four legs.

4. Have less stuff

As homes get smaller and smaller, it just makes sense to have less stuff. Looking for double-duty furniture will help with this task, as will continually and regularly paring down the other stuff you have. Not only will it make living in a home a more pleasant, airy experience, but if we are going to be moving more often in the future, it’ll make toting stuff from apartment to apartment easier, too.

5. Design anyway

If we’ll be moving more often in the future and possibly packing into tighter and tighter urban areas where we rent, another important idea to remember now and in years to come is to design anyway, even if your current home isn’t your “forever home” (because what does that even mean anymore?). Even if you don’t own the place. Even if it’s not your idea of a dream home. Design it anyway. Use your design knowledge to work around limitations and annoyances. Put your personal touch where and how you can. Live (and design) to your fullest in every home.

What do you think homes in the future will be like? What are your predictions for the future of home design? Can you imagine what your future home will look like?