Why this room is dying out

IT’S safe to say your home today is probably very different to the one you grew up in.

And according to Ikea’s newly released Life at Home Report, Australian houses and the way we use them are changing dramatically — and quickly.

For example, the report found 22 per cent of us shower outside of our own homes every day, with showers at gyms and in our workplaces increasingly becoming the norm.

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A quarter of Aussies also cook outside of their residential home multiple times a week, opting to whip up feasts with family and friends instead.

Almost 30 per cent watch television away from their own home many times during the week, thanks largely to the rise of technology and personal devices like mobile phones and iPads.

And 26.4 per cent sleep outside of their residential home each week, while 32.3 per cent also choose to relax outside of their home regularly.

Ikea interior design leader Christine Gough said those figures show we were using our homes in very different ways now.

And she said some of the main drivers behind our evolving homes was a lack of space, an increase in share houses and the changing nature of work.

“There are a lot more share house situations and rental properties now because prices are so expensive — and do people even want to own their own homes now or not? I’m not an economist, but what we can see at Ikea is a lot more shared accommodation,” she said.

“There’s also a lot of discussion around people choosing location and a smaller home over living way out in the suburbs with more space.

“And the way we work is changing for us too — agile-type work is more common … and there is an upward trend of people working from home, from work, from a cafe — we’re out and about more than we were before and … the ‘always on’ mentality is a trend that’s growing more and more.”

Ms Gough also said the way we watch TV has evolved — and as a result, “traditional” lounge rooms are increasingly becoming a thing of the past.

“The days are gone where we would have a massive TV on a bench with a coffee table in front of it and we would follow that formula for the living room,” Ms Gough said.

“We are watching TV anywhere and at any time now — on the train on the way home, on our friend’s iPad.”

As a result, the way we design our living rooms has been transformed.

“Instead of the traditional lounge room, at Ikea a lot of the designs coming through now are modular so you can pick and choose and add to a piece when you want, and move it around however you want to have a living room that suits you,” she said.

“It’s part of another big trend which we call ‘together apart’ — everyone might be in the same space, but they’re doing different things.”

Ms Gough said Australians had embraced open-plan living and “homes without borders”.

As a result, houses are now more likely to have some items of furniture — such as bookshelves or cupboards — which stretch across multiple rooms, while previously they were restricted to one specific area.

And she said because of our increasing lack of space, the changing nature of work and emphasis on share houses, many Australians were striving to create a sense of privacy and “sanctuary” within their homes.

One way Aussies achieve that is by transforming their bedrooms into cosy, private refuges where they can retreat from the world and enjoy their downtime.

alexis.carey@news.com.au

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