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IFDA’s Crystal Ball: How We’ll Live in 2020

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IFDA’s Crystal Ball: How We’ll Live in 2020
Logo courtesy of IFDA

McMansions are so last century. That’s what the International Furnishings and Design Association concluded in its investigation into the future of the American home. The association’s second “Crystal Ball” survey polled IFDA members who represent all aspects of the furnishings and design industry, including interior designers, manufacturers and retailers.

Predicting the Future

20/20: IFDA’s Vision for the Future is the association’s latest report and provides an overview as to what IFDA’s nearly 2,000 members across the U.S. and abroad see happening in the American home by the year 2020.

Results from IFDA’s study confirmed those found recently when the National Association of Home Builders surveyed its members. NAHB found the average size of new homes completed decreased from 2,438 sq. ft. in 2007 to 2,377 sq. ft. in 2010. Builders further expect the floor area of new homes to be an average of 2,152 sq. ft by 2015.

Reflecting on the Past

Members from both the NAHB and IFDA naturally point to the state of the economy as a key factor in how people are building, buying and outfitting their homes. NAHB also singled out concern over energy costs and the fact that Baby Boomers, for the most part, no longer need a large number of bedrooms.

“American home life changed dramatically soon after we conducted our first survey in 2000,” said Susan Hirsh, former IFDA National President and director of the Crystal Ball study. “We were hit with a decade of circumstances we couldn’t have foreseen.”

Those circumstances have indeed driven the decisions of homeowners for the past ten years and they’ve left a wave of caution in their wake. “The reverberations of this recession will continue to impact the decisions and home purchases people make for years to come,” Hirsh said.

Here is just a sampling of what IFDA’s “Crystal Ball” survey found. For more on the study findings, contact IFDA.

20/20: IFDA’s Vision for the Future

  • Americans will be living in smaller spaces and with fewer rooms.

  • Formal living rooms are going extinct.

  • Kiss your dining room goodbye. The space will be put to multiple other uses because…

  • Separate rooms are disappearing. Spaces of the future will serve many different purposes.

  • Furniture goes multi-purpose. Modular, moveable and smaller-scaled furniture will overtake built-ins and big pieces. Interest in ergonomic designs created to cradle the human body will increase and, thankfully, almost no furniture will be designed with the idea of being disposable.

  • Eat-in kitchens will be the norm. More than half of IFDA’s members expect eat-in kitchens to replace formal dining rooms. They also expect kitchens to grow larger to accommodate bigger crowds and Americans' increased interest in cooking at home.

  • Spa baths draw big interest. The trend toward larger bath spaces has slowed down but the majority expects luxury bath accommodations, like spa showers and high-tech fixtures, to increase in popularity.

  • Master bedroom suites won’t be bigger, but they will get busier. This space too will see the infiltration of other purposes, sharing time as home office, media center or exercise room.

  • Everyone works from home. While the home office has already earned status as a given in design, forecasters expect the future will see more than one home office under every roof.

  • High-tech is here to stay. An impressive 97% of IFDA respondents believe that by 2020 many home furnishings will be activated by means such as voice and sensor. Prime candidates for remote control/motorized operation are lighting, entertainment gear, environmental controls and window treatments.

  • Outdoor living is still all the rage, provided it is low maintenance. Outdoor living spaces are expected to expand even further but not so much with costly, high-maintenance items like swimming pools and hot tubs. Expectations are for increased space devoted to low-maintenance landscaping and functional gardens.
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