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Home: Where Identity and Comfort Intertwine

Image by Ricky Esquivel from Pexels

Image by Ricky Esquivel from Pexels

What really makes a place ‘home’? Swedish furniture giant Ikea has set out to answer this question by publishing a study that explores the concept of ‘home’.

The research into where people feel at home reveals a complex web of factors that shape this feeling for each individual. Ikea’s study, Life at Home, surveyed 12,000 people in twelve global cities to unravel the intricacies of what it means to be at home.

Contrary to initial assumptions, the study found that only seven per cent of respondents associated ‘home’ with a specific place or building. Surprisingly, 37 per cent believe that ‘home’ extends beyond the confines of their home, while a staggering 42 per cent feel more at home outside their home.

In an era of urbanisation and shrinking living spaces, people are often found in closer proximity to one another. Urban environments offer many opportunities to spend time outdoors, fostering a growing emphasis on the concept of ‘neighbourhood’. This sense of neighbourliness is varied: while some people do not know their immediate neighbours, others are actively involved in neighbourhood initiatives. Urban gardening projects, flea markets and local festivals are all evidence of a desire for neighbourly closeness. The study echoes these sentiments, with 38 per cent considering their neighbourhood an integral part of their ‘home’.

As lifestyles evolve and family dynamics change, activities that once took place within the walls of the home are now spilling out into the public realm. Places such as cafes, hotels or restaurants are now designed to emulate a sense of ‘home’, aiming to evoke the feelings that individuals strongly associate with their homes: security, familiarity, relaxation and freedom.

The blurring of work and home continues. Workspaces increasingly resemble homes, with fully equipped kitchens and relaxation areas. This trend is reflected in the Life at Home report, which shows that 11% of millennials feel more at home at school or work than in their own four walls. At the same time, the dynamics of work have changed, with many needing only a laptop to carry out their professional duties.

In sum, the concept of ‘home’ is a multifaceted tapestry woven from personal experiences, evolving societal dynamics and shifting perceptions. To delve deeper into these diverse perceptions and narratives of ‘home’, listen to my podcast episode that explores the concept through personal stories and global perspectives.

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