New IKEA Life at Home Report Finds “Feeling of Home” has Moved Beyond Four Walls

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The 5th annual global research report explores key emotions associated with “feeling of home” and demographic, technologic and cultural forces that are reshaping where we find it

“We were curious to understand why some people say they feel more at home away from home than others,” said Maria Jonsson, Macro Insights Leader at IKEA Group. “This report seeks to get to the heart of what creates that elusive feeling of home, and how we can all make this feeling easier to achieve

According to the Life at Home Report 2018, a global research report released today by IKEA Group, the traditional idea of where we get the feeling of home has been disrupted in both the U.S. and abroad. The fifth annual study into domestic living trends around the world found that, from 2016 to 2018, the number of people in cities around the world who say there are places where they feel more at home than the space they live increased from 20% to 35%.

A Residence Does Not Equal “A Home”

“We were curious to understand why some people say they feel more at home away from home than others,” said Maria Jonsson, Macro Insights Leader at IKEA Group. “This report seeks to get to the heart of what creates that elusive feeling of home, and how we can all make this feeling easier to achieve where we live.”

The Life at Home Report 2018 identifies five core emotional needs which capture the feeling of home: privacy, comfort, ownership, security and belonging. The majority of people believe it’s important that their residential home provides these needs – yet reality can fall far from expectation. Nearly four in ten Americans (39%) say their residence does not provide a sense of belonging, while a quarter (25%) say they do not feel at home in the residence they live in.

A Mixed Network of Spaces and Places, Virtual and Real

“For a large number of people, home just doesn’t feel like home any more. We discovered a new behavior, where people use a network of spaces and places, both within and beyond the four walls, as part of their homemaking experience,” Jonsson said. “We believe that this expanded notion of life at home gives people more opportunities to create the feeling of home, no matter where or how they live.”

The idea of “feeling at home” in a mixed network of spaces and places both in and out of the residence is evident when examining the concept of privacy “at home.” Almost half of Americans (45%) go to their car, outside of the home, to have a private moment to themselves, surpassed only by the bedroom (72%) and bathroom (55%), much more traditional and expected spaces to go to have a moment alone.

Real-world and virtual communities are also important players in this expanded mixed network. Seven in 10 Americans say they would rather live in a small home in a great location than a large home in a less ideal location. Compared to their global counterparts, more Americans consider their community (49.5% vs. 43.8%), their city/state (38.2% vs. 30.7%) and their neighborhood (46.4% vs. 35.8%) as an extension of their home. The sentiment shifts when looking at virtual communities. Although 55% of Americans believe that communities will be less physical and more digital in the future, less than 10% currently consider virtual environments as an extension of their home. Additionally, age is an important factor in how Americans perceive virtual communities. 21% of young Americans (aged 18-24) report virtual communities give them the most feeling of belonging (vs. 12% of Americans overall).

At the same time, typical “inside the home” and “outside the home” activities are changing. For example, when it comes to dining with family and friends, 20% of Americans say they eat outside of the home more often than they used to. Meanwhile, when it comes to work, almost 30% of Americans are doing it more at home than they used to, and 51% believe work and home will become more integrated as we live more fluid lives.

A Shifting American Dream?

The effect of this shift in attitudes and activities has led to a generation who wants to redefine the spaces they live in. Six in ten people in the U.S. and abroad say they’d like to create a home that’s different from the one they were brought up in. Aspirations around home ownership and building one’s dream home remain strong. Interestingly, this sentiment is even higher among younger generations who grew up in the sharing economy, with 70% of Americans aged 18-24 aspiring to own their own home and everything in it (vs. 64% of Americans overall).

The report also explores how major global changes including urbanization and the rise of technology impact how people feel about life at home now and in the future. 70% of Americans are excited to reconnect with nature and the environment in the future, however, the thought of smaller and smaller living spaces makes four in 10 Americans feel anxious.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit for more information about the Life at Home Report 2018. The website also hosts an interactive tool that can help people identify to what extent their home provides them with each of the five emotional needs, and how to increase the feeling of home both within and beyond the four walls.

About IKEA
Since its 1943 founding in Sweden, IKEA has offered home furnishings of good design and function at low prices. The IKEA Group operates 363 IKEA stores in 29 countries, including 48 in the U.S. IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information see, @IKEAUSANews, @IKEAUSA or IKEAUSA on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

About the Life at Home Report 2018

  •     The research for the IKEA Life at Home Report 2018 was commissioned by IKEA Group, and undertaken by London-based customer agency C Space. It was conducted between March and August 2018.
  •     Qualitative research was conducted in USA, Germany, Denmark, China, Italy and UK.
  •     Quantitative research was undertaken in 22 countries across five territories – USA, Middle East, Europe, and Asia. The survey was conducted amongst more than 22,854 people and is nationally representative.
  •     The Life at Home Report 2016 survey was undertaken in 12 cities in 12 countries with a total sample size of approximately 12,000 respondents. The Life at Home Report 2018 survey was undertaken in 22 countries, providing a total sample size of 22,854 respondents of which 11,325 are living in urban areas.

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Chloe Kivestu
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