How Our Homes Have Evolved Over The Past 50 Years

In the 1950s, a 'functional' home was deemed most desirable.  

A recent article from The Guardian looked at the way our changing homes provide an accurate reflection of our changing lifestyles, and generally speaking, as our lives have become less functional and more about leisure, our properties have undergone a similar transition. 

For example, whilst fifty years ago homeowners deemed cooking and washing areas as the key locations for home improvements, today's homeowners said they'd most like to improve their entertaining space, suggesting the British currently place most emphasis on creating an attractive social area that can be enjoyed with family and friends.

Today, an attractive area for entertaining is at the top of homeowner's wish lists.

When it came to the question of open-plan living, homeowners were divided in their views, with both open-plan and separate dining rooms cited as top home improvement priorities alongside state-of-the-art television, music and cinema rooms, or improving access to the outdoors by adding sliding doors.

Looking forward, we can expect the trend of moving towards a more leisurely lifestyle to continue. Only time will tell if every future home will have a robot washing machine but with the immeasurable impact of the Internet ever-present in our lives, it seems likely a growing number of everyday household objects will be able to connect to the web.

In the future, more household objects will be connected to our smartphones. 

This could take the form of energy-efficient products such as thermostats, security systems and front-door locks that can be controlled directly via smartphone apps. Chris Green, designer in residence at the Design Museum, is looking into the future of drone technology and proposes that domestic drones 'could become commonplace within five to 10 years.' These drones could resemble 'companions' that look after our home security and even our wellbeing, such as calling a doctor when we fall ill.

However, there is a backlash on its way. For example, at this year’s London Design Festival several products were launched in reaction to the stress of relentless connectivity, including Jasper Morrison' mobile phone for Swiss brand Punkt that can only make calls or send text messages. The phone was designed for executives who want to be able to switch off from interruptions to focus on what’s important when away from the office. This suggests that in 10 years’ time, next door to the entertainment room, we’ll see the introduction of a Wi-Fi-free zone on the wish list of home improvements, allowing us precious time away from the online world. 

Central heating, hot water and insulated windows remain top priority. 

In terms of major improvements to our homes during the past fifty years, these consisted of the bare basics, such as central heating, hot running water and better insulated windows, which in turn have immensely improved the quality of our lives. According to the survey by Anglian Home Improvements, cutting back on bills, adding value to our properties and saving on the cost of a move were the main motivations behind modern home improvements. 

And with house prices increasing beyond the affordable and the costs of energy showing no signs of falling, it’s becoming especially important for people to make their homes extra efficient. This demand was reflected in our recent blog post about improving the U-Values Of Your Windows that can help you save money on your Winter bills by insulating your glazing.

With one-off taxes such as stamp duty making the cost of a move prohibitive, for many, upgrading their existing property for a larger home can seem an impossible feat. This said, homeowners are becoming savvier and choosing to make the most of what they’ve already got, with many property owners embarking upon substantial home improvement projects such as adding an extension with stylish bi-folding doors, or converting the loft into additional bedrooms in order to provide surplus living space.   

Extensions are becoming an increasingly popular way to increase living space. 

The 'she shed' phenomenon from earlier this year is another great example of this growing-demand for additional outdoor living space, and at Caribbean Blinds we've witnessed this trend first hand. We've seen a rising number of consumer's purchasing our award-winning Outdoor Living Pod that enhances the enjoyment of the home and garden whilst creating the perfect environment for relaxing and socialising, thanks to its rotating aluminum louvered roof and waterproof properties.  

To summarise, this concept of choosing to make the most of what we’ve already got can only be a positive movement for the UK’s architecture and interior design industries, where professional expertise can transform an average terrace into the dream home of the future. Granted we may not be building enough new homes, but with carefully considered development there's no reason why we can't make the most of the ones we already have, and a solar shading solution, whether that entails external blinds, a stylish patio awning or an Outdoor Living Pod could be an excellent place to start. 

Outdoor Living Pod
Our contemporary Outdoor Living Pod provides a functional and fully flexible living space. 

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