As more families are forced to share a family home for longer, experts are saying it’s time to rethink the idea of fixed, unmoving rooms and think of more fluid space instead.
Instead of a bedroom or spare bedroom, rooms can become multifunctional with cleverly designed furniture that can fold away – such as the classic wall bed. A room can be a study by day and bedroom by night for example. More people will convert the space they have, including cellar and loft space, to create that extra space needed to accommodate growing family. This new approach to space has inspired new buzz words including ‘simplexity’ and ‘dwellbeing’ according to the report by The Future Foundation. Having rooms which can be divided or sub-divided then opened up again will allow space to have the needed fluidity to match our living needs. The report states: “Homes need to contract and expand as we need them to.”
A wall bed and foldaway furniture and TV screens are all recommendations to help maximise space – as well as movable walls and partitions that can be discreetly stored in the ceiling. In Japan, the idea of maximising living space is epitomised by the pod hotels, where customers literally lie in a cramped, if well designed sleeping pod. The future of home living may not be this extreme, but partitions could be the solution to creating personal space in cramped conditions. This will be an increasing priority as it’s estimated that around 65% of men aged 20-24 will still be living at home by 2020. What’s more, it’s expected more children will be returning home sporadically throughout their lives – even 30 or 40-something divorcees are expected to bounce back to their parents.
Having adequate personal space in a home is crucial so families don’t end up arguing or self imploding. Rooms will have to become like Swiss Army knives – capable of multi-functioning in a clever space optimising way. Its expected kitchens will become completely fold-away, table tops could double up as computer screens. If all that sounds far fetched, it’s worth considering Wandsworth council has already created 168 new homes from old store cupboards and boiler rooms across the region. And it’s expected that more of London’s hidden spaces will be reclaimed to create tiny apartments.