Thoughts on Homeyness and the Home in 2016

A home is so much more than just a shelter, according to the most recent Life at Home report.

The 2016 report, which is published annually by the IKEA global home furnishings company, says a home is defined by what inhabitants experience through their senses: sight, smell, taste, sound, and touch. Together, these five senses make a house feel, well, homey, and create happy memories.

After surveying thousands of people around the world, the Life at Home report found that a whopping 63% of respondents said they cook to feel at home, while 59% attributed their home’s comfortable vibe to music. Interestingly, when the sensation is not a pleasant one – too bright or too noisy – that homey feeling is challenged. And, thanks to a society that prizes outdoor kitchens and living rooms, some 42% of individuals say they now feel more comfortable outside their homes.

The home is now a place of relationships and connections, both personal and virtual; the report found that 48% of respondents described their home as the “place where they have their most important relationships.” However, 23% noted that having Wi-Fi is more important in their homes than having a gathering space to bring family together. It makes a strange sort of sense: Loved ones can move away, but, realistically, they’re as close as the nearest Internet connection. A wired home is a happy home.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the report found that people highly value their “tchotchkes”: 53% suggested the objects in their homes hold memories and/or reflect who they are, while 43% said they assigned importance to objects that facilitate meaningful activities – for example, the kitchen island is where the kids do their homework, creating daily memories.

The report concluded that, no matter who we are or where we live, our feelings of home are all remarkably similar (if clich├ęd): we love our homes because “home is where the heart is.”