I often get calls and emails from writers who would like my point of view on some topic related to home furnishings trends. It’s not unusual for me to take two or four of these contacts a week. These people are my journalist colleagues, so I like being able to help them with their stories. And sometimes, the questions they ask cause me to think about my work in a fresh way that helps me as well.
One of those times came this week when I got an email from a writer in Hong Kong. She was writing about the home of the future—10 to 20 years from now—and wanted to know what evolutions I thought would be more important between those homes and the homes of 2005.
This question really made me think beyond the color and style directions I normally work with and focus on how I think people will want to live a decade or two into the future. I thought I would share my thoughts with my readers.
I believe that several evolutions will be apparent in homes in 2015 – 2025, however, the three that I feel will have the broadest impact are:
- The role of form in updating the eclectic environment
- A much higher level of personalization
- The importance of virtual experience as home entertainment
The role of form in updating the eclectic environment
The term eclectic has been part of the mainstream decorating lexicon since the end of the 1980’s. When it first emerged, it referred to that one unexpected piece placed in a room. In time, eclectic came to mean mixing periods and styles in that room, and later, it meant mixing all of that in one piece.
By the end of the 1990’s, when eclectic style had come to the level of an individual piece, it was not just periods and styles that were blended, but also materials, finishes and colors. The next update will be form.
I have already talked about and written about this. We are forecasting that low profile will blend with chance organic forms or angles will mix with curves in ways that have not been seen before, and that this will create completely new looks for every room of the house. Consumers will be ready for this—many are actually ready now is they are part of the forward niche that is pushing for newness on every front.
A much higher level of personalization
Personalization will mean more than monograms in the future and a personalized home will reflect preferences that go way beyond color choices (although color will continue as a driver in décor). The 2020 home will be personalized with upholstery that sits with just the right amount of firmness, temperature and lighting preferences that follow you from room to room and even colors that fit with your mood, provided by smart fabrics.
How to do this? Use the same RFID tags that retailers are bringing into packaging. In that environment, the tags are deterrents to shop lifting. In the home, they become transmitters of personal preferences to the product receivers that are waiting in each room.
The importance of virtual experience as home entertainment
The importance of one room in particular will trump all others in remaking our homes. It is the virtual experience room.
I believe that virtual experiences will be a key aspect of future home entertainment. They will allow a person to visit new places, view art and knowledge, even take risks through high definition sound and imagery that replace watching with virtual experiencing.
People may chose to have experiences together, but will also chose to do this individually, since it will be possible to meet others there, just as gamers can meet in the virtual City of Heroes in 2005.
The virtual experience room takes on aspects of today’s meditation room. It is small, quiet, right for one person. But instead of making an altar or yoga mat the focal point, this room will be dominated by an ultra-comfortable reclining chair or even a bed in which the electronics are embedded.
By the way, this new virtual experience room does not take the place of the family room. There will still be a room devoted to community entertainment and conversation.