Unless you were too young to care about housing a decade ago when the residential real estate bubble burst and homeowners were sent scrambling to hold on to home values, you know that this market quixotic. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the $7,354 median price tag on single family houses in 1950 has exploded over the decades.
Today, that figure is $216,700, according to Zillow (https://www.zillow.com/home-values/).
Surprisingly, price spikes in housing are not the only phenomena professional realtors are seeing in 2018. Families have grown weary of trying to maintain opulent lifestyles and instead, crave comfort and simplicity. That doesn’t mean they want return to the days of two-bedroom tract homes with bunk beds and a single bathroom that’s shared!
It’s bigger than that. A sensibility has developed that shows that folks of all income levels are seeking space that is more community-based, offering amenities in close proximity so they don’t have to seek them outside of their neighborhoods. It’s a trend you should watch for myriad reasons, not the least of which is that this movement simply makes good sense.
Why do people desire simplicity and comfort?
According to “The Atlantic magazine,” “The Hot New Millennial Housing Trend Is a Repeat of the Middle Ages.” Article writer Ilana E. Strauss isn’t talking about returning to 16th Century home styles that hosted multiple generations of family members but the consummate desire of human beings to live “in community.”
The desire for a communal sense of belonging is hard-wired into the nature of human beings and much of that closeness and contact has been lost due to the dispersion of family members. How many people do you know who maintain contact with loved ones only because Skype and the Internet exist.
Living in community is good for the soul
According to Alfred University Philosophy Professor Emrys Westacott, there’s a reason “Magazines such as ‘Real Simple’ call out to us from the supermarket checkout.” The world operates on overdrive and people need the sanctuary of a manageable base to return to at day’s end. Living simply helps streamline things and make them less complicated, he suggests.
The quest for simplicity is reflected in housing innovations that run the gamut from the “Tiny House” movement to Granny Pods, housing options that can wind up sharing acreage with family members or friends. But the heart of community living for young families is the movement toward authentic neighborhoods that include social conduits designed for everyone from kids to grandmas—-and that includes pets!
By having a hub like a community center that’s outfitted with all of the amenities of a luxurious golf club but comes with a manageable assessment fee, families move into ready-made environments that save them time, energy and stress because most of what a family needs to thrive is in such close proximity.
The rise of master-planned communities
Once upon a time, pioneers settling America purposely built villages that mixed residential- and commercial-use buildings for safety, convenience, simplicity and comfort. One walked just steps to the store, the neighbor’s and the barn used as the social hall to connect with neighbors. When dinner bells rang, kids were rounded up quickly because they played nearby.
Time, distance, transportation and technology changed all of that and because the planet is becoming a lonely place for so many people, the idea of living in a private home that’s close to every amenity a family could want began to emerge from the society as a whole. But opulence has not vanished completely, because the idea of wealth and luxury are not incompatible with comfort and simplicity, and this combination is reflected in the way people furnish their homes within their communities.
Make your own statement
It would not be an overstatement to say that over the course of history, taste has changed, but as Anindita Sen, writing for Makaan.com explains, “the last decade has been a culmination of the trends of the past half a century in which opulence has given way to simplicity”
She bases her research on the evolution of individual personalities and forces that drove human nature to collect, buy, own and display their wealth in a desire to “keep up with the Joneses.” These days, homeowners feel free to personalize their space to reflect the family’s personality.
Even mansions, estates and sprawling residences with tons of space tend not to be stuffed full of the furnishings, décor, art and touches that thrilled our grandparents and make them feel as though they had “arrived.” In fact, simplicity has become a new buzzword for luxury, especially since homeowners have given themselves permission to carve out their own sanctuaries filled with everything but pretense!
5 ways to simplify your home and make it extra-comfy:
- Establish a reasonable simplicity goal
According to designers at Makaan, “Functionality is the key,” and crowding is to be avoided. Choose classic items that stand the test of time and choose quality over quantity. Chairs should be so comfortable; family members and guests don’t want to get up. A single, dramatic piece of art creates a focal point, and keep “fussy items” on shelves and tables to a minimum.
- Keep colors simple and soothing
Creating an interior decorating scheme using a selection of timeless blues comforts the mind and welcomes relaxation. Modest hints of opulence can be added by including touches of gold. Green hues are restful and calming because they are reminders of nature. Primary colors can be too jarring to the senses if you seek an elegant environment that brings simplicity to mind.
- Embrace comfort features that keep your family safe and sound
Adopting technological innovation, both outside and inside, can make your home a place of safety, too. Intuitive electronics that control lighting, security and other functions needn’t be visible to the eye to do their jobs, so you wind up getting the simplicity you seek without wires, boxes, switches and electronics disturbing the tranquility you’ve worked so hard to establish.
- Consider multipurpose interior design
You’re living in an era of “room mergers” that’s officially been around for a decade. Movable walls, the integration of indoor and outdoor living, rooms that serve multiple purposes and open floor plans are just the beginning of this phenomenon. By creating a world of convenience and innovation, your home becomes an efficient hub that’s inviting, simple and comfortable.
- Invite nature into your sanctuary
Not every geographic location or home design allows for the integration of rooms that bring the inside and outside together, but that doesn’t mean you can’t inject mega-doses of Mother Nature’s gifts into your home. Plants start the process, but water features carry it further as waterfalls and fountains designed exclusively for interior installations can turn an already-relaxed atmosphere into nirvana. Choose the right water feature and don’t be surprised if guests call your lifestyle opulent when they see how cleverly you used comfort and simplicity as your guides.