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Our search for the secret to a balanced life at home

A balanced approach to mental well-being helps us get the most out of life, and at IKEA we believe that starts at home. A home space for our headspace. But we wanted to learn more. So, for this year’s IKEA Life at Home Report, we asked thousands of people around the world to tell us about their experiences in five key areas relating to mental well-being and the home.

Here’s what we discovered…

Relationships

Key finding: Family relationships have strengthened at home… but some friendships have suffered.

The pandemic has brought many of us closer together, with 42% saying their relationships with immediate family have improved over the past year. Some friendships have also flourished. But others have not fared so well. In fact, one in five people we surveyed say their friendships have been negatively impacted. This could be because restrictions have made us choosier about the friendships we keep. For mental well-being, it’s quality not quantity that matters.

What do you look for in an ideal home? 
31% of people say living close to friends and family has become more important to them in the last 12 months.


Community

Key finding: Community relationships provide emotional as well as practical support.

Whether it’s local neighbourhoods or WhatsApp groups, communities are important to us. They support our practical, social and emotional needs – and we have been turning to them more and more. 73% of people around the world say they have spent more time in their neighbourhoods in the last 12 months. 62% say their mental well-being has benefitted from having a sense of belonging in their neighbourhoods.

It’s nice to be able to speak to each other about things. When you are close with your neighbours, you can be there for them and they are there for you.

Abdul, UK


Space

Key finding: We feel better when we rearrange home spaces to fit our needs.

This year, we have seen a major shift in the way everyone is using and thinking about their homes. In the past, our four walls provided refuge from our outside lives. Now, life is more fluid - and we are adapting our spaces to match. 60% say they’ve had to significantly change the way their home is organised to do the activities they want or need to do at home.

Do you feel more positive about your home?
Half (47%) of those who made the most significant efforts to reorganise their homes say yes, compared to one in three (33%) who made very little effort or none at all.


Rituals

Key finding: Positive daily habits help us get the most out of time at home.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, the role of the home has been transformed. Now it is a place for activity and productivity as well as relaxation. To find balance, we are becoming more intentional about how we use our homes, carving out time and space to do everything we need to do. This includes activities that are just for ourselves. A quarter (26%) of people globally say that doing hobbies or personal projects are important for them to maintain a sense of mental well-being at home.

Every Monday or Tuesday is my day where I go out and work on my plants. I’ll put on my headphones, I’ll listen to an audiobook, and I’ll just go at it. I love doing that… it really grounds me.

Liliana, USA


Future home

Key finding: We’re thinking about a healthier, happier future - for ourselves, our families and the world.

Life used to be predictable. Now we all have to be adaptable. There is no new normal and the future is in a constantly evolving state. This has led many to reassess their relationship with home. Urban life and commuting distances are less important than in the past. People are now looking for cleaner, greener, more nurturing places where they can feel safe. 84% say it is important to have control over the place where they live.

Are you optimistic about the future?
48% of people aged 18-34 say yes compared to 30% of those aged 55+.

Find out more

In one of the largest research projects of its kind in the world, we asked more than 34,000 people to share their views and insights on mental well-being and life at home. Read our full report to find out what we learned.

Explore the IKEA Life at Home Report

Read more about life at home