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Life at Home Report: a home outside your home

Did you know that one in three of us feels more at home in places other than the one we live in? For the latest Life at Home Report, IKEA spoke to 22,000 people around the world. Read on to find out more about life beyond four walls…

Three older people sit at a table eating a meal together.
Three older people sit at a table eating a meal together.
Greta sits in a red winged chair next to a piano with artwork on the wall behind her.

Defining home as your community

Greta lives in a senior women’s collective in Copenhagen, and loves socialising in person and online. ‘It’s the people who create the environment, not the furniture,’ she says. ‘There’s a place for lunch with many people that I go to nearly every day. Sometimes we have gymnastics, dancing and film club. My family lives abroad, so we use Skype. We’re nearly always in contact.’

Greta dances with a hula hoop in a dining room with red and white walls.
The Life at Home team went on 12 unique visits to learn more about people who experience a ‘home from home’ feeling

Mary sits in the sun on a bench in a park.

Feeling at home in public spaces

Mary is the head of her family household in London. For her, places outside the home are essential for everyday wellbeing. ‘It can either be going to the gym or relaxing in the park. There’s a bench I like to go and sit on, with amazing views. I can contemplate everything and just have two moments to myself with no distraction, no feeling the need to get up and do.’

Mary walks behind a small child who is riding a scooter.
There are push and pull factors at work – 23% of us leave home to find alone time, whereas 47% seek experiences outside that will help us grow

A portrait of Jiaqin and Gao.

Finding home wherever family is

Jiaqin lives in Shanghai with his wife Gao and their child. ‘No matter if it’s a house or a flat, if it’s a place I bought or rented, as long as the person I love is there, that is my home,’ he says. ‘We can fish in the river, we can walk in the park, and they can also be seen as home.’

Jiaqin stands at a vegetable stall.
Jiaqin washes vegetables in the kitchen sink.
Home’s boundaries are shifting. One in four of us regularly works from home, while a third shower or bathe outside the home several times a week

A chicken flies in front of Jiaqin and Gao in their living room.
Alessandro sits on a sofa and a dog lies on a dog bed in front of him.

Using parks as an extension of home

Alessandro lives in a small apartment in Rome. ‘The physical space of my home must give me a sense of wellbeing,’ he says. ‘Right now, there’s not much space so I don’t feel great.’ His solution? To look for wellbeing elsewhere. ‘I feel the greatest benefit in the park, where I spend lots of time,’ he explains. ‘It allows me to unplug from any problems and relax.’

Alessandro and his dog playing with a frisbee in a park.
Perhaps because home is a network of spaces, 64% of us would prefer a small one in a great location to a big one elsewhere

William stands looking across the water with a city skyline in the background.

Making a neighbourhood your home

William from Jersey City finds a deep sense of belonging in his local area. ‘While I do enjoy being at home and having my space, I feel like being outside, seeing neighbours and even walking down the stairs and out the building is all part of life. Those are all little pieces of outside-the-home that make me feel at home.’

William sits in a diner looking at a menu.

There are more home truths and trends revealed in the full Life at Home 2018 report