IKEA reveals five most common battles at home

The IKEA Life at Home Report 2017 reveals the fights and frustrations that unite all of us – wherever we are in life and around the world.

More than 22,000 people in 22 countries were involved in the global study, making it the biggest and broadest Life at Home research project IKEA has undertaken to date. The result is a view of the frustrations people all over the world are battling with today, as they try to create a better life at home.

In last year’s Life at Home research, IKEA found that there are four fundamental dimensions of home life – space, place, relationship and things. This year’s report reveals five major points of tension that arise when these dimensions interact. The report highlights:

  • We love our things but we struggle with mess
  • We need personal space but we find it hard to ask for it
  • We feel that home starts with mental presence but we battle to maintain it
  • We are excited about digital connectivity but we worry about the downsides
  • We want home to be ‘finished’ but we need it to evolve with our lives

“We know that most people love the homes they live in, but we believe we can all do more to create a better life at home. That’s why we stretched ourselves to meet people wherever they are in life, and dug deep into the things that work less well at home. As a result, we got to really understand those points of friction when they arise and help explore new ways to beat the battles at home”, says Lydia Choi-Johansson, Intelligence Specialist, Inter IKEA Systems.

The report includes findings from extensive home visits, online communities, expert interviews, and a 22-country survey. It reveals some striking figures:

  • Almost half (46%) of people globally say that most of their arguments at home start in the living room. The same number (49%) say that the reason for their arguments is different perspectives on what a “mess” actually is.
  • As many as 44% of us believe it feels “wrong” to define your own space when you move into someone else’s home.
  • Over a quarter of people (27%) say they feel that society puts pressure on them to live more minimally, and a further 40% believe that the media never reflects the true reality of sharing a home.
  • 40% of all people have thrown away something that belongs to someone they live with, without telling them.
  • A quarter of people (26%) say they want to make all the changes in their home at once but they just don’t have the energy. A further 21% are afraid to start in case they don’t finish.

The research team also collaborated with people who live in creative or unusual ways, to learn about life at home from those who take living to the next level – IKEA calls them ‘Home Pioneers’ and suggests that anyone can use home pioneering thinking to create changes at home. Home Pioneer Hints are included throughout the report, to reflect the positive things people can start doing today.

Lydia Choi-Johansson continues, “One of the biggest things we have learned from our research this year is also perhaps the most simple: we all need to have better conversations about life at home. We can see, for example, that being bold about your own space can create happier relationships at home, but so many people struggle to ask for it. Through this report, and the products and services it will inspire, we hope to help people talk about what they really need and want with the people they live with.”

To help open up a global conversation around the battles revealed through this year’s research, IKEA has created a collection of quirky furniture prototypes that playfully address the most common frustrations that people face at home, when it comes to negotiating personal spaces and things. These include the “I Hate Your Stuff” rug, and the “I Want My Space” sofa. Head to to explore the collection and find out more about this year’s research.

 Follow #LifeAtHome for more insights.


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