The Future Of Interior Design
What Our Home Might Look Like in a Few Decades
Many of us remember growing up in an era of boomerang shaped furniture. You know, mid-century classic, or what is called classic now. The wood used in furniture was blonde finished, with tapered legs that usually had a brass cap on the end. Formica laminate flooring had just been invented and was used everywhere.
You were really cool if you had a banana-shaped couch, (remember?) and you simply had to have a starburst clock or mirror on the wall. Anything to do with outer space or Australia – which was just as alien to people – was hot in the 1960s. Patterns were asymmetrical, colours were warm and bold, and surfaces were hard.
Do you ever wonder what your home will look like in another 50 years? Here are some ideas of where our interior design may be headed.
But, we already have smart homes! We can tap our smartphone and turn on the alarm system and turn off the air conditioner. We can schedule lights to turn on and off, and even watch our front porch on our phone when someone rings the doorbell. Our refrigerator can tell us when to buy milk, and we can place that order and have it delivered to our car in the parking lot.
What more can we want?
Actually, most of these features are still out of reach for most of us. A future home will know us better than we know ourselves. The technology to make it possible is systemic smart home wiring systems throughout the house. Just as we expect electrical outlets, light switches, and internet to be standard equipment in our homes, in just a decade or so we can expect it all to be wirelessly controlled by phone or voice without any additional modifications.
If we buy the hardware and software, we can already command the lights to turn on or dim. In the future, lights may include various hues and the very inner working of light bulb might change. With one light bulb, we will be able to evoke the soft rays of sunrise, bright daylight, and the shadowy softness of evening, regardless of the time of day.
We will be able to select our own day/night patterns without purchasing additional technology because it will all be built into the house. Scent will be another control. We can already plug-in room fresheners that alternate between scents to keep them fresh. Perhaps our houses will be so smart as to recognize our stress level as we enter and release appropriate aromas and essential oils to help us relax or energize us, depending on our needs.
Your bedroom could see some surprising changes. From the range of mattress types we know today, what might find its way into the future is a mattress based on adjustable air chambers. We already have them today and they represent the high-end of mattress technology. The mattress of the future is likely to be a hybrid between an adjustable airbed as we know it today and whatever new materials we come up with.
Why is that?
Technology can already record our sleep patterns and analyze environmental influences on the way we sleep. Today, even the classic air mattresses are as durable as any other kind of mattress, and the adjustable ones are a whole different beast…vastly superior. If you suffer from aches and pains you can make the bed softer, increase the support for that achy back, or program it to change during the night. The lights in your bedroom will also be more conducive to sleep. Lights will gradually brighten in order to make it easier for you to wake up, and they’ll dim as you drift off to sleep. Your bed will cool you off when you need it, or warm you up when you get cold.
I still remember when we got our first colour TV, people! And only lazy people used a remote. Already, our living rooms have theatre sized TV screens, with all kinds of home theatre equipment available. The biggest problem is in keeping up with all of the remotes. So, besides comfortable furniture, mood lighting, and a killer home theatre, what could be better? Maybe no remotes? The future of TVs ties in with the wireless responsive home electrical system that responds to our voice or gestures.
The United States is somewhat unique in using flush toilets. In European countries, flush toilets are considered a waste of water. However, there is technology in the works to reuse shower, washing machine, and dishwasher water. A grey water tank could be used when flushing, and save gallons of water per household every day.
Sadly, I don’t see any big developments in the realm of house cleaning over the next few decades. It seems that the Roomba is our one shot at automated cleaning, and an entire army of robotic vacuums couldn’t stay ahead of our 2 Alaskan Malamutes. They would have to be emptied every 30 minutes and don’t work on carpet. And what about kitchen cabinets that wash themselves? Who cares about “fingerprint resistant” finishes! They still have to be washed and polished.
Do we want buildings to last indefinitely or have a shelf-life? Visions of Machu Picchu, with stone walls that have been overgrown and then cleared again of nature, come to mind.
Now instead of concrete and stone scientist are trying to make building blocks out of – fungus. Or you might consider a tree house. A literal tree house. A house frame is built and trees and other plants are planted in the framework. The trees grow into living walls, complete with built-in air filters.
As long as we keep our indoor plumbing and develop a self-cleaning house, I’ll be happy. Actually, if I’m still alive in a few decades, it will be an accomplishment that you’ll read about. Meanwhile, thanks a bunch for your precious time!