With its spatial, demographic, technical and social developments, the societal transformation in Germany is having a great influence on future living wishes. In comparison to the last, now five year-old study of the GdW, "Living Trends 2035" shows a clearly increasing demand for small, accessible and affordable apartments. Approximately twice the number of those surveyed express the wish for modern living space with sophisticated requirements for technical outfitting and service offerings.
Digital usage concepts
Smart city strategies are in demand, among other things with the aim of creating lively, digital neighbourhoods. This means virtual networks, but also direct contact with the people in the neighbourhood. Cooperative "co-housing" and more flexible usage concepts, such as small apartment units with new floor plans that share areas with the neighbours ("collaborative living") are preferred by participants in the survey. Due to the continuing influx to the major cities, the offering of tiny houses, micro-apartments and temporary service apartments will grow.
The new 5G mobile communication standard will soon no longer be limited to smartphones or tablets, but will instead become the foundational infrastructure for the "Internet of Things": "intelligent objects" that communicate and are controlled wirelessly will replace the computer as the control element in the living space.
Move in and get living
Whether renting or buying, the apartments of tomorrow range between "high-tech and hygge". The digital basic equipment is considered self-explanatory. This includes WiFi that works from the moment one moves in, just like the basic technology for digitally networking all rooms with one another. However, technology will not dominate, but will instead function in the background. The design of the living space tends more to follow the aspects of "well-being and community", with comfortable chairs and sofas for a cosy atmosphere.
Furnishing also provides the interface with digital everyday life. Having the latest messages displayed on the bathroom mirror is no longer fiction. Future trends lie in the use of other surfaces on tables or kitchen cupboards to display digital data or as user interfaces for smart living.
New apartment, new furniture
In future, living will be planned right from the start together with the interior furnishings. The sale or leasing of furniture are part of the business model. The offering extends from finished kitchens and bathrooms in various wish combinations through practical installation units to pre-installed loudspeakers or mini-iPads as operation consoles for digitalised life. Such furniture makes the apartment "ready-to-live".
For around 48 percent of households, sophisticated bathroom fittings are already the standard today. An accessible bathroom with no-step shower is a prerequisite for nearly two thirds of those surveyed over 45 years of age, while this is not yet so relevant for younger generations, but is considered comfortable.
For the housing industry this means planning the furnishing with the apartment. Especially in small apartments, intelligent storage space and shelving systems are necessary to use the space optimally. The intensified digitalisation of living also requires the optimisation of WiFi ranges within the apartment and possibilities for ever larger projection surfaces or screens.
Developments forecast by "Living Trends 2035", such as the more frequent replacement of furniture, more versatile living forms or customised solutions for rental apartments point to good prospects for the interiors industry. The study was created by the umbrella association of the housing industry in cooperation with the InWIS and Analyse & Konzepte institutes. Current trends for living in the near future will be presented at the international trade shows imm cologne / LivingKitchen from 14 to 20 January 2019 in Cologne.