If you were a child in the 70’s or 80’s, chances are, you encountered a couch condom.
Okay, so maybe you’re unfamiliar with the term. You may know them as slipcovers, or the shrink-wrapped plastic that our parents layered on the furniture to preserve and protect what was underneath. You know, like a condom.
And what were they protecting the furniture from? LIFE, of course! Sticky fingers, wayward juice boxes, muddy pants, shedding pets, sharp toys, cookie crumbs and baby bums… all the things that come with being blessed with a family. Plastic slipcovers were the equivalent of a velvet rope; lifted with caution – and only for VIPs.
I often wonder why furniture required such proficient preservation. I mean, did our parents think that they’d be handing down that sofa through the generations? Or maybe in the off-chance the Queen visited for tea, the pristine velvet couch would signify grooming and grace.
Regardless, the message was loud and clear: this is our home, but we don’t actually live in it.
Did you grow up in a shrink-wrapped home? Did you have a formal living and dining room that were only used on “special” occasions, and then, just as quickly preserved the second the guests left? Looking back, I often marvel at the amount of space in homes that was for show only; the living room at the front of the house, the overly formal dining room, the guest room that was perfectly made up – and perfectly unused. However, times are changing.
A recent Ipsos-Reid survey conducted on behalf of Urban Barn revealed the majority of Canadian homeowners (71%) are “living” differently in their homes compared to the one they grew up in.
“Homes are evolving to accommodate the ever-changing ways in which Canadians are living in their homes”, says Candice Laughlin, architecture & home design expert, Urban Barn.
Nine in ten current Canadian homeowners surveyed stated their childhood living space and current living space differ in some way:
– 89% consider a blend of comfort and style as the perfect décor for the living area;
– 76% prefer their family’s living space have a more ‘causal’ feel as compared to their childhood home;
– 85% value multi-purpose and multi-functional furniture in their family living space.
Translation: Gone are the days of plastic covered furniture and separate rooms for the formal living and dining areas. With the introduction of open-concept living spaces, technological advances and lifestyle trends like nesting, we are witnessing the demise of the preserved and protected home.
“Creating a living space your family can actually “live in” requires versatile furnishings that provide homeowners with the flexibility to use the area for a number of different activities,” says Candice.
So what can you do to make the most of your living space? Candice has provided the following tips and tricks:
1. Rethink your room: Set up your furniture in a way that caters to your family’s personality and needs – you don’t have to stick to the traditional floor plans, styles or colour schemes. Do what works best for your family and you will get the most from your space.
2. Choose multi-functional furniture pieces that accommodate your family’s lifestyle and the variety of activities that occur within your living space. Canadian homeowners value multi-functional and multi-purpose furniture that will provide them with the flexibility to re-purpose their space as necessary.
3. Choose furniture that can dress up or dress down: Nine in ten Canadians homeowners (89%) consider the perfect décor for the family’s living space a blend of comfort and style. This leaves your family comfortable for the casual nights hanging around the TV, but with the versatility to get glammed up when entertaining a crowd.
4. Use furnishings to define the spaces in your open concept area: Furniture can be used as an alternative to traditional walls and allows the homeowner the flexibility to make the most out of their multi-functional living space.
5. Buy what you love: When deciding what to purchase for your Living space start first with what appeals to you the most and use that piece as the catalyst to define your personal style. This item can be as small as a trinket or piece of art, or as large as a sofa or armchair. If you love it, it will inspire you to compose the room of your dreams.
This Spring, I’m proud to partner with Urban Barn to feature my #livein home that highlights some of their best multi-functional furniture pieces. Or, as I like to call it – rage against the plastic preservation! Stay tuned as I transform my dining room into a room that we can live in and enjoy. And, I may just have a sweet surprise for one lucky reader!
So tell me, do you #livein your home?