Today, I want to have a little chat about family homes. I’m sure most of you have an image in your head of what the perfect family home is. Obviously, this image can be slightly different depending on your family. But, the general idea should be pretty similar. This is why you have homes advertised on the market as ‘family homes’ because they have everything your family would love and need.
I’m not going to bring you an article that talks about all the things to look for in the perfect family home. I thought about it, don’t get me wrong! But, I feel as though that article’s been done before, and it gets tiresome reading the same thing over and over again. Instead, I thought it would be interesting to look at how much the family home has changed in the last two decades. When you look at a typical family home in 1998 compared to one in 2018, the differences are astounding. Naturally, much of this is to do with technological advancements. However, the change can also show you how the whole family ethos has changed too. I’m struggling to find out how to put into words what I’m talking about here, so bear with me! 20 years ago, family life was very different to what it is now, put it that way!
The best way to look at the comparison is to check out the primary ways that family homes have changed. So, without further ado, here they are:
The Internet Obsession
What’s one of the first things you think about if you’re looking for a new family home these days? You said the internet coverage in the surrounding area, didn’t you? Great, you hit the nail on the head! Yes, you can’t deny that we have an obsession with the internet. Every family home has multiple devices that connect to the home broadband every single day. As you can see on i3broadband.com, we now have broadband speeds of up to 1gb per second just to accommodate the constant usage! It’s something that forms a critical part of the family home because we use it to do work, watch videos, play games, and surf the web. Kids need the internet to stay entertained and to do their homework. It’s not just a part of family life, it’s an essential aspect of it.
Compare this to 20 years ago, and it was rare that every single home in a grouping of 100 homes would have the internet. We just didn’t depend on it then, so it wasn’t something people cared about when searching for a family home. If you didn’t have a good internet connection, it didn’t really matter. Kids found other ways of being entertained – like playing with actual toys or watching satellite TV. I think the most significant point I can make is to say; imagine if you took the internet away from your home now. All hell would break loose, even if you restricted the internet usage! This shows you how different family life is now, compared to back them.
Small gardens are more and more prominent.
This is probably the most interesting thing from my point of view. Back in the day, everyone wanted a nice big garden for their family. You wanted somewhere that provided a big outdoor space to have fun in, for your kids to run around and enjoy themselves. This is reflected in old houses themselves. If your home was built many years ago, then the chances are it will have a pretty decent sized garden. Even if the house itself is small, the garden will be pretty big.
Now, take a look at some of the more modern family homes out there right now. New builds are being created without much emphasis on the garden size. If anything, gardens are shrinking. Most of the new homes on the market come with much smaller gardens that family homes of the past. Why? For me, this is because family life has changed so much. People don’t have time to look after a big garden anymore. In most families, both parents work full-time, so the only option is to hire a gardener. What’s more, children don’t seem to play in their garden as much as they used to. Again, the internet is to blame for this, but it doesn’t mean kids never go outside. Instead, a lot of family homes are popping up in very urban areas in and around busy cities. So, families are taking their children to local parks that are just a short walk away, rather than letting them loose in their garden. Plus, as you can see on gardendesign.com, small gardens have a lot of potentials. Families can get a lot of practical use out of a small garden, without needing to spend too much time maintaining it. For busy modern families, this is ideal!
Dying Dining Rooms
The third way family homes have changed is the almost complete and utter demolition of family dining rooms. If you live in quite an old family home, then there’s every chance you’ll have a nice dining room ready for everyone to sit down and eat together as a family. 20 years ago, family meals were a really big thing. I remember me and my family used to always get together and have our evening meal in our dining room – it was a massive part of family life. This coming together as a family unit was significant, particularly when compared to now.
These days, the general trend is that dining rooms are dead. In their place are breakfast bars, kitchen tables, and open dining areas. Instead of having a specific room to eat dinner in, people either have a table in the kitchen where they eat, or they have an open-plan living room. This means that their living room is almost fused with a classic dining room. There’s a dining table in the same open area as the living room – it’s seen as a way to make your house look bigger. Indeed, many families even knock down the wall between their dining and living rooms to create this open-plan look! For me, this reflects the growing trend that families are spending less quality time together. Again it stems from the fact that 21st Century life is so busy and hectic for a lot of families. Everyone has a different schedule, so it’s not possible to sit and eat together every single night. Not only that, but houses are more expensive, so it’s cheaper to buy a house without a dining room as one less room normally means the house isn’t as expensive.
Smaller Family Homes
Finally, family homes seem to have gotten significantly smaller than they used to. This is reflected in the smaller gardens and the lack of dining rooms. If you were looking for a home twenty years ago, you’d pretty much exclusively view houses with multiple bedrooms and multiple floors. Now, it’s not like that as much as it once was.
More and more families are living in bungalows or even apartments. In fact, there’s been a pretty big rise in families moving into multi-bedroom apartments in the middle of cities. This is mainly due to the parents work commitments, making it a smart decision to cut commuting time. However, it could also be to do with the rising house prices, which makes families look for smaller homes to live in. There’s a great little graph on economist.com that shows this perfectly. In the last twenty years, the average house price has steadily increased throughout the country, which makes things harder for families looking for a nice house.
Of course, this whole article has been a bit of a generalization. I’m aware that many people may live in a home that’s similar to family homes of the past. Likewise, a lot of families may still eat in dining rooms and follow a similar lifestyle to the families of yesteryear. But, in general, these four changes can be seen up and down the country. I just find it interesting to see how different life is for families right now, compared to in 1998. I do feel like we’re drifting away from one another in the home and letting life get in the way of things. If there’s one thing to take away from this post, let it be that you should spend more time together as a family. Don’t forget to keep your family bond strong as it will definitely help everyone. If you’re too busy during the week with work and school, then really focus on making the weekends all about family fun!
The other thing I find interesting is the thought of what family life and family homes will be like in twenty years from now. Will they continue to get smaller and smaller until they’re no more and families each has an individual box for everyone to live in? Probably not, but who knows! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this piece and that it’s made you think twice about family life and the family home.