The last few months has seen an unprecedented shift in the way we live our lives. Lockdown has imposed restrictions on our movements and in fact has meant we have spent more time behind our own doors.

Even now, as Coronavirus cases in the UK surge, we’re all being warned that the ‘way we live will change‘. This stretches over all areas, food and drink, health and fitness, entertainment and leisure. The one constant through all of this, are the four walls we live behind. The place we feel most secure.

A new report from the home security company RING has shown that over half of us (52%) in South Wales are viewing our homes in a more positive light than before lockdown. Instead of feeling trapped at home, it seems they are now becoming a place we are adapting to fit our new, enforced lifestyle.

The report, ‘Home: A New Meaning’, examines changing consumer attitudes towards homes and provides insight into how this sudden change in lifestyle has impacted the meaning behind the word ‘home’.

The report finds that:

  • Over half (53%) view their home as a place that is home to all their belongings and significant items and memories that they hold within them.
  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) agree that the home is an extension of themselves 
  • Almost half (47%) have adapted their homes to serve new purposes 
  • Wider home improvements have been popular with six in ten (60%) having a clear out and nearly a quarter (23%) buying house plants and adding greenery 

Ring partnered with interior designer Samantha Watkins McRae and Sociology Professor Dale Southerton at the University of Bristol, for this report, which threw up a few surprising findings.

Exploring key home trends of 2020 and the recent impact of lockdown, the report also seeks to understand what the future of the ‘home’ might mean for consumers across the U.K.

  • From increased care in the appearance of our home to considering its security, people here are now more protective of their home space than before
  • 52% of people view their homes more positively since initial lockdown began
  • Personal ties to the home are strong, as 64% of consumers in Cardiff agree that the home acts as an extension of themselves and represents them as a person
  • The research is revealed today as Ring launches its “Home: A New Meaning” report, taking a closer look at the impact of lockdown and what this means for our future homes 

We may be spending more time in our own property, but never has there been a greater sense of security. Perhaps as the meaning of home has taken on a new significance in recent months, there has been a positive shift in our sentiment towards the ‘home’.

The research seems to support that theory.

For many, home plays an emotional role in their lives, as 53% of Cardiff consumers think about the home in terms of it being more than just a building. It’s actually ‘home’ for all their belongings, significant items and memories that they hold within them. 51% define home to be the space they share with family or loved ones.

Considering this, it’s perhaps not surprising that 64%* of consumers here agree that the home acts as an extension of themselves, increasing the importance in the appearance of their home.

One day, the virus will subside, it may even be completely wiped out. But it seems, even then, life will never return to the way it was pre-covid. The way we live, work, rest and play will be forever changed it seems.

We spoke to Charlie in Port Talbot during the height of lockdown. She has a young son and lives in a small flat with him. Being a single parent is difficult enough but usually, once a week she had time to catch breath and do the things around the place which are always difficult with a young boy under her feet.

“He hasn’t seen his Dad properly for weeks now. They speak on the phone and do the ‘Alexa’ thing, but it’s not the same. I can tell that Jordan is missing has Daddies cuddles. He gets plenty from me but not like his Dad gives him.”

One thing she did tell us is that her home was the most important place for her and Jordan to be. His life was in the flat, he felt safe and secure, but most of all its his sanctuary. Even at such a young age he understands the true meaning of ‘home.’

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The function of the home has also changed, as 47% of consumers in Cardiff have adapted their homes to serve new purposes, with 12% having converted their living rooms or garage/garden spaces into work areas or other different uses. Other ways in which consumers here are changing the function of their homes includes using different rooms as home gyms (15%), and using their living room as a hub for small businesses or their garage as a production hub for business/creative projects (12%).  

This correlates with the general emergence in 2020 of more multi-use spaces, such as spare bedrooms that convert into home offices, or the purchasing of modular furniture like stow-away beds and tables.

Wider home improvements have also been popular, with decluttering the most popular lockdown activity – 60% say they have had an extensive clear out over the last six months. As well as buying house plants and adding more greenery (23%), investing in smart home technology (9%) was also a key change during lockdown.

Lockdown has inspired a city of consumers wanting to protect their home (48%), with 30% saying they have given more thought to home appearance and 18% considering its security. Smart home technology has been key, as 19% of people in South Wales have been using video doorbells for contactless delivery on their doorstep or security cameras for communicating with elderly relatives during lockdown.

Dave Ward is the Managing Direct of Ring for Europe, he told us……

“At Ring, we know the meaning of home is so much more than just four walls and this has never been more apparent than over the past couple of months. After what has been a difficult time for so many, our research shows that people appreciate the spaces they call home now more than ever. Time spent investing in home improvements and adapting their home space has made them more aware of the value their homes hold. How to keep homes secure therefore remains an important consideration for consumers and one we predict will be part of the longer-term changes as we move forward.”  

People in Cardiff are also now reassessing how they can adapt their home space for the future (16%). This is likely to be most prevalent among house hunters as lockdown has shifted priorities for what consumers want from their home space. Factors such as an outdoor space (34%), quiet neighbours to help with concentration during the day (22%) and a spare bedroom for storage and other activities (16%) are now all crucial considerations.

Dave added……

“We all face a unique set of challenges as we’ve all been plunged into a new way of working – from video calls to solo tea breaks. We therefore need to come up with solutions as this working from home trend continues.

It’s important to find a way to fully switch off at the end of a working day – and that’s especially true when you’re working from home.”

Toni Radzihovska, is Head of Alexa Smart Home EU at Amazon, she told us……..

“From discovering new music to setting those evening lights ready to relax, smart home technology can help separate your work time from your play time.”

Ring’s latest report takes a closer look at the impact of lockdown and what this means for our future homes. For more information about Ring and to download the full report, visit the RING blog

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