How times have changed! Families always resided in homes, but comparing our lifestyles today with that of our grandparents shows how much things have changed. Today’s homes are places of ease and comfort that would have been unimaginable in the 1950s.
Home Living, Then and Now
Comfortable living, then and now. In the 1940s and 1950s, the way householders utilized their homes was quite different from the homeowners of today. Comfort and style were not as important and the living spaces were more compartmentalized and less open. The biggest change since then is that the kitchen was not traditionally at the heart of the house. Modern kitchen appliances and new conveniences throughout the residence have made homes today more inviting and family friendly.
In the old days, outside living areas in middle class homes lacked the style and personality of today’s backyard retreats. Homemade brick outdoor barbeque pits were commonly added to the patio, but wood fires and charcoal made them messy and difficult to use. Today’s gas grills are clean and include smokers, rotisseries and more.
In the 1950s, dining spaces were very formal and were often the primary area where family gatherings were held. All the meals were prepared away from guests behind a door and the kitchen area was usually a private space dominated by the woman of the house.
Bathrooms were small and reserved for bathing and toilet use. In most homes the entire family jostled for access to a single bathroom. No one imagined the spa showers and steam features found in today’s upgraded bathrooms. A bubble bath was a treat reserved for the children of the household because no one else could monopolize the bathroom for long.
Home entertainment and game nights involved gathering the family in the den around a radio or a black and white television. The formal living area was reserved for guests and polite conversation and the background music was provided by a large stereo or record player.
Garages housed the family car. It was a space that was just wide enough for a narrow path all the way around the parked vehicle as the doors were heavy and difficult to open. Multi-use garages were not introduced until much later.
Homeowners who haven’t lived through the succeeding decades would be shocked to see the changes that have occurred in homes since the 1950s. Today, a homeowner’s lifestyle is all about comfort in airy, open spaces that promote traffic flow and enjoyment.
These days, kitchens are the center in the home and small, closed-off rooms are a thing of the past. Formal dining rooms are less necessary (although there are often two common areas in the home) and are usually reserved for holidays and special occasions. With seating built right into kitchen islands and open plans where functional areas transition seamlessly from one to another, many people can be accommodated comfortably at mealtimes and food can go from the stove right to the table.
Today’s bathrooms resemble the spas of yesteryear. Fixtures are luxurious with steam showers, multiple massaging showerheads and LED atmospheric lighting. Jacuzzi tubs with multiple jets mean that the act of bathing is not just sitting in still water anymore. This necessary room has been transformed into a space that welcomes extended use rather than just a pit stop.
There are also many more options for family entertainment than the old radio, stereo and television. Home theatres include huge screens, which only intrude on the space when you press a button or open up concealing doors. High-tech, state-of-the-art panels and theatre accessories are the new normal in upscale homes, with less-expensive alternatives available in most middle class homes. Movie nights are more enjoyable, but also interactive games, residence-wide surround sound entertainment, and large-screen computing are all right there at our fingertips.
The home exterior has undergone the greatest changes since the 1950s. Today’s homeowner loves to have “fun in the sun.” We pack our backyards with wonderful and comfortable features including outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, water features, decks, swimming pools, Jacuzzi spas and beautiful landscaping. Second only to the kitchen, the backyard has become the most important area of the home for entertaining. New convenience features like misters, mosquito zappers and outdoor heaters extend the use of our yards even when nature provides challenges.
How times have changed in the way homeowners lived in past eras! Comfortable living today is much different. Everything continues to get better with new technologies and changes in our expectations. Now our homes are the place we truly live, rather than just a place to eat and sleep.