Big windows or do you prefer privacy? Bookshelf or flat screen TV on the wall? How we furnish our apartments is very individual. However, there are certainly people who have a similar taste when it comes to furnishing and furnishing a house or apartment. There are ten such types of living – they value the same things and have similar ideas about how they want to live.
Axel Schmitz holds a degree in business administration and has worked in residential project development for many years. Something had struck him. “I have found that those responsible often infer others from themselves. An architect often makes a design that is tailored to his own ideas – and does not necessarily reflect what the people who are going to live there want, ”says Schmitz.
Therefore, for his doctoral thesis at the Bauhaus University Weimar, he investigated the different living preferences. He is also the author of a book on the subject of “Targeted Housing Project Development”. His findings can give architects and interior designers an orientation aid to plan apartments precisely for their future residents.
He analyzed the various target groups and highlighted aspects that are important to them: How many cars does the target group drive per person on average? Do you prefer an open or closed kitchen? Do you cook yourself at all and if so, how often and with guests or without? Do you also work from home? Do you need your own desk for this? How many days a year is the target group in the apartment?
Schmitz asked over 2,000 people about their living preferences. He also recorded their age, their level of education and their current living situation: Do they live alone, in a shared apartment, with partners or as a family? He used the model of the Sinus-Milieus from the German Sinus Institute, a typology of society that groups people into “groups of like-minded people” according to their views on life and values.
The ten different types of living
There are a total of ten different Sinus-Milieus, each with similar values, principles and ideas – this can, as the study turned out, also be seen in the design of their home. Over 76 housing preferences of each type were recorded for the first time in the study. Schmitz identified these ten types:
The traditional: Older people tend to fall into this group on average. Characterized by the post-war era, they are very down-to-earth and economical. You want to hold on to traditions and preserve the old. You may have a television, but otherwise technical equipment is not particularly important to you. Most of the time, the interior of the living room is geared towards the television so that it is the focus.
The conservative established: This is the educated, self-confident elite with a high demand for exclusivity. You earn very well and have an above-average level of education. The conservative established place great value on art at home. You have plenty of space for instruments and often several meters of bookshelf. The entrance hall is also important: it often looks like a reception hall, for example with art on the wall.
The Liberal Intellectuals: This group is similar to the conservative-established, but younger and more enterprising. You like to take advantage of opportunities spontaneously and also have a high income. Freelancers and the self-employed are represented above average in this group. The living room is not oriented towards the TV, and people very rarely eat in front of the TV. However, it is an integral and important component to eat with the family or with the community. However, they do not make a lot of effort in cooking, but use simple recipes or order something.
The performers: This is the efficiency-oriented performance elite. Networking helps them climb the corporate ladder. The apartment is equipped with modern communication technologies, which are also there for entertainment purposes. They like to try new things and often have the latest technology. Performers are flexible when it comes to where they work in the apartment, so they don’t need a separate study. In the living room, space for a large group of seats is important. They also like large windows that let in lots of light – and they prefer eat-in kitchens.
The middle class: People from this group are in need of harmony and do not like political or private discussions. The middle class has a high need for security and is afraid of being left behind. She is motivated, hardworking and proud of what she has achieved. Overall, the living preferences are rather inconspicuous. But: You value order and privacy. So there should be a separate kitchen and cupboards in the bathroom in which you can hide cosmetics. The bedroom is only there for them to sleep and not a place in which they spend much of their time.
The socio-ecological: These are the opponents of the middle class. You criticize society a lot, have high ethical values and are committed to political corectness and diversity. They have an above-average level of education and are mostly socially or politically involved. This group also prefers an eat-in kitchen in which the dining table plays an important role. Technical equipment is not particularly important to them and they rarely align the equipment of the living room with the television.
The precarious: You are at the bottom of the social spectrum. They are afraid of the future and have a rather weak self-image, and are characterized by concerns about social exclusion and disadvantage. These people often try to emulate other milieus in consumer behavior, but due to their low level of education they are often looking for work or earn little. This group can imagine doing without a dining table as they often eat in front of the TV. In the living room, the television is the focus; there are seldom instruments or art. They find floor-to-ceiling windows uncomfortable and impractical.
The adaptive-pragmatic: A rapidly growing middle class, future-oriented and young with a modern point of view. They are very benefit-oriented and adapt to changing requirements. Family is important to them, they are attached to their home country and have stable, close friends. Adaptive-pragmatics place great value on a balcony or terrace and prefer floor-to-ceiling windows. They also like built-in furniture and value burglary protection, for example through an alarm system.
The hedonists: This is currently the largest sinus milieu in Germany. It is the lower middle class, mostly young people, schoolchildren, students and trainees. They have a rather low income and mostly spend their money on their free time, for example to party. You enjoy the present and don’t think much about the future. Often they do not have a family yet and therefore do not value a children’s room. They have small but well-equipped apartments. The kitchen is not important to them and can be limited to the bare minimum. They also don’t need as much storage space for groceries, as they tend to make small purchases more often instead of a large weekly shopping. Hedonists are technically well equipped and often have instruments too. The bedroom is not just for sleeping, but a multifunctional place to stay where you can spend time – for example to read.
The expeditions: This rather young milieu consists of people from the upper and middle class who like to live in upscale areas. They want to cross borders and question traditional systems. You enjoy discussing, are creative, individual and travel a lot. These people always want to have new experiences and move more frequently, for example for stays abroad. The kitchen is very important to them, they spend a lot of time there and also like to prepare elaborate meals. Therefore, they also prefer eat-in kitchens. In the living room you need wall space for books, pictures and memories. You attach great importance to light-flooded rooms and therefore want large window fronts with floor-to-ceiling windows.
The living room as the most important room
Schmitz’s work also shows that when it comes to the furnishing elements, most people attach great importance to the living room. “This is where you just spend the most time,” explains Schmitz. And: “The living room is also the place where you usually receive guests and visitors. That means, you set yourself up here as you would like to be perceived by others. “
He compared the ideas of traditional and expeditions when designing living rooms – two very different types of living. “In the traditional type of living, the furnishings in the living room are geared towards the television. There is usually a closed kitchen with a dining table and pantry, ”says Schmitz. “Expeditive living types, on the other hand, like an open design of the kitchen, dining and living area.”
These types prefer large windows for lots of daylight, while traditional ones want to protect their privacy – and therefore prefer to do without floor-to-ceiling windows. Schmitz and his students made two designs for the two types of living space. In addition, they also designed floor plans for the ideal apartment for all ten types of living, which are adapted to the various preferences.
Here you can see the floor plans for the different types of living. Is your favorite apartment included?