Hiving is about opening up space with light, making it large, flexible and multi-use, so that people can do their own thing while still in connection with each other. In this layout from Ikea, a child can be doing homework while dad cooks and mom chats or watches television.


village of brooklin west

Another big multi-purpose space is shown in this file photo from a model home at Village of Brooklin West.

“Take advantage of the current trend away from single-purpose rooms toward larger, more multipurpose rooms.”

Remember when we “cocooned” in our houses? That meant that the PJs and slippers came out the moment the door closed, and we temporarily “escaped” from the big world outside, and hung out in our soft, cushy, homes instead.

Cultural experts say “cocooning” was a larger societal trend that began years ago and is already fading away, but the design team sees evidence of it every winter — it looks like human hibernation to us. And with spring around the corner, we’re all starting to think about digging out of our burrows and stepping into the sunlight.

To welcome the coming season, we could try embracing the more current trends — called “hiving” by those same experts. It means we open our homes to family and the larger community rather than by concentrating on living in a warm cocoon in our homes. Its name suggests that, like a beehive, our homes will once again be “buzzing” with social activities and work; because we’ve become much more interested in engaging and interacting with other people in our homes.

For example, instead of going out for entertainment, we may consider bringing musicians into our home.

If our work allows flexibility, we might consider holding breakfast meetings with our colleagues at our house. Or we may invite the neighbours for a working session on how to help improve the neighbourhood.

While we might not want to make huge changes in the way we live, we may want to change the mood in our households from slumbering to at least waking and coherent and friendly to other human beings. That can be helped along by making some changes in the way we decorate and especially in the way we divide space.

For example, while cocooning was all about using soothing, quiet colours, plush finishes, deep sofas and loads of pillows upon which to lounge, relax and escape; hiving is more about energy and flexibility. Hive decor includes livelier colours, cleaner lines and less fussy fabrics. Flowers also bring in the spring. Clutter is definitely “out,” and large, flexible, well-organized, multi-purpose spaces are “in.”

We are seeing fewer items in larger, multi-purpose spaces, from furniture to appliances to decorations, but those that we have are better quality, more attractive, and integrate seamlessly into a space.

For example, fridges with glass doors can be so good-looking, you won’t worry about putting them in a space also used for entertaining.

If you are lucky enough to be designing a new home or redesigning an old one, you might be able to take advantage of the current trend away from single-purpose rooms, toward larger, more multi-purpose rooms.

For example, think about laundry facilities in a playroom, or a kitchen with laundry and home office incorporated. Or a family room with a computer station, library, and an entertainment centre. We’re excited about the possibilities because traditional “room” definitions can change!

In addition, in these wide, open spaces, furniture can be easily moved and reconfigured to adjust to social or work needs as they arise.

Wall borders are out, and in their place, we see either no walls, or glass partitions that let the light shine through and impart a sense of connection to family members and visitors in your house.

With all these big exciting ideas on changes in the way we live in our homes, it is fun to contemplate how you might try to integrate them into your living space.

At the very least, concentrate on the many ways to slowly start waking up your slumbering “cocooning” household and preparing it for the increasing buzz of busyness as spring approaches.