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What designers of the past thought our homes would look like today

Any new parents wish they could spray wash their couch?

Ask any forecaster, and they’ll tell you it’s hard to predict design trends a few years in the future, let alone a few decades. But that doesn’t stop designers from trying (we even asked a few to take on the challenge).

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NeoMam Studios, a content marketing studio, created six realistic renderings on behalf of the recommendation site Angie’s List to visualize what designers of the past thought interior design might look like today.

[Image: Angie’s List]
Concepts include a waterproof living room you can spray clean and a domed glass-top stove you could start anywhere with a connected telephone, both designed in the 1950s. There’s also a “horizontal bio-cleanse environ” (that’s future-speak for extremely steamy shower) designed in the 1980s by Tim Flattery and Edward Eyth, two creative minds behind Back to the Future II.

[Image: Collections. (2012). A 19th-Century Vision of the Year 2000/Publicdomainreview.org/Angie’s List]
The oldest prediction of the present is from around 1900. The rendering depicts a “steampunk dressing room” in the style of the 20th century but with gadgets of the 21st: a traditional armchair, and as many gold levers to get ready in the morning as might be needed to run a steam passenger ship.

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[Image: Angie’s List]
Part of the freedom of concept sketches like this is that you can problem-solve without reality’s constraints. Glossy and optimistic, they’re a great opportunity to explore new ways to design better, more efficient spaces (whether or not the real world catches up). Some of the concepts are unrealistic, and others aren’t so far off—either way, it’s fun to see how the present looks in comparison.

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About the author

Lilly Smith is an associate editor of Co.Design. She was previously the editor of Design Observer, and a contributing writer to AIGA Eye on Design.

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