Report: Smaller-space living spiked in 2023; what does this mean for 2024?

BOSTON – Taskrabbit, an online marketplace that matches freelance labor with local demand, analyzed more than 2.5 million of its bookings for 2023, which uncovered a resurgence in apartment living and small-space design.

The site saw a 13% increase for the year in the number of people to downsize or move into a smaller space. It also recorded a 10% increase in the number of people to move into a studio apartment and a 71% increase in people looking to clear out their old spaces. Apartment moves were 87% more common through the site than were house moves.

The shift to apartments, according to the company, is likely due to cost-of-living increases, moving patterns to new cities and the need for more practical living arrangements. Renting long-term is also on the rise, it said, with a substantial 40% increase in requests for peel-and-stick wallpaper and a 10% increase in bookings for new curtains and light fixtures.

Here are a few other notable housing and design trends:

1. Entertaining at home is trumping going out

“With the tightening of purse strings, entertaining at home is the preferred way to host,” the company wrote. “Gatherings such as themed dinner parties and cocktail and charcuterie board nights are often replacing restaurant reservations, and people are decorating accordingly.”

Taskrabbit observed more people hosting their friends this year, with a 16% spike in hosting-related bookings. The report saw a 20% uptick in cocktail party setup and a 200% increase in help with bar cart assembly.

2. #GRWM (Get Ready With Me) is trending

TikTok has popularized the “Get Ready With Me” trend on social media, making mirrors and vanities more popular. Likewise, Taskrabbit saw a 79% increase in vanity assembly requests. Vanity organization spiked by 114%, closet organization by 24% and bathroom cleaning by 19%.

3. Color pop

Just because apartments are trending, it doesn’t mean people are settling for white walls. Wall painting is up 22%, while Art Deco requests increased by 92% this year in the U.S.

Trending colors included yellow (up 15%) and purple (up 19%), with beige as the main neutral.

2024 predictions

Taskrabbit offers some trend predictions for the coming year, chiefly an increase in flexible and multi-purpose spaces.

“With smaller rooms and more shared spaces, we see a trend towards creative solutions for maximizing every inch of every room,” it wrote. “Requests for flex walls — which are temporary walls that can be installed in many different areas of the home easily — are on the rise (up 20% in the United States this year), and requests related to ‘saving space’ also spiked.

“With creative furniture layouts and additions like flex walls, even small spaces like studio apartments can gain the feeling of privacy. We anticipate that highly functional furniture layouts that maximize small spaces will trend into 2024.

Another trend is “color drenching,” which is the practice of covering nearly every surface in a room with the same color. Instead of painting only the walls, color drenching involves painting baseboards, crown molding, appliances and even ceilings in the same tone.

A third prediction: Taskrabbit expects character to triumph over cookie-cutter designs for the coming year. “The minimalist design trend of years past is out, and trends that show off unique personality are in,” it said. “In the United States, tasks related to ‘clusters’ were up 112%.”

Clusters, Taskrabbit says, is a TikTok term describing “intentional clutter” or a chance to show off one’s most-loved items in visually-pleasing groupings.

Finally, it expects small upgrades to lead in 2024 over big indulgences.

“Rental-friendly technology upgrades like voice-controlled lighting, automatic climate adjustments, and smart security systems will continue to make life easier. Indoor gardens that allow people to grow their own food are also likely to take more prevalence as an interior design trend, helping people live more sustainably and add green space to their homes.

“Tweaks like new faucets and lighting fixtures, peel-and-stick wallpaper, curtains, and fun design elements continue to grow in popularity. We expect all things ‘dopamine décor’ — think disco balls (up 28% this year), checkerboard print and accessories made of luxurious materials — to surge into 2024.”

Check out the full report here.

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