That Multifaceted Place Where You Hang Your Hat takes

Be it anything but humble in these days of McMansions, there’s still no place like home. According to Roper Starch polling, 91 percent of adults view their homes as a “private retreat,” up from 85 percent in a 1998 poll. Don’t take that to mean they’ve withdrawn into the proverbial cocoon, though. There’s also been an increase in the number of people who regard home as a “social hub” (55 percent vs. 47 percent). While more folks see it as a “family haven”(79 percent now, 75 percent in 1998), there have been larger increases in the numbers who view it as an “entertainment center” (78 percent vs. 62 percent) or a “learning center” (48 percent vs. 35 percent). And if all that weren’t enough to keep one’s home busy, it’s also a hobby center (53 percent) and a gallery (38 percent). Little wonder, then, that Americans have been willing to spend money to spruce the place up. Among those whose rooms got a paint job in the past five years, many fewer did the work themselves than in a 1974 poll (49 percent vs. 70 percent). The survey found a similar decline in do-it-yourself exterior painting (35 percent vs. 58 percent). One last tidbit: The trend toward home offices appears to have stalled. The number of respondents saying “anyone in their household has an office at home out of which they work at least part-time” slipped to 17 percent in the current survey from 19 percent in 1998.