In your country, in your culture, is housing considered a shelter, a protection? Is it seen only as a utility or is its interior layout important? Do we spend a lot of time and money on interior beautification? Does the beauty of the home’s exterior matter? Do we put decorative objects inside, in front of the windows?
In France, Canada and Belgium, for example, there are a lot of programs devoted to home design and decoration. TV5MONDE and TV5MONDEplus
broadcast, for instance, many programs or videos on this subject. All decorating styles are represented: classic, modern, design, exotic, ecological... We spend a lot of money on decoration and interior design. There are shopping centers near Paris entirely dedicated to housing equipment and design.
According to INSEE (the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies in France), in 2018, 58 % of French households owned their own home.
This was also the case for 68% of Canadian households (according to StatCan, the statistical agency of Canada), 72% of Belgian households (according to StatBel, the Belgian statistical office), and 25% of Swiss households (according to the OFS, the Federal Statistical Office).
The financing system is more or less cumbersome depending on the country and type of housing (old or new construction, apartment, house, tiny house). Some countries offer 10, 20 or 30-year loans.
In Belgian cities, we can see objects placed in front of the windows of the houses. Residents like to protect their privacy by hanging curtains in front of the window and closing them or the shutters at night. Whether in the city or in the countryside, in a large house or a very small apartment, one of the most important rooms is the kitchen, where the whole family gets together; it is the heart of the house. In Europe, we tend to open and expand this space (large kitchens, kitchens open to the living room) even in small apartments.
In Western French-speaking countries, more and more eco-friendly or eco-responsible houses are being built with environment-friendly materials to reduce or limit energy losses (heating, water, etc.). In France, in large cities, noise pollution (noise from roads, neighbors, airplanes) is also combated by soundproofing the dwellings (insulation of walls and windows).