Practical, quirky, innovative: these are the lifestyle trends to watch for in 2018

As American culture shifts and evolves, some preferences stay the same while others are born. Work-life balance is still a desire for many people, enough to create a market that caters to its pursuit. Fun in the sun is still in style and a couple of these companies seek to enhance your pool or beach experience. Whatever way of life you wish to create, these lifestyle trends of 2018 will help you along your journey.

Dynamic Rooms for Small Spaces

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Small living spaces have become increasingly embraced as the norm in major cities across the U.S. With cities like Seattle adopting the micro-housing trends of cities like New York, where 100-200 square feet homes are standard, it is no wonder one of our lifestyle trends of 2018 is dynamic rooms.

Ori Systems is a company that designs home furniture for small modular living spaces. The company name is short for origami, and the concept of their products is much like the art of origami itself. Ori furniture units are designed to reshape themselves so they may serve multiple purposes. With the push of a button, the unit can be turned into a walk-in closet or a bed.

“It essentially turns a studio apartment into a bedroom,” explained Keegan Kampschroer, Assistant General Manager at Fairfield Residential, an apartment building that hosted a demo.

The design is meant to resemble something that could be found at Ikea, but blends architecture and robotics so people can make better use of small living spaces. Unit prices start at $10,000. The price is steep considering the high cost of living has driven so many to turn to small living spaces. However, investing in one can go a long way and make living in small spaces a much more enjoyable experience. Especially when considering the fact that if you move, it goes with you.

Quirky Floats

As summer approaches and people start to head to the pool, novelty floats and tubes will be making their triumphant return.

Now, a pool float company by the name of Kool Pool has channeled its marketing straight for the millennial generation by designing floats meant to specifically resonate with them. Some of the shapes include a gold chain, a wiener dog, a corn dog, and an avocado.

The floats are quite practical, too. The avocado shaped float, for example, has a detachable “pit” that can be used as a volleyball while the rest serves for sitting.  

The float design being touted the most right now, however, is the seven foot weiner dog raft

“This ever-smiling dachshund will bring you years of joy and companionship,” according to the Walmart website product description. “Need someone to hold your drink at the pool? He’s got ya. Need someone to keep you afloat? Got ya there too! Best of all he doesn’t need to be walked or fed. People will want to pet him but that’s up to you.”

Kool Pool knows what it’s doing by touting the dachshund-themed float, considering millennials are leading in their rate of pet ownership with three-fourths of Americans in their 30s owning dogs of their own.

Robotic Pet Sitters

More than one of the lifestyle trends of 2018 is related to pets. Not only do a large part of Americans in their 30s own dogs, but 51 percent of them also own cats. Millennials aren’t alone in this either, as 50 percent of the U.S. population owns dogs and 35 percent of them have cats.

The newest gadget being marketed to pet owners is the Pebby, which is a robotic pet sitter that does far more than provide a live feed through which the pet can be monitored. The Pebby also connects owner with pet, allowing them to interact while they are apart. It also provides different forms of entertainment such as projecting a laser for the pet to chase.

The device comes with an app through which owners can control their Pebby and interact with their pet while they’re away. It even allows owners to pre-record messages so they can set the robot to “automatic” during situations where they cannot use the mobile app to interact with their pet.

Pets are also known to give their toys some wear and tear, which is why the Pebby has a waterproof and shatterproof case that is made of industrial-grade polycarbonate.

The Pebby retails for a cool $249 and can be pre-ordered for $189. Shipments will start once the beta testing is complete.

Face Shade on the Go

Sticking with the summer theme is the Shader, a mini portable shade for your face. This Australian product was launched after a successful Kickstarter campaign last year and it has the potential to change the beach and pool lounging experience as we know it.

The Shader is a portable, compact shade device meant to protect the user from sun exposure. While people typically bring a towel or book to shield their face while sunbathing, the Shader eliminates that need altogether as it comes with a built-in umbrella one can pull over their face when resting their head on the Shader’s integrated pillow cushion.

As if the product didn’t seem sensible enough, it also comes with six drink holders, a cooler-pack insert, and pockets for other items. There are also additional accessories available for purchase to further enhance the Shader’s use such as a solar panel for charging electronics.  

The product is now available directly from their website for $55.

Nap Rooms

A large portion of people purchasing the Shader are looking for a more comfortable way to nap while they sunbathe. In 2009, a study done by the Pew Research Center found that 34 percent of adults in the U.S. nap, and since then, there’s been countless studies theorizing that naps at work can boost productivity.

“Everybody agrees that if you are sleep deprived, you can’t learn, perform, or think very well,” said Jerome Siegel, Director of the Center for Sleep Research at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Perhaps this is why nap bars have been popping up around the globe in recent years. New York City, Paris, London, and Tokyo are all areas in which one can drop by a shop to squeeze in a nap. The most recent one to open is the Siesta & Go nap bar in Spain, where naps cost 26 cents a minute, or $16 an hour.

“We are starting to see some spas doing sleep medicine or sleep education programs while others are creating sleep environments with enhanced bedding and wake-up systems that don’t involve loud alarm clocks,” said Susie Ellis, President of Spafinder, to the New York Times.

Evidently, in recent years it has picked up momentum. Even colleges and companies across the U.S. have gotten in on the nap room trend and installed some at their facilities.

Virtual Reality Fitness

The evolution of tech has been such that even the fitness industry is adapting it to offer unique experiences to gym-goers. This virtual reality technology is meant to seamlessly integrate into the $27.6 billion fitness club industry by appealing to the tech-savvy gym member.

Technology has helped enhance gym visits for years, mainly through the use of televisions and speakers to help members pass the time. But the new virtual reality experience takes that to the next level.

“You don’t even realize you’re getting a workout until you’ve been going 20 or 30 minutes straight,” said gym-goer Anthony Hasson. This is possible because the type of fitness the virtual reality technology employs focuses mostly on strength and weight resistance instead of cardio.

Gyms have already been incorporating the use of virtual reality with products like the ICAROS Flying Machine with simulates flying, free falling, diving, and even lets users compete with each other.

The concept of incorporating virtual reality into fitness can prove to be very beneficial as a study found that games like Audioshield burn an average of 6.8 calories per minute during low-intensity play.

Training Masks

For those constantly seeking ways to challenge themselves in new ways during workouts, the concept of cardiorespiratory fitness will seem enticing. It’s defined by the body’s ability to process oxygen, distribute it efficiently throughout the body, and maintain exercise efficiency.

The way one goes about increasing their respiratory performance can be found through the use of a training mask. The Training Mask 3.0 Breathing Trainer, for example, is a mask meant to be worn during exercise and it limits air intake.

The goal is to teach your body to maximize its use of oxygen while also using less. The results are increased stamina, as well as successfully increasing respiratory performance without needing to extend workouts. Essentially, these masks mimic oxygen levels found at high altitudes.

Reviews on these masks are pretty mixed with some people claiming they are ineffective while others swear by them. This trend is definitely on the quirky side, especially considering where it got its start. Originally, this mask was used by UFC fighters looking to build their stamina.

“The main goal was lung training, stamina, and endurance. They’re a tool, not a quick-fix,” said John Serafano, Exercise Applications Specialist at Training Mask.

Standing Desks

Among the list of lifestyle trends for 2018 is another one we’ve covered before: standing desks. Companies across the country have been redesigning their office spaces to encourage movement as sitting for too long has been found to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 125 percent.

“Eight hours is a long time to be seated, so the ability to stand up and stretch your back and work is a healthier way to get through the workday,” said Patti Green, Manager of Supportive Services at ESL, about the newly installed desks that allow employees to either sit or stand.

“We are very conscious in general of having a conducive work environment and sit/stand workstations are just going to help us make it that much better for everyone,” added Maureen Wolfe, Senior VP of Human Resources Community Relations at ESL.

Benefits of standing desks include:

  • decreased risk of weight gain
  • lowered blood sugar levels
  • reduced risk of heart disease
  • boosts productivity
  • reduced back pain
  • improved mood and energy levels

Laundry Folding Washing Machine

Nowadays people are always on the go and one of the tasks that has quickly become stress inducing is handling the laundry. There are now even services offered that will pick up your laundry and return it washed and folded. However, this lifestyle trend of 2018 could eliminate the need for such services altogether.  

Laundry folding washing machines have been slowly popping up in the market. This year at CES (Consumer Electronics Show), Seven Dreamers premiered their latest prototype of the Laundroid, their AI powered laundry-folding machine that retails at a cool $16,000.

Panasonic is another company currently working on a machine designed to fold laundry called the Sustainable Maintainer, but theirs is a combination of a washing machine as well as laundry folder. Much like the Laundroid, the Sustainable Maintainer is designed to be hidden in a wall of the home.

The concept is still new, and has kinks that need to be worked out. For example, the Laundroid takes several hours to fold a single load of laundry as the technology examines each piece meticulously by scanning it. This means folding a single item takes between 5 and 10 minutes.

Edible Coffee Cups

Sustainability and coffee are high priorities for many Americans. In fact, between 2017 and 2018 we are projected to consume 25.84 million 60-kilogram bags in the U.S.

It stands to reason that finding ways to reduce waste would become a prime goal when considering our high consumption of coffee paired and our society’s ever-growing focus on sustainability.

This is where the edible coffee cups make their grand entrance. The Cupffee is an edible wafer cup through which one can drink their coffee. It’s like eating an ice cream that’s melted, warm, and filled with caffeine. The wafer remains crispy and warm for 40 minutes and is described as fantastically delicious.

Created by three friends in Bulgaria, Cupffee is made of a waffle recipe that contains no coatings, coloring, or preservatives and has a shelf-life of six months, meaning it’s marketable to major coffee chains. It is already being used by caterers, restaurants, sandwich shops, and even the U.K.’s Parliament.