Integrated framework for home comfort : relaxation, companionship and control

Ellsworth-Krebs, Katherine and Reid, Louise and Hunter, Colin J. (2019) Integrated framework for home comfort : relaxation, companionship and control. Building Research and Information, 47 (2). pp. 202-218. ISSN 1466-4321 (

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Home comfort is posited here as the state of relaxation and wellbeing that results from companionship and control to manage the home as desired. To date, studies of comfort have been dominated by building and natural scientists, laboratory settings and technical approaches, which understand comfort in physical, and primarily thermal, terms. Yet, the extensive research on the meaning and making of home by sociologists, human geographers, historians, anthropologists and philosophers highlights that there is much more to inhabitants’ expectations of the home than ensuring physiological ‘needs’ such as warmth. The home is imbued with emotional, social and cultural meaning, and is significant to individuals’ wellbeing in terms of it being (idealized as) a place of rest, family, continuity, control and security. For the first time, this paper brings together home and housing scholarship to conceptualize the findings of a qualitative study on the meanings of home comfort. In doing so, it offers a broad empirically and conceptually informed framework of home comfort and challenges the existing constrained notions and practices for the provision of comfort.