How Home Design Trends Have Responded to COVID-19
There is no denying the impact the coronavirus crisis has had on the world. In addition to the tragic loss of life, the restrictions put in place to slow infection rates have affected almost every facet of our lives.
One of the most obvious changes brought about by the pandemic is the extra time many of us are spending at home. For a lot of people, this has had a big impact on how they feel about where they live. It has also caused many to reconsider their living arrangements and what they want in a home.
These evolving priorities are reflected in the latest home design trends, many of which are a direct response to COVID.
A dedicated office space
Working from home has become the ‘new normal’. Even as corporate offices begin to reopen, many are choosing to continue working remotely. This has made a study or home office space an extremely desirable feature.
While the flexibility to set up wherever you like is part of the appeal of working from home, having a specific workspace provides a range of benefits. Having a proper desk and decent office chair promotes better posture and can help minimise the risk back issues. A dedicated home office space should be quieter and allow greater concentration and focus.
An office space that is away from the main living area also helps keep work and home separate. It allows all work materials to be kept in one place, out of sight of the rest of the house. It also makes it possible to ‘clock off’ and walk away at the end of the day.
Generally having more space
Lockdown was particularly hard on those in small and high-density spaces. With most people unable to leave the house for more than a couple of hours a day, the walls began to close in. This has made extra space – particularly outdoor space – even more desirable.
While restrictions may be easing, some are concerned about the potential for a return to lockdown. This is driving a move away from apartment and townhouse living and increasing interest in quality single-family homes. If people are to be locked down again, they want to be comfortable and have enough space for the whole family.
There has also been an increased interest in multiple living spaces. This is particularly important for families who want to be able to come together, and also spend time apart, within the confines of their own home.
Changing location priorities
The 5 km rule that was in place in Victoria forced most people to live a lot more locally. Easy access to services became more important than ever, and people wanted the security of knowing everything they could need was nearby. While this rule no longer applied, it looks likely this trend will continue.
At the same time, the closure of most work sites meant that proximity to the city centre was less important. With more people working from home, commute times have become less of a consideration.
As a result, how people view the location of their home has changed substantially. While they still want to be near good schools and plenty of local services, they are more willing to consider moving further out from the CBD to get more space. Some people have chosen to leave the city altogether, relocating to regional areas.
Kitchen design and storage
Not being able to go out for a meal forced many people to spend much more time in their own kitchen. This was more than a necessity for some who discovered, or rediscovered, their love of cooking. It is expected most of these people will continue wanting to create their own culinary masterpieces.
Spending more time in the kitchen has made people more conscious of the design of the space. They now understand the importance of functionality and want to work in a kitchen that’s both beautiful and practical. For many, this has meant a kitchen upgrade is high on their to-do list.
There has also been an increased interest in open-plan designs. The kitchen has become even more of a space for congregating and catching up. This has made features like relaxed seating areas and large island benches even more popular.
Extra storage – like a large pantry or fully-equipped butler’s pantry – has also become more important. For some, this is about the security of knowing they have plenty in their cupboards and could go a week without visiting the supermarket. For others, it is because budgets are tighter, and they have to be strategic about how they shop.
Bringing other ‘luxuries’ into the home
Generally speaking, the pandemic has made most people more reluctant to go out and be in public spaces. This is partially due to an increased understanding (or maybe fear) of the risks of crowded spaces. It is also a response to not having access to most services for an extended period.
As such, an increasing number of people are choosing to bring the luxuries that they used to go out for into their homes. Specifically, there has been an increased interest in:
Home gyms: Fitness centres got a lot of bad press throughout the pandemic – they were considered a breeding ground for the virus and named as the location of a number of hotspots. They were also among some of the last facilities to reopen. This led to many regular gym goers setting up a home workout space. In fact, working out at home became so popular that most fitness equipment suppliers were out of stock for several months.
Home theatres: While home theatres have been growing in popularity for a few years, the pandemic sped this trend up. With all public arts and theatre spaces closed for several months, people needed to find new ways to keep the family entertained. And, thanks to the increasing availability and affordability of high-quality AV equipment, creating a premium home viewing experience has never been easier. Many entertainment outlets have also tapped into this trend, creating content specifically for home streaming services.
Home spas: Bathrooms have been seen as luxury spaces for a while now, particularly in premium homes. The pandemic has also pushed this trend along with a greater desire for opulence (rainfall showers, soaking tubs, etc.). There has even been an increase in interest in features like saunas, jetted tubs, and steam rooms.
Not everyone has the space for a permanent home gym or home theatre setup. As such, dedicating an entire room to something they would only use a few hours a week is not practical.
As a result, there is an increasing push for areas that can be used for a variety of purposes throughout the day. These spaces are designed with flexibility in mind and allow homeowners the freedom to determine how they function. Some creativity is required when planning these spaces, and equipment and furnishings will need to allow for easy setup and pack down.
The most common of a multi-purpose area is the home office that doubles as an extra bedroom. This is a great example of efficient use of space as these requirements rarely overlap. It is also easy for both uses to co-exist, and there are plenty of furniture options designed for this purpose.
A design that makes us feel good
Overall, the biggest change brought about by the pandemic is the trend towards greater house-pride. People are generally more aware of the critical influence their living space has on their mental and physical health. As such, they are considering their design more carefully and choosing aesthetics that are calming and make them feel good.
As part of this, earthy tones and natural materials have become even more popular. Natural light is also more sought after, as it helps break down the barrier between internal and external spaces. There has also been an increased interest in materials with antibacterial qualities.
Importantly, homeowners are also thinking about how they can bring more fun into their home design. As their primary environment, they want it to reflect their personality and bring them joy. Finding small ways to excite and delight has become an important part of the design process.
The Carmel Homes Difference
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To discuss your new home, duplex, or townhouse build, we invite you to contact us today.