Without doubt COVID-19 is changing what people require of their living spaces and this will be reflected in future home design and home renovations. The home has had to be a classroom, play-space, office, gym, restaurant and had to accommodate the needs of work and play and supervision yet privacy. People have been reassessing the priorities for their home.
Among the trends that could emerge from the pandemic are more minimalist home design and easy to clean decor and surfaces, a preference for multi-purpose spaces and more closed-concept floor plans to provide more privacy. Renovations could include permanent home offices with a professional aesthetic for video calls, at-home gyms to stay active and a backyard oasis to replace cancelled vacation plans.
Of course the size of the home will determine how much of this is possible.
The End of Open-Plan Living?
Open plan living relies on a phased pattern of occupation, where different members of the household occupy the home at different times of day for different things. This is very different from the concurrent pattern of occupation forced on us by Covid, with all members of the household occupying the home simultaneously.
The challenges posed by simultaneously trying to cook, work, meet, monitor children’s homework or exercise may see more permanently closed or flex spaces. There is lots of talk about the reversal of the open-concept kitchen, where instead of the kitchen being the centre of the home, it’ll go back to being a closed-off space to ensure proper sanitation.
Without long work commutes, people are finding themselves with plenty of time to cook, bake, exercise and enjoy other hobbies. To accommodate these various needs when you don’t have a huge home we may see flex or “pop-up” spaces become more popular. These are areas in the home that can quickly and easily be transformed to suit multiple functions. For example a guest room could be an office ‘zoom zone’ by day but turn into a yoga studio and arts and crafts centre by night.
Research shows that for children, a comfortable, private space to study away from the communal areas of the home increases their educational attainment. So the preoccupation with the educational welfare of their children that encouraged parents to reside in proximity to high-performing schools may now be channeled into optimising their home design for study.
Part of optimizing the at-home experience means making the best of our outdoor living spaces. These have been growing in popularity for years, but the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus might be spurring even greater demand. Outdoor kitchens, gazebos and decks make it easier to entertain and socialize with family and close friends while helping to minimize the risks.
Heightened need for energy efficiency
People who regularly work from home are realizing how much they are using energy and water so an increase in the number of homeworkers could see a wider preoccupation with thermal comfort and the energy efficiency of homes.
Their heating is used far more to maintain a comfortable working environment and the toilet is flushed much more often during a 24 hour period.
Homeworking could also bring many of the environmental considerations associated with workplace productivity, such as indoor air quality, noise pollution and visual comfort to bear on the domestic environment. Wood is of course the ideal material to provide these needs.
Focus on well being
Being forced to spend more time in the home, working and playing has definitely led to a growing preoccupation with exercise and health, comfort, ambiance and well being. People may look to incorporate larger energy efficient windows for natural light and visual of nature.
We are huge advocates of how wood has a positive impact on internal environments and well-being: reducing allergies, improving sleep quality, improving air quality, controlling humidity, calming energy in children. Check out our ‘Why Natural Wood in the Home is Healthy’ blog post and the 100% Wood Mass Timber page on our website.
Wood100 DLT prefab spaces
Taking all aspects mentioned above into account, a good solution would be to build a 100% Wood dowel laminated timber space in your garden, which would make a perfect home office, guest house, exercise, play or study room.
Other interesting priorities revealed
Hands free fixtures are not new but covid has highlighted the benefit of not having to touch hard surfaces. Expect an increase in the offerings in the area of faucets, bins, toilets, entry doors, hard goods and doorways.
Reducing the number of shopping trips and stocking up has become a new normal. Expect to see larger pantry/storage spaces in the kitchens/garages/laundry rooms.
The need to sanitize immediately on entry to the home will see many renovations to incorporate landing spaces on entry: a place to wash hands, unload items and unload before entering the living areas.
We’re not sure what ‘normal’ will look like in the months and years ahead but we will not fail to have been affected by Covid. Whatever changes we see we are confident that wood will still be playing a role.