6 ways home design changed after a year of lockdown and pandemic – Orange County Register



A year ago, at the start of the decade, home design predictions focused on being one with the environment through houseplants, color, and more. No one could have predicted a global pandemic and stay-at-home orders disrupting everything we thought we knew about our environment. It’s no wonder, then, that this year’s forecast focuses almost entirely on the need for well-designed, healthy homes that perform better for the whole family.

These predictions range from well-documented spurts of interest in functional home offices and distance learning spaces to futuristic touchless and voice-activated kitchen and bathroom appliances and more germ-resistant materials, centered on health. They also include the less visible ones, such as garages that are forced to do more work.

People will always want a stylish environment, but the focus is now on spaces and materials that are safe, multifunctional, comfortable and resilient. The following trends have emerged among the lists of forecasts and studies for 2021 of Modsy, Etsy and Bark and architects, interior designers and real estate experts.

No one could have predicted a global pandemic and stay-at-home orders disrupting everything we thought we knew about our environment. (iStock)

1. Flexible and adaptable spaces are in demand as layouts are redesigned.

For years, one of the most common refrains of home buyers was the desire for open-plan floor plans, with no walls separating the main living and dining areas from the kitchen. Now a lot experts and specialists predict that privacy and noise issues will see more and more people prefer square footage to go to spaces separated by walls and doors.

These add-ons are likely to be dual-use. The American Institute of Architects‘(AIA) the most recent home design trends study found that 43% of respondents wanted to add multifunctional and flexible spaces to their homes. This could mean that the spare bedroom is most often used as an exercise room, or that the children’s bedrooms are their classrooms. Kitchen counters and islands with seating options can also be used as children’s workstations or desks, and dining sideboards can store office and school supplies.

Multifunctional furniture can make the transition of these rooms easier. Etsy, in its Year in review and first overview of 2021 trends, reported a 399% increase in searches for wall-mounted or foldable desks, a 159% increase in searches for Murphy beds, and a 134% increase in searches for room dividers from 2019.

The AIA study also mentioned a greater interest in locker rooms, which in most Southern California homes are typically “drop zones.” These are seen as increasingly necessary as specific spaces to leave shoes, handbags, backpacks and other items that might need to be separated for health reasons.

2. Home offices are here to stay.

In the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Interior Design Resilience Report 2020, the most important change for homes considered necessary was more defined office spaces or workstations, chosen by 75% of respondents. In the Modsy Trend Report 2021, the online home design service found that offices have replaced bedrooms as the second most popular room to remodel in 2021 (living rooms remain the first).

Some of the work-from-home setups spawned by the pandemic may have been dilapidated initially, but they are now part of everyday life. As such, the most coveted home office components, according to the Modsy report, include good natural light and windows, soundproofing, ergonomic chairs and desks, and plenty of storage space. When it comes to aesthetics, Modsy found the most popular design styles in offices to be modern and minimalist, with 27% calling for the design to be “clean and functional” with a “mid-century modern slant” .

3. A home health check-up.

The need for cleaning and good hygiene has been taken to heart when it comes to homes. Interest has grown in natural and man-made antimicrobial materials as well as the benefits of low-maintenance materials and surfaces.

The copper, the first metallic antimicrobial agent recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency, and its alloys like brass and bronze are gaining popularity when it comes to sinks, faucets, cabinet hardware and doorknobs. The same goes for naturally occurring antimicrobials Cork, which can be used in flooring. Many common household surfaces can also include antimicrobial additives like Microban; these include countertops, backsplashes, appliances, flooring, paints, fabrics and plastics.

Low-maintenance surfaces that can help make homes healthier include using non-porous surfaces and those with less germ-trapping detail, such as simplified cabinetry and trim and using more tile. great with less grout trapping germs.

Beyond surfaces, the AIA study found a 56% increase in respondents’ interest in products like air purifiers that can help improve the air quality in your home. The American Centers for Disease Control said these help reduce airborne contaminants when used properly, as do heating, cooling and other air circulation systems when in use. The federal agency stressed that running such systems must be combined with other preventative measures to protect against contaminants.

4. Technology to the rescue.

The pandemic has sparked even more interest in contactless, voice-activated and other home devices, with additional technology ranking second among expected changes for homes in ASID’s 2021 report.

For example, take HVAC systems. With a smart home thermostat, you can quickly set a schedule for the system fan to run longer or continuously to keep the air moving. Motion activated faucets, toilets and soap dispensers and voice and app-activated door locks, lights, shades, TVs, speakers, appliances, security systems and more still help you limit contact with so many things in the house.

5. Find space in a neglected area.

Thus, this spare guest room or the dining room already serves as offices and classrooms. In the search for additional space, whether for a more private workspace, storage room, a place to work out or a place to socialize away from the kids, many have turned to their garages as a possible solution.

A garage was the most sought-after feature for the home before COVID-19, and interest has since increased, according to Realtor.com’s “Residential Purchases 2020: Consumer Preferences After COVID“report. It offers a separate space that’s always accessible at home, but a key part of harnessing that space is organization. It’s already a clutter magnet, so browse and clean up what you don’t need. and setting up a system of organization to easily find what you keep will go a long way in freeing up the space needed to add to its function.

An added bonus of finding more space in the garage: you will have a place to store any items you might need due to shortages or a designated safe space in which to receive online purchase deliveries, as currently offered through Amazon key.

6. The great outdoors.

The quest for more living space extends to the backyard as well, especially as the outdoors is considered a healthier choice than indoors for small gatherings. The AIA study revealed a growing interest in outdoor living spaces and, according to Yelp 2021 Home Trend Forecast, searches and mentions of reviews for outdoor kitchens increased 85% from 2019 as more people stay at home due to restaurant and bar closures.

With the Southern California climate, outdoor living spaces can be used most months of the year. It’s not just the elaborate patio layouts with full kitchens, fireplaces, and built-in seating that are fueling interest in the great outdoors. No outdoor space is too small, with tables, lights and planters that attach to balcony railings and other furniture built to scale available.


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