Our DIY expert tells us how COVID-19 has changed interior design trends for the better

Best Recent Home Trends and Home Renovation Tips

For better or for worse, the pandemic has condemned large numbers of people to home confinement for many months. Many have had the chance to work, play and spend time with family in a comfortable and familiar space. With so much time spent in the house, many people have decided it’s time to upgrade their home.

To find out which COVID-19 home improvement projects are worth looking into, we consulted with BestReviews’ talented DIY expert, Beth Allen. She is a licensed contractor with over a decade of experience teaching DIY techniques. Allen was happy to point out some of the most popular and profitable home improvement projects that have grown during the COVID-19 lockdowns and remain great DIY ideas.

Efficient space management

Prior to COVID-19, working from home was relatively rare. Communicating with colleagues on video calls was virtually unheard of. Making a home office not only usable but also presentable has been a major shift during the pandemic.

The new work-from-home status quo, as Allen explained, “has given people the ability to have privacy during phone calls.” She continued, “People got crafty when creating these spaces, using shoji screens and similar room dividers to hide the clutter behind.”

Of course there is nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone needs a professional setting, but few of us have the time, energy, and dedication to keep our house spotless 100% of the day. “People have also found creative ways to mount green screen fabrics and panels in their homes,” Allen said. Allen mentioned a student who installed a retractable projection screen that was a green screen.

People were also able to spend a lot more time with their pets. Although always welcome, cats and dogs also need time and space for themselves. To that end, Allen said, “People have started building dog houses in small unused spaces, like putting the dog’s bed under the stairs.”

Major Home Renovation Projects

Sitting around the house all day has made many homeowners realize the big changes they could make. “People looked at their HVAC systems and wondered what kinds of upgrades would lead to better indoor air quality,” Allen explained, “and when the viruses hit, people wondered how they could keep the whole house cleaner.”

Allen shared with us a particularly good example of a new germicidal solution that has gained popularity during COVID-19 home renovations. “There’s a UV light system that goes into your central air system or your ductwork,” Allen said, “that kills pathogens like bacteria and mold.” Although there is a decent selection of specially designed UV-C sterilization systems, many people have decided to use DIY solutions and have saved a lot of money in the process.

Another method used by homeowners for general cleanliness was to reduce the microbiome throughout the house. Keep in mind that every time we touch something bacteria spreads. Most bacteria and other particles are not harmful, but now more than ever we know that some are.

“Fewer things to come into contact with means less chance of transmitting bacteria or viruses, whether it’s COVID-19 or a stomach bug,” Allen acknowledged. Touchless faucets, occupancy sensors, and smart light switches are some of the best examples of automated hardware that reduces a home’s microbiome.

It’s important to note that home improvement projects like these aren’t necessarily suitable for beginners. Working with home wiring requires considerable care and it helps to have experience. If you are not comfortable accessing electrical wiring, do not hesitate to call a licensed professional.

On the other hand, Allen reassured us, “If you can do basic electrical work, you can install an occupancy switch.” Likewise, things like touchless faucets require plumbing skills. Trying to make any of these permanent projects without the necessary know-how will likely end in failure. You’ll probably need to hire a professional to fix it anyway.

Storage and organization

The birth of the COVID-19 home office has led to the disappearance of countless guest rooms around the world. Additionally, these guest rooms also commonly served as year-round overflow storage. This inevitably requires additional places to put things out of sight. Homeowners have since hung closets in garages, built garden sheds and, much like hidden dog bed ideas, filled underused nooks and crannies like stairs and crawl spaces with extra boxes.

After gutting old guest rooms, they usually see new coats of paint and, in some cases, upgrades like smart outlets. There’s also a growing trend for floating shelves, and it goes beyond guest bedrooms and home offices.

General design trends

Floating shelves, for example, have not necessarily been boosted by COVID-19 stay-at-home measures. They’ve been growing in popularity for years, and for good reason – floating shelves maximize space and minimize the number of devices occupied on the wall.

We are also seeing a trend toward lighter colored flooring, as noted by Allen. “There was a period when everyone went to dark floors. I wouldn’t necessarily follow these trends blindly,” Allen said, “because it really comes down to lifestyle. It’s also important to consider how light and dark floors, walls, and ceilings directly affect the depth, width, and height of a room.

As Allen shared, “I try to focus less on specific trends and more on lifestyle. Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean you have to miss it and spend money, especially if it doesn’t suit you and your daily life.After all, your house belongs to you and you decide how to decorate it.

Rewarding backyard upgrades

A big benefit of spending more time at home is the ability to spend more time outside of your home. A lot of people have taken up gardening as a way to connect with the outdoors without leaving home. “People used raised and container gardens to use small spaces to provide fresh, home grown food,” Allen explained. “During COVID-19, people started appreciating good quality ingredients more because they couldn’t leave the house to go to their favorite restaurants.”

To this end, Allen agreed that it was not necessary to buy a lot of materials to make garden beds. “I love to reuse and reuse,” she said, “I used found palettes to create a herb garden and it was pretty simple. It took me an hour to build a raised box and paint it. Now I have a nice little herb garden that we use all the time – we have enough for my neighbor to help herself to all the time.

Perhaps even more satisfying than growing food to eat, Allen pointed out, is growing herbs to garnish adults’ drinks. “People quickly started cultivating dedicated cocktail gardens filled with mint, basil and other herbs,” which pair perfectly with alcoholic beverages.

Best Products for COVID-19 Inspired Home Improvement Projects

Oriental Furniture Shoji Screens

With three to eight panels, these Japanese room dividers are elegant and efficient for homes and apartments.

Sold by Amazon and Home deposit

RHF Wood Partition

RHF Wood Partition

It’s considerably more substantial than a Japanese-inspired paper divider and even has shelves for placing decorations.

Sold by Amazon

Elgato Green Screen

Elgato Green Screen

Elgato manufactures a wide variety of products aimed at podcasting, which translates perfectly into immersive and professional home office setups. This retractable green screen lets you easily customize your video call background.

Sold by Amazon

Ecobee3 Lite Thermostat

Ecobee3 Lite Thermostat

This versatile smart thermostat comes at an average price and can help you save on energy costs while keeping you and your family comfortable.

Sold by Amazon and Home deposit

Frienda UV Sanitizer

Frienda UV Sanitizer

It is intended to be installed inside your HVAC system and uses UV-C light to kill bacteria, destroy viruses and minimize mold in the air. Keep in mind that UV-C rays are dangerous to living things, so don’t use anything like this outdoors inside your home.

Sold by Amazon

Moen Arbor Motionsense Kitchen Faucet

Moen Arbor Motionsense Kitchen Faucet

This touchless kitchen faucet features a reliable motion sensor and a versatile pull-down sprayer.

Sold by Amazon and Home deposit

Yodel Touchless Bathroom Faucet

Yodel Touchless Bathroom Faucet

When you don’t need to touch your bathroom faucet before or after using it, your hands stay dramatically cleaner.

Sold by Amazon

TP-Link Kasa KP200 Smart Plug

TP-Link Kasa KP200 Smart Plug

This wall outlet adds smart functionality to almost any device you plug into it. Note that you need a professional or electrical know-how to install one of these safely.

Sold by Amazon

EleGRP occupancy sensor

EleGRP occupancy sensor

This infrared motion detector detects when someone enters a room and turns on the electrical devices it is connected to.

Sold by Amazon and Home deposit

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.

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