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For sure, we are living in a moment of big changes. And, what’s for sure, is also that our homes became the protagonists of the particular moment we are living in. Needless to say, this is going to change the way we live our homes as well as the way we design them. So the question we are trying to reply today is: how will the pandemic affect our homes?
I’ve started to do some research and analysis on this topic early in March, in our Trend Podcast together with the guys of Soma, where we tried to reply to your question “Do you think that the lockdown that is happening in many countries, starting from China and Italy, is going to change the way we live in our homes in the long term?”
My first thought was that nobody was used to live at home 24 hours daily, so yes, this is definitely the beginning of a change. Hopefully, this time is not going to last forever, but it will have an impact on a long term on our psychology. My first thought was that people will finally understand the importance of a good interior design. Designing our homes is not just about “making pretty stuff”, it is a matter of quality of life, of bringing wellness into our homes. I have always been a positive person and I think that all this situation is going to give a new importance to some roles – like the ones of architects and interior designers – that were not fully understood before. This is because, the next time we will find ourselves buying our homes, we will all remember about those times when we were forced to quarantine for weeks inside them, and we will make our choices more carefully.
Let’s explore further about this topic today. In my research, I found out more about some interesting interior trends driven by the pandemic crisis, that are going to change soon how we live and design our homes.
1 / Embracing the Niksen
Niksen is a Dutch word which can be translated into “doing nothing” and, most of all, without any purpose.
Strictly related with the concept of mindfulness and wellness, Niksen is already recognized as a way to recover from burn-out and to become more creative in the long term. What is happening now is that, forced to stay in quarantine inside our homes, we are forced to slow down as well. Probably, we are having many moments of just doing nothing, that before we would have lived with anxiety and a sense of guilty because we have been growing with the cult of productivity. After these times of lockdown we will realize that sometimes the best thing to do is just doing nothing at all for a while, to be back later healthier and more productive.
As a consequence, sanctuary-like spaces inside our homes will also become a trend, thinking for example about small relaxing and reading corners.
2 / The New Normal : Working from Home
Because of the quarantine, people have been forced to work from home. Despite already being already a trend among the freelancers (I have been working from home for 4 years now, for example), smart working was absolutely not a common thing before the Corona virus crisis. This crisis will prove to companies – that didn’t believe in this model of work – that it’s actually possible to work from home, and to people that working from home can improve well-being and be a really sustainable choice.
We will for sure see a return to dedicated workspaces at home, real home offices, more than just temporary corners in a room. When you spend a lot of time working from home, you need to have a space to be actually separated from the rest of the house, to be more productive but also to have a clear separation between working hours and relaxing/staying at home hours.
Comfortable office furniture, good lighting, efficient storage, will see a rising demand soon in the interior design. In addition to this, we will design home offices to be suitable for video calls, that’s to say to be as much soundproofing as possible, but also aesthetically pleasant to be showed on a screen.
3 / Privacy and Soundproofing
As highlighted in the point before, we are starting to do some activities at home that require new solutions we did not have before. As for example, video calls require soundproofing solutions, a trend we already saw a lot last year among workspaces and that will be now part of the home environment as well.
By staying in quarantine for weeks, maybe in large family with kids, we are also all reconsidering the concept of privacy.
This may lead us to reconsider home layout towards a close scheme, instead of the open plans that have been a key trend in interiors in the last years. Forget about big open plans where kitchen-sitting room-dining-reading are all in one space. We will look for a space where to cook without annoying the other households or, for example, for a separate entrance where we can take off our shoes without bringing them inside the home.
Thinking even further, there may be the need for creating separate spaces with all the facilities, in case one member of the family is infected by a virus.
4 / Healthier spaces
After these days, we are all going to develop a new interest and sensitivity towards home hygiene and sanitization. This will bring many interesting changes inside our homes, with the acceleration of some technologies that actually already exist but were not so common, or the invention of many new technologies to help our homes hygiene.
Think for example about air purifiers, indoor air quality monitoring, new filtration systems for the air and the water. But also, about germ-resistant materials for flooring and surfaces, as well as auto-cleaning technologies to be integrated inside furniture, for example inside wardrobes and kitchen cabinets. I am also thinking about some changing in the fabrics, with rugs to be easily cleaned for example. Ultraviolet lamps could also be a new technology to be integrated at home, in order to kill bacterias and viruses.
In bathroom design, this crisis can bring a substantial rising demand for smart toilets, that at present are very common only in some countries such as Japan. Automatic cleaning faucets that we now see only in some public restrooms could become a common feature in the homes as well.
5 / Voice Control and easy-to-use technologies
Smart homes and vocal control are already something happening now. But let’s be honest, before we didn’t had the need to avoid touching certain surfaces, we all thought smart technologies were just something which made our lives easier and our houses cooler.
Now, we are considering how many hands can touch the doorknobs of our entrance (especially if we live in a flat on an apartment building), or the buttons of an elevator. That’s why vocal control can really become a huge trend now. Plus, for people living alone, it may be a really helpful solution in case they feel sick and need help.
Regarding people living alone, especially seniors, this crisis can bring new ways of integrating digital media inside our homes. Think about accessible ways in which technology can be easily used by both seniors and young tech-savvy generations.
6/ New spaces for new functions
One of the things that have been absolutely accelerated because of the pandemic is for sure online shopping and, consequently, home delivery. Will the houses of the future have a small space before the entrance to be dedicated to package drop-off? I think so and I am imagining this space like a small space that can receive drone deliveries, where you can unpack stuff and throw out the package without the need of bringing it inside your home.
Another rising trend can be the design of storage spaces, such as pantries. If we thought that these spaces were only viable in big houses, after this crisis we will probably change our minds. Refrigerators and home canteens may have a big moment as well.
Thinking further, all kind of technologies that will make our homes independent from the rest of the world could have a big development. I am thinking about solar panels and geothermal, which can provide water supply, electricity and heating in case of a shutdown, besides being fully sustainable.
After a quarantine inside a flat, everybody will absolutely want to have a small garden, or at least a small terrace where spending some time outdoor.
All things related to gardening will see a huge comeback, together with new ways to incorporate greeneries inside homes. Vertical gardens and indoor gardening will have a boom, as a proven way to reduce our stress and to improve the air quality inside our homes. Growing what you eat can become an option to be explored for the indoor as well, with small indoor areas equipped with artificial light, air and water to make vegetable grow.
Biophilia will become a real necessity, more than just a trend.
8/ Less is More and Local is Better
We will probably discover that yes, we can live with less. We can even manage to go shopping for food every 10 days. We will also develop a stronger sense of community and, hopefully, a new sensitivity towards the environment.
Local design and craftsmanships will also be a rising trend, first because governments will have the need to restore their economics, hopefully by giving benefits towards local productions at the expenses of unsustainable things like “made in China” and similar ones. Second, because people will probably realise how dependent the world is from China and other few countries (Bangladesh, India…) in terms of production and that this is not sustainable. We need to review our globalised “linear” way of designing and producing. We need to create a better system with fair working conditions and production that stimulate communities, regenerate the environment and do not impose unfair competition.