How the Pandemic Will Influence the Future of Home Design


The evolution of home design will always continue, but the COVID-19 pandemic redefined the needs and desires for the living space and set design directions on hyperdrive. Whether single-family or multifamily, owned or rented, the goal emerged to create environments that are simple to maintain, engage the senses, and are aesthetically beautiful. It adds up to creating desirable spaces that embrace an extraordinary sense of ease.

Here are a few predictions about the pandemic-driven design trends that I believe are here to stay.

Flexibility is Key

Flexibility is the buzz for designs that facilitate easy living. Formally labeled rooms will be more loosely defined, and furnishings, design elements, and materials will help redefine interior and exterior spaces. The new multifunctional spaces will serve as offices, classrooms, craft space, and guestrooms, and a quick-change approach will influence design and inform ease of changing the roomscape.

“Working from home” is set to become the new “corner office” status symbol, and in-home comforts will inspire more staycation moments. To overcome the obstacles of open plans’ lack of privacy and sound control, movable walls and panels will change the dynamics of a space, quickly transforming from home office to gathering space to cozy guest room.

Furnishings that take minimal room or with varied functions will add more ease to homes. A desk that folds into the wall, for instance, a coffee table that morphs from cocktail to dining height, or a bed that disappears into the ceiling will provide clever answers for newly defined uses of space. Sound and light enhancements will be absolute necessities as privacy, as well as levels of quiet, will be needed for productivity and peace of mind. Soft materials and textural design will help control sound, while lighting will add multilevel applications in addition to introducing as much natural light as possible. Both add to the ambiance of the space, as well as providing more comfort for the inevitable work video or selfie moment.

A Focus on Easy-to-Clean Surfaces and Products

Consumers’ enduring concern about cleanliness means materials will have to stand up to multiple uses, and multiple users. Performance materials will be desired throughout the home with built-in stain resistance and effortless cleaning, even with heavier duty cleansers. Ideally, they repel the icky stuff from the start.

The need for cleanliness is a given, and the desire for beautiful aesthetics is vital. Products have to simultaneously work and be stunning. Solid surface and porcelain surfaces will join quartz for their aesthetic options and their impervious nature, unique features like seamless installations, and wear resistance. Upholstery textiles like velvet and faux suede will shrug off spills and stains. And flooring, especially luxury vinyl, will add comfort and quiet to endless style underfoot.

Indoors Meet Outdoors

Exterior spaces will become part of everyday living, and the addition of outdoor space to a plan will include leisure spaces both front and rear. From large windows to decks and balconies, even a simple Juliet balcony, it’s all about the connection to nature and expanding living space. With designs inspired and complementing nature, stylish, UV-resistant, large-scale surfaces will ensure aesthetic success and simple maintenance for outdoor living.

Comfort, both physical and emotional, will be goals of the design process and how to address them will continue to evolve. Flexibility will be key, but so shall a sense of haven that keeps everyone connected and safe. The recent surge in loungewear, clean-lined, yet comfy furnishings, and tactile surfaces have all contributed to the mood. Elements that excite touch and captivate sight have become zeitgeist moments in the overall notion of “haven.”

Various textures and patterns will entice the viewer to pause and savor what they see. They not only look good but also help with sound control and add a sense of calm. The flowing lines of surface veining, for instance, are comforting and suggest rolling hills or flowing water. Most important, they span design styles and can be used within contemporary or traditional settings. Textures that mimic leather, velvet, and other indulgent materials engage the viewer with softness, adding another relaxed mood that embraces all design styles.

Color as a Mood Enhancer

Color, of course, is paramount in design, whether it commands attention on its own or offers a background to enhance other hues. To create and maintain a sense of ease, natural, quiet colors, ranging from light to dark, will embellish products and environments. Rooted in nature, neutral colors of off-white, warm beige, and gray, and new black, influence an emerging palette that embraces fresh, muted hues. They provide balance and familiarity and add security to the feeling of comfort and ease.

Of course, moments of brightness will happen with accessories and appliances, so expect a bit of poppy pink with warm gray, earthy vegetal green with golden yellows, or near-black with ivory and beige. Blue and green will continue to reflect the natural world as well, in all their various color values, from home fashions and surfaces to exterior accents and completing a sense of the natural world as haven indoors.

Differing sheen levels, from matte to gloss, also add to visual interest as well as assisting in light control. The sheens can make a design appear soft or bold and make design statements as well as offering practicality. Matte finishes will work in low-traffic areas with minimal reflectance for a relaxing aesthetic, where higher gloss may add energy and spark a bit of excitement. An additional bonus is that it is easier to sees spots that may need cleaning, and if the material is impervious, it’s a cinch to maintain. Often, the sheens are combined to provide balance for calm and ease.

In Summary

The rethinking of almost everything from work to school to entertainment drives the future of the new hybrid lifestyle. Design will continue to evolve and refine living spaces to suit multiple needs and desires within a home. Flexible surroundings with a sense of ease will create havens for everyday life and help make the future home extraordinary.

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