For many of us, the isolation orders left us with time on our hands we are not used to having. Before, many people could barely keep up with balancing their job, rest, and simply maintaining their home. Now, suddenly there’s time to tackle all those projects we had pushed off indefinitely. As our families adapt to home life, however, new needs are becoming apparent.
With everyone at home, whether it’s for work, school, or me-time, our needs are leading to new trends. While some of these life changes are bigger than others, many of them are moving us away from the trends we have had for decades.
With a disease that is communicated through close contact, many people are becoming aware of just how many things they touch throughout the day. Installing motion-activated features like faucets, dispensers, and garbage cans, as well as light switches and doors that are operated by IoT (Internet of Things) devices, are becoming higher priorities.
Systems like Google Home and Alexa have become more prevalent over the years, along with other Smart Home features. A simple voice command through IoT technology enables people to order groceries, find answers to burning questions, and start calls with family members. The increased amount of control that Smart Home owners have over their houses provides a sense of security, and the technology enables them to stay more connected. With social distancing becoming a social norm, having these options is important to maintain that sense of togetherness even while we are apart.
Open Floor Plans
While open floor plans have dominated the design field for many years, more closed floor plans are coming back into fashion. Having more rooms creates more flexibility to have personal, private spaces, as opposed to an open-concept where everyone is in everyone’s line of sight.
As many desk jobs shift to accommodate workers who now need to stay at home, the need for a dedicated home workspace is becoming more urgent. Having a place that is quiet and undisturbed gives the worker the space to do the job they need to, and keeps work from bleeding over into their personal space. A dedicated home office helps re-create the balance that happens naturally when we work outside of our homes.
Without access to our regular gym memberships, more people are setting up home gyms to exercise without risking exposure. Whether it’s a fully decked out gym with typical high-impact equipment or a quiet corner near a window that’s a zen yoga spot, people are finding it easier to keep up with their exercise regime when they have a home gym.
Going outside, beyond the backyard, is still not an option for many children, but having them take over the house isn’t a good option either. Much like an office, having space made exclusively for them gives kids an area to play where their toys are contained and they stay safe.
Mud Rooms and Entryways
Especially important for essential workers, having a dedicated place to discard shoes and decontaminate before coming into the home is becoming more common and necessary. Mudrooms and entryways aren’t as common as they once were, but reintroducing them into new home designs or investing in them during home improvements adds a new value to the home.
For many homes, kitchens are the heart of the house. Keeping them up to date is important to keep the home running smoothly. Having non-porous countertops is becoming more vital to keep any viruses or other germs from sticking around. Countertops like quartz, laminate, stainless steel, recycled glass, and resin all are easily disinfected surfaces suitable for kitchen use.
Eating out has been the standard for a while. Between socializing and busy workdays, it’s hard to take the time needed to prepare and cook a meal. But with many restaurants closing down, tighter budgets, and fear of another lockdown, shopping trips are becoming more important again. To store everything, having a roomy pantry is once again a necessity for many people. Cabinets can only hold so much and keeping things organized in one place enables the family to utilize food in a timely manner with less waste.
In the U.S. we depend on our HVAC systems for ventilation most of the time, but bringing fresh air into our homes is still important. Currently, many residential windows are inoperable, either by design or because they have been painted shut over the years. Installing operable windows, like awning windows or slider windows, offers the chance to invite in a breeze and air out a stale room.
Over the past few years, house plants have become more and more popular. There’s a sense of accomplishment and pride involved in owning a room full of flourishing plants. During quarantine, having something to take care of, especially for people who live alone, is a valuable mental health tool. Plants also offer physical health benefits by filtering the air in your home. Most plants have a much cheaper price point than pets and, for many, it’s the exact amount of responsibility that can help get us through the week.
Like indoor plants, gardens have also increased in popularity. For many people, they have more meaning than just something to nourish and care for. Growing herbs, vegetables, and fruit gives a sense of stability during a time when food may not always be accessible. A garden can beautify your yard, lessen the number of grocery trips you have to take, and give you the satisfaction of enjoying the fruit of your own labor. Home gardens are part of a much bigger movement for sustainability, representing an independence that many people appreciate.
Trends and You
People are exploring these new (and old!) avenues to make their homes safer and more comfortable. If you're seeing the need for any of these trends in your life, you're not alone! However, evolving trends are never the standard for what you need in your home. Our lifestyles and health needs all vary. As long as your home gives you the safety and comfort you need, then it is the right choice for you.