10 Ways COVID-19 is Changing Interior Design Trends

Home trends tend to reflect the behaviour and tastes of a given society at a moment in time. No question, COVID-19 has completely altered the way in which we live our lives, socially and professionally.

Here are some of the most common home design trends that have been shaped by COVID-19 and a growing awareness of health, safety and comfort within our homes.

1 Working from Home

During the spring quarantine, scores and scores of people worked from home, with this change thrust upon most in a hurry. What employers and employees learned was that telecommuting was not only possible, it was a highly productive way to work. It’s cost effective and contributes nicely to work/life balance.

With the infrastructure in place, working remotely is a change that will stick, for sure.

That said, the need for functional and fashionable home offices has emerged as a top priority. Even if your home doesn’t lend itself to being able to dedicate a whole room to office space, it is important to have a specific area in your home dedicated to work.

When designing your home office, pick a space with natural light, if possible. Items (i.e. shelving, desk, storage) should support your workflow. Invest in a quality chair.

If you are short on space, make the most of it by installing floating shelves, which is a great way to keep a smaller space less cluttered.

Many new homes are being designed now with flex rooms, often at the front of the house. This is ideal if you are in a business where you need to receive clients. Being able to shut off the work area from the rest of the home means a more solid division between your work and personal life.

2 Outdoor Oasis

Having outdoor space to recharge and refresh is of paramount importance during a pandemic. Outdoor kitchens and outdoor living rooms have become very popular, as people work to increase their available living space. There has also been a growing interest in gardening. It’s therapeutic and satisfying, particularly if you are growing your own produce.

Sure, it is great to have a wide and deep backyard, with loads of room to roam, but you can still create your own personal oasis on a balcony or terrace.  Screens are a great way to create privacy in high-density settings.  Bamboo fencing or ivy are also great ways to create a little privacy on a balcony.

You can also create a living wall, with a vertical garden. Adding plants will give your balcony or terrace more of a “backyard” feel. Invest in an appropriated sized (and comfortable) table and chairs. An outdoor rug and string lights are nice touches as well.

3 More Defined Spaces

While open concept living has been highly coveted over the last several years, there is a definite shift towards the preference for defined spaces. While having an open concept floor plan is a great way to amplify the sense of space and is handy to keep an eye on kids while preparing meals, etc., there isn’t a whole lot of privacy to be had. And it is safe to say, after having spent considerable time at home during quarantine, privacy became a hot commodity.

Similarly, there is a sense of pragmatism about space now- especially as there is a greater emphasis on cleaning and maintenance as we live through a pandemic.

4 Shift Towards Antibacterial Materials

In the past, homeowners largely selected their materials and finished based on tastes and budget. Now, materials get a whole new job in our quest to kill bacteria and viruses in our homes.

Some natural materials have naturally occurring anti-bacterial properties, like bamboo, cork and oak. The chemistry of copper and brass also have the ability to kill germs- which make them a great choice for high-touch areas, like doorknobs, cabinet pulls and faucets.

5 Ensuite Bathrooms

In the era of self-isolation, it is possible that one family member might need to isolate themselves from the rest of the family. Having a self-contained living space, including a bathroom connected to the bedroom makes good practical sense. Not only is this less disruptive to daily living in a self-isolation scenario, it is safer as you don’t have to share washroom space.

6 Cleaning the Air

While there is still much that we don’t know about COVID-19, and it is widely believed that the virus is transmitted via infected droplets, there is growing evidence that COVID-19 could potentially be capable of airborne transmission with smaller, aerosolized particles.

What that means for built environments is having higher end air filtration systems, right on the HVAC units. Homeowners are snapping up portable air filtration devices as well, for use in room to room.

Another popular trend is the installation of UV lights in homes. UV lights are known to successfully kill germs, and are used widely in sanitizing commercial spaces.

7 Vacation Homes

With more and more people working from home, there is newly discovered freedom. And with travel greatly curbed, there is a huge draw for cottages and vacation homes.

People are favouring four-season cottages, where they can head out of town, stay in touch with the office, but also have space and safety.

8 Freehold vs Condominiums

While condominium living is still the preferred choice for many homebuyers, because of affordability and also because of the desire to live a pedestrian, urban lifestyle, freehold homes are becoming more appealing than ever.

High-density living means frequenting more populated common areas, like elevators. In a pandemic, the It’s the idea of having your own front door is particularly luring.

9 The Kitchen is the Heart of the Home

Quarantine produced a significant number of home cooks and bakers, who spent their time at home experimenting with new dishes. This means that there is renewed interest in kitchens, not just from a décor standpoint, but from a functional standpoint.

There will be greater focus on prep areas, storage and pantry space, as people realized last spring that fewer trips to the grocery store means needing better organization and food storage in their kitchens.

10 Calm and Comfort

We have always found refuge at home, but during a pandemic, the comfort that you receive while within your walls has become essential. We will seek this search for calm and peace reflected in our home décor. That may mean more incorporation of nature indoors (i.e. more plant life, water features etc.). Access to natural light and fresh air is important.

We will see colour trends gravitating toward spa-like colours that are known to create calm, like soft greens and blues, similar to colouring that we see in nature.

It’s not surprising to learn that our experiences of living through this pandemic have already signaled a shift in the way that we design our built environments- and that these changes are likely here to stay for the foreseeable future.