Open spaces. Gardens on patios and decks. Dedicated office spaces. Indoor gyms and workout centers.
These are just a few of the ways that the coronavirus pandemic has impacted home design.
Turns out that being quarantined and forced to work and live from home caused us to inspect our homes and make some changes. In fact, according to recent studies, 70% of Americans have completed home improvement projects during the pandemic from small scale improvements to full renovations.
Kerry Howard, ASID and owner of Howard House Interiors, says “I have even seen longtime clients totally transition from one style of what they have always liked in design to an entirely different mindset. They now want their homes and the things around them to have more meaning.” He further notes that the business of being a designer has changed during COVID as well. “One of the biggest differences in my life as a designer,” says Howard, “was the number of zoom consultations I did due to less interfacing with clients. This involved things like selecting, ordering and sending fabric samples to the client and then meeting about them over zoom.”
Other changes involved the way project installs were managed and the disinfection process used.
In fact focusing on cleanliness and health caused many people to make their foyers into sanitization centers. In addition, people wanted to aid their mental health by having more open spaces, pleasing scenery and access to outside light.
For experiences that plain walls did not provide, people chose bold colors for accent walls and scenic wallpapers. Bright colors were used for inspiration and creativity. Dixie Dulin, owner of Saleeby Jean Interiors, says “our wallpaper sales increased significantly during COVID. We saw clients take more risks with their home design in using bolder and brighter colors mainly as a way to cheer up during a dark time and basically to bring joy inside.”
With so many people working from home, the desk that once sat in a corner for show or occasional use was now replaced with multi-functional office space. Bedrooms, sunrooms and playrooms were turned into workspaces in order to accommodate one or both spouses working from home as well for children and online learning.
Heather Ware, Heather Ware Design, LLC, owns a booth at Cottage Grove. “We could not keep desks or office chairs in the store this past year because of the increase in home offices that are used by all family members.” According to Ware, “design becomes more intentional when you have to function together as a family on a daily basis.”
Both Ware and Howard note that the past year has been the busiest to date to the point that they had to turn away business. They both agree that the design business is forever changed. Due to extreme wait periods, supply and demand is requiring people, including designers, to exercise patience and be more adaptable and flexible in their expectations due to the unpredictability of the market. Howard notes “more anticipation and even better preparation will be needed for the future of design.”
Ware thinks that one of the things the pandemic has taught us is to be more flexible in our thinking as well as in the spaces we create in our homes. When asked about future trends, she says, “I think people seem to be looking at their homes as a safe haven and a place to retreat. I anticipate the return of warmer earth tones and jewel tones, more use of wood and the creation of cozier spaces.”
The ways that our lives and our homes have been influenced by the pandemic are countless. Perhaps the old adage of always expect the unexpected is our new mantra. In the meantime, be well. And live well in whatever way means the most to you!