Our daily lives have never changed so drastically in such a short space of time and it’s all because of lockdown. Working from home has become the new norm and as a designer, I’ve been thinking about how that’s going to impact our living spaces in the long run. Here’s what I think our homes will look like in a world post-lockdown.
More with Less - multifunctional spaces & furniture
Our homes have become multifunctional places of work, exercise, weekend zoom raves and even schooling for those of us with kids. It’s a lot to expect from one space, as well as sharing it with other people 24/7.
Most people will be looking to create more space out of what they have by reorganising furniture and rethinking spaces. Dining tables become desks, kitchen islands become workstations and chairs turn into workout benches. The flexibility of your home will come down to changing how you use your homewares & a rise in the need for multifunctional decor pieces.
WFHP (Working from home-proof)
An ergonomic desk chair, a meeting room, double work screens, tea & coffee breaks - does this sound like your long-forgotten office? People are now expecting the same from their homes.
My partner and I started off in the same open-plan living area, but with his constant calls and my hourly teas and coffees, the novelty of being co-workers soon took a sharp nose dive.
So we moved the foldable dining table along with an old cane chair into the bedroom where he set up his office with a new monitor, keyboard and mouse. I’ve settled for hot-desking around the kitchen and haven’t needed much else besides a new pair of headphones to help me focus.
I see home offices of any variety becoming a permanent fixture of all our homes, providing comfortable and focused places to get in the zone.
Living in London has its ups and downs, with private outdoor space being a valuable commodity, increasing the price of a property on average by 10%.
I’ve never really understood the value of that until now. When buying our current place, we decided outdoor space was a must-have and the roof terrace has come into its own over the last few weeks. The endless weekends stuck inside have been made a whole lot sweeter with lazy days in the sun ending with a BBQ.
Isolation has made us all realise how important it is for our wellbeing to spend time outside. I can see a change in priorities for buyers who will be less willing to compromise when it comes to that little balcony or patch of grass that passes as a garden in London.
Three meals a day at home and all the snacks in between really requires a well organised kitchen, and a lot of storage space. I’ve never seen my fridge and cupboards so full, especially in the early weeks of lockdown (I know you were panic buying those bags of pasta too).
As WFH becomes a more viable option for a lot of us long term, people will be cooking at home for themselves and their families more often, requiring more pantry space & perhaps a second fridge too.
I think this will fuel the trend of needing ample kitchen space. While we used to put up with a kitchenette just to get a flat in a more central location, priorities are shifting and we’ll place more importance on having more space to enjoy spending time baking & cooking at home.
Death to open-plan living?
The most popular trend in interior design has to be open-plan living, and usually I’m all for it. I did exactly that in my current home, with no doors from the entry all the way up to the roof terrace.
But all this time at home sharing an open space with everyone else 24/7 has really made me rethink the need for divided zones. I think moving towards a Japanese model of living is the solution here, with moveable walls - whether that's with pieces of furniture, curtains or sliding doors - this will allow you to create space or privacy when you need it. Allowing you to keep the open space so you can all still gather as a family without feeling on top of each other, along with the flexibility to than divide the room when needed.
Energy consumption & sustainable living
If there’s one benefit lockdown has had, it’s the ease on the planet. From air pollution in China lifting after factory closures to increased sightings of turtles in areas that long were deemed uninhabitable, we’re finally allowing our planet to breathe again.
While the shift in consumption had dropped in some areas, it’s increased drastically in others. At home, we’re consuming more energy than ever - it’s draining our resources and our wallets. This calls for a switch to green energy suppliers, not running the tap while brushing our teeth and turning lights off when we leave rooms. These are small habits that make a big difference and can help us hold on to the positive impact we’ve had on our planet lately.
I think more people will strive towards a greener home, designing spaces with a passivhaus mindset for the better of the world and our wallets.
Keeping it local
Travel restrictions have forced us all to think a little more locally about where we shop. It’s harboured a real appreciation for all things homegrown and I think that trend is here to stay. We’ll opt for bikes over public transport and the local bakery over Sainsbury’s baked goods aisle. Just like our habits around energy consumption, these changes will have a stellar impact on the planet and give us a little more breathing room in our day-to-lives too.
Smarter homes & better telecommunications
Fast reliable internet at home has never been needed more. Aside from the improved productivity, fast internet will also let us watch even more box-sets than we already do with ease. It’s a win-win really.
Alexa - what’s the temperature today? Not that you really need to know because you ain’t going anywhere, but Alexa is part of the family now. From announcing deliveries to giving us a morning news roundup, she really can do it all and I’ve really appreciated her extra help around the house. I think even more people will be investing in these devices too!
“Just B&Q it”
With social distancing measures in place, we’ve had to roll up our sleeves and flex our DIY home improvement skills. Whether out of sheer boredom or an actual need to build that storage unit you bought months ago, we’ve all been getting more creative at home. I’ve always been a fan of DIY projects and quarantine has been no different for me - check out this outdoor seating area I put together! I can see more and more people getting confident doing things like this at home and being resourceful where they can, whether it’s growing veg at home, knitting or baking your own bread.