Home has taken on a new meaning and importance for all of us since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. As our homes turned into our offices, movie theaters, and Friday night date spots, we started to see where we needed more counter space for food prep or where we needed better lighting to work all day. We realized the importance of a functional and lifestyle-centric approach to home design.
With more businesses updating to remote working options, the need to live within a commutable distance is no longer a factor. Many of our recent clients are now looking to build the ideal home in quieter areas and, often, closer to family. As we've entered the design phase with some of these clients, we also are seeing shifts in their priorities not only on location but also in their design and selections.
While the overall, lasting impact of the pandemic remains to be seen in some areas, with all this time at home, there are some changes to home design that we are already seeing today.
Focus on Air Quality & HVAC
The importance of a healthier home is taking priority for many families, and for good reason. In the last six months, our concerns over our health and our family's health are top of mind, perhaps more than ever before. A healthier home starts with cleaner air, and indoor air quality is taking on a bigger role in home design. High-performance HVAC systems coupled with a tightly sealed thermal envelope prevent allergens, viruses, mold, and pollutants from entering and circulating through the home. Selecting materials, finishes, and paints that are not made with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that stay in the air and can irritate your lungs, eyes, and skin is also more common.
Antimicrobial & Touchless Finishes
No-VOC materials are not the only materials seeing a rise in popularity. More homeowners are also asking about antimicrobial and touchless finishes for high-touch and high-traffic areas of their homes. Non-porous materials such as quartz countertops and brass fixtures have been on-trend for kitchens and bathrooms for the last year. More than just their aesthetics and durability, the antimicrobial properties of these finishes will make them even more popular choices as people look for ways to make their homes a healthier place for their family. Handwashing has always been important and accommodating proper handwashing through instant/tankless water heaters and touchless faucets is something we will be seeing more of in the years to come.
Nature Inspired Colors & Materials
Bringing the calming influence of nature indoors is another lasting impact we will see as people start focusing on making their homes a place of comfort and calm. Even before the pandemic, studies have shown repeatedly that being in nature has a positive impact on our psychology and physiology. Look for the word 'biophilia,' which means the urge we have to draw on nature, to come up more in interior design and decorating discussions. One of the easiest ways to start developing a room's design is with paint, and most of the top-selling paint colors today are ones that mimic natural tones. Beyond that, woods with a more raw or reclaimed look and rough-cut stones are being used in architectural and interior design to bring more nature-inspired beauty indoors.
Outdoor Living is a New Priority
Extending your home's living space beyond the studs with outdoor kitchens and covered patios has always been a popular 'nice-to-have' for many homeowners. In an age of social distancing, luxury outdoor living spaces have moved up on the priorities list for many homeowners. Many homeowners also see outdoor living as essential to expanding their current living space and allowing them to spend more time in a natural environment.
More Walls & Doors in Floorplans
Finally, while floorplans are being designed to flow into outdoor spaces and create larger, more natural living spaces, we are also seeing a change to floorplans to create more distinct areas for family members to work, study, or just get some quiet time for themselves. While an open plan that creates larger spaces for families to gather is not going away any time soon, we are seeing the addition of flexible spaces that can be used as a home office today and an art studio tomorrow. These closed-door spaces are becoming more essential as remote working is taking priority in many companies.
With so many changes to the work and family dynamic, we are sure to see more changes that will have lasting impacts on the way we design our homes. If you're ready to start living in a home you'll never want to leave, contact our expert custom home building team to learn about your options for building your next home.