We spend a lot of time these days talking about “when things get back to normal.” In the past two weeks alone, I’ve uttered the phrase, “can we just have real life back now?” more times than I can count.
But here’s the thing – normal might not be a thing anymore. The pandemic doesn’t seem like it’s going away any time soon, and even if when it does, there are certain parts of our lives that might change for good.
With that in mind, the way we build, set up, and live in our homes might look very different going forward. And experts have weighed in on the trends they expect to see in home design in the near future.
How We’ll Live
Many families come from diverse cultures that value multi-generational living. But in the wake of Covid-19, that practice has become commonplace among just about everyone. People moving back in with extended family so they can quarantine together and take care of each other is a growing trend. Because of that, architects believe we’ll see an increase in co-housing that will accommodate several generations.
This could look like a tri-plex with grandparents, parents, and children/aunts and uncles all on different floors. It could also look like compounds of two or three houses that share communal outdoor spaces.
The kitchen will continue to be the heart of most houses, especially in light of so much more at-home cooking. In fact, increased kitchen sizes and things like double ovens could pop up more and more.
Specific design aspects within the home will also be tailored toward large families co-existing. These include things like cork walls to help with noise reduction, and both community spaces and isolated areas where people can seek solitude and possibly quarantine away from others when necessary.
There could be much less focus on open floor plans going forward (trying not to cry here), in favor of ways to afford privacy to more people living under one roof.
How We’ll Work
Piggy-backing on that last point, having separate work and play spaces is absolutely essential for families with members who work from home. And one home office just won’t cut it anymore. With the prevalence of Zoom conferences and the need to be free of distractions, private, isolated work spaces are a must.
We’ll also begin seeing a trend toward large communal dining tables that can also function as class instruction tables for homeschooling children.
How We’ll Entertain
Outdoor entertaining has been pretty much the only way to go since the beginning of the pandemic. Personally, I haven’t been inside anyone else’s house since March, though I’ve gathered with friends at parks and in back yards.
I’ve also had friends and family over to hang out in our garage. We made it comfy with some rugs, chairs, games, and little fans for everyone. We kept the door open and grilled in our driveway. We’ve even dreamt of turning the space into a bar.
The garage-as-entertaining-space seems to be a bit of a trend. Several architects have converted existing garages into recreation spaces by adding windows, side-yard access, and plumbing and HVAC systems to make gatherings even more comfortable.
And as the weather continues to get colder, more focus will be on making those outdoor spaces tolerable, including outdoor heaters, heated patio or porch floors, and outdoor kitchen and dining spaces so that people can continue to safely gather with their family and friends.
Spending so much time at home has increased our dependence on technology quite a bit. We rely on it for work, connecting with friends safely, and even recreation.
Architects expect to see an increase in efficient window glazing techniques. This will reduce screen glares and make video presentations more comfortable. We’ll also see a continued rise in the use of smart home technology. Expect to see more smart lights, security cameras, televisions, and outlets.
And digital entertainment and gaming are going absolutely nowhere any time soon. So we might even see a trend in furniture that incorporates aspects of digital media.
A Focus on Well-Being
One of the biggest trends that experts forecast is an emphasis on well-being in our home designs. This means a focus on natural light and air quality through proper ventilation, plenty of outdoor areas to relax in and catch our vitamin D, lots of windows overlooking outdoor spaces, and even splurges like personal saunas and cold-water baths.
And speaking of air quality, architects are continuing to make strides in sustainable and eco-friendly home design. This means focusing on the amount of carbon that a structure emits, using recycled building materials, and replacing lighting, appliances, and heating and cooling sources with more energy efficient options.
So, life might continue to look very different for quite a while. But that could also be the catalyst for some amazing changes in our lifestyles, our health, and the overall well-being of the planet.
Silver linings, right?