“Home is where the heart is,” goes an old and familiar saying. The phrase has taken on a new meaning in the aftermath of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Globally, billions of people have been forced to shelter-in-place or quarantine at home.
With offices and commercial establishments also shut since March, remote working or work-from-home (WFH) has become the new norm. Due to the uncertainty on when the pandemic will end, corporate offices have transitioned to a long-term WFH policy which will require people to spend nearly all their time at home.
The last few months have also reinforced the focus on health, both physical and mental. On the physical side, people have become meticulous about sanitation and hygiene to eliminate the risk of coronavirus infections.
Due to social distancing, people have been mostly living in isolation. Loneliness and a resulting increase in stress levels have adversely impacted mental health. People will pull all stops to make their homes comfortable, functional and aesthetically appealing to accommodate this new way of living.
Here are some home decorating and designing styles which will be redefined as a result of the coronavirus pandemic:
- Re imagining homes as multi functional spaces
The coronavirus pandemic has changed how we live. Various rooms in our homes now function as gyms/yoga studios, offices, classrooms, play areas, prayer areas and much more.
Homes have now become multifunctional spaces, and this will dictate in their overall design and the selection of furniture. People may prefer buying multi functional furniture which is both practical and space-saving. Ostentation will give way to pragmatism as far as home designs are concerned.
- Creating practical and comfortable home offices
A trend whose popularity is expected to surge is the setting up of practical and comfortable home offices. Many companies have put in place WFH policies for the remainder of 2020, with some large companies even mandating permanent WFH for certain staff categories.
Remote working necessitates virtual meetings and conference calls which, in turn, needs private space without ambient noise, proper lighting, charging points and comfortable furniture. People living in smaller spaces will experiment with flexible, multi-functional furniture which is space-saving yet comfortable.
- Maximizing the utility of kitchens
With restaurants and eateries being shut since March, people have been cooking at home. In fact, many have taken up cooking as a new hobby. The frequency of trips to grocers has reduced considerably, and people prefer stocking up on food and essentials instead of making frequent trips outside.
The new-found fascination with cooking has also meant an increase in appliances such as ovens, grills, dishwashers and coffee machines in the kitchen. All these factors will lead to a renewed focus on maximizing the utility of kitchens and increasing storage space for food and essentials.
- Making homes positive and welcoming
Isolation/quarantine has eliminated all social contact with the outside world, and people have seen a spike in psychological issues and mood swings. Amidst this turbulence, everyone wants optimism in their lives, and this can be achieved by increasing positive vibes and making homes welcoming spaces.
Warm, soothing colours will become popular, as will mood lighting and the use of plants. De-cluttering will become an important concept and people will start preferring minimalistic living. As an after-effect of the pandemic, homes will also become well-ventilated spaces with good air circulation and sunlight.
- Incorporating smart technology features
Apprehensions regarding the spread of germs, viruses and infections will influence people’s decisions to incorporate smart technology features in their homes. The popularity of no-touch or voice-operated fittings, heat sensors and timers will increase not only in rooms but also in bathrooms/toilets (faucets, lights) and external home areas (front doorbell, porch lights).
The use of automation technology in toilets/bathrooms is particularly important due to a higher frequency of washing hands to eliminate the risk of infection.
- Increasing use of antimicrobial materials
The focus on keeping surfaces contamination-free is likely to bring about resurgence in the popularity of antimicrobial fabrics, materials and surfaces. Cork flooring is both antimicrobial and water-resistant; it also absorbs sound, which makes it a preferred flooring option.
Among metals, copper and brass are known for their antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which may see their increasing use in doorknobs, door handles, drawer handles and faucets. Other home surfaces will also see the use of easily-cleanable materials and fabrics.
The coronavirus pandemic has altered our lives in ways we could not have imagined even a few months ago. ‘New normal’ has become the most common catchphrase to describe what life will look like in future.
There is a high likelihood that people will continue preferring the safety of their homes even after lockdown restrictions have been eased. This will result in a re-imagination of home design and decorating styles to make living spaces healthy and positive without compromising on aesthetics and functionality.