By Don Ricardo Massenburg, DESiGN iNKREDiBLE LLC
Photos by John Black of Seawell Black
Millions love The Property Brothers and HGTV, but it seems that COVID-19 has now become the largest influencer of home design trends. While stay-at-home orders took place around the world, a house became way more than just a home. The home is now an office, school, gym, and much more. The pandemic has left a substantial mark on home design and has changed the way homeowners want to live. This has come as no surprise because many design features in homes today, such as the powder room or half bath near the front door, originated or became popular because of efforts to prevent or slow the spread of illness during the early 20th Century flu pandemic.
Now, many are reexamining the function of the home as once popular design elements have become less workable. As homes are playing greater roles in daily living, they will need to adapt in order to accommodate more activities and services. The hustle and bustle outside of the home has commenced as we have started to emerge; however, the new reliance on the home will surely persist after the pandemic subsides and this experience will absolutely have implications for how homes will be designed going forward. Let’s talk about the must-haves of a post-pandemic dream house!
Entryways and mudrooms go from a nice option to a necessity. Entryways will become clearly defined transitional spaces that will allow for the removal and storage of shoes and outerwear immediately upon entrance and the ability to wash or sanitize hands. Some homeowners are even requesting a laundry room near the high traffic entrance that will allow clothing and masks to be placed directly into the washing machine before entering the house.
The Great Division
Walls and doors are back! The open floor plan will be reimagined as the demand for personal space has grown significantly. Homeowners want more rooms, walls, doors, and more privacy. Well celebrated for its entertainment value, the ever popular open-concept floor plan will be done in a method that will give dwellers the best of both worlds, an allowance for privacy, while still offering openness. Homes now need to be separated into more defined quiet and noisy zones for entertainment, learning, and relaxation.
Getting Down To Business
Home offices have become coveted real estate. Families cramped together around a kitchen table or sharing a desk for work and online learning isn’t sustainable for productivity. Now, more than ever home builders and interior designers are being asked to carve out designated workspaces. Many new homes will be built with private home offices that allow for proper seating, work surfaces, lighting, noise reduction, and temperature control. In homes undergoing renovations, we will see built-in desks, sectioned off alcoves, and other areas converted into workstations. Some homeowners are transforming the rarely used formal areas such as a formal dining room or an occasional sitting area into a functional home office. The home as a workspace has become the new norm. Whether reconfiguring existing spaces or adding new square footage, a designated work from home area will surely be in the plans.
Mixing it Up
One room, multiple purposes! Home buyers are seeking adaptable spaces that can be easily converted. Mixed-use or multipurpose areas are a must. Homes will need designated spaces for a greater number of specific activities, such as reading, napping, physical activity and entertainment. Garages for instance, are being planned and built for easy conversion to recreation rooms. Builders are adding windows, easier connection or flow to other parts of the home and installing fixtures that will allow future plumbing and HVAC capabilities. What 3-4 functions can this room serve? That is the burning question!
COVID-19 influenced a deeper emphasis on health and wellness at home. The design build industry has incorporated home elements that help to focus on improving health, the mind and well-being. Do home building, renovations, and wellness have anything in common? Absolutely! The house has a major impact on your health and well-being. From the materials chosen to build with, to the layout and flow of the spaces, to the placement of windows, and even the lighting plays a factor in health, happiness, and longevity. This focus on well-being has also increased the awareness of a needed space within the home to disconnect. Introducing the wellness room! Homeowners are looking for a simple place where they can destress. These are spaces designed with mental health in mind. The wellness room is often intended to provide a break from technology, and invite everything from yoga, sound therapy, meditation to massage. The goal is to create a welcoming, comfortable retreat that allows you to escape and unwind while at home.
Out and About
It’s a fact that outdoor living and recreation spaces can help calm cabin fever so it’s no surprise that dwellers are expanding the use of their outdoor areas at home. Creating an outdoor entertaining space has become much more than simply growing a pretty garden, but more of a health necessity. It seems as if the backyard has become the new family room, especially after a pandemic. Builders are adding outdoor amenities to homes as the owners seek to host small gatherings, movie nights, and even family camping. They want to create an actual living space outdoors that truly brings the cozy feeling of the indoors onto the deck or patio. With this, we are seeing a demand for outdoor kitchens, the installation of heaters, outdoor fireplaces, heated floors on porches, and other features such as firepits. Need additional living space? It could be right there in the backyard.
After a full year of staying at home, it comes as no surprise that home design trends are leaning toward an emphasis on function, health, and adaptability like never before. It may be that things will not return to the way they were and that’s certainly not a bad thing. The pandemic has forced us to reconsider the way we live and build in the future. The need for well-designed, healthy homes that work well for the entire family has and always will be essential.
Recognized for his use of lush layered bedding and sumptuous textiles in home décor, Don Ricardo Massenburg Jr. is the creative force behind DESiGN iNKREDiBLE LLC, a sought-after interior design company based in Durham, North Carolina. Don Ricardo’s portfolio of bright bold interior projects can be seen at www.designinkredible.com and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter @designinkredible.