Our homes changed dramatically during the last 7 months. Before the pandemic, our homes were essentially an escape from daily routine, like a shelter from the outside world. Now the outside world and daily routine are inside our homes.

While I am sure the health crisis will finish, our home’s design will most probably be forever changed by the corona virus. The new lifestyle imposed by the disease brought the need to incorporate cleanliness and materials to avoid the spread, floorplans adapted to provide separate spaces for home-bound activities and bigger focus on personal well-being.

This is actually not the first time our homes are changed because of diseases. Bathrooms for instance, until the middle of the 19th century, used to be decorated with a lot of textiles: heavy drapery and carpet floors. After the Cholera outbreak in London, textiles were perceived to collect germs, so material with impermeable surfaces, such as tiles, became the new norm.

Another example comes from treatment of tuberculosis. At the beginning of the last century, it was proven that sunlight and fresh air helped the patient’s recovery, so first sanatoriums and later residences started being built with larger windows, balcony, bright white paint and more flat surfaces.

So, how will this pandemic change the future of interior design? Here are a couple of hints:

1.-Seek for hygienic surfaces

No surprise here. As in the past, the search for materials that are easier to clean and keep clean has been one of the first manifestations of change in interior architecture.

By simply changing the surfaces we have or coating them with substances that kill bacteria and viruses more quickly, we could be preventing them to get into our bodies.

There are a few materials known for being more sterile than others:

  • Glazed ceramic tiles. Glazed tiles are tiles that received a thin coat of liquified glass over the top of the surface, making them stain resistant and highly sealed.
  • Metals such as copper, brass or bronze. These metals are naturally antimicrobial. Copper, because of its ions, can actually kill 99.9% of bacteria within two hours. Needless to say that besides being hygienic, they are great accents to warm up your home.
  • Quartz. This is one of the hardest non-precious stones on earth, so no wonder it is getting more and more popular, used on countertops. Not only it is hard, it is stain/scratch-resistant, and the most sanitary. If that was not enough, it is beautiful and more affordable than marble.
  • Bamboo, oak and cork wood. These woods also can prevent bacteria and microorganisms from growing. Oak wood for flooring is always a warm solution and bamboo for furniture is also a particular sustainable solution 

2.-Healthier spaces

At the end of the day, it is not only about more efficient surfaces. It is about transforming the entire home into a more hygienic place.

  • Mudrooms and entryways. Besides washing our hands more regularly and the use of masks, pandemic guidelines taught us the habit to take off our shoes and the need to set down items that come in contact with exterior areas. And this new routine leads to the resurgence of entryways and mudrooms that can help to mitigate germs from entering home.
  • No-touch technology. Voice control faucets, doorbells and lights help reduce germs on frequently touched surfaces around the home, not to mention that they may be a really helpful solution in case of sickness and emergencies.
  • Air purifiers, indoor air quality monitoring and new filtration systems for air. Certainly, the air control got into our priority list and all products and systems in this category are seeing a huge development. 

3.- New spaces for new functions

With no previous notice our homes became our “everything place”. Suddenly, our homes have become the place where besides eating, sleeping and resting, we now work, we learn, our kids learn, we connect to the world, we have our social life.

At the beginning of the pandemic, we simply survived. Now it is time to plan our spaces for this new reality.

  • Private spaces: for families this became a desperate need. After so many months gathering around the dining table all day long, families are seeking to carve private or semi-private spaces in their homes: separate kid’s bedrooms, reading and study nooks and overall floor plans with distinct spaces instead of open spaces.
  • Home offices: soon the threat of covid-19 will be gone but this crisis proved to many companies that it is actually possible to work from home and to many of us that home office can be a good and efficient solution. This means that we need to shift from temporary offices, in a corner of the living room, to a designated space, designed for our productivity as separated as possible, to have a clear distinction between working and relaxing hours.
  • Sanctuary-like spaces. Relaxing hours needs particularly relaxing spaces. After a day at the office, homes will need areas that improve our sense of well-being with lots of greenery, calm colors, surrounded by dear memorabilia and comfy furniture. 

4.-Sound control

The need for a more compartmentalized house requires more attention to the sound. At the end of the day, privacy doesn’t just have to be visual, it also needs to be audible.

Sound absorbing solutions such as fabrics, curtains and rugs are becoming more and more welcome in living areas and architectural soundproofing materials such as windows, walls and doors that in the past were mostly considered for commercial projects are becoming more common in residences.

5.- At home entertainment

After weeks of isolation, the idea of home as a “safe harbor” is stronger than ever and we are re discovering the hosting pleasures. Friends and family feel safer in each other homes making house gatherings a secure and comfortable option to socialize again.

This new trend brings 2 main transformations:

  • Outside spaces: patios, balconies and porches are being re designed. Outdoor spaces that were forgotten are being revitalized and heating solutions as well as landscaping projects are in high demand.
  • Thoughtfully designed kitchen: this new reality is letting out the chef that we all have inside. Baking became a family bonding moment and cooking is the new normal causing a revived interest in the kitchen organization and design. I am sure some family members surprised you with their culinary skills.

Hopefully coronavirus crisis will be over soon and while the whole world suffered great losses, the impact it has had to interior design is very positive. Here we are looking at our homes through new eyes, making it even a better place.

Basically, this experience has increased the relationship we have with our homes, making us more thoughtful about our spaces so, cheers to a better home design!


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