I really enjoyed speaking with BBC Radio Cumbria about the way that lockdown has affected how we view the design of our homes.
Press play below to listen to the full interview.
It really got me thinking about homes serving as temporary workplaces, schools, and gyms, and how we’ve all begun to think about what makes us happy, what makes us comfortable, and what is important for us in our home.
The new normal will see many more of us needing permanent and flexible home-working, exercise and schooling areas, in energy-efficient properties and with outside space being a must.
So what might the long-term influence of the pandemic be on interior design?
There’ll be more multifunctional spaces
It’s crucial for homes to be designed for multiple uses, as more of our daily activities now take place there. Moving forward and designing with this in mind, I predict clever joinery will be used to create rooms that are easy to rearrange depending on the time of day.
Smart and aesthetically pleasing bespoke furniture will always improve our way of living and can be used to transform a room for different functions. For example, a fixed-frame bed in a spare bedroom can be replaced with a bed that seamlessly folds away to become a study area.
Home gyms with equipment such as bikes, dumb bells and mats now need a dedicated space – with smart storage options so you can hide them away when not in use.
Children’s bedrooms ideally need to incorporate a play area, considered storage and a sleeping solution.
A poorly used living or dining room can be given new life with a different configuration and a flexible desk space for remote working, which can be tidied away when not in use.
We will start to see the incorporation of desks and workspaces into bedrooms and living rooms as part of the norm. Even those who continue to work in an office are likely to have more flexibility to engage in remote working patterns.
Kitchens will become the hub of the home
The kitchen is the part of the house where we have spent the most time during lockdown. Many people have taken advantage of the free time we have had during the pandemic to cook and bake. As restaurants closed, the joy of eating out was no longer an option.
The kitchen has become the central focus of the house, allowing us to experience the warmth of home cooking and I’m predicting that this trend is here to stay.
Kitchens are a place to socialise, work and relax, so moving forward I believe people will aim to create a kitchen for all purposes. A welcoming environment that you can share with your family and friends can have a real positive impact on our mental health too.
And of course, having a fully functional and well-designed kitchen that you love, where all aspects of design have been ticked off, is sure to make your day that extra bit easier and better.
We’ll appreciate the importance and impact of natural light
Your home is a sanctuary but one aspect that people have started to find lacking is natural light. Bringing more light into your property will create a fresh and healthy ambience.
Having a room that is connected to the garden is a winner at any time of year, allowing spirit-lifting views of nature throughout the seasons. Improving views into your garden creates a closer connection with nature, which provides beneficial and restorative effects.
An easy way to allow more natural light to flood into your home is through larger glazing options. Replacing the door at the back of your property with full-width bi-folding doors allows a whole wall of light to enter the home.
Glazing can also be added to your interior space, partitioning off areas and creating that separation between zones whilst still allowing light to enter the room beyond. This allows the eye to continue beyond the space.
Extending your kitchen and introducing large-format glazed, pivot or sliding doors will add more light to both your new and existing spaces. Simply enlarging a traditional small window, or by adding a projecting window with a reading seat, will similarly create a positive impact.
Hallways will have greater appeal
As awareness for how we bring germs into our homes rises, the change in the way we design our homes could start from the very entrance.
We will all want an area where we can store goods on delivery, that can then be safely taken to a utility room or space to be disinfected.
People may rethink entryways, with mudrooms or utility rooms and larger porches becoming the new norm. Closed off from the rest of the house, these spaces will allow us to remove and store outerwear, leaving germs at the door.
Antimicrobial materials will feature more
As we become more aware of how germs live on the objects we regularly touch, a trend towards materials with natural antimicrobial properties is also expected.
These are an agent which kills microorganisms or stops their growth. In the kitchen and bathroom, we could begin to see copper, brass or bronze fixtures replacing their stainless steel counterparts.
Small changes can make a big difference
Smaller changes like giving your space a furnishing upgrade, painting or adding textured wall paper to walls, or simply placing a colourful rug under the coffee table make a big difference. When all elements work together, a design feels more complete.
Making a calming almost ethereal space to switch off for a relaxing night’s rest is very important. Aspects like lighting, a good bed, and a built-in wardrobe to hide away all your clutter are key. The layout and design of your bedroom, and how you feel in your bedroom, can have a huge impact on your night’s sleep.
Garden offices might become your next big home investment
How about a space separated from the main home? Somewhere that provides peace and quiet, and time to concentrate away from the distractions of the household and its tasks.
The experience of lockdown will, no doubt, have a lasting effect on us all. And many will be rethinking the kind of life they want to live post-pandemic.
With a new perspective on our homes, now is the ideal time to rethink your design and use it to enhance your wellbeing. That could mean creating more space for family activities, a private space to work, or a stress-free cooking station.
Cedar Cabin, Out of the Valley http://www.outofthevalley.co.uk/