COVID-19 is already having an impact on almost every industry across the globe, and the same can be said for interior design. The way we design, the materials used, and how we furnish spaces will be altered – and we’re letting you know how we see things changing.
The future of interior design will reflect the reality of a world that has been forever changed by the coronavirus, by incorporating cleanliness and materials to help to mitigate the spread of disease, floorplans that provide separate spaces for home-bound activities, and a focus on personal well-being. Interior designers (and homeowners) will begin to embrace a new way of living that means spending more time at home and thus creating a calming refuge from the outside world.
Keep reading to see all the details of how interior design will evolve post-covid (and a brief history of how design has changed after previous pandemics).
A HISTORY OF Healthy Design
Throughout history, our approach to the built environment has changed every time there is a pandemic in the name of minimizing the risk of infectious disease. If you look at a typical home today, you’ll see evidence of how designers and architects have responded to infectious diseases by redesigning our physical spaces.
The biggest change came to bathrooms. They use to be opulent rooms with heavy drapery and carpeted floors (see the photo at left) – until the Sanitary Movement in the mid to late 19th century. Brought on after a Cholera outbreak in London, public health, and the design of homes, became increasingly important. Certain furnishings (like textiles) were perceived to collect germs, so materials with smooth, impervious surfaces (like tile) became the norm. This was also the time when white subway tiles became popular in many commercial spaces. White tiles were installed so workers could immediately spot any dirt or grime, and easily wipe it clean. Today, that classic white subway tile is used by designers in many kitchens and baths.
Designers also embraced new ideas for treating illness. In the 1920s and 30s, Sanitoriums (places to treat tuberculosis) began to be built on the philosophy that sunlight and fresh air would help patients. Thus, modern spaces were created with lots of windows, balconies, bright white paint and flat surfaces that wouldn’t collect dust. These design principles crossed over into residential design (Richard Neutra’s Lovell House) and remain features that are popular in modern design today.
Click here to learn even more about design in the age of pandemics.
ADDING Antibacterial Materials
If you’re doing your part and social distancing from inside your home, you may start to notice small details of your house or apartment you hadn’t thought about before – like how to help keep your home as clean as possible during the coronavirus outbreak. There are few materials that we can use that are more sterile than others, and will be used even more in the future of design.
- Metals such as copper, brasses, and bronzes are natural antimicrobial materials that have intrinsic properties to destroy a wide range of microorganisms. Not only are these metals hygienic, but they are great accents to warm up your home.
- Quartz is one of the hardest non-precious stones on earth, therefore countertops made from quartz are hard, stain and scratch-resistant, and the most sanitary. Quartz is already popular, and that will only increase post Coronavirus.
- Woods like bamboo, oak and cork stop bacteria and microorganisms from growing. We love the look of warm lighter oak woods for flooring, and think this will continue to be a big trend in home design.
Use copper, brass and bronze in faucets, door handles, and cabinet knobs – the places that are frequently touched.
During the quarantine, we’ve been forced to put a space between each other – and the outside world – to prevent spreading the virus. Separate space and rooms designated for different activities, and to help give families some breathing room, will become more and more important in design a home. Here are some of the ways floorplans will be altered going forward.
- A separate “casita” or guest house suite can be useful for isolating someone that may be ill, or to provide more distance and privacy for guests.
- Office spaces and study areas are more necessary than ever. As more of us work (and learn) from home, a dedicated office and space for studying is essential. Many of us quickly had to convert areas and rooms to our own home offices – showing us the importance of a separate space. Homes with multiple areas for getting work done – offices, libraries, and study areas – will be even more popular in design.
- Multiple areas for activities and entertainment, such as home gyms, media rooms, and game rooms will be necessary to keep everyone entertained. During this pandemic, we have found ourselves with a lot of time on our hands, so whether it’s a family game night or a workout, the need for a space for everyone at home has only increased.
Designate an area with a nice background (bookcases, artwork) and good lighting for Zoom meetings.
BRINGING CALM Home
Our living spaces greatly influence our physical health – as well as our emotional state of mind (especially during his time). So it will continue to be important to create environments that stimulate our senses in a good way, improve relaxation, and have health and wellness benefits to the people using them. Here are a few ways of living we see sticking around.
- Bringing in nature will be emphasized in many different ways. From larger windows with views outside and using colors that reflect the natural world. Having lots of greenery in a home is also an obvious and easy stimulant to our overall wellbeing (along with lots of health benefits).
- An increase in organization. Being quarantined at home makes us realize what is really necessary. Clutter can cause anxiety and discomfort – feelings that are more unwanted than ever. Thus organization will be emphasized, through de-cluttering, smart storage, and built-in shelving and spaces for keeping items organized.
- A sense of security and calm will definitely be present in interiors. When the world is full of uncertainty, having a space that feels like an escape from the outside world, with soft and cozy materials, light colors and relaxing vibes, will be a prerequisite of design.
Create a sense of relaxation in any space with an oil-diffuser. Try lavender for a sound sleep in the bedroom and peppermint in the office to stimulate productivity.
Thanks for taking the time to explain this to us, there is going to be such a shift in lifestyles and living, it only makes sense that our spaces reflect that!
There is a call for change in many aspects of our lives and design is one of them! Thanks for reading xx -B
Great tips Bobby. Especially idea of using certain metals for handles ? We’re hoping to renovate our home soon so will keep this article ?
Loving your work and Queer Eye. You guys need to come to the UK x
Love greenery indoors. It changes the energy and the air. ?
Great article! Really helpful during this time.
Thanks for reading and stay safe xx -B
Fascinating article. Thanks. BTW really enjoyed the new season of Queer Eye. You are the best!!!!
Thanks love! Glad you enjoyed our new season too. xx -B
I love your article. Great new concepts. Thank you!
Thanks Bobby for the design inspiration! Can’t wait to have the fab5 do a guest series in India like they did in japan! Would love to nominate my mother ❤️ More power to all of you ❤️❤️❤️
This was fascinating!
Love your work hon, when I won lotto I will hire you to come to Australia and help us out, your work is a true reflection of you, gorgeous 🙂
I love every single home makeover of yours I’ve seen on Queer Eye! I wish I was next! Thanks for more design tips! 🙂 ♥️
Thanks for reading our story! Stay safe xx -B
As a DIY girl I love reading these kinds of articles. I found it really insightful. I like the focus on making the home more productive; yet still being a safe space. Really great content B <3
I’m so glad you enjoyed our story and found it helpful! xx -B
I like the ur of different materials to control spread of viruses
Super interesting. Thank you. Love your work. You are a real inspiration. Xx
Thanks love! xx -B
Eye opening article! With everything going on we have definitely had to/need to make changes in our house with space. My office is now shared with the laundry room, which isn’t ideal, but you are giving me inspiration… Rome wasn’t built in a day!
No time like the present to make changes! Good luck with your space xx -B
It is funny because I am moving apartments right now and the biggest priorities were in unit washer and dryer, an extra room to make into an office, and a larger outdoor patio for a garden. This article is spot on for me.
I just discovered tour website yesterday and I like it very much. Since my partner and I are downsizing next year (from a house to a 915 sq foot apartment), we’ve been spending a lot of time watching and reading Design content during the pandemic, and I have to say that your website is one of the few that not only looks good, but also has useful and up to date information. We’re big QE fans too of course 🙂
Hugs from Guatemala City!
Thanks so much for reading and hope you and your partner are getting settled in your new home. xx -B
thanks for taking the time to do this article, as designers i think we need to keep learning everyday to provide the best options for the people, it’s important to keep adding information to work in the best way possible.
Great article. I began (low budget) redecorating my apartment a few years ago partly due to all the colors impacting my anxiety levels. I opted for a lot of neutral colors, clean lines, closed storage, natural materials, and lower pieces of furniture. I found that in a smaller space tall pieces felt as if they were encroaching on me and might fall in a big earthquake (even with straps). While I don’t have enough space to create a separate closed office, I created an office in the dining room. I did have a dining area set up on one side of my living room, but lockdown made me rethink how my space was working for me. I moved my drop-leaf dining table & stackable dining chairs into the office area, accessible but off to the side. I can use the table in place quickly and easily for my own meals. But let’s face it I generally eat in front of the television, often watching Queer Eye ;). In the future when I feel comfortable having someone over again I can quickly and easily move the dining table into an open area in my living room for a full sit-down dinner. That open area now functions as an exercise area. COVID-19 prompted me to create an herb garden on my balcony. Tending to the plants daily is a grounding and meditative practice. Adding fresh herbs to meals I’m making brings me a lot of joy. I wanted to share this because even in a place you don’t own, without a lot of space, you can always make design improvements that enhance your outlook and well-being.
Thanks for sharing! What you said about design affecting your mind and well being is spot on. I love that you made an herb garden on your balcony too. xx -B
As a designer myself I am really interested in seeing the changes that come to all design- residential and commercial. COVID will definitely be changing how we look at all of the spaces we interact with. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
I quickly devour the 3 articles I found on your website: love how they have a focus on educating people. Biggest fan since season one of Queer Eye. Can’t wait to see more of your work!
Thanks so much Sonia. xx -B
Informative! Thank you for all the great tips! 🙂
Trabalho numa incorporação no Brasil e esse artigo me estimula a compartilhar esses novos conceitos para nossos empreendimentos.
I love your blog. I am from the States but live in SPAIN! We need A QUEER EYE EUROPEAN EDITION (Specifically here since we need to raise more LGBTQ awareness and the QE style to the dated apartments and “palacios” of Seville, Spain!
Love you guys and thanks for these amazing tips during these scary times!
Building a new home, this is all the information I was looking for I one place. If you’re ever back home in MO, stop by, hopefully it will be done!
As an aspiring designer myself, this article was a VERY interesting read. Wonderful ideas on the multiple reasons to use copper, brass bamboo, etc.
I have had recent worries regarding the future of Interior Design after COVID-19, but seeing these examples shows me that we will move on and evolve. I enjoyed the read, thank you!
Thanks for reading! xx -B
This is awesome! So many things we are already doing! Great Reminders. I like the historical back-up as well. Designing with wellness in mind is part of our job! Thank you. Lynda
Thanks for reading and hope the information was helpful! Stay safe and inspired. xx -B
Good clear sense. It will be interesting to also see feedback as to how interior design companies move forward in terms of selling their services. We are currently moving our interior design shop to an online store platform.
Thanks for reading and I hope the story was helpful. Wishing you all the best for your online shop! xx -B
I am also an interior design. I find a lot’s of tips from your article and it’s helps me when I will do interior design for my home. Thanks for everyting.
Thank you so much. I’m teaching Home Interior Design at Beloit Memorial High School in Beloit, Wisconsin and am including a Post Covid-19 Interior Design Unit in January 2021. This information will be so useful!
I live down in New Zealand and my daughter and I started watching (obessively) QE. We love what you guys do for the people you visit but we mostly love your incredible design changes to their spaces. I’m learning SO much. Thank you for sharing your skill. I just wish we could get the products you guys have up there in the States. All the best and Happy New Year. Steph
SO MY HUSBAND & I BOUGHT OUR FIRST SINGLE FAMILY HOUSE AND WE CLOSED IN EARLY OCTOBER 2020 & MOVED IN THAT SAME WEEKEND. HERE IT IS 5+ MONTHS LATER & IT LOOKS LIKE DAY 1, STILL. I NEED HELP TO GET MOTIVATED TO TURN THIS HOUSE INTO OUR DREAM HOME WHICH IS ALSO ON 2.75 ACRES OF LAND SO ALSO NEED OUTSIDE FURNITURE IDEAS, A GARDEN ETC….
OUR BED IS STILL ON THE FLOOR IN LIVING ROOM NOT UPSTAIRS IN THE MASTER BEDROOM.
I know it’s easy to get overwhelmed in a new home. My best advice to start in the room you spend the most time in and focus on a few items. In most cases, that’s the living room. I would get your bed out of that space and start thinking about furniture placement and the larger pieces. Once you have the main pieces, you can move onto the more decorative items. Then I would definitely get your bedroom set up. Find a bed frame that you love and build from there. Waking up to a bedroom you feel good in will do wonders, I promise. xx- B
Great tips Bobby….m surely gonna keep them in mind while renovating my home.Thanks a lot.
Thanks so much for reading! Stay safe and inspired xx -B