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.