“Our home used to be an escape from the daily routine, and now more than ever it has become our shelter from the outside world. Now our home may be more part of our daily routine, too,” Cristina Miguelez, a remodeling specialist for Fixr, a resource for home remodeling projects, said. “As more people are starting to work from home, do homeschooling, exercise at home or even enjoy the holidays at home, we may start having the need to ‘escape from home,’ which may translate into creating new spaces within our houses where we relax, where we work or where we carry out certain activities like exercising or studying. This will allow us to separate our routine from our respite.”
More and better designed spaces for people to gather is a practical fix, especially in kitchens as people cook more at home and involve the whole family, Carla Aston, an interior designer at Aston Design Studio in The Woodlands, Texas, said.
“I have seen requests for rooms for exercise and play at home,” Aston said. “With no access to fitness clubs, more people are wanting a place at home with some equipment to be able to keep up their fitness routines. Children need more space to spread out and play and burn off energy.”
Additionally, bathrooms will become more of a retreat or an oasis for pampering, relaxation and escape, she said.
“People understand they may not be going back to the office, so they need to improve their home office spaces,” Lori Wiles, principal interior designer at Lori Wiles Design in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said.
In addition to improving their virtual backgrounds and adding more light for better visuals, the acoustics in many home offices need to be addressed.
“They don’t want to sound like they’re in a box,” Wiles said.
Easy fixes include adding softer materials like rugs and draperies and “bass traps” to capture sound so deep voices don’t appear to be emanating from an echo chamber, she said.
“In the short term, homeowners will be more likely to create a working space by either converting an existing room into a home office or setting up a little makeshift office in a common area of the home, depending on their house plan,” Miguelez said. “In the long term, however, we may see a rising interest in adding new home offices.”
Over the last few years, the open floor plan has been growing in popularity, but this trend could be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,
“Many people who have kids or other family members living in an open floor plan house found it difficult to work during quarantine because they don’t have spaces to shut down the noise totally,” Miguelez said. “This might change the open floor building trend we’ve been seeing recently.”
People are also paying attention to outdoor spaces like patios and decks where they can get together with others, at a safe distance if needed, or by themselves, Wiles said.
“Outdoor spaces are becoming very real extensions of the home and a much needed place to retreat out of the house,” Aston said. “Outdoor living will definitely be high on the priority list for more usable space without having to add on.”
The quarantine experience may even change the downsizing trend of the last few years because homeowners will desire to have more spaces for these activities, Miguelez said.