Pandemic drives change in design habits

For over a year, the coronavirus has forced many people to develop new patterns of behavior in all facets of their lives. Months of quarantine have given people a chance to really look at their lives and their homes.

Dawn Brinson, vice president of strategic marketing for The Media Matters, studied how homeowners are adjusting to new design and buying habits due to COVID-19.

Brinson led a specific webinar on this topic at the Las Vegas Market at the World Market Center in April. The Las Vegas Market is the primary home furnishings and gift market in the western United States

“We’re seeing these new behaviors and ways of doing things unfold and develop further,” she said. “What we need to do is integrate these new behaviors into our everyday life.

“From the data that I have studied with anthropologists, psychologists, sociologists and data analysts, we haven’t seen this kind of change in years. It’s a generational thing. We have to learn as we go and recalibrate our lives in so many ways.

Homeowners are eager to be more exuberant when the pandemic is over, Brinson says, and they want to spend money on their home. Houses will always be a type of cocoon but with more open and social spacing.

“Homeowners are falling in love with their home once again and making decisions to make it even more personal and comfortable,” she said. “They embrace what a house is. We are finding that homeowners are staying in their homes longer and this is fueling a renovation and redesign boom.

“Home, more than ever, must be secure and be a haven of peace where family and friends can come together. It opened up a whole new world for interior designers and landscapers.

One area that has become a focal point is the back yard. Outdoor living has become an integral part of the upgrades as owners seek to adjust to a lifestyle that more connects them to nature.

This includes the construction or improvement of decks, porches, swimming pools, patios and outdoor kitchens. The outdoor kitchen is popular because it eliminates the need to go back and forth between the grill and the house, and outdoor dining is refreshing and fun.

The kitchen, bedrooms and home fitness center are also given special attention in the house.

“The kitchen is so important because families come together there, and it’s also a bit of an entertainment hub,” said Brinson.

“Home fitness centers are popular now, and it’s not just in the garage where the treadmill has always been sitting,” she continued. “Due to the coronavirus, fitness has become an integral part of one’s daily routine and owners dedicate a room or part of the house to this fitness space.”

Brinson said the fitness room can also be a quiet space, but that quiet space is more often found in the master bedroom.

“There has been a lot of noise over the past year, and the house is perfectly suited to handle that noise,” she said. “The quiet space can be used for reading or meditating or listening to your favorite music. People need to get away from all the everyday noise and sometimes you just want to sit in a completely quiet place.

“The dedicated quiet space can also become a home entertainment space for audiovisual or family art and games. It all becomes a personal choice or an expression to design the room that fits the needs and wants of the family. It is an expansion of attitudes and a change in the way we have lived over the past year.

The past year has also influenced what people want to see in the overall design of the house. They want to renovate with equipment that will make the house more bearable, starting with additional bathrooms. Hand washing is a constant these days, and even a powder room or just a sink near the entrance to a house can become pretty standard.

Larger, more spacious pantries or shelves for storing non-perishable items are all the rage in the new home design. The storage space can be in the kitchen or the garage. And there’s even a trend for the old-fashioned chest freezers that were once in the garage, but are now popular because they expand a family’s food inventory and reduce trips to the grocery store.

Finally, there is the home office that has received the most attention. The return to work is still unknown and the home office should be comfortable and functional. This means better lighting and more storage.

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