The global pandemic has changed our lives in innumerable ways, and one of the most fundamental shifts is a big increase in the hours we spend at home. It should be no surprise then that this past year saw a huge increase in home improvements with people seeking to adapt and upgrade their space.
In 2020 over 70% of households reported undertaking a significant home improvement project. Many people reported that their renovations sprung from a combination of available time and being more aware of potential projects to improve their spaces. The pandemic turned our focus towards our homes, and it also gave shape to many home trends that popped up during this difficult and extraordinary time.
In the midst of escalating problems and uncertainties, homeowners sought to bring a sense of calm and refuge to their spaces. Organizing and decluttering became priority projects for many households. Alongside streamlining our possessions, minimalist design aesthetics were on the rise, valuing simple and functional design as well as natural materials.
Soothing light and neutral color palettes were also in style when it came to giving rooms a fresh look. Paint colors that accentuate natural daylight and brighten a space were all the rage, as well as window treatments that easily let in sun. With added hours at home many people also added houseplants to their decor. Plants naturally improve air quality and can create a dramatic accent to nearly any space.
Make It Last
Another shift in home renovation this year is a focus on durability. In many cases, our home furniture, fixtures and appliances that only saw occasional use were suddenly seeing a lot more wear and tear. As a result, consumers began shopping for home goods that could withstand heavy use. In the realm of furniture, demand for superior craft and long-lasting materials outshone cheaper but flimsier options. The same could be seen with appliances and tech upgrades where the trend towards trustworthy craftsmanship and materials prevailed.
Another big change is the way our domestic spaces are being asked to suddenly fill many roles. With the pandemic working, cooking and schooling all became essential in-home functions. To adapt to these many functions without crowding the available space, people turned towards furniture and design trends that could serve multiple purposes. Modular furniture designs allow spaces to fluidly shift from one purpose to the next, along with fold out tables and desks that expand office space during the workday and maximize home space when the day is done. Children’s furniture also underwent changes in consumer interest, with an emphasis on creating study areas and homeschooling arrangements that integrate with the rest of the home space.
The Great Outdoors
With most travel greatly restricted, people also looked to improve the spaces which they did have access to. Many people focused their home improvements on upgrading their yard, patio or other outdoor space. From starting a new garden to installing a pool or outdoor kitchen, there was a clear uptick in taking advantage of outdoor areas.
Outdoor spaces also offered a safer setting for visiting with family and friends during an airborne pandemic, infusing them with fresh importance. People invested in outdoor furniture and activities to adapt to a world where public health awareness is essential.
When making home upgrades, there was a big shift towards “smart” home devices and appliances, in part because it significantly reduces multi-person contact with surfaces. Smart thermostats and lighting can be easily adjusted by app, forgoing buttons and controls that have multiple people using them and are harder to keep clean. While smart devices have steadily been gaining traction in homes, the pandemic pushed their functionality and practicality into the spotlight.
One of the most noticeable trends over the past year has been in surface and material choices. When considering home design, there was a decisive shift to smooth, non-porous and easy to clean surfaces, such as metal, glass, ceramic and polished concrete. Floor surfaces that presented bigger cleaning challenges, such as carpeting, fell in popularity.
Homeowners also turned towards naturally antimicrobial materials, especially copper, bronze and brass, especially when upgrading high-contact fixtures like door knobs and drawer pulls. The end result? Home design that has been subtly altered by the pandemic in a multitude of ways.