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As we isolate and spend more time in our homes, we become more conscious of how interior spaces impact our ability to work, our mood and our physical comfort. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, people spend more than 90% of their time inside their homes – where they shop, where they work, where they go to school – and people aren’t the only ones living there. Germs and pathogens are there as well. The recent pandemic has made us stay indoors even more and raised questions about our capacity to keep ourselves safe among possible pathogens, like the novel COVID-19.

Now interior designers firmly believe that the current pandemic will impact the way we design our space in the future. People will design their homes and their commercial and public spaces with greater awareness of personal safety concerns.

What is COVID-19 teaching us about interior design?

What the pandemic is teaching us about interior design matter more than you might think. From retail spaces, workspaces, classrooms, hospitals and hotels- people are now having important conversations across every industry about how interiors can be redesigned to protect our welfare, safety and health better.

Simple things that we took for granted some time ago- like sitting next to someone at a meeting, using the microwave and touching the refrigerator door in the breakroom kitchen or sharing a pen – are suddenly front and centre in the dialogue about how to make home interiors safer for everyone in a post-pandemic world.

Social distancing is now playing an important role in protecting health as the virus can be easily transmitted from one person to another. But the virus can also be transmitted through everyday objects, mainly from high-touch surfaces such as door handles and light switches. For this reason, the design of these everyday objects, as well as the routines used to clean them matter so much, and why the pandemic is changing everything about how we built our interiors.

The Rise of Antibacterial Materials 

After facing social distancing inside their homes, increasingly more people are now starting to notice small details of their own apartments or houses they hadn’t thought about before – like for instance how to keep their homes as tidy as possible during the pandemic outbreak. Luckily for us, there are a few materials that are known to be more sterile than others and expected to be used even more in the future of design.

  • Metals such as brasses, copper and bronzes. These metals are known to possess antibacterial traits with intrinsic properties to destroy wide range microorganisms. Not only are these materials hygienic, but they are great accents to light up your home. 

  • Quartz is one of the toughest non-precious stones on the planet, therefore countertops made 100% from quartz are hard, scratch and stain-resistant, and the most sanitary. Quartz is already pretty popular and will continue to be so after Coronavirus.

  • Woods like oak, bamboo and cork stop microorganisms and bacteria from growing. The warm lighter oak is perfect for flooring as it’s visually appealing and will continue to be a hot trend among interior designers.

Increased Need for Separated Places 

During social distancing, we are forced to create room between each other – and the outside world – to prevent the spreading of the COVIID-19. Separate rooms and space designated for various activities, and to help give families and remote workers some breathing room, will become even more important in home design.

  • A separate guest house suite can be helpful for isolating someone that may have the virus or offer more room and privacy for tenants.

  • Study areas and office spaces are more necessary than ever. Since more of us learn and work from home, a dedicated office for working is essential. Many of us quickly had to convert rooms and areas, replace windows and doors to our own home office- showing us the importance of separate space.

But homes with numerous areas for getting things done – offices, study areas, and libraries – will become even more popular elements in interior design.

  • Multiple areas for activities and entertainment, such as media rooms, home gyms, and game rooms, will be more than essential to keep everyone in a good mood. During the lockdown, we found ourselves with plenty of time on our hands, so whether it’s a workout or a family game night, the need for a space for everyone in the household has only amplified.

Environments that Stimulate Senses and Improve Relaxation 

It goes without saying that our living spaces greatly influence our mental and physical health as well, especially during this time. With that said, it will continue to be important to develop an environment that stimulates our senses in a good way, boosts relaxation and has health and wellness benefits to those using it. Here are some of the few ways of living we witness sticking around.

  • An increase in organization. Quarantine at home has made people realize what really matters. For instance, it’s known that clutter causes anxiety and discomfort – feelings that are most of the time undesired. Thus, organization will be emphasized through smart storage, decluttering and build-in shelving and spaced for keeping everything in place.

  • A sense of calm and security will definitely be emphasized in interiors. When everything seems uncertain, having space where you can feel safe and calm, with light colours, soft and cosy materials and relaxing vibes, will be a requirement of design. Bringing in nature will be emphasized in so many different ways. Starting from large windows with amazing views and using colours that reflect the natural world. Having plenty of greenery indoors is also a noticeable and easy stimulant to our day to day life and our wellbeing.

Although the pandemic is something very new for many of us, the industry of interior design has a lot of experience dealing with threats from other coronaviruses. They aren’t starting from scratch, and the solutions they plan to implement aren’t even that novel.

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