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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to reconsider the way we live and build in the future. From the conception of social distancing public parks to a rise in lightweight, temporary architecture, new ideas are swiftly being brought to the fore. As people are confined within their homes now more than ever, a spotlight has been cast upon the way residences can accommodate the demands of this new, unforeseen era.

Many believe that this new reliance on the home will persist after the pandemic subsides. As homes begin to play greater roles in our daily lives, they will need to adapt in order to entertain more activities and services. Based on current trends and concepts that have arisen during the pandemic, we’ve put together a list of ways home design may change following COVID-19.


AD-APT’s “Day Mode” arrangement, configured to provide a generous living and dining space; image via Woods Bagot

1. New Interest in Adaptable Layouts

Our connections to our homes — both physical and mental — have never been greater, and this may persist and even intensify after this pandemic subsides. If this happens, homes will need to accommodate a greater amount of services and functions. Designated spaces for a greater number of specific activities, such as reading, napping, physical activity and entertainment, will be desired.

Hosting a greater array of activity spaces will require a greater degree of flexibility and adaptability. Designers have already begun to explore approaches to this possibility. One being Australian architecture firm, Woods Bagot, whose AD-APT system utilizes adjustable walls and screens in order to transform an open-plan apartment into various dedicated spaces.


Components like folding glass doors offer seamless transitions between the inside and outside; image via Carlos Delgado Architect

2. A Universal Need for Private Outdoor Space

Since the onset of the pandemic, our appreciation of the outdoors and nature seems to have greatly increased. The act of simply going for a walk or sitting in a park has been a monumental source of reprieve. However, in the midst of a lockdown scenario, these activities don’t guarantee safety and aren’t universally accessible.

As a result, the demand for home designers to provide private outdoor spaces for every type of home looks set to increase. It will be up to architects to work out how to integrate the outdoors into even the most compact of homes, experimenting with roof gardens, micro backyards, porches and balconies. People may also seek a closer connection between their living spaces and the natural world, with folding glass doors merging these two zones together. 

“Buried Studio” by Igor Leal imagines a sunken garden office for a home; image via Designboom

3. New Forms of Home Office

With people forced to work from home, many dining room tables have been converted into make-shift home offices. Though getting to work for many no longer requires hastily transferring between busy trains, these new “offices” don’t provide all of the amenities necessary for a productive workspace. However, many are enjoying the flexibility of working from home, so much so that Barclays CEO Jes Staley, predicts that remote working may become the new norm.

If this comes into fruition, there will be a rising need for functional private offices to be an integral part of the home. Some have even conceptualized ways to integrate home offices into private outdoor spaces. Brazilian architect Igor Leal’s “Buried Studio” concept features a workplace designed into the front garden of a residence, allowing one to feel like they’re leaving their house to work.

Transition spaces or mudrooms could be on the rise, with the incorporation of sanitation sections; image via Elle Decor

4. Sanitized Entryways

At a restaurant in Shanghai following the lifting of restrictions in China, customers are sprayed by a disinfectant machine as they enter. A similar concept may arise at residences. In order to keep homes safe and clean, entryways will become clearly defined transitional spaces where one can remove their shoes, hang their jackets and sanitize their hands before entering.

Kitchens will play an even greater role and technology will be an integral part of it; image via Goedeker’s Home Life

5. Smart Kitchen Design

With people more inclined to stay at home, the significance of kitchens within homes has risen as well. According to Epiphany, pantries are going to become more necessary as people aim to make fewer trips to stores. Smart kitchen design will also be more prominent, especially due to the rise of the hands-free mindset. This means more voice-activated technology in the kitchen, controlling things such as lights, faucets and appliances, according to Epiphany.

6. Air Purification Systems

Air quality has been a major focal point throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. People may begin to pay more attention to the air quality within their homes by limiting the amount of unfiltered outside air that comes in. Therefore, we may see a rise in air purification systems, which take in outside air, recondition it and supply it as fresh air to a building. These systems can work in conjunction with regular HVAC to make homes healthier.

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