The pandemic has changed life as we know it in every way, but especially how we live in our homes. In a short period, the home has become a place to work, exercise, relax, and even attend school. This has been the single biggest influence on design trends this year.
While many people have moved or are beginning to renovate, most of us are simply doing the best with what we have. After all, due to shutdowns, shortages, and demand for design-related services, there really isn’t an alternative. From the reality of COIVD life, to creating as pleasant an environment as possible, here are five ways the pandemic has influenced interior design trends in 2020.
Open Floor Plans Are On The Way Out
Had most homeowners, real estate agents, and interior designers been asked in January if they thought the open concept was here to stay, the answer would likely have been a resounding yes. But if you asked the same group in September, the answer might have been a little different. While open floor plans aren’t falling entirely out of fashion, they’re no longer as practical and desirable as they once were. “[My clients] still want big kitchens that open on to a family room—but home offices, outdoor spaces, and Zoom rooms (or at least a dedicated space for Zoom meetings) are big on wish lists,” interior designer Caitlin Scanlon of Caitlin Scanlon Design tells me.
Gavin Brodin of Brodin Design Build has received similar feedback. His clients have been looking for ways to create luxury upgrades to transform their homes into sanctuaries with amenities like meditation and massage rooms as well as secret gardens. But they want to limit the amount of money they spend on these projects. “During this time, many clients need to stay on a budget, so it’s a challenge to make a space beautiful and stay within a practical budget,” he tells me.
But the pandemic has truly had the biggest impact on those living in smaller spaces such as apartments. “All of the activities that we’re doing at home have kind of changed the game a little bit,” says Home Director of Apartment Therapy, Danielle Blundell. “[We’re] looking to actually have defined spaces again, and some semblance of privacy and compartmentalization for things like working from home, exercising and people being home at the same time and taking calls.”
Blundell has also noticed that when it comes to sectioning off spaces— people are becoming a lot more creative, using everything from divider screens to curtains and partitions to carve out dedicated zones.
Home Offices Are Now Just Offices
While some people have gone back to their regular offices at least part of time, most of us are still working from home, including CEO and founder of Manna Kadar Cosmetics, Manna Kadar. She has no plans to return and wants her employees to remain home as well. “We will eventually get back into the office in the safest way possible, but we have adapted to this new normal and won’t rush into it,” she tells me.
Kadar has also used this time to make a few upgrades to her home office “It’s been important to make my at-home working environment just as beautiful as my office: an aesthetically pleasing clean, private area to focus!”
In addition to rearranging her furniture, Kadar added additional warm neutral elements and plants to the space. She also likes to work with her pets by her side.
Virtual Interior Design Is Booming
Lisa Landers, stylist, and owner of Swirl, a popular southern California clothing boutique chain closed on her new home just as the shutdown was beginning. She needed new furniture and realized that using a virtual interior design service wasn’t just a practical choice, it was essentially her only choice because all the stores were closed.
“Modsy seemed like the next best option,” she tells me. “After submitting multiple photos of our space, links to furniture we already had that we wanted to incorporate, and filling out a thorough design questionnaire, our beautiful plans were submitted to our inbox.”
Landers collaborated with her designer over the phone, as well as online. “We could swap out pieces in the actual plans and see exactly how they would look in our space.”
She ended up incredibly happy with the results. “We loved this experience so much that we would do it again.”
But virtual interior design isn’t limited to using services like Modsy, or it’s major competitor Havenly. Scalon, along with many other independent interior designers is getting plenty of requests for Zoom consultations and e-design services.
Happiness Is A Decorating Choice
It’s not a surprise that many people are trying to create uplifting moods environments in their homes right now. This is especially true when it comes to decor and accessories. “Maybe it’s a wallpaper with a vibrant pattern or a ceramic face that’s sort of a silly, squiggle shape. It’s nostalgia that could be a retro-inspired refrigerator or even a modern quilt. It can be that things can touch every room in the home, and furnishings that just bring you comfort and joy,” says Blundell.
While we’re not exactly saying bye to black, rich pops of color are very much on-trend right now. For example, Scanlon’s clients have requested bolder hues. “After hunkering down looking at the same (mostly white walls) I’m using a lot saturated paint colors—moody for some rooms, bright and uplifting for others. Clients are craving variety in their experience of home!
Retailers including Alix Greenberg, who is the founder of ArtSugar have also noticed an increase in demand for bright, kitschy items. “My customers want things that are happy and uplifting! And I understand this too! Because while we are all stationed at home, there is nothing like a pop of color on your wall to make your day a little brighter.”
During the pandemic, ArtSugar’s top selling products have been their bright and colorful acrylic trays, as well as acrylic mountable smilie faces and gem stone wall art. In addition to that, the Home Sweet Home Cutting Board has also been incredibly popular.
Home Is More Important Than Ever
Being forced to stay at home has made many of us realize just how important interior design really is. “I personally was able to realize how much I could do from home within my own business,” says Landers. “With Amazon, virtual meetings, workouts, and food delivery it really made being at home all the time more palatable and we are willing to invest more into making it our sanctuary because home is not only where the heart is…it’s where everything is now.”