It’s no secret that COVID-19 has had a dramatic effect on every aspect of life. From how we think about dining out to simple acts like shaking hands, we can’t help but be changed by the 2020 pandemic. Even how we use our homes is beginning to be affected in ways we could not predict. This is not all bad news, though. Now more than ever, we are thinking about ways to change our homes to better reflect not only the life we have but also how we want to live in the future. If you are thinking about building (or remodeling) in 2021, here are nine positive trends from COVID-19 to consider.
1. Deeper look at how we use our homes
One positive construction trend for 2021 is more consideration into how we use our homes. While we still need a comfortable space to relax and rest, now we are finding creative ways to use our space for other activities. Work, online schooling, creative hobbies, and exercise have all come home in 2020.
Even with the challenges that working and schooling from home presents, this increased consideration gives us the opportunity to better utilize the space we do have. Now we are thinking in terms of quiet spaces for alone time as well as comfortable areas for the family to safely gather. This also means looking at so-called “blended spaces”—places where multiple activities can happen in their own zone.
The kinds of homes we are buying (and how we are remodeling them) is changing, too. There is still a move towards wide-open common spaces, but with adjacent areas for quiet, with a door that shuts and a window that opens to the outside. This allows all family members to be home, with options for community and privacy just a few steps away.
Even still, some families are opting for the large table to meet together for schooling or socializing at the end of the day. The positive trend in 2021 is really thinking about the ways in which you use your home, and making it work for you and your family.
2. More thoughtful and luxurious home offices
Good news for cubicle workers or people stuck in the tiny, windowless office at the end of the hall near the copy machine: moving to remote work in 2020 meant many of our offices could get a big upgrade.
Not only do we have an opportunity to use luxury materials that better suit our tastes, but we can also reconfigure how we work. If remote work means two adults working at home, a more thoughtful design is possible. This may mean flexible workspaces and storage options to help everyone be more productive. Built-in options with design elements that reflect your personal taste (and lots of storage) will be popular as we move into 2021.
With more people working remotely, we are also looking at big changes in home technology and systems that help us better communicate and collaborate with co-workers. Think Wi-Fi broadcasters and ethernet outlets in every working room.
3. Seamless movement between indoors and out
With the limits to gathering indoors, COVID-19 has sent many people outside for prolonged periods of time to spend time with friends and extended family. This indoor/outdoor movement is magnified in our homes, where we crave comfortable seating and places to meet outside and natural, light-filled indoor spaces.
This is a good time to think about large doors that open wide to an outdoor space and reconstructing outdoor spaces to function as rooms. Look for more natural elements incorporated into designs, as well as homes that easily open to let more of the outside in!
4. Better partnerships with contractors and building professionals
Technology will make starting and carrying out your remodel or new construction even easier (and safer) in 2021. Contractors have started implementing seamless systems to help with scheduling and regular communications with their clients. These convenient, contactless tools assist with everything from a brand-new construction to a kitchen remodel.
At MLM Incorporated, we’ve always used streamlined technology to make scheduling jobs and making payments easier. Our app gives you access to everything about your job, from the initial schedule and expenses to a daily log of our progress.
5. Upgrades to the health of the home (and your health, too!)
You wash your hands, wear your mask, and keep your distance from people outside of your pod, but how are the lungs of your home?
A positive trend for 2021 is that people are starting to focus more on indoor air quality, looking to update their outdated home ventilation systems. This might mean replacing your HVAC, or it might mean a whole-house ventilation system upgrade that brings fresh air in from outside.
Other positive trends in 2021 is using antibacterial materials (e.g., cork and copper) and lighting that actually disinfects the surfaces it touches.
6. An emphasis on green, sustainable building materials
Green and sustainable building materials have been steadily increasing in popularity for the past decade, and that won’t slow in 2021. Homeowners are looking for ways to decrease their environmental impact, become more self-sustaining, and design homes that work with their climate, not against it.
For new construction, this includes things like considering how your house is oriented to maximize heating and cooling. It also utilizes the principles of universal design and focuses on sustainable building materials.
Other things to consider in 2021 as we remodel or build new are how the materials we choose affect our daily life. Cork walls are a green product that reduces noise between rooms, for example, allowing everyone to work undisturbed. Special window glazing that reduces glare on laptops and other screens protect our eyes as we spend our days working.
These green building practices also extend to bio-design that works with the natural landscape, smart home technology that makes your home more energy-efficient, and better choices in your initial home design to maximize the use of space in a minimal footprint.
7. A more comfortable home
Now that our homes have become where we work, play, rest, and recharge, 2021 is the year of comfort and nesting. While 2020 focused on getting used to this “new normal,” 2021 is really looking to embrace what our homes have to offer.
Maybe now’s the time to upgrade your master bath for spa days. You could expand your bedroom with places to lounge or add other details to ease you comfortably through your days. Think also about heated floors, outdoor heating systems and kitchens for chilly nights outside, or extending porches and patios to accommodate more people for socially-distant gatherings.
Color, fabrics, and building materials are changing to make way for comfort, too. Many designers are noting an emphasis on natural materials (stone and wood) and colors (darks greens and terra cotta) in 2021. These nature-based materials will likely spill over into 2021, supporting 2020’s obsession with houseplants and nature walks.
In 2021, we want our homes to look good, and to feel even better.
8. Focus on the family
Now more than ever, taking care of and spending time with loved ones has become a focal point for many people. This might mean a move towards intergenerational living, with extended family coming together.
Accessory dwelling units—think a small, cozy cottage in the garden—and separate apartments for loved ones, either with an add-on or carved out of existing space, are a rising positive trend in 2021.
In some cases, homeowners are converting single family units to multiplexes, with parents, grandparents, and college-age kids all living and working together but with separate spaces. Extended families have the support and comfort of living nearby with the convenience and privacy that a separate space affords them.
9. Increasing homeownership
With low interest rates and first-time home-buying programs in cities across the U.S., a new generation is moving into the prime years of home ownership (millennials). The federal government is also looking at support for homebuyers as well as targeted relief for student loans and support for small businesses. This means that new homeowners are getting in on the ground floor and looking to purchase homes as they build their family.
Those new homeowners who have moved to permanent remote work will need to customize their spaces, so an uptick in remodeling is part of a positive 2021 trend, too. They may also choose to live outside of cities, as they no longer need to be close to an office.
At MLM Incorporated, we are looking forward to better days in 2021. When you are ready to get started on a remodel, renovation of your historic home, or building from the ground up, get in touch to see how we can help!