Life as we know it has changed dramatically in the coronavirus era, affecting work, school, travel, and more. And it's shed light on the way we live at home, underscoring the fact that there's nothing more important than safe shelter for our family.
To that end, COVID-19 is influencing what people want to see in home design.
"After the pandemic, our homes are going to reflect the lessons learned during this painful period, such as ways to disinfect ourselves and our possessions," says Jamie Gold, a wellness design consultant and author of "Wellness by Design."
In a post-virus world, we won't soon forget our shelter-at-home memories. Going forward, if there's even the slightest chance (god forbid) that we'll need to repeat this awful practice, homeowners may want to prepare by buying or renovating a house with amenities that'll make it just a bit more bearable.
To help, here are 10 features to look for in a new home—or demand in your current one—once we've bid the coronavirus adieu.
1. More Bathrooms
A family member who's caught a virus needs his/her own loo to keep germs in one place, so the addition of a second (or third or fourth) bathroom in homes will be important. And since hand-washing is a constant nowadays, a half-bathroom or even just a sink right by the home's entrance may become fairly standard.
2. Better mudrooms
Taking off your shoes before entering the house has long been recommended to cut back on germs. But now that we've found the coronavirus can cling to shoes' soles and get tracked inside, even more people may start removing shoes as soon as they enter. This could make the presence of mudrooms even more appealing than ever!
3. Bigger pantries
You probably weren't alone if you found your food storage was lacking in the early days of the coronavirus- and the fix will be bigger and better pantries. Room for non perishables is key so you can cut back on the number of grocery store trips you make. No room for a dedicated pantry? David Sipp, owner of two Mr.Handyman franchises in Indiana, anticipates a need for more food storage like shelving and cabinets in other parts of the home, like the garage and basement. Large pantries won't necessarily live in the kitchen area, but could be more of an add-on in the laundry room or entryway. This way deliveries can be made contact-free, away from living areas, and trips into the house will be reduced.
4. More freezer space
Remember that old-fashioned chest freezer your grandmother had? Look for it again, along with more built-in freezer drawers, in future home design. Panicky pandemic shoppers are snapping up all manner of foods, and the result has been a sold-out stock of freezer units.
5. Bathroom bidets
The French know a thing or two about healthy bathroom design- and we're finally taking notice. Bidet use was already on the rise before the coronavirus, and since toilet paper shortages have hit hard, more folks are looking to install this amenity.
6. Closed-off spaces
Covid-19 has brought to light a heightened desire for discrete areas, no matter how small they may be, that can be converted into playrooms or homework spots. But open floor plans probably won't disappear—instead, a better balance between private, semiprivate, and public spaces is coming to make homes better for multitasking. If you have two partners suddenly working from home & kids homeschooling, it'll be important to have quiet, separate spaces for everyone to function effectively.
7. Brass and copper fixtures
Adapting to a new, more germ-conscious way of living starts with a return to copper and brass for door knobs and fixtures. In fact, brass kills bacteria more effectively than stainless steel, according to research. Brass and copper are excellent metals for the home because both are naturally antimicrobial and corrosion-resistant.
8. Hands-free light switches, faucets, and more
We already have hands-free faucets, light switches, and voice-control features to operate windows, showers, thermostats, and sound systems. Thank you Alexa!
We may very well see this type of technology in homes more now than ever.
9. Closed HVAC systems