Author: Lauren Maylor
Throughout any given day, we transition through an array of feelings, activities and requirements. That’s why flexible spaces that accommodate this evolution are vital in room design, and zoning interiors is key to achieving this.
With working from home now the new norm for many people, the boundaries between work and personal life have become blurred. Following the mandatory COVID-19 lockdown, 40% of people would now prioritise space for a home office if they were searching for a new property. Once designated for those who were self-employed, home offices now offer the much-needed sense of ‘disconnection’ after a working day, allowing you to close the door, and gain a sense of ‘shutting off’ your working mindset until it’s next needed.
While it’s likely future builds could feature designated rooms for offices, or have office areas incorporated within spare bedrooms; it isn’t a practical solution for smaller spaces.
That’s where zoning areas comes in. For homes that are tight on space, the use of furniture will become increasingly key to effectively create designated areas assigned for a productive work life, home life, relaxation and rejuvenation.
For example, in open-plan rooms, bookcases, furniture or the creative use of tall plant life can help to divide a room into the perfect working-from-home space. This will mean occupants ‘leave’ the work area and retreat to their relaxation spaces at the end of the day.
Storage is also proving to be more important than ever, providing the ability to ‘put away’ working materials, allowing the mind to switch off and not be reminded of the earlier working hours.
It will no longer be the norm to work at your dining table, or at a makeshift temporary desk in the living room. Instead, at the initial concept design stage for future schemes, the purpose of every square foot in a space needs to be considered, and creative designs will help determine the right scale and proportion of furniture to achieve the ideal zoned space, with adequate storage.
An even bigger biophilic boost
It is now commonly known, and scientifically proven, that bringing the outdoors in can have a positive impact on our mental wellbeing, as well as making us feel more productive, inspired and energetic.
Biophilic design is becoming a fundamental pillar of interior design, and its importance will continue to rocket as COVID-19 has brought into focus the essential need of connecting with nature and the outdoor space around us.
In future designs, we’ll likely see this design pillar manifest into more nature-inspired furniture and interiors in development schemes, made from locally-produced, natural materials. Biomimicry – or designs that mimic structures that nature itself has created – will also be incorporated into building structures, and statement designs.
Just one example of a collection created to support biophilic design is our Natural Scandinavian collection. Each furniture piece incorporates natural textures, earthy tones and sculptured shapes, and the minimalistic, timeless collection aims to evoke a sense of calm and relaxation, helping aid rejuvenation and increase wellbeing.
In addition to bringing the outdoors in, we’re already seeing urban developments incorporating more creative ‘nature havens’ within schemes too, like roof terraces and living walls. However, it’s expected that the COVID-19 impact will see a greater desire from tenants to have more nature-inspired areas spaces like flourishing gardens, peaceful outdoor seating zones, and even communal allotments to allow them to feel close to nature, even in busy town and city centres.
The COVID-19 lockdown has left many of us craving social interaction and questioning current living situations. With this in mind, it’s likely the co-living trend will see a huge boom over the coming years as people increasingly want to ensure they’re never in isolation alone. However, they’ll want to do this safely and know they have their own space.
Build-to-rent schemes are already catering for this demand, and we’ll likely see them further developed to accommodate for tenants looking for their own indoor community and ‘sense of place’.
Similar to a local village or town, where residents tend to know one another, designs are now geared towards an all-encompassing inside space that allows tenants to meet each other, co-live, co-work, exercise and socialise under one roof, creating smaller communities.
We’ve been working on designing and furnishing a variety of amenity and social spaces, and we’re seeing more and more residential builds incorporating food and beverage establishments and convenience stores. As people crave community and connection with their local surroundings, we would also expect future schemes to feature smaller local businesses, artisan craft stalls and local producers rather than chain establishments.
There’s also an increasing desire to have a positive impact on the community and environment around us. That means sustainable and eco-friendly design, energy efficiency and supporting local will climb the priority list for tenants on the hunt for a new home too.
What’s clear is that COVID-19 has brought our homes into focus like never before. Developers, architects and designers will need to adapt to accommodate for a new home work-life set-up, a bolstered desire for humans to connect with their surroundings and find creative ways to blur the lines between indoors and outdoors.