True story: when I was searching for a new apartment in the fall of 2019, I thought I wanted a loft. A spacious open floor plan with lots of sunlight for houseplants and plenty of room for entertaining sounded great—and who needs doors, anyway? Fast forward to the end of 2020, and I am so relieved I didn’t end up in a loft. In 2020, we gained a new appreciation for certain previously undervalued home design features. Simple things like doors, separate rooms, a home office, a laundry room, and outdoor space gained new importance. While we couldn’t predict the pandemic and how it would change the way we live at home, 2020 will alter the way we design our spaces from now on. Here are a few design mistakes we’ll be avoiding in the future.
1 Completely Open Floor Plans
If there’s one thing those who live with a family or roommates learned in 2020, it’s that privacy is key. Open floor plans are ideal for entertaining, but this year, many of us wished our homes had just a few more doors and walls.
In the future, we may still look for an open kitchen, but we’ll want to balance that shared space with private rooms we can retreat to. A separate den, kids’ playroom, and home office will be high on wishlists in 2021.
2 No Home Office
Before 2020, a home office felt like a bonus to those of us who didn’t work from home every day—it was nice to have, but not essential. Now, as many companies are adjusting their policies to become more work-from-home friendly in the long term, a home office has become a top priority.
No matter if we need a private home office away from the kids or a small desk on the side of the living room, we’ll be keeping an at-home workspace in mind in the future.
3 Making Outdoor Space an Afterthought
Similar to a home office, before 2020, having a backyard, patio, or balcony felt like a perk rather than a must-have. As gatherings with friends and family got smaller and moved outdoors—and many of us started a garden for the first time—these spaces became more important.
In the years to come, we’ll be considering the design of our outdoor spaces just as carefully as the decor indoors. Comfortable (and durable) patio furniture and easy-to-maintain landscaping ideas just moved higher up on our priority lists.
4 Not Considering Air Quality
When designing our homes, we naturally tend to focus on the elements we can see—but in 2020, we turned our attention to the invisible: indoor air quality. Rather than splurge on new art or furniture in our next homes, we’ll be investing in air purifiers and HVAC systems.
5 Choosing Tough-to-Clean Decor
Last spring, when we started wiping down every available surface with disinfectant, you may have realized that your velvet sofa—while stylish—is a little hard to clean. In years to come, decor choices will also be evaluated based on cleanability.