Home Sweet Home: The Rise of Residential Trends Post-Pandemic
In a world of external opportunities, never before have we been confined to our internal homes for any amount of time like this process of life navigating a global pandemic. These new circumstances are having short-term, and long-term effects on our thoughts, expectations, and relationships with the place we call home. As we begin to explore the definition of home in the world post-pandemic, we are taking a look at the trends that will determine a new residential outcome.
Nature is Nurture
As nature has felt like all that we have to escape to, we continue to crave the outdoors and do whatever we can to move our bodies to stay healthy, both mentally and physically. This new relationship will continue to not only survive, but thrive as a newly appreciated necessity that will not disappear in our post-pandemic world. The massive desire for outdoor time will push the need for more exterior space within our living units. The American Heart Association shares spending time in nature can help relieve stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and boost feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Simple things like Juliette balconies will become essential, particularly when picking out an apartment. Floor to ceiling windows that let the sun flood into our spaces will be considered an imperative luxury; affordable for developers and invaluable to residents. Even adding simple materials like stone, natural wood elements, or small house plants can make a big difference in the way we feel about our homes. Through strategic design, progressive living spaces post-pandemic will bring the outdoors to residents.
Amenities are Making Space for Change
During the shutdown, the inability to access amenity spaces has proven to be a pivotal experience and one that will result in an opportunity to capitalize on the evolution of these spaces of the future. Although we worked with this same concept before the pandemic, amenity space will be more important than ever because it will allow residents to stay within their comfort space of their “homes,” even if it includes a broader scope of a residential development. Emphasizing personal communities and human interaction, amenity spaces like coffee stations will be operated by warm, friendly workers, eliminating the need for multiple touches and allowing for human connection. Instead of large gym amenity spaces, we predict more clusters of small spaces for personal workouts to be incorporated. Integrating technology will allow residents the opportunities to rent amenity spaces, controlling the flow of traffic, and managing the human footprint, while keeping access safe and available. Spending more time within their homes, and less time traveling or spending on commodities, living space, and community becomes everything residents need.
Returning to the outside, immaculate, and robust outdoor amenity spaces will continue to be a top requirement for residential spaces. Less confined than indoor spaces, users will appreciate bar space, controlled social settings, and opportunities for fire pits and celebrations. These smaller amenity spaces allow for choice, comfort, and control, maintaining concepts and principles experienced through social distancing exercises. Intentionally carving out small intimate spaces for yoga or meditation allow residences the opportunity to experience the outdoors while still feeling safe and secure. More than just aesthetic benefits, incorporating landscape architecture will elevate the human experience, incorporating biophilic elements and improvement to the quality of life through sustainability to capitalize on their psychological benefits.
Go Little or Go Home
Cost conscious, renters, and owners will continue to gravitate towards micro apartments. The new thought process, however, will be maximizing minimal square footage available. Returning to the root of humanity, it will be important to give people the opportunity to have everything they need. Flex spaces built into the design will allow a private room to transition throughout the day to meet the needs of residents, serving as a multidimensional space for various purposes. Suddenly, the strategic floor plan can support a fitness “studio,” work station, lounge area, and bed as schedules evolve throughout the day. Designing with intentionality, flex spaces that can provide seclusion and natural light will become vital. Implementing creative space for home offices and weaving technology in to accommodate functionality will help build a dynamic living environment.
What’s Mine is Not Yours
The biggest opportunity for residential designers is to create comfort, control, and choice into every space. Design will lean into providing a private bathroom for each bedroom and half baths for guests. Giving people the comfort in knowing there is designated space for each person’s needs. Clear designation between private and communal spaces give residences the control over areas that may be exposed to outside germs and areas that are their own personal space. Incorporating motion sensor lights and touchless doors, residents can spend less time worrying and be comforted with the control of cleanliness and occupancy.
It’s What You’re Made of That Matters
Unit specification and material selection will equally become just as important. Materials like quartz and laminate will trump carpet and tiles with grout. Streamlining unit cleanliness will determine finish selections. Solid surface countertops will continue to grow in popularity as it mimics the look of granite but is nonporous and much more cost effective. Cognizant of nature and the footprint left behind, materials like concrete will also start to make an appearance within home accents. Developments with top-of-the-line property management will stand out and thrive, ensuring that properties and units are well-kept.
Removing isolation barriers and creating confidence for residential owners is the biggest opportunity post-pandemic. We are able to adjust current spaces for upgraded design and layouts to create the perfect home and community space allowing people to live a safe and healthy life.
by Jason Jordan
Associate, Senior Project Manager
Jason Jordan is a fearless leader and Senior Project Manager in the Residential studio. Jason also leads the Revit and Drawing Standards committees at M+A. When Jason isn't working he enjoys spending time at home with his family and being dad to his two young kids.