Funny how it took a wide sweeping virus to get us to actionably and extra critically take a good look at our personal hygiene as well as those of our spaces right? No not funny. As a collective society, we’ve all become more cognizant of germs and how illness spreads.
So for the future, germ free homes? Maybe that’s a bit farfetched. Is the future of homes germ-free? But how we live inside our current homes, the way we renovate, and build new ones will likely reflect our collective fear of another pandemic.
Since we all share a relevant and legitimate concern about surfaces now and how we interface with and are in contact with them, surface that has some level of germ resistance will be more in-demand going forward, cleanable surfaces will become top of mind both for developers, clients and designers in the foreseeable future.
On the flip side, there’s probably a good twist to this pandemic: innovation when it comes to building materials(new technology in counters and surfaces that hold less bacteria or are easier to clean for both commercial and residential applications).
So what are the projections when it comes to surface and space re-engineering?
Home offices will become a major USP for new homes
Look how the tide has turned drastically in a matter of days/weeks. Many with “nonessential jobs” have been forced to work from home. At the same time, parents who never considered homeschooling their children are facing the inevitable. And anyone who was on the fence about building out a dedicated home office is likely having a regret/rethink moment about that decision. There is a predicted shift towards more home office space and shared workspaces at home.
Aye,Yes and more Yes to zero touch(Touchless And Voice-Controlled Technology)
For a while now, we have been seeing people move toward more smart home features, touchless sensors and voice command. What’s to say that these innovations will no longer be seen merely as conveniences or luxuries, but as necessary features in no time?
An ice maker that churns out ice with voice command, doors that open with voice command, app-controlled temperature settings, as well as being able to see inside the fridge by knocking on the door instead of opening it, a sensor pump soap-dispenser(does it surprise you a soap dispenser is most likely one of the dirtiest surfaces ever); tech is showing its fingers in many and diverse ways. Touchless technology may very well permeate and regulate even the smallest of functions.
The opt-in for anti-microbial tiles
Ceramic tile is useful for preventing the spread of germs and this is because it is a solid surface that does not break down with the use of steam or cleaning solutions. Some tiling brands incorporate antimicrobial technology into a variety of products from building materials like ceramic, which is formulated to protect against bacterial growth for 24 hours.
However, it’s crucial to be realistic about much protection a surface really has. Still, every small decision ultimately adds up to a cleaner home.
The switch from copper to stainless steel
Copper isn’t only aesthetically pleasing and a warmer alternative to other finishes, but it’s also more sanitary, according to recent studies. Research showed that the novel coronavirus survived for only four hours on copper versus 72 hours on stainless steel. Kitchen and bathroom sinks are among the most frequently used items in the home, so opting for a copper sink can play a powerful role in maintaining a truly sanitary environment. It is a beautiful, sustainable, and highly practical material.
Cork Flooring will become a more popular choice
Cork Flooring is another great choice for a cleaner home. It’s naturally antimicrobial and water-resistant, which helps prevent mold and mildew. Cork flooring has been around for decades but gained popularity more recently since it is a sustainable and eco-friendly material. It’s a natural material that is biodegradable. So, it will break down at the end of its lifecycle. It’s also cost-effective.
Cork also appeals to anyone trying to prioritize wellness. Its cushioned surface is ideal for people with knee and back problems. This flooring is also anti-static, making it resistant to dust, allergens and other toxins.
Conversely, it’s not very durable. Cork is susceptible to scratches, heavy appliances or items can leave indents on the floor. Sunlight can discolor it and it’s not waterproof, so spills must be wiped before they stain.
As much as we watch events unfold when it comes to home design, it’s most likely never going to be business as usual. Design not just for functionality, but also for health and wellness is inevitable.