Bath interior designer, Clair Strong, looks at how COVID-19 will shape design trends this autumn. 

Lockdown forced most of us to spend a lot more time at home and to think carefully about how we use our living spaces. Our homes became our safe places away from the outside world but they also became our offices, schools, gyms, entertaining and outside spaces too. As we look forwards to a post pandemic world, many of us will be focusing on how we create multifunctional homes that work for all the family.

 

It is crucial that we look at designing our homes with multiple uses in mind and create rooms that can be reconfigured depending on the time of day. 

 

One of the biggest changes to our lives as a result of COVID-19 is that more of us will be working from home for some or all of the time. Before lockdown, 70% of British people had never worked from home (ONS). Now 20 million people are working remotely and many of my clients have been looking at how to create dedicated workspaces in their homes. Often two people need to work at home and so flexible desk spaces are key. We have been looking at clever ways to incorporate desks into existing rooms, converting spare rooms into multifunctional spaces that can be used as offices during the week, and converting loft spaces. There is already huge demand for garden offices and stylish desks, chairs and office storage will be key investments.

A really good thing to come out of lockdown was that families spent time cooking and eating together again. We are being asked to create kitchen designs that include kitchen islands, big pantry cupboards, comfortable sofas to relax on and dedicated areas for baking and juicing. The kitchen has become the heart of the home again! 

 

Being confined to our homes gave us a real appreciation of our outside spaces. Whether you have a tiny balcony, a small patio or a big garden, it’s important to think of it as an extra room that merges seamlessly with your home to give the impression of more space. I think there will be a real trend towards people adding side return extensions, installing patio doors or linking their home and garden with flooring, paint colours and design details. Many interior retailers have responded to demand by creating great contemporary outdoor furniture and rugs, awnings and cool looking BBQs and it’s an exciting area for interior designers to focus on. 

Our homes have become safe havens – a place to relax in and escape the outside world. Rather than focusing on the latest interiors trends, there will be a move towards creating calming, comfortable homes that promote a feeling of wellbeing and security.

 

Lockdown meant far more of our daily activities took place in our homes and we’ll be looking at clever ways to make our spaces work harder for us in the future. I love being able to influence the way people inhabit and experience their environment - and the impact and value design adds to people’s lives. The whole point of interior design is to create a space you love to be in so when a client is excited about how their home looks, it makes it all worthwhile!

The virus has created challenges, but it has also created opportunities. More people are focused on their homes and making them work better for their needs, the housing market is showing signs of recovering and the recent Stamp Duty holiday will help more people free up cash to renovate and improve their new homes. As a small, friendly, creative business based in Bath we pride ourselves on offering client-led interior design solutions for homes and businesses, from redecoration to complete redesign and refurbishments. We are based in Bath but work in the South West, London and abroad. We recently launched a virtual interior design service to help clients design or update their living spaces without the need for a face-to-face meeting. We can also design future homes off-plan for those of you with moves ahead, and offer on-line consultancy and home decluttering advice on an hourly basis. 

 

You can see many of the projects I have worked on since 2006 on my website at www.clairstrong.co.uk

 

To arrange a consultation call 07855 797311 or email clair@clairstrong.co.uk

I have a new puppy called Stan and my dog walk was my daily lockdown exercise. For many of us, discovering virtual training sessions (I’m looking at you Joe Wicks!) has made us rethink whether we need to renew our gym memberships. Unused spaces like garages and cellars are being converted into home gyms and people are looking for smart and attractive storage solutions to hide their exercise bikes and kettle bells. We love the challenge of designing bespoke and flexible storage that blends beautifully with our clients existing furniture and transforms a room into different functions.

An interesting trend to come out of the crisis is that our clients are asking us how to add extra space like porches or downstairs bathrooms to their houses. The hallway has to earn its living too and become a useful space rather than just a dumping ground for shoes and coats. My clients want somewhere to store their deliveries to keep viruses, as well as muddy boots and dirty animals, out of the main body of the house. There is a real trend for adding an extra washroom close to the front door – as people want to wash their hands when they get home.