Updated: Aug 16, 2020
2020. It's most certainly a year that will be remembered in the public consciousness for a long time. From the wildfires in Australia to killer hornets in America - all topped off with the effects of Covid-19, it's been a year that will have a profound impact on all aspects of our lives. But how will the events of this year affect the environments we create for ourselves at home?
When we began 2020, trend forecasters were suggesting natural, earthy tones would prevail, alongside the deep blues that have been popular throughout 2019. Dulux's colour of the year was 'Tranquil Dawn' and Pantone chose 'Classic Blue' for theirs. Geometrics were still popular, but the previous trend for warm copper accessories was being overtaken by luxurious brass finishes. Clean, uncomplicated shapes and structured textures, highlighted with flashes of deeper tones to add the feel of depth and homeliness were forecast to be trending throughout 2020.
But has 2020 had an effect on the design of our home interiors, and how we want them to function in the future?
A large number of us have been relocated to working from home, keeping ourselves and others safe while continuing to output the same amount of work - if not more to compensate for those of us who have been furloughed.
Before Covid-19 only a quarter of the British workforce worked from home regularly; however, this trend was already rising. After Covid-19 working from home is likely to be something that both employers and employees would consider beneficial. Employees who work from home are less likely to leave their current position as their satisfaction levels are higher, stress levels are lower, they are more productive¹, and employers won't have to spend as much money on office space, amongst other reasons.
This means that more homes are going to have to provide a space in which we can work comfortably. I am sure that at present there are plenty of people who have spent time working at the kitchen table, trying to entertain the kids while attending zoom meetings, or with their laptops balanced on their knees trying desperately to get their mouse to work on the leather arm of a sofa before realising that in the long term something has to change.
Consequently, furniture websites such as Wayfair or Made have been increasing their advertising for desks and office chairs. Companies that create summer houses for the garden have developed garden offices to market to professionals who are looking to spend less time in the office in the future but need space away from home. Meanwhile, having an office space in your home or garden has been predicted to add a value of 10% to your home.²
But what about those of us who have neither the cash nor space for a garden office nor a spare box room in which to hide away for the next few months? The need for multi-functional spaces within the home in increasing, and as a result interior designers and other related industries are going to have to come up with intelligent, innovative solutions to incorporate space to work and live into their designs and products.
Working from home, and the sudden, dramatic change in the ways in which we live and work will have caused a considerable rise in our daily stresses and anxieties. What was once our refuge has now become something of a prison, where we have to stay not only for our own safety but for the safety of others.
So while the home office will be in need of a swift update, what about our living space?
While we're not working in our home offices or at the kitchen table, we need to have a space to retreat to at the end of the day, to help us relax and escape from the Zoom meetings and email chains.
This need to escape work combined with the inability to leave home has resulted in an increase in the number of people learning home crafts. Therefore it wouldn't be surprising if we start seeing more homes furnished and decorated with items that have been created by their inhabitants. This make-do-and-mend ethos will also be encouraged by the increasing awareness we have of our environment and the need to protect it. Recycling things we have in the home rather than purchasing from new can make a home feel loved and lived in.
Warm neutral and natural tones will continue to be on-trend, with notes of umber and burgundy to increase that feeling of safety and warmth. Accessorised with Velvet fabrics and natural materials are set to make plush, comfortable environments to really sink into at the end of the working day.
This means that harsh whites and dull greys are going to take a back seat. At the moment, we all need a bit of warmth and comfort, and the sterile feeling created by whites and greys is not going to help up achieve that.
Our furniture and finishing touches, meanwhile, are going to move more towards the 70's Disco style, while retaining some of that Mid-Century charm and practicality. Expect lots of curves and touches of glamour. After all, if we can't go out to the party, why not bring the party home to us?
The 70s disco trend will strengthen the recent trend for gold and brass accessories, and also bring in warm woods, moving away from the Scandinavian style pale woods of recent years.
2021 is going to be a great time to update our homes - we've had a long time stuck inside, thinking about what we want to change and improve in our spaces. This year will definitely have made us think about what we want from our home comforts - and how we can make our spaces more practical for working from home when we need to be able to stay safe. There is no time like the present to create our own retreat from a world that is quite a scary place to be in at present, and incorporating the practicalities of a space in which we can work and relax is going to be at the forefront of our interior design schemes for a long time - if not permanently.
¹ https://www.vault.com/blogs/workplace-issues/working-from-home-boosts-productivity-and-satisfaction-study-indicates - Working from home boosts productivity and satisfacion, study indicates, by the Vault
² https://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/uk/home-office-can-add-10pc-property-value/ - How a home office can add 10pc to your property value, by the Telegraph