By Sue Ridgeway
A year or so into the pandemic, homeowners have had the chance to consider how spaces – both before and during the pandemic – can be reconfigured or enhanced to make daily life easier and more pleasurable. We are seeing two overarching housing trends emerge in 2021:
Trend 1: Flexibility & Functionality
Buyers are looking to their homes as a respite, an escape from the outside world. They need their homes to address new lifestyle demands such as: working from home, remote schooling, home-based entertaining, as well as providing a space for peaceful alone time. As designers, we work to create model homes that elicit a sense of coziness, flexibility, and functionality.
In this model (picture below), we designed a flexible, light-filled area. This area can be used for a quiet moment, an art hobby, a casual video call, or to concentrate on an important work task. By keeping the windows free of drapery and the walls a warm, deep shade of suede, the space feels casual and comfortable, yet energetic at the same time.
Along with flexibility, buyers want a home that is functional. They need to know their homes are going to work for them both personally and professionally. The model should demonstrate that the home can promote work-from-home and/or learn-from-home productivity. One way to do that is to ensure the space has a door, and a glass door can be ideal. This allows for privacy when needed, but still promotes inclusiveness. To promote that critical organizational function, try adding shelving or storage. By doing this, you’ll raise the value of the buyer’s lifestyle.
It is important to note that functionality does not necessarily mean “all business.” Home buyers are also looking for a home that will promote stay at home fun. With so much of our entertainment happening in the home, there is a true desire to bring that experience to life. Whether it’s a well-merchandised lower-level, a reading nook, or a craft-room, there is definitely a trend among buyers for homes to include fun in their FUNctionality.
Trend 2: Safety, Health & Wellness
A home that promotes safety, health and wellness is another feature buyers are looking for in 2021. We have long understood and appreciated the importance of health and wellness-focused designs. Many designers are seeking certifications, like the Wellness Within Your Walls certification program.
The model below includes a flexible fitness-from-home space. It can be used for yoga, strength training, cardio, whatever the buyer desires. With gyms and spas on a limited capacity many people have invested in staying fit at home. It doesn’t have to take a lot of space to prove this is an option in your model, but it does require some creative planning up front.
Wellness constitutes not only physical health, but mental health as well. And knowing that the outdoors can provide a level of protection against disease and improve mental health, we are creating designs that promote the indoor/outdoor relationship, and provide a deeper connection to nature and the outdoors.
Every year we talk about trends and features home buyers are looking for, and while it does change yearly, 2020 was a year like no other. Our shared experience of a global pandemic has definitely shaped the wants and needs home buyers are looking for (and expecting) in 2021: a sense of comfort, flexibility and functionality as well as safety, health and wellness are top amongst these wants and needs.