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‘Homes will no longer be a place to get away from work’

Since homes have become multifunctional spaces during lockdown, architects and interior designers observe a huge shift in the architecture and interior design in post COVID-19 era

‘Homes will no longer be a place to get away from work’
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(L) Gowri Adappa; (top) Silambarasan; Roopa Shetty

Chennai

Stuck indoors for months, many have transformed certain areas of houses into workspaces, play areas, gyms and whatnot. This period has made existing house owners realise what they missed the most and how to be prepared if such situations recur. Gowri Adappa, co-founder and principal architect of A Design Co, says that in terms of interiors, a lot of people will be considering home offices for now. “Many companies are likely to implement work from home permanently. Instead of a makeshift space, people will be allocating adequate areas for home offices. This is something we will be consciously going to do. Earlier, those living in apartments wanted to bring in the balconies into home space to have more space inside the house. But in the future, open spaces like balconies, terraces, verandahs, courtyards and backyards will be more in demand. Such spaces will be retained as it is. Sitting inside the house for long hours has made many of us appreciate the value of open spaces and gardens. This is not a temporary shift, but a permanent one,” says Gowri.

Silambarasan, the co-founder of Orange Interiors, tells that people will start reexamining residential and office designs post-pandemic. “There will be an increase in demand for modular workstations that will give an office feel at home. For better aesthetics, you can add glass notice boards. Those staying in 2BHKs can easily convert one bedroom into an office space. Replace the normal cots with wall mount folding beds that are available in the market. If you have a 3BHK, you can convert a room into a multi-functional one — it can be home theatre, yoga room, gym or a playroom. While buying new furniture, go for multi-purpose ones like sofa-cum-bed, foldable dining tables, and so on. Since the first lockdown, the kitchen has become the frequently visited space in the house. If you are planning to redesign the kitchen, do it according to your cooking style and needs. Try and avoid unwanted accessories in the house,” chips in Silambarasan.

Roopa Shetty of Asharaa Design Studio opines that homes will become sanctuary spaces as we spend more and more time at home. “The main change will be in the open plans of the house where we had one large open space for living, dining, kitchen, etc. In the future, we will have an entrance room or a foyer where we can leave our dirty shoes or clothes which we used when we stepped out. It will also be a place to receive online orders or packages which can be received and unpacked. Also, people will consider a well-equipped home entertainment room to watch shows or movies as going out is no longer an option. Large storerooms or pantry to store groceries and vegetables for a longer time will also be a possibility inside new houses,” mentions Roopa.

The interior designer observes that all things related to gardening will see a huge comeback together with new ways to incorporate greeneries inside homes. “Vertical gardens and indoor gardening will become favourite as it will reduce stress and improves the air quality inside our homes. With more focus on homegrown veggies, people can also try making a mini vegetable garden depending on the space. Self-sufficiency may come into water recycling and solar panels too.”

Manufacturers of smart home systems will go one step further in the future. “Their programs will not only control the temperature of the air inside the house, but also its quality and, if necessary, they will automatically clean it. Air from the outside will of course be filtered. Some might also create a cleaning room featuring antiseptic dispensers. Going through this space will be the only way into the house for deliveries or guests. Additionally, homes will also be equipped with a lamp that generates ultraviolet radiation, which can kill some harmful organisms, viruses and bacteria. People will invest in air purifiers, indoor air quality monitoring, new filtration systems for the air and the water, germ-resistant materials for flooring and surfaces, as well as auto-cleaning technologies to be integrated inside furniture, wardrobes and kitchen cabinets. There will be a substantial rise in the demand for smart toilets. Automatic cleaning faucets that we now see only in some public restrooms could become a common feature in the homes as well,” explains Roopa.

Instead of going ultra-luxurious with interior designs, people will opt for minimal designs. “Colours, shapes, textures and smells affect our mood. Thus, designing to enhance the desired mood of each room will be the new trend,” Roopa says.

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