With home design heavily relying on functionality, every pandemic has left its mark. Infectious diseases such as typhoid, tuberculosis and cholera have long influenced the way we view and design our homes and COVID-19 is no different. Signs of how designers responded to these diseases have become standard practice in homes today, but not many people even realize it. Changes happening today will continue to evolve over the next decade. Here’s a look at pandemic influences you might not even be aware of and a look into the future.
The History of Design
References of the impact infectious diseases have had on interior design can be seen as early as mid-19th century London when the outbreak of cholera resulted in certain textiles being perceived as collecting germs, so materials went from textured to smooth. The Victorian era was also impacted by typhoid. The opulent fabrics and wall-to-wall carpets of this time were found to be a breeding ground for dust and disease, causing the shift towards surfaces like linoleum for flooring and white subway tiles that show dirt easily to the naked eye. The early 20th century saw the introduction of the half-bath which was a result of offering a place for delivery workers and guests to wash their hands. By the mid-1920s, coat closets began replacing bulky furniture like armoires that were difficult to move and collected dust.
Looking Toward the Future
COVID-19 is the latest infectious disease to impact the way we design our homes. Apart from once again bringing awareness to the importance of cleanliness, this pandemic has helped us realize how important our relationship with the outdoors is and the role our home décor plays in our overall happiness, health and spirit. Over the next decade, I predict home design will be focused on our relationship with the outdoors, and improving our health, vitality and mindfulness.
In general, we will begin to see a more organic and holistic approach to our home, paying closer attention to materials, artwork and the incorporation of greenery and plants. Our recent appreciation for the outdoors will be reflected through décor that resembles outdoor living, constructed from natural materials such as wood, marble, brass and rattan, all in their natural finish.
When we look at materials, not all are treated equally. In fact, some even have antimicrobial properties. Copper, brass and bronze have long been proven to destroy a wide range of bacteria and microorganisms within two hours of exposure, making them the perfect materials to introduce into your home. Apart from their hygienic properties, these metals are also a great way to introduce warmth whether it be through faucets or hardware.
For countertops and other surfaces throughout the home, quartz is one of the most durable materials and is completely nonporous, making this material stain and scratch resistant, as well as antimicrobial. We will also begin to see people embracing wood paneling, in various pattern designs,