Never before have our intimate living spaces meant more to us than during the recent coronavirus pandemic.
Essentially banned from exiting our own front doors, the impact of COVID-19 saw us hunkering down in our apartments, turning down takeaway meals for home cooking and shunning our after work drinks with colleagues as we all transferred our work from our offices to our homes.
But while no one is really sure when or even if normal life will resume, it is clear alterations in our living, commuting and working habits are likely to prompt longer term changes in what we perceive as priorities in the places we call home.
Yet while builders around the world continue to grapple with what this means for our future built environments, it seems some key themes are already emerging,
More surfaces will be antimicrobial
The world’s preoccupation with cleanliness post-COVID-19 has led many architects to believe builders will begin incorporating more antimicrobial materials in the construction of apartment buildings.
Following the announcement that the virus can survive on metal for up to five days, wood for up to four days and glass up to five days, experts believe we may see the use of more materials like copper and krion, a material that resembles natural stone, used in countertops and bathroom finishes.
It is also likely demand for a paper-based composite called Richlite, that’s naturally antimicrobial and has low moisture absorption, will increase for use in building facades, wall panels, kitchen benches and furniture.
A comfortable working environment
Those of us who regularly work from home already know we use our heating and cooling systems far more regularly than if our normal working environment was a shared office space.
For this reason, it is likely thermal comfort and energy efficiency will become much more in demand for apartments of the future.
An increase in the number of workers plying their trade from home is also likely to lead to homeowners investing more in double or triple glazing, high performance windows, increased insulation and draught-proofing as a way of making our working environments more comfortable.
Back to kitchen basics
Kitchens are often regarded as the heart of the home and in a post-pandemic world they will prove more important than ever.
Having discovered new skills as a result of the temporary shutdown of restaurants and cafes, strata homeowners and home cooks will soon demand more from their kitchen spaces with room enough to cook and hang out in as well as house high quality fridges and ovens.
By going back to basics, it is likely home cooks will begin prioritising needs over wants and practicality over plush when it comes to their choice in fixtures.
Open plan options out
If being confined for days on end with our loved ones has taught us one thing, it is the need for personal space.
While open plan floor plans have gained popularity in recent years, it seems that as people are adjusting to working from home they’re discovering a need for more defined spaces.
Some architects believe this will lead to more requests for apartments, units and townhouses that have multifunctional rooms and spaces to be used as a quiet place for work or reflection as well as a place for games or dedicated fitness areas.
Touchless technology will reign supreme
When it comes to the finishing touches in our apartments, smart home features are likely to endure a surge in popularity.
Items such as motion sensors turning on our taps and voice control options for ovens, televisions and music are likely to become far more attractive post COVID-19 as home buyers seek safer cleaner spaces with fewer points of contact requiring sanitisation, and fewer opportunities to worry about contamination.
Children’s needs will abound
Could we have seen the end to homebuyers fighting over properties in sought-after school zones?
Research shows that children who are afforded a comfortable space to study away from noisy areas of the home typically achieve better academically.
There are now suggestions that those who had a preoccupation with the educational welfare of their children may now, following a prolonged period of lockdown, channel that into reconfiguring their apartments and townhouses to optimise them for study.
Before you modernise, check your by-laws
As with everything strata, there are rules to be followed. It pays to check first with your Strata Community Manager when seeking to make improvements to your home, just to be sure.