The New York Design Center conducted a poll of over 40 interior designers across the United States, who found that, post-pandemic, we will continue to invest in our homes. Designers determined that, though the real estate market is inflated, 79% of people are still spending money to renovate the homes they purchased.
“We’re seeing clients really lean into redesigning every aspect of their homes, including utility areas like laundry rooms, kids’ lounges and pantries,” says Kathleen Walsh, an Access to Design designer for the New York Design Center. “The last two years have forced us all to take a long, hard look at every room and it’s no surprise clients are willing to invest more in the spaces where we actually spend most of our time.”
38% said that they are building the homes they want from scratch more than before the pandemic. 26% are opting for larger homes.
“We’re seeing a number of clients fast-track their plans to build a custom home (or a second home) due to the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic,” says Annapolis-based architect Cathy Purple Cherry. “People are increasingly deciding to implement their dreams now, rather than waiting for the ‘perfect’ time. I’m working with a young family from Virginia Beach who purchased a plot of land three years ago with the intention of not touching it for another 10, when they were financially ready to build. The pandemic kicked their plans into high gear, and they decided to create the home they always wanted, but at an unexpected time. I think it also has a lot to do with older millennials learning how to leverage finances at a younger age. They’re also caring more about leaving a legacy for their existing or future families, while still getting the most use out of them while they themselves are young.”
When it comes to interior design, 40% predict defined living. This means doing away with the open floor plan and finding balance in the home with designated work, home and play spaces.
“There is a big movement towards defined living,” says Jennifer Hunter, a designer with projects in New York City, Washington, D.C., Tenafly, New Jersey, Austin, Texas and Palm Beach, Florida. “With clients spending more time in their homes, they want separation between church and state. Every space needs to be carefully thought out with a designated purpose. The biggest request we are getting lately is a playroom. We are even building additions to homes above the garage in order for clients to have more defined spaces.”
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Kathleen Walsh agrees. “We’ve seen a shift in preference from open floor plans to more closed spaces that are still flexible. My clients are craving alone time, and personal space, as we continue to live through the pandemic. They’re investing in more elaborate home offices and are dedicating entire floors to their children’s’ interests and activities. They’re updating their living quarters to accommodate at-home entertaining.”
“I had a lot of old clients requesting to turn their guest room into an office during the pandemic,” says Peti Lau, a New York-based designer. “A lot of families had their children coming back from college and living with them, so a lot of guest rooms turned into their children’s rooms.”
Surprisingly, designers were evenly split between predicting color and pattern for 2022 (12%) vs. the opposite: soft, muted colors (12%)
“We thought we would see a greater interest in splashes of color trending in 2022 but what we’re actually seeing is a more serene palette based, we think, on sheer exhaustion,” says Lee Melhan, a New YorkCity-based interior designer.
This was followed by 33% (over a third) of designers reporting luxurious comfort as a big trend, with soft materials and shapes to bring a sense of well-being. With more time at home, people are more sensitive to comfort and feel.
“Tactile materials and luxury in the home is a trend that’s on the rise,” says New York interior designer Kati Curtis. “This can’t be at the sacrifice of durability and ease of use. Most of our clients have kids, pets, or just live their lives and want materials and furnishings they don’t have to worry about spilling a glass of wine on. Fortunately, there are so many luxurious performance fabric options out there now, that we don’t have to sacrifice luxury for performance. In a home we recently completed in Rye, New York, all the beautiful fabrics are actually performance fabrics, and you would never know! The client has 3 dogs and a new baby, so everything had to be durable, but there’s no sacrificing style!”
14% reported year-round outdoor living spaces (patios, verandas, pools) that are essentially extensions of the interiors.
Peti Lau says, “We get a lot more requests for outdoor design, especially in the L.A. area where people could still entertain, but outside. A lot more outdoor furniture and outdoor designs were being requested.”