By Ana Durrani
Home trends come and go, but social distancing and staying at home have ushered in a new way of life—and some of those changes have spurred home trends that are likely to stick around well past the COVID-19 era.
“The idea of what is necessary is changing,” says Camille Thomas, a real estate matchmaker and lifestyle expert in Jackson Hole, WY. “The home has become more than a living space.”
This means a lot of people have started to evaluate how they live in their home and what matters most to them when buying.
Here are some of the real estate and design trends people have latched on to during the pandemic that will likely have staying power for years to come.
The great escape
Quarantine has caused more than a few people to pack up their lives and head out of crowded cities to the suburbs (or even the country) in search of more room to breathe. One in 5 U.S. adults says they either changed their residence due to the pandemic or know someone who did, according to a Pew Research Center survey.
In fact, as people buy homes in the suburbs, housing inventories in those areas are dwindling faster than in urban areas, according to realtor.com®’s September Urban vs. Suburban Growth Report.
“People are not wanting to be in a city where it feels too crowded right now,” says Suzi Dailey, a Realtor, who’s with Realty One International in California’s Orange County. “They are leaving cities in favor of homes with more space, a backyard, or some type of view.”
Thomas says in the mountain town of Jackson Hole she is seeing buyers come in from Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Houston, and Chicago.
“Some are purchasing sight-unseen,” she adds.
Also, with more companies allowing their workforce to work from home, many people are no longer tied to a specific city for employment. Most housing experts agree that this trend of increasing preferences for suburban homes will continue.
The Zoom room
Regular videoconferencing from home—whether you’re an employee or a student—is a new reality, and it’s become increasingly common to see agents and sellers including Zoom rooms in listings as part of a home’s features. But what is a Zoom room, anyway?
Essentially it’s a dedicated room or corner of your home that features an aesthetically pleasing background for your videoconference calls. Zoom rooms are free of household clutter and typically removed from the high-traffic parts of the house. And experts predict the dedicated video room trend is likely to persist for buyers beyond COVID-19.
“Buyers are looking for extra space to create workspaces for students and working parents,” says Thomas. “Three bedrooms is no longer enough. Now it must be three bedrooms and an additional workspace, at least.”
Clean and cozy design
Interior design trends are always changing. But throughout the pandemic we’ve seen homeowners doing everything they can to create a cozy, simple, clean, and comfortable vibe inside their homes.
“It’s a focus on an open floor plan, lighter wall colors, and no clutter,” says Dailey. Elements that capture this aesthetic are comfortable sofas, throw blankets, candles, herb gardens in the kitchen, and houseplants that make a person feel at home.
“Especially with COVID-19, you do not want a home that feels dirty. That’s why clean, simplistic decor and decluttering have become very popular,” says Dailey.
And that feeling of streamlined coziness is extending to the outdoor areas of the home, too.
“Sales of space heaters, such as the tall standing heaters for porches, patios, and outdoor spaces, are already going through the roof,” says Dailey.
The backyard premium
It’s little surprise that homebound owners—or would-be owners—are focusing more on backyard spaces. Some buyers are even willing to settle on a smaller house or a house in a less desirable area in order to have a large backyard where they can spend more time in the open air.
“For some, that means moving farther outside of town for the same-size house with more land. Others are moving into small townhouses so they can purchase a small farm outside of the city,” says Mary Patton of Mary Patton Design.