How Design Trends are Shifting to Adapt to Post-COVID Life

Filed in Design, Disaster Response, Multifamily by on December 21, 2021 3 Comments

This article is excerpted from Construction Utopia, an SGC Horizon publication. To read the full article, click here.

covid-19 home design trendsDesign firm Mary Cook Associates (MCA) recently released its third white paper dedicated to interior design methodology and fundamentals. This eight-part series from MCA highlights the ways developers and builders of multifamily and single-family units can respond to recent shifts in home life.

The paper, “Living It Up,” develops ‘Five Ps’ recharacterizing livability in single-family and multifamily interiors since the COVID-19 pandemic. These are factors that were not only relevant a year ago, but remain as mainstays for many design projects.

The ‘5 Ps’ impacting home design in the age of ‘work from home’:

  • Packages: The increase in delivery-based consumerism is directly impacting design. Making spaces that accommodate packages of all shapes and sizes has become a major new priority.
  • Pets: With the increase in pet adoption and ownership during the pandemic, functionality is vital for the wellbeing of pet and owner alike. Communities and homes with interior and exterior pet-friendly spaces and functional amenities, from dog wash areas to feeding and sleeping stations, is a significant draw for pet lovers.
  • Plug-ins: The evolving work-from-home (WFH) lifestyle has set new technology standards. Multifamily residents seek collaborative workspaces, strong WiFi, and well-thought-out places to plug in devices, while adaptable spaces are key for supporting WFH in single-family homes.
  • Play: Coping with the challenges of the pandemic amplified almost everyone’s need for play, driving demand for recreational spaces and those that promote fitness and healthy habits, including curated space that fosters activity transitions.
  • Personal Space/Privacy: Remote work, virtual school, more family members at home and changing quarantining restrictions have created the need for more personal space and privacy within the home, with “pocket spaces” that create mini-territories for specific activities emerging as a design solution.

In the era of WFH, it’s important that home design match increasingly complex necessities. A well-designed interior space may just turn someone’s simple home into an oasis.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Karla Hollencamp says:

    These are the challenges but where are the solutions ? Very similar to ADA or aging in place requirements. Figure it out and let me know!

  2. Janne Zack says:

    As a designer, we had created what we call “micro offices”. These are generally adjacent to the kitchen/breakfast area so the someone working from home can still stir the dinner or 2 children could be doing virtual school but still be monitored by mom/dad but their equipment is well away from anything messy (most micro offices either have an window opening into the common area or simply a 1/2 wall separating the space out. The size of the micro office ranges between 5’X 7’ or a bit larger. It’s not meant to be a full office and is not private but simply allows one or more people a clean space to work on a computer or tablet while still being able to be around other family. It is not so great, however for conference calls which is a whole other space…a roomier walk in closet with a small sitting space is ideal if there is not enough space for a full fledged office.

  3. I couldn’t agree more on the ‘Plug-ins’. The change to a WFH environment has made it more important than ever to address a home’s infrastructure wiring. That’s also why it is so important to have an ‘Integrator’ on your team. They make sure all of these pieces, including technology work together in your space. I’m happy to help in Michigan, but if you are anywhere else, go to to find an integrator near you.

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