And just like that, spring begins to feel within grasp, and a lot of us are coming out of hibernation and getting our remodel plans back on track.
According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard, we continue to update our homes at an unprecedented rate. By the end of 2022, we could be spending somewhere around $430 billion a year on home improvements and remodeling in the US – that’s up from $368 billion at the same time last year.
Whether it’s due to the tight housing market, or simply because we are spending so much more time at home – it’s pretty clear that the pandemic has had an incredible impact on how we think about home, how we use our spaces, and what our needs are.
So we wanted to check in with the experts, and hear what they see as the common threads in home design and remodeling in 2022. We spoke to interior designers about what they are learning from their clients, materials that are having a moment, and how the home has changed.
Ahmad AbouZanat of PROJECT AZ is a New York-based interior designer, who says he is experiencing that homeowners are planning ahead, have a better sense of the state of the supply chain, and are thinking in more practical terms.
“People are starting to reach out now, we are done with the holidays and post-holiday recovery. And what's interesting is this is the first time where I'm hearing a lot from clients ‘We want to plan ahead of time’,” says AbouZanat.
Clients are asking to work together on projects now, in order to have them construction-ready in time for the summer holidays. “I think people now understand that A: things do take time. And B: That design doesn't happen overnight.”
Julie Mitchiner, a Chicago-based interior designer says she also has been seeing unprecedented outreach from potential clients. “I've never had as many calls or people reaching out as I am now in this climate.”
She says work from home is here to stay and we are creating multifunctional spaces to accommodate. Which brings us to our next point.
“With the pandemic, I don't think working from home will ever not be a thing anymore,” says Mitchiner. “I'm finding that there are so many rooms that are going to have multi‑use. Especially in a city where you don't have a ton of space, like Chicago.”
She says many of the homeowners she is working with are looking to get more out of their space, by combining multiple functions in a room – putting desks in the living room or kitchen, adding storage to their den to double as a playroom.
Lisa Wirth, head of design and trade at Beam echoes this sentiment and says that design has an opportunity to shine with the changing needs of homeowners post-pandemic.
“We're really rethinking what a house means. And I see that as a great opportunity for designers and architects to do what we do best, which is to reimagine space. To have ideas around the adaptability and multifunctional uses of space.”
Whether that’s reimagining your kitchen space to include a functional work area that can be stowed neatly away at night, or carving out space for exercise, rest and meditation without making your living room feel like a sweaty home gym. Now, more than ever, the (multi-)function of your home is the leading lady.
LA-based designer Ashley Daubert says her clients seem to be gravitating towards a more comforting color palette for their home these days. “I’m seeing a lot of warmer colors trending like ochre, terracottas, and caramel browns, over colder blue and gray tones.”
Daubert thinks this is a trend that is here to stay. “We are in such an interesting time now with more and more people spending more time in their homes for work that I think people want their spaces to feel comfortable, warm, and inviting.”
She also finds that homeowners are thinking more about how they can incorporate natural elements into their space - whether it's natural lighting or selecting a natural wood over a synthetic wood-look material - in an effort to deepen their connection with the natural environment.
“If they are staying at home for longer lengths of time, they are trying to bring as much of the outside in as they can to still have that connection,” says Daubert.
Mitchiner is seeing a similar trend in her Chicago-based practice. “No one wants to be in a sterile white hospital room,” she says. “I think it's important to have some contrast. If not in color, then at least in texture and different materials. Handmade tiles that have a variation in color. Not just your standard shaker or wood panels, there's reeding and fluting. And not all overhead lighting! Let's bring in some lamps and some warmth.”
“I like color,” says Mitchiner. “I think a lot can be done with lighting and with the right materials and textures. I don’t think that we need to steer away from everything dark just to achieve brightness and happiness. Layers are super important.”
“It's comforting, it's cozy,” she says. “I think people are leaning towards that.”
AbouZanat says there are two types of questions he is getting more frequently than ever from homeowners: ‘What is the lighting scheme?’ and ‘How much do I need to spend on good storage?’
“They realize you cannot live with just a floor lamp,” he jokes. But says homeowners have been living and working and more in their space and in that time have found what does and doesn’t work for them.
He is well familiar with clients wanting to maximize their storage, an eternal plight in the smaller footprint of a New York apartment, but says this has evolved from a luxury to a need. “Now we're stuck at home things out in our face. How can we hide them? Let's invest in that.”
Mitchiner says similarly that homeowners are being far more thoughtful about how to light their spaces. Most are pointing out “‘we need a can here, and a can there’ because they've noticed these dark spots of their home.”
Again, it goes back to this idea that we have all been spending so much time in our homes, and are likely to continue to do so for some time. The purpose our home once served has broadened wildly, and so we are accommodating that change with design.
We’re excited to see where 2022 takes us.
How are you thinking about home and living differently in 2022? Itching to remodel yours? To start designing your new space today, sign up for a free design workshop from Beam.