Ever since the coronavirus has entered our lives, we have begun to rethink our spaces. Do we need such a large drawing-room? Can we do with less? Can we move the furniture around to fit in a work table? Is there a way to escape from my own family and find a quiet place in the house? These are questions we have all grappled within 2020. As we shift gears to pace ourselves with the new normal, designers share the trends they have seen emerge in homes:
Green Spaces: “Until now, in most homes, balconies were reserved for air-conditioners and mop and buckets and our terraces for water tanks and dish TV antennas. With sudden lockdowns and physical distancing, people feel the need to surround themselves with plants and every type of greenery. There are wooden decks and green walls in balconies, and the number of pots has increased, and so has the need for small water fountains or pools on rooftops. Youth, who prefer to stay indoors, are also asking for patio spaces so that they can enjoy a calm space without stepping out,” says Delhi-based architect Nilanjan Bhowal, Principal Architect, Design Consortium. There’s also a conscious demand to make rooms airier and well-lit. “Homes are not just places to eat and sleep, they are for making memories and nurturing good feelings. This stay-at-home living has helped people realise that,” says Bhowal.
Designated work stations: Now that WFH has become an acronym everyone is familiar with, there is also the need to break away from all the din of a house. Home-offices that are soundproof or work tables that can collapse or be tucked away when not required have become the de rigueur in almost every home. Can we lose the lobby and turn it into a study room? “People are also considering collapsing spaces to allow for multi-functional rooms. The living room, for instance, can be partitioned when required as a formal study space. Rooms with a view are now more lived-in than before,” says Mumbai-based interior designer Shabnam Gupta, Founder, The Orange Lane.
Mindful kitchens: “With the need to become self-reliant, without the comfort of house help, homeowners are investing heavily in gadgets that can make their lives more comfortable, be it self-cleaning robots, dishwashers or drying units. The idea is to make the house run as efficiently as possible if there is no external help,” says Pune-based designer Pratap Jadhav, former national president, Institute of Indian Interior Designers. He adds that many have moved to smaller dining tables in the kitchen to make mealtime with family more intimate and easy to manoeuvre.
Quarantined Spaces: “Those who can manage it are making changes to their interiors to turn some corners into isolated spaces so that in case of need, a person can self-isolate for two weeks without feeling claustrophobic or alone,” says Bhowal. These spaces are designed to be low on maintenance and come equipped with a kitchenette, should the occupant want to make a quick meal, or even a cup of tea.
Homegrown Furniture: “With the export market nearly drying up for furniture stock, people are looking at homegrown brands,” says Gupta. An advocate for the handmade, she has been actively involving carpenters and craftspeople to work on furniture for homes that have excellent finishes and are long-lasting. “People have also come to realise that a chair which looks good, may not be comfortable to sit in for long hours. Staying home has been beneficial in that way because people now see that not everything that looks good has to feel good,” says Jadhav.
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