Renovating post-COVID? Here are the latest interior design trends you should know about
Now more than ever our homes truly are our castle – our office, our sanctuary, our gym, our place for rest and for fun.
That's according to Sophie Seeger, interior designer and tutor at The Interior Design Institute – New Zealand, who believes that, as a result of the pandemic, Kiwis have revisited what is important to them in the home.
More time spent at home, coupled with changes to how we're spending that time, has influenced what's "on trend" in interior design.
If you're thinking about renovating to get the most from your home or doing it with a view to selling in order to capitalise on the growing housing market, there are certain strategies that will enable you maximise your return on investment.
We spoke to Sophie to understand these new trends and asked Resident Builder Peter Wolfkamp from The Block NZ for tips on how to incorporate these into your home design plans.
Find your niche
"People are moving away from open plan living as families who spend more time at home desire their own personal spaces," Sophie says.
"This might be a nook to curl up with a book, a niche for listening to music, space to video-call friends and family in private, or a yoga, workout or meditation area."
However, she does not believe it will spell the end of the open plan and says communal areas are equally important.
"You still want to be able to connect around the dining table, or at a kitchen island while cooking, so consider how you can keep those spaces nice and open."
According to Peter, the good news for renovators is that adding walls or partitions to a space is generally far easier than removing them.
"Nooks and break-outs can be some of the easiest spaces to create in a home from a cost perspective," he says.
"One of the best ways I've seen this done is through the smart use of integrated, custom joinery."
Peter says a simple way to incorporate these niche areas into the home is through clever concealments. For example, behind cupboard doors may be a bench seat, a fold-out desk for work, or additional storage.
Bring the outdoors in
Sophie says a new value has been placed on instilling balance and calm in the home as we spend more time there.
"An abundance of natural light is a great foundation for bringing a sense of tranquillity into the home and this will be in higher demand moving forward. There's a range of benefits to increased natural light including improved mood and concentration, as well as making a space seem bigger."
If you are renovating your house, Sophie advises investing in adding windows, increasing the size of existing ones or even adding a skylight.
Peter warns that in New Zealand in particular, any additional windows will have an impact on the heating and cooling costs for a home. This means it's important to learn about the performance features of your choices before selecting what goes in your home.
For example, there are skylights that can open and create a vent to release hot air as it rises, making it a great option for cooling the home in summer. Some newer models of skylight also offer rain sensors, meaning the skylight becomes a feature that works for you in any condition.
Installing large, roll-away doors to link to the outside is another great way to maximise light and openness. Peter adds that small touches like ensuring there is a level threshold between the interior and exterior of a home can effortlessly blend inside and out to give a more free-flowing and open feel.
Spaces with scope
Rooms in our homes have long been labelled with inflexible titles, however, homeowners are now seeing new potential in every space.
Sophie recommends identifying multi-use areas and keeping them free of clutter so they can be easily converted for each use. This could include the living room doubling as a meditation zone, spare bedrooms being used for office space, or the garage as the ultimate home gym.
Peter says that for these spaces, thinking ahead before you renovate is key.
"Take one of the most obvious and popular multifunction spaces, the garage. Ventilation and heating are often overlooked elements that limit its use.
"We've become used to in-home garage entry but without living-quality ventilation and insulation it isn't really an extension of the home. It's worth considering having these put into the garage if you do want it to be a useful part of the home."
Another missed opportunity is your home's connectivity. Peter says bearing this in mind while renovating will pay dividends down the track.
"There are smart devices in every room of the home now. If you're renovating, consider upgrading your cabling to add power and data points throughout the home. Not only will it make your spaces more functional, but it will be what future buyers are looking for."
When renovating, sticking to the three trends above will help increase the value of your home and make it more desirable to future buyers.
The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Resimac.