Technology has always helped change our homes and the way we live. Your home is about to change — not in a visible way but in subtle finishes. It is no surprise that the home will inevitably be changed in some regards due to the current global health crisis brought about by COVID-19. Up until now, the changes have always been toward eco- or earth-friendly products, and these have gained strength in interior design in the last five to 10 years.
The changes that most within the design industry are forecasting are materials that promote a healthier home. Already, many of these safety materials are being used in hospitals, airports and other commercial institutions. Antimicrobial surfaces for countertops and flooring will be the first to arrive to your home remodeling, as these are readily available. These germ-resistant countertops are sure to be a hit with most multigenerational homes.
Copper, and its alloys brass and bronze, hardware and plumbing fixtures are sure to see a rise. Although these materials are prone to corrosion and patina from aging, their inherent antimicrobial properties make them perfect for any touched surfaces. It is no coincidence that during the cholera outbreak of the 1850s and 1860s, workers that worked at a copper smelter were spared death. Doors, plumbing and any other functional hardware throughout the early 19th century shifted from iron to brass and copper.
In addition to the use of copper, brass and bronze, there are composite materials that are self-sanitizing, some of which are already used for grocery cart handles. These materials just need to transition from industrial or commercial use to residential product design. We are sure to see these start to roll out within the next year.
Our lives, replete with technology, will also see more products with voice recognition. This will enable the user to move about any home without the need to touch any buttons or surfaces. Some of these are already available. Anything from turning on lights and listening to music to commanding elevators to which floor you need to go to will be available with the next year or two. Alexa, Siri and rivals will battle for your home.
Architecturally, we will see a feature that most homes up north have. The mudroom will be a selling feature of every new home. Whether at the entrance of the home or as a separate entry, an area to receive and disinfect packages, disrobe or take your shoes off before entering someone's home will be essential. Safety will become the new buzzword, especially in new construction.
Working from home will prove to be a game changer for some businesses. Providing a separate workspace for each member of the family will be the new norm. Studying online for school-age children and college-age young adults will also be a design consideration and opportunity for the new American home. Keeping your family safe will be the no. 1 priority. As grim as it may be, this will likely not be the only pandemic, so it's best to embrace these new changes and make your home as safe as possible.
Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida. To find out more about Joseph Pubillones, or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.