The unexpected rise of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way of living for all members of society. Restrictions which have led to the closure of workplaces, schools/universities and shopping precincts have meant that many of us are spending more time at home than ever before. Spending all this time at home, especially with family members, can cause one to find it difficult to experience any personal space or focus on work due to the change in environment. The ongoing pandemic, which is anything but over, is changing people’s outlook on their home requirements with some major changes to consider being home living plans.
Open living plans
Popular for many years now, open living plans involve the opening up of ground floor rooms to create a multi-functional space. This space is usually an integration of the kitchen, dining, living as well as a work/study space. Such an area can be occupied by multiple house members at the same time and is favoured by families over other living plans. Some of the advantages of an open floor plan would be:
With fewer walls blocking the natural light, this part of the house can stay well lit up for a good part of the day, reducing the usage and cost of electricity.
The main reason an open plan is so popular among families is that it allows parents to spend time with their children (encouraging interaction) and complete other tasks around the house simultaneously.
Although these are great reasons as to why open living plans have been a popular trend in recent years, such a plan is not exactly pandemic friendly. The disadvantages of an open living plan are also worth considering:
Higher energy bills
Large open spaces always take longer to heat in the winter and cool in summer. This can increase spending on electricity significantly and increased spending during unprecedented times is never ideal.
Privacy and noise
This is a big factor to consider as during COVID-19 many of us have had to work from home. While we should all be grateful for the opportunity to work amidst a pandemic it must be said that working from home is not ideal. An open floor plan reduces privacy in a home and increases noise as everyone is sharing the main space. With fewer walls to keep sound out, it can be difficult to escape distractions and work in peace.
Seeing how the pandemic has affected our lifestyles, it would be fair to say that many home buyers or even current homeowners might favour a zoned/closed living plan when thinking about buying/renovating. Zoned living has a more traditional design aesthetic and focuses on individual functional areas that are separated and closed off.
Here are some important points to consider when considering a closed living plan:
Less noise disturbance and increased privacy.
As discussed above, open living plans are responsible for noise disturbance and lack of privacy, a closed plan, on the other hand, gives house members more personal space within with rooms being closed off and more walls so that noise cannot travel easily through the house.
Although with a more ‘phased’ home, heating and cooling rooms in the house will be much easier through the help of zoned heating and cooling systems but while you will be saving money in that department, you also have to keep in mind that more rooms mean that you will have to spend more money on lighting as zoned living does not possess the same luxury of natural lighting as open living.
However, there are several ways in which you can keep your house energy efficient. For example; installing skylights in parts of your house reduces the need for artificial lighting during the day.
Solar energy is one of the most cost-effective forms of renewable energy, which is why it would be a great idea to install solar panels as they can power all the energy needs of your home. Here are some more top tips for creating an energy-efficient home.
Use of outdoor space
Another aspect of houses that buyers will place more emphasis on post-pandemic is backyard and terrace/rooftop space. Lockdown can be an extremely difficult and frustrating time for some due to people not being able to leave their homes. In this situation, having sufficient backyard space, or terrace/rooftop space (depending on whether you live in an apartment) is your next best alternative. Having such access to nature allows one to get fresh air and also keep themselves busy by potentially using the space for working out, playing with your pet and/or gardening.
Panic buying triggered by lockdown early in the year caused food shortages in supermarkets which have led to increasing interest in self-sufficiency. Which is why gardens/backyards can also be utilised for growing your own food so that in future if something of such magnitude was to occur, you are prepared and may not feel the full brunt of food shortages in supermarkets.
In such extraordinary times, lifestyle changes are inevitable. If you are planning on making changes to your home, contact us today for more information. Our highly experienced team can provide you with the right knowledge to give your home what it needs.