Why living spaces need to be optimized in the COVID era

July 6, 2020 4:36 PM

Optimizing the current living spaces is the biggest need of the hour and developers have to change with that.

real estate, living space, optimization of living spaces, COVID era, smart homes, smart technology, Touchless technology With digitalisation, the need for smart homes providing healthier living options are a must in the future developments.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a sudden and significant effect on all aspects of people’s lives with almost 1.2 billion people across India now returning to the new normal with some fairly reasonable lockdown measures still in place. The short-term human and economic impact is inconvertible as people stay home, offices and shops close, and production stalls. Once the risk to human life cuts down and steps are taken back towards a fully productive economy, it is worth spending some time envisaging what this ‘new normal post COVID’ might look like.

In the real estate sector also, the pandemic has accelerated some trends already in substantiation. Across sectors these changing trends have differed the requirements for real estate demand among people. Social distancing and need to live in a hygienic environment is need of the hour and hence real estate developers have to fast track these trends to provide better spaces for tomorrow. The future-ready houses are slated to have a separate study, kitchen garden, storage room, powder room, contactless elevators and home automation systems, to name a few.

Open plans here to stay

The lockdown has had a massive impact on all of us, and being confined within our homes will definitely make us reconfigure our living quarters. More than decluttering, this will entail a spatial reconfiguration. Since work from home has become the new normal, and depending on each vocation, one needs to figure out how to navigate that best. Opening up the space to light and fresh air is imperative given that our dwellings were never meant to be as profoundly multi-functional as a shelter-in-place scenario requires them to be. Additionally, the upcoming residential spaces will also look to include a separate space at the entrance where one can remove their footwear and sanitize themselves before getting inside the living space. The developers are also expected to be creative in using the available space in a multipurpose way to provide more room for storage.

Designated in home work space

The current pandemic has forced millions of people to work as well as study from home. Gone are the days where a table in a corner was enough to enable work from home practice, with video conferencing and online meetings the demand in designated workspace at home is on the rise. This is going to be a new addition to the regular room and areas the developers provide in the floor plans. With more employees and students being at home, the developers are expected to come up with workspaces with adequate plug points and digital connectivity. Moreover, Home offices now must be fully functional with proper seating, work surfaces, lighting, acoustics, and temperature control. Rather than working from the dining room or family room shared with kids, by differentiating spaces we can empower people to be just as productive from home. Since an individual will be spending most of their time at these spaces, the right design factor and aesthetics will also be a priority for the developers.

Wellness and health integration

As the Indian community at large spends much more time at home these days, one thing has certainly come to mind: A home should be a sanctuary. Meditation areas, ample natural light and air, views to the outdoors, and integrated electronics will become essential.

Hygiene products will also be trending: Antibacterial and antimicrobial surfaces, such as porcelain tiles, quartz, granite, solid-surfacing like Corian, or laminate countertops like formica in kitchens and bathrooms; stainless steel for appliances; and copper and krion may become more common for countertops and bathroom finishes.

Touchless technology will no longer be a luxury

When it comes to finishing touches, smart home features will become far more commonplace, with motion sensors turning on faucets and voice control options for ovens, lights, televisions, and music. Smart home solutions were once seen as a luxury and may now become the expectation of every home buyers who are looking for safer, cleaner spaces. They’ll create fewer points of contact that need to be sanitized, and in turn, fewer opportunities to worry about contamination.

Need for Interior Design

The importance of interior design will be seeing a significant surge as individuals will spend most of their time indoors. Appealing interiors which will also support mental and physical well-being will be the preferred choice for the home buyers. Eye appealing designs varying from area to area based on the usage of a room will be an upcoming trend. Designers will need to consider how we can assist in mental health through interior environments, using lighting, materials, sound and acoustics. The designers will also have to incorporate indoor or vertical gardens since the time spent inside by the homeowners will be on the rise. The spaces will become more flexible and soothing to ensure maximum usage of the given area while providing space for mental and physical well-being.

Optimizing the current living spaces is the biggest need of the hour and the developers have to change with that. Going forward there will be a surge in the demand for living spaces as people will prefer to buy their own homes rather than living in a shared space. Keeping in mind the need for maintaining frequent cleanliness at home, the developers will also have to incorporate of smart home systems with no touch options to ensure the well-being and hygiene of residents. With digitalisation, the need for smart homes providing healthier living options are a must in the future developments. Need for indoor work out space, garden, work station and other activities will re define the way builders build. The pandemic has forced people to change the way they live, weather good or bad, life indoors will be the way forward where the residents will look for every possible amenity before buying a residential property.

(By Murali Malayappan, Chairman and Managing Director, Shriram Properties Ltd)

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