Interior Design in a Time of COVID
COVID has changed everything about how we live, so it’s not surprising it’s also had an effect on interior design. As we segue into 2021, there are already several design trends on the horizon that reflect these shifts towards creating a home environment that emphasizes comfort and wellness. There were many times in 2020 when it didn’t feel safe to be outside, with sickness and disease lurking in the air. Our homes became our safe places, and because we spent so much time inside them, we’ve turned towards making them as secure and serene as possible while still keeping us connected to the outside world. Perhaps this is best exemplified in what’s sure to be one of the major interior design trends of 2021: biophilic design.
What is Biophilic Interior Design?
This isn’t a new trend—builders have been incorporating it for several years—but its popularity may reach new heights in 2021.
“As a function of the world we live in, what is called the ‘new normal,’ biophilic is fast moving from niche to mass,” says Gil Walsh, owner of Gil Walsh Interiors and an in-house design expert for Elegant Strand, an online retailer specializing in designer bedding and home decor. “It’s a healthier, more relaxed environment, like that which is evoked when we are outdoors.”
So biophilic design is a synergy between our home’s interiors and nature’s exteriors. Natural elements flow seamlessly throughout a home—it’s not just the presence of a plant here or there, but a holistic, thoughtful design choice. In our homes, we are not isolated from nature, but part of it.
How to accomplish that? Here are some luxury design ideas that are on trend for 2021.
Look for paints, fabrics and decorative accessories in colors that mimic nature. Think blues of the sea and sky, sunny yellows, earthy beiges and tans and garden greens.
Bathing your interiors in the warmth of the sun casts a flattering glow that brightens and lightens any room. You can make a major investment and upgrade your windows and sliders with expansive panes of glass that let in the light. At the other end of the spectrum, it may be as simple as swapping out heavy drapery for lightweight sheers that let in the sunlight.
Bring Nature’s Materials Indoors
Finding ways to incorporate natural textiles and materials throughout your home creates a cohesive design statement. Ideas to try: Stone or cork floors, rattan furniture, quartzite countertops, brushed nickel cabinet hardware and seagrass rugs.
Seamless Indoor/Outdoor Spaces
One of the most effective ways to achieve biophilic design is by connecting your home’s interior to exterior spaces that double as living areas. A barn door slider, for instance, dramatically opens up your home, joining the indoors and outdoors to effectively create one large room. You can also create a yard or patio space that invites people in. Outfit the space with comfortable furniture, an outdoor fireplace and even a kitchen with a built-in barbecue and small refrigerator.
Cultivating Your Green Thumb
Live plants deployed throughout your home are an excellent way to bring the beauty of nature indoors. Plant a fiddle leaf fig tree in an elegant pot by your living room window, hang spider plants in the corner of your bedroom or tend a petite windowsill herb garden in the kitchen. There are many different kinds that are easy to care for, such as rubber plants, English ivy, jade plants and various types of ferns.
Capture Nature in Art
Don’t worry if you don’t have a beautiful landscape outside your window. You can create one inside with the use of artwork. Invest in fine art photographs or paintings of oceans, mountains, valleys or gardens. You can also choose an abstract in one of the natural colors that are an interior design trend for 2021.
Comfortable Home Offices
Many of us pivoted to remote work in the wake of COVID. Initially, that probably meant setting up your laptop at the dining room table or in a spare bedroom. But remote work is likely to be with us for some time, so it’s vital to create a workspace where you can be productive and comfortable at once. Incorporate the same design touches as you did in the rest of your home, and purchase an ergonomic desk chair or a standing desk. Ideally, this space should have a door or a room divider so that you can keep it separate from your other living spaces–you want your work and home life to co-exist, but not bleed together.
Embracing the concepts of biophilic design can transform not just the look, but also the feel, of your home. Our connection with nature is elemental, and it can nurture and inspire us. A home with heart, that breeds comfort and joy, may be an interior design trend of 2021, but its benefits will endure for years to come.