It is perhaps an unexpected fact that over the last the 12 months a significant number of people have actually saved money. According to the Office For National Statistics, between April and June 2020, the average amount of disposable income set aside was 29%, which is the highest proportion since records began in 1987. Not everyone has been lucky of course, but for some, the amounts they have been able to save through not be able to participate in activities such such as holidays, weddings, socialising or commuting have been substantial.
A lot of those savings have been directed towards home improvements and it’s not hard to understand why. By being confined to their homes people have discovered that the space isn’t big enough, the layout doesn’t work for them or simply that they don’t enjoy spending time there. They have found that their priorities have changed and that they want the space they are living in to be as nice as possible.
Another factor is the boom in the housing market driven by the stamp duty holiday and the decision to move – rather than improve. I know from my own experience of speaking with architects and tradespeople that they have been extremely busy.
So what kind of projects are people undertaking?
Extensions/ Loft Conversions
One of the big issues has been lack of space. This is partly to do with everyone being in the home at the same time and needing their own space but also the need to carry out different activities – home schooling, working, exercise.
Garden rooms serving as offices makes sense. It provides a private space for work and even if the distance between the house and the office is a few steps, that separation can make a big difference. They can also function as chill out areas when not being utilised as an office
Home Offices/ Gyms
It has become clear that the trend for working from home is here to stay even if it becomes part time rather than full time in the future. One of the biggest challenges to working from home is privacy and freedom from the risk of being interrupted, so having a home office that if necessary can also be used as an occasional spare bedroom makes sense. Private gyms have been closed and we have become used to online fitness classes. For many this has been a boon, not only because they can exercise at a time to suit them but if you are self conscious about going to a gym then you aren’t worried about people seeing you. Hence rooms dedicated to fitness are becoming more popular.
You might not be planning an extension but reconfiguring the layout – space planning – can make a huge difference to the functionality of a home. Replacing a kitchen or bathroom is another popular step. Done properly, these sorts of improvements can also add value to a property should you be considering a move.
I think this is perhaps the biggest one of all. There is a move away from the minimalist sleek interior that can feel cold and clinical. We are looking for our homes to provide comfort. This can be seen in the trend towards darker, jewel tones that feel cocooning. It is also seen in the popularity of textiles such as knitted wool, sheepskin and velvet – materials that seem to call out to be stroked. Corduroy has seen a resurgence not only in the fashion industry but the world of interiors as well.
So will this continue? I think it will but perhaps at a slightly quieter pace, the issues that we have encountered over the last 12 months may reduce but they won’t go away and I think it has moved the importance of our homes up the radar permanently.
If you are considering any project this year- whether it’s an extension, a simple redecoration or something in between then have you considered employing an interior designer? Not only can they avert expensive mistakes, they open up ideas that you hadn’t thought of and save you the time involved in researching products and tradespeople. Planning a project in 2021? Then get in touch on 07745 876182 or e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For face to face consultations I cover the Wirral, Cheshire, North Wales and the North West. I also offer remote consultations for those further afield.