home office Ellen Kurtz

How the Pandemic is Shaping Interior Design

There’s not enough good news these days, especially as it relates to the pandemic. But in the interior design world, there actually have been some silver linings. So I thought it might be fun to spend a blog post talking about how Covid-19 has shaped our design choices and relationships to our homes. 

Now, I realize that “fun” and “Covid-19” are two words that are rarely mentioned in the same sentence. But hear me out here.

Stay-at-home is an inconvenience, for sure. But it has also put every one of us back in our homes more, and back together with our families more. 


home thankful
Photo from Ellen Kurtz Interiors remodel

Yes, sometimes this can feel incredibly claustrophobic and strained! But it’s also a good reminder of the old idiom: home is where the heart is. 

And I think people are realizing this through this pandemic.

In return (or maybe just because they are sick of staring at the same old thing every day!), homeowners are taking on more projects and making more changes to their homes. In other words, they are pouring more love into their homes.

And to me, that is an absolute bright spot in this pandemic!

So let’s talk about some of the specific ways in which people are adapting to, and changing their homes with, Covid-19: 

Home offices are no longer an afterthought 

When one or two adults are spending most of their working hours at home, a small corner desk in the kitchen hardly suffices. Add to this scenario a kid or two (or more) who are homeschooling, and it’s not long before somebody is ready to bolt.

So, it’s no surprise that one of the top requests of interior designers and builders and realtors right now is relative to home office space.

desk home office
Remodel by Ellen Kurtz Interiors

If the homeowner already has one home office, they are looking for two. If they’ve never had a designated work area previously, they are suddenly looking to put on an addition or make space for one in that guest room that rarely gets used.

Homework stations are also big on the pandemic wish-list. Some people are incorporating them into their mudrooms, or putting them right in the bedrooms with space carved out under a bunk bed.

Generally speaking, these work areas tend multi-use spaces that allow for privacy but aren’t too separate from the rest of the house (which is probably a reflection of our multi-tasking lifestyles!).

And speaking of multi-tasking, home gyms are also rising in popularity, among those who can afford them. No surprise there either, right? 

The open floor plan is SO pre- pandemic

All that time at home with all the same people, and yes, even if you love them dearly it can cause everyone to go a little stir-crazy. This seems to be driving the latest interior design trend that nobody saw coming in the pre-pandemic world: a move away from the open floor plan.

It makes sense, when you think about it.

People are craving privacy, and are also looking to break up monotony by having separate and designated spaces for their different activities and needs. If mom is on a zoom call, she needs some space from the teenager practicing piano or her husband who is getting in a midday workout.

Even in a single-person household, nobody wants to relax and read a book in the same room that they also slept, ate, worked and worked out in. I get claustrophobic just thinking about it!

open closed floor plan
Staging by Ellen Kurtz Interiors

Given that, the open floor plan is starting to feel a little too…open.

Some people are finding a happy medium by keeping certain rooms open to each other (say, the kitchen and great room), but closing off other areas of the house. Those already living in open floor plans are coming up with creative ways to better divide their space into use zones.

Either way, the message is clear: in this pandemic, people are craving space!

Indoor-outdoor flow is a pandemic must

It is human nature to seek out ways to connect with others. But today, if you want to socialize in the most low-risk way, that means taking your gatherings outside, or at least into a well-ventilated space.

As a result, right now there is skyrocketing interest in outdoor living areas and indoor-outdoor transition spaces (think sunrooms, and screened-in or or covered porches, etc.). 

outdoor living
Design by Ellen Kurtz Interiors.

This is all great news, especially because regular doses of the outdoors can do so much for our mental health.

The only thing I would advise is to make sure you are consulting an interior designer when considering a space like this. We can work with your landscape architect or contractor to help make the transition from indoor to outdoor as functional and attractive as possible!

Color is making a comeback

According to trend-watchers, the all-white kitchen is on its way out. I know, I know — I don’t quite believe it myself!

But supposedly, all this time at home has caused people to rethink their more neutral surroundings.

Psychologists could probably have lots of fun theorizing on this, but one explanation is that people are looking to infuse more creativity and energy into their homes, now that they are spending so much time and working hours there. Or maybe all-white is just more appealing when you don’t have to stare at it all-day, everyday.

Either way, my take on this is you don’t have to go crazy with the paint brush just yet. Especially if you are a fan of the crisp, classic look.

Instead, consider adding pops of color as focal points. Maybe keep your perimeter cabinets white but go with a bright colored island. Or consider a darker barn door accent piece. There’s a chance to be creative here!

Storage solutions are a must

OK, who here has had that MOMENT. You know the one. Where you log onto a Zoom call and then stare in horror at the mess that is in the backdrop of your screen, on display for all of your friends or work buddies to see?!?

barn door storage
Design by Ellen Kurtz Interiors

Guilty, guilty, guilty. And it sounds like I’m not alone.

All of a sudden, we are feeling a strong urge for presentable homes — even though fewer people are actually stepping inside them. Isn’t it funny?

But again, it makes sense. When you spend all of your waking and sleeping hours at home, you accumulate a lot of … stuff. So people are naturally looking for more attractive ways to organize and conceal all that stuff.

Storage solutions run the gamut: from walk-in pantries, to built-ins, to hidden rooms even. An interior designer can help you find what works best for you. Gotta look good on that Zoom call!

Call Me for Your Pandemic House Needs

Remember, I’m eager to help you and your home get through this crazy time! I’ve been putting a lot of thought into how we can adapt our homes to meet these changing circumstances, and I’m eager to share my ideas with my clients. So reach out! I look forward to hearing from you.