The end of open-plan living? How Covid-19 is changing our homes

COVID-19 is changing how we live—and what we want from the spaces we live in.

The end of open-plan living? How Covid-19 is changing our homes
[Photo: Ivengo/iStock]
or an easy commute to work by car or . This means people often invest in more expensive homes in locations with access to quality facilities and then adapt them to .

As an architect and researcher in housing and sustainability, ranging from extensions and loft conversions, through to the installation of renewable technologies and . Many homeowners view their homes in desirable areas as a financial asset they plan later to cash in. For this reason, renewable and energy efficiency measures are often not included in adaptations, due to uncertainties about how these will be .

威廉希尔开户But with fewer people now commuting and more people working from home, where people choose to live and how they want their houses to function may change after this prolonged period of lockdown.

There have already that people may want to escape city life and move to the countryside, with many longing for more space and .

Goodbye, open-plan living?

It’s likely that for many families, this period has also highlighted that when they are all in the house at the same time, it can be hard to find any personal space.

威廉希尔开户A popular trend in recent years has been for open plan living. This often involves opening up several ground floor rooms to create a single, open plan, multifunctional space–usually a kitchen, dining, living, utility and work space. These open plan areas usually function on the premise that any homeworking parents can occupy this space during the day, before the .


This, however, relies on a “phased” pattern of occupation, whereby different members of the household occupy the home at different times of day. This is very different from the “concurrent” pattern of occupation–whereby all members of the household occupy the home simultaneously–that lockdown has made more prevalent.

威廉希尔开户Being able to supervise children while working may be beneficial for some. But for others, the lack of privacy afforded by these large, open plan spaces has no doubt presented challenges—particularly when, for example, you might want a quiet corner in which to hold online calls. Self-isolating is also more difficult in such spaces, as is quarantining objects coming into the home.

Changing housing desires

It is likely that changes in commuting or work habits could also prompt a fundamental shift in what people perceive as priority features in the home.

People who regularly work from home use their heating far more to . So an increase in the number of homeworkers could see a wider preoccupation with thermal comfort and the energy efficiency of their homes.

威廉希尔开户Homeworking could also bring many of the environmental considerations associated with workplace productivity, such as , to bear on the domestic environment. This may lead homeowners to invest in measures such as triple-glazing or high-performance windows, increased insulation and draught-proofing–which .

Research shows that for children, a comfortable, private space to study away from the communal areas of the home increases . So the preoccupation with the educational welfare of their children that encouraged parents to reside in proximity to high-performing schools may now be channeled into optimizing their homes for study.


Natural light and self-sufficiency

A growing preoccupation with exercise and health could also see more people thinking about the impact internal environments can have on our well-being–prioritizing . This could lead to reduced reliance on electrical lighting and greater demand for gardens that encourage biodiversity.

威廉希尔开户 have also resulted in a renewed interest in self-sufficiency, which may continue long after lockdown. This could lead to gardens being used for growing food, which would ultimately lead to a . This could even lead to more people becoming interested using solar panels or other renewables.

There could also be increased demand for new housing, particularly where the design of new housing responds to the new realities of home schooling and working, as well as a healthier, more self-sufficient lifestyle.

The experience of lockdown will, no doubt, have a lasting effect on us all. And many will be rethinking the kind of life they want to live post-pandemic, along with the role their homes could play in this.

is a lecturer in architecture at . This article is republished from under a Creative Commons license. Read the .

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