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Updated: Oct 18, 2021

Like most of us, I’ve spent the vast majority of the last year staring at the same walls; those of my own home. To say I am well acquainted with the décor of my dining room would be an understatement. I know you know the feeling.

As one of the many consequences of the 2020/2021 lockdowns, most of the UK workforce migrated to home working and began spending all of their toil and leisure time in their houses alongside their families.

It is a truism that home building trends are bound to follow social and economic changes based on what’s current at the time. Look at the 2000s and you’ll see homes starting to steer towards greener patterns as a generation woke up to the idea of global warming and eco materials. In the 2010s we saw a technology and globalisation revolution and subsequently, foreign investment and more interesting kit being installed in plots to wow the consumer.

So, surely to goodness, the 2020s architecture will be influenced by our new experience of our own homes. The predictions are that new plans will include a greater emphasis on home working areas, on connections with and maximising outdoor spaces, and better technology.

Home working spaces are a no brainer. At the moment, many businesses are considering keeping their workforce in the home on a permanent or at least a part time basis. Like many others, in March I started out with a laptop on my knees, on the sofa and sharing bandwidth with my entire street. Now, my working space is fully adapted to suit my requirements and my husband and I have claimed separate territories each with our own monitor raisers, USB keyboard and mouse and straight backed chairs! It’s a lot better but our spaces still haven’t been designed for purpose. The benefit of buying a new home is that it will have been thought out, recently, with a 2021 purchaser in mine.

Some of the changes I’m sure will be semantics. In the sales literature, they’ll refer to the 3rd/4th bedroom as potential offices rather than guest rooms. There’ll be a petit display desk in a show home highlighting the ability to work comfortably from your house. And at the higher end of the market, we may see tangible working spaces forming part of the ‘can’t live without’ spec such as garden studios or box rooms.

The desire to be outdoors is something else we can all relate to. Many of us spent the, mercifully, sunny Summer of last year in any external spaces we had available to us and anyone buying in 2021 will be conscious of how free they can be without leaving their property. We’re likely to see access and views of gardens being highlighted. Bifold doors, winter gardens and as much balcony as the side of a tower block can handle will all play a part. Those developers building community spaces will place more emphasis on the communal areas and landscaping. And square footage of private gardens will be maximised for the buyer’s comfort.

Finally, we may expect the technology that we see in properties to improve. One of the first things my household had to do was buy an internet extender, because WIFI is life. As the year wore on we organically set up another TV unit so we could share Netflix without going mad. And we haven’t even got any teenagers in the house! So there’s likely to be an emphasis on internet capabilities, throughout the property and on move-in day. The efficient heating of a household throughout the working week will matter too and media panels may become more sophisticated or more abundant throughout the home to accommodate a 20s purchaser.

This is all of course in addition to the changes we knew we were going to see anyway this decade. Some developers are buying into smart kit installation – the so-called internet of things – which will turn out houses into futuristic and responsive companions. Alexa, please turn the news off!

New home design and surrounding rhetoric is always changing and evolving to suit the needs of the consumer and this decade will be no different. I’ve spent the last year turning my house into somewhere that is comfortable and practical 24 hours every day and now we’re looking to architects to design a home as if you knew you were going into another lockdown. They say that necessity is the mother of invention and at After Build, we’re excited to see what is delivered.

Whatever new homes await our customers, After build will have to be prepared to handle the first two years and support the businesses trying to make a dent in the housing crisis while satisfying the lifestyle requirements of its occupants.

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