Open floor plans have been one of the most desired home layouts for quite some time now – and for good reason. They make a space feel bigger, offer better traffic flow, allow for easier entertaining, and the list goes on. But I’m here today to tell you to put down the sledgehammer, because open floor plans could be becoming a thing of the past. As many of us continue working and learning remotely, these walls and additional rooms are needed now more than ever.
Designers, builders, and integrators are taking a different approach to the next generation of homes built in the post-COVID era. During a recent panel discussion hosted by Josh.ai, Dana DeVance, owner of DeVance AV Design, explains that she is seeing a shift away from typical home builds that feature a single office space, and instead, she is seeing an increase in homes with two office spaces and even a dedicated “school room” for children who are still learning virtually.
“We can expect to see a shift back toward a more traditional floor plan style,” New York designer Daun Curry tells Architectural Digest. “Modern open-plan living is popular for many reasons, but during this period, we are realizing it can be a hindrance when our work lives merge into our living spaces. A surprising advantage of historic homes is that the spaces are clearly defined by separate rooms—allowing for a distinct demarcation between home and work life.”
Setting up a workstation on a dining room table or having the kids learn in their playroom may have worked for the past few months but it’s not a great long-term solution. Combining the functionalities of two rooms can cause distractions and decrease productivity. On top of that, the technology may not be up to par in rooms that were never intended for such purposes.
“Use cases are changing,” says Hagai Feiner, President of Access Networks, who admits to taking video calls from the corner of his bedroom and the front seat of his Tesla. “Our family is having conversations now about how to create spaces where we can learn, work, and also have all of the technologies we want while still maintaining the simplicity we’re looking for.”
Of course, there will always be a need for large, communal gathering areas, but at the moment, there is a more immediate need for clearly defined spaces (on the inside of the home at least).