A home can mean many things to different people. For some, it’s a refuge from the bustle of the outside world, a shelter from the harsh elements. To others, it’s merely a place to sleep before heading off to work or adventure. Depending on our jobs, circumstances, roles, health, and so on, we spend varying amounts of time at home. Most people care about what their homes look like, adding their own touches to bring a sense of character and charm and value. But no matter how much or how little time we spend inside them, there is a tendency to take them for granted.
In March 2020, the UK government announced that the country would be going into ‘lockdown’. It was something new, unheard of in recent times and quite difficult for the UK population to grasp. We were told to stay at home unless you were a ‘key worker’. Suddenly, we felt trapped in our own homes. And even for those who spend a lot of time at home, being forced to stay there seemed an imposition that went too far.
We sought ways to alleviate the boredom; reading, learning a new language or skill, puzzles, games, arts & crafts. But some people realised just how much they had taken their homes for granted. They noticed their walls and ceilings properly for the first time in months or years.
This increased connection with our living spaces encouraged us to reevaluate them, to consider new ways of using the space. One reason for this was that, for many people, the family dynamic was changed. More people started working from home. Schools closed, meaning that the kids were using the space too. Established routines were turned upside down, and so the living space had to be changed to allow a different way of living.
A great many people used interior design as an escape from the doom and gloom of incessant news updates of rising death and infection rates. Instagram was flooded with pictures of newly-refurbished rooms and exorbitant ideas like these Georgian Hallways. And when restrictions were relaxed on DIY outlets people formed queues to replenish their stocks of emulsion, gloss, wallpaper and the like.
By the end of the first lockdown, thousands of homes had received a makeover in some way or another. In general, people were happy to get back to work after being stuck at home for so long. But most had discovered a new appreciation for the places they call home. The situation with Covid19 is still unclear. The government has the unenviable and thankless task of guiding us through these times, and further restrictions and lockdowns – whatever our views on their effectiveness or fairness – are likely. Once again, we may be ‘encouraged’ to stay home. And it is certain that if or when this happens, the interior designer within us will be taking a good look around the home to see which areas could do with improvement.