The pandemic has forced many of us to reevaluate how we live our lives. While some have had to make difficult decisions, others have used this time to learn new things.
For professional kitchen and bathroom designers, it has also been a time to reflect on the work they do. We reached out to professional kitchen and bathroom designers to get their take on the lessons learned during the pandemic.
We want to thank everyone for participating:
- Teri Simone, Chief Kitchen Designer at Nieu Cabinet Doors
- Andre Kazimerski, CEO of Improovy,
- Melanie Musson, Home Design Expert at Clearsurance
- Erin Baebler, 210 Design House
- Sabine Mané, International Decorative Surfaces
- Beril Yilmaz, Architect, Designer & Writer
Avoid Making Decisions in a Hurry
When the pandemic first started nobody had any idea how long lockdowns would last. Some people thought that they would only last a few weeks, while others thought that they would last for months or even years.
The lockdowns that took place during the pandemic provided some people with the time to do the projects that they were putting off. For example, many people decided to renovate their kitchens or bathrooms during the lockdowns.
“COVID has given homeowners time to sit at home and look at all the things they’d like to change. With more time spent at home than ever, tackling that “I’ll get to it next year project” became a reality for many homeowners during the pandemic. With rising costs and restrictions, turning to a DIY project for the first time was something that many took upon themselves. Whether painting walls, tackling a vanity refacing project, or for the ambitious, gutting their kitchen, home improvement projects saw a large increase, particularly as DIY projects.”, says Teri Simone from Nieu Cabinet Doors.
This also led to many mistakes. Andre Kazimierski, CEO of Improovy, shared his story:
“The pandemic provided a lot of people time to do things they had been putting off for a while. For me, that was renovating my bathroom. I finally had the time and the bathroom was just haunting me, a combined force of chaotic creativity. The unknown of how long the lockdown would last paved the way for my first mistake – I rushed it. I was too excited, and started the project from many different angles at once. I am no rookie and I should have practiced patience and foresight. The ending result was a mess and I hated the final design, all because I rushed the process. Do not do this! Pandemic or not, you are allowed to take your time when dealing with matters you care about.”
Outdoor Kitchens Gained Popularity
Outdoor kitchens gained popularity during the pandemic as a way for people to socialize while staying safe. Being outdoors can also help to increase levels of Vitamin D, which can help to boost the immune system.
“Outdoor kitchens became wildly popular during COVID as entertainment shifted to the outdoors. Some families choose to add an outdoor kitchen instead of investing in a kitchen remodel”, said Melanie Musson, Clearsurance’s home design expert.
Digital Marketing Replaced Traditional Ways of Marketing
Ralph Severson, the owner of Flooring Masters, talked to us about his company’s transition to digital marketing.
“We design and remodel bathrooms, basements, and flooring. Just like many other businesses, Covid pushed us deeper into digital marketing. With everyone stuck at home, relying on word of mouth was not an option. I’m very glad that we got started with the website and online marketing a few years before Covid, and had a head start on our competition. Customers are still asking the same questions, but they are doing it via email, which makes it much more convenient because this has replaced me fielding calls in the middle of design and remodeling projects.”
210 Design House shared their marketing experience during the pandemic:
“We know that everyone’s comfort levels are still across the board, so at 210, we aim to make the client experience as comfortable as possible. A lot of that has been through more touch base/information gathering calls and email correspondence (sending photos and details of the products offered) before the client actually comes in to see our showroom firsthand. Even with industry partners (’the trade’), we’ve sent many more scouting images, and have had more touchpoints with partners via LinkedIn or by way of calls/emails. Firms should continue to have a flexible approach based on the clients’ needs; as of late, we’re seeing more people making their way back into showrooms to learn about and see products firsthand. At 210, we believe our personal touch, which has always been a great sense of pride for us, has really been highlighted more since the pandemic and people have come seeking our knowledge because of the personal experience they feel.“
Trends During the Pandemic
Some new trends showed up during the pandemic, but some are here to stay.
“I have no idea why, but a trend that I saw pop up during lockdown, and persist, is black bathroom fixtures, and accent colors in tile. I keep blue and red subway tile on hand because half of the backsplashes we have done the past two years are using these accent colors.” Ralph Severson.
‘”Design-wise, products that offer smooth and seamless surfaces such as bathroom paneling and luxury vinyl tile flooring will be seen as more beneficial than ever because of the heightened consumer focus on health and hygiene and feeling safe at home and their ability to combine high performance with simple maintenance. As we begin to enjoy greater freedoms again, I think there will be a renewed burst of enthusiasm from consumers for refreshing the looks within their home to psychologically move them away from anything that reminds them of the pandemic times. This may be a bright new coat of paint, a stylish floor or a bathroom makeover with custom-printed wall paneling —anything that enhances personal pride in the home.” Sabine Mané from International Decorative Surfaces
When it comes to kitchen design, some clients are still looking for the perfect white or gray kitchens while others have ventured out and sought pops of color in their homes.
“In terms of style, natural materials are in to bring warmth to the space and traditional style is no longer preferred by many. Since we spend most of our time indoors, homeowners tend to prefer larger windows in the kitchen to bring outdoors inside. For faucets, matte black finishes are what the customers go for and for countertops quartz is still the most popular material but with lighter colors.“, says Beril Yilmaz from Garden Furniture Sales
“One of the greatest trends we’ve seen are quiet tech areas or private workspaces within the homes, where with very minimal construction, you can set up a glass box of sorts in an area of the home to serve as a quiet corner.”, says Erin from 210 Design House.
“Working from home and hybrid working are fixtures of modern living now and for the foreseeable future and this is going to have a direct, positive impact on home renovation as consumers look to create more space whether it’s a garden room, a kitchen extension or a loft conversion for an ensuite.” Sabine Mané
There is a Need for More Storage Space
One of the most common lessons learned from the pandemic is the need for more storage space. In kitchens, this often means adding more cabinets and in bathrooms, it often means adding more shelves.
“COVID affected how we live our lives and use the spaces in our houses massively. Our kitchen and baths are no exception to that. We started spending a lot more time in our kitchens and using it for new activities other than cooking. We see an increase in the storage areas, to allow users to keep their supplies for cooking, eating, working and homeschooling. Kitchen islands also increased in size to accommodate all these activities at the same time. We need more open-space concepts and functional spaces after going through the pandemic”, continues Yilamz.
“People are paying more attention to the details of what they want and need. For example, in kitchens, clients are recognizing the need for more counter space for preparation or more than one dishwasher or sink since there tend to be more bodies cooking simultaneously these days as folks work remotely or stay home more often.”, says Erin Baebler.
The pandemic has taught us many lessons, but one of the most important lessons is that we need to be prepared for anything. This means that we need to have a plan in place for our homes in case something happens. For example, if there is another pandemic in the future, we need to make sure that our homes are designed in such a way that we can easily clean them and disinfect them. We also need to make sure that our homes are comfortable and functional, so that we can continue to live our lives normally even if there is a pandemic going on.
If you are thinking about renovating your home, then we hope that you will take the lessons learned from the pandemic into consideration.