Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have had to treat our homes as makeshift offices, gyms, and schools to get by. And as quarantine measures continue to be enforced for the foreseeable future, many homeowners face the challenge of adapting their living spaces to protect themselves during these trying times.
That being said, Arch. Vittoria Lou Mawis-Aliston believes that these current events can be viewed as opportunities to improve our lives and homes for better.
“Whether you’re a professional designer or an at-home homemaker, there’s a lot of things that you can do to prepare for the new normal,” she said during her webinar, which was organized by real estate firm Avida in partnership with the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The Importance of Adapting to the New Normal
Avida firmly believes that there’s more to a happy and fulfilling life than simply finding your dream home. Indeed, other areas of your lifestyle should also be addressed, such as your independence, financial readiness, and health, to name a few.
This is why Avida has collaborated with experts from various fields and industries for their series of informative online talks called “HomePossible: Ready to Restart.” Ranging from mental health tips to homeschooling, these webinars aim to inspire current and aspiring homeowners to make better lifestyle choices even while coping with challenges such as the global pandemic.
“The new normal is this adaptation process, in which we introduce changes to our lifestyles and built environment,” Arch. Vittoria explained. She cited two main principles that now have to be applied to spatial design.
The first is social distancing, which entails maintaining a distance of at least six meters away from others in public spaces. The second consists of hygienic measures such as handwashing and sanitizing surfaces.
While these principles have been applied in various public spaces, it can be more difficult to implement them in our homes. “We have limited space to enforce social distancing, especially in condominiums and apartments,” said Arch. Vittoria.
So how exactly do we go about modifying our living spaces for the new normal? Arch. Vittoria goes on to share local space planning trends and innovative solutions you can take inspiration from.
Tips for Minimizing Your Risk of Infection at Home
During her talk, Arch. Vittoria showed examples of how the pandemic has affected the design of domestic spaces, and how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
One such strategy is to implement more hands-free sanitization solutions inside of the home, such as smart home features. These include contactless technology such as motion sensor switches, auto-dispensing sanitizer bottles, UV-light emitting devices, as well as smart devices that you can control from your phone. Additionally, it’s best to opt for natural ventilation, as the COVID-19 virus has been proven to last longer in cold temperatures.
But if these options are a bit too costly for you, you can still create a sanitation station by the entrance without breaking the bank. At a minimum, Arch. Vittoria advises homeowners to place a disinfecting floor mat, a sanitizer or alcohol pump, and a disinfectant spray near the front door.
As for what materials to pick for home renovation projects, Arch. Vittoria recommends choosing easy-to-clean surfaces for your countertops and floors. Ideally, you’ll want to pick antimicrobial and nonporous surfaces such as quartz or sandstone. You can even go one step further by using antimicrobial paint and upholstering your furniture with antimicrobial fabrics, which can be easily sourced from local suppliers.
In case there are people in your household that are more vulnerable to COVID-19 (such as the elderly or immune-compromised), portable partitions are a quick and easy way to create enclosures and keep them safe from potential exposure to the virus.
Don’t Let Limitations Stop You from Improving Your Home
All in all, Arch. Vittoria believes that a small budget or floor area shouldn’t discourage homeowners from improving their living spaces. Instead, it’s better to come up with creative solutions that work within these limitations. “Just make sure that it feels like a sanctuary to you, [and that] it responds to the needs that your family [has] for this new normal.”
Watch Arch. Vittoria’s talk here to learn more about local interior design trends and new normal space planning, as well as tips and tricks for renovating kitchens, maximizing your storage space, and starting your very own home garden.