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Americans are retreating back inside their homes due to the emergence of yet another wave of COVID-19, and as a result, more homeowners are focusing on macro design details centered around safety, accessibility, functionality, and health, according to Forbes. Not only can bright, nature inspired spaces create a calm environment, but increased use of hands-free technology can also ensure cleanliness and convenience inside the home.

Flex spaces and privacy niches will likely replace open floor plans in 2022 with increased use of home fitness areas, home theaters, home offices, and reading nooks. More than ever before, homeowners are prioritizing outdoor spaces for greater entertaining capacity and more living space amid work-from-home ordinances and quarantine restrictions.

With people seeking to avoid crowds, especially with the increased transmissibility of COVID’s omicron variant, private outdoor spaces have gained more importance. “Outdoor design is shifting focus away from aesthetics and space layout to occupant well-being and experience-driven environments among friends and family,” [Kerrie] Kelly observes. This translates to the full spectrum of outdoor possibilities, from work to play, study to healing. All will be “used by all occupants in fuller and deeper capacity,” the designer predicts.

Technology will be a force in creating these premium outdoor living environments, [Katye McGregor] Bennett notes. This will take the same discreet aesthetic as indoors with hidden speakers, path lighting for safety and ambiance, TVs that can withstand the elements and hide away when not in use and highly desirable space adaptation. “Motorized shades that quickly convert an open-air patio into a cozy, semi-enclosed space that helps control temps and keeps bugs out are highly desirable. Apps that control each of these make it more enjoyable and will be front-of-mind for many, but the emphasis will be on ease of use.”

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