The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in many ways, and things continue to develop. While working from home is one of the main areas where we’ve seen change, it’s likely many other factors will get disrupted in coming years, including design. Here’s how kitchens may evolve in the future, post-pandemic.
As you’d imagine, one of the top of mind topics right now is how to keep homes clean and safer from germs. Since it’s where we prep, cook, and often eat food, the kitchen is particularly in need of high hygiene standards. As such, kitchens will soon be made to be as easy to clean as possible.
We’ll see increased use of antimicrobial surfaces that can be wiped down easily and more antibacterial materials and coatings, such as copper or stainless steel. If you plan to design a new kitchen soon, be on the lookout for benchtops, cabinetry, and appliances that you don’t have to spend hours scrubbing clean.
Also, consider other fittings and fixtures that might not seem as obvious but can help you minimize germs when selected appropriately, such as easy-care small ceiling fans, lighting pieces, door handles, and even flooring and splashback tiles. Also, check out sinks made from non-porous quartz and other materials that help prevent bacteria from spreading.
A key part of reducing germs is minimizing how often surfaces must be touched. In the coming years, increasing numbers of kitchen components will become low-touch designs. There were already voice-activated and hands-free goods for sale but until now, they’ve been more of a luxury item. That won’t be the case for long.
Manufacturers are developing ways for many items to be used without touching them, such as faucets, drawers, cabinets, lighting, heating and cooling, water dispensers, and garbage bins. Many facets in a kitchen will soon turn on and off or open and close by way of sensors, where users wave their hands in the appropriate areas to activate the tech. Also, in a more low-tech solution, we’ll see more use of push-to-open doors that people can operate with their elbow or knee.
Focus on Multipurpose Spaces
After the global pandemic saw many of us together at home, cooking, eating, chatting, studying, etc., the kitchen has once again become the heart of the home. Now, the right zoning within a property is essential. We need multipurpose spaces where we can get tasks done and also connect, rest, and play.
Kitchens act as the hub of our house and allow us to, for example, hear about our partner’s day as we chop veggies, supervise the kids as they study, or fit in quick circuit exercises in between setting the table and waiting for a slow cooker meal to finish. As you design your kitchen, think about how much space you need for activities that go beyond food-related ones.
Bringing in the Outdoors
Another kitchen trend relates to bringing the outdoors inside. Natural light and greenery have been important in kitchen and living spaces for many people before. However, now that many of us have experienced being stuck inside, unable to enjoy the great outdoors as much due to COVID restrictions, there’s more focus on this blend of the inside and outside. Today, sunshine, fresh air, and living plants aren’t taken for granted.
Kitchen design post-pandemic is likely to concentrate on having plenty of large opening windows or, even better, folding or sliding doors that lead into an outdoor green space. People will use window boxes planted with herbs and produce, position a veggie patch near their kitchen door, and add skylights.
Smart technology has been a growing field in recent years as the Internet of Things market has taken off. However, right now, kitchens are getting smarter. You might already have one or two smart devices in your cooking and eating zone, but in a couple of years, you’ll probably have many.
For example, tech tools will allow you to automate grocery shopping and turning on or off your oven, plus provide access to guided cooking apps and recipe recommendations. There might be group video-based “cookalongs,” in-oven cameras to watch food, and app-controlled temperature settings. Tech systems will recognize frequent users and allow them to control appliances to their particular preferences, and detect hazards and alert homeowners to potential kitchen risks.
Some other likely features of kitchens as spaces evolve post-pandemic include more built-in storage for varying needs, larger fridge-freezers, and a cottage look and feel promoting a feeling of calm, self-sufficiency, and a slower pace of life. Kitchens will continue to be crucial parts of the home, but how we use and design them seems set to keep changing.