The impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown has caused us to look around at the buildings we live and work in, and question key aspects of how they are built.
As areas that play an important role in hygiene and infection control, kitchens and bathrooms have been particularly high on the list of the spaces that have come under review – with many asking how they can be better designed for a post COVID-19 world.
The building materials we choose play an important role in the ability of an environment to meet our needs, and it’s very likely that we’re going to start seeing some of these choices change as our needs do.
New design factors
As kitchens and bathrooms are rethought, one very visual change will be designs that reduce the number of surfaces that need to be touched.
For example, this could take the form of exits that don’t require human contact and design schemes that encourage paper towel use.
One specific change is that sensor activated taps and toilets are liable to become more popular, while taps, flushes, buttons and handles that have to be physically touched could well disappear.
In addition, both commercially and residentially, people are going to be cleaning more frequently and more in-depth than before.
This means that they will want materials in their kitchens and bathrooms which are quick and easy to clean and able to manage the wear and tear of frequent deep cleans.
It will also be important for these materials to have the ability to be easily repaired or replaced when they do start to deteriorate, in order to maintain a high standard of hygiene.
Hygienic safety nets
One of the recent trends that is already changing our kitchens and bathrooms is an upsurge in products that are more hygienic than traditional solutions.
As a supplier of PVC panels for kitchens and bathrooms this is something we’ve seen at Reco Surfaces, where PVC panels have come to be prioritised over ceramic tiles.
This is due to the fact the traditional choice we’re all so familiar with isn’t as sanitary as using a PVC panel for the same purpose.
PVC panels still need to be wiped and cleaned, but the fact that the ‘C’ in ‘PVC’ stands for chlorine means that as a surface it is antibacterial and therefore provides an added hygiene safety net.
New way of life
As we transition to a new way of thinking about kitchen and bathroom design there’s likely to be lots of new ideas that come to the fore, to solve problems we weren’t even aware needed solving prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In some instances, the changes might not even be visible to the naked eye, as materials like PVC can be made to look exactly the same as the traditional material it’s replacing.
Like many trends, a lot of design changes were already around before the pandemic hit, but the unique pressures of 2020 have caused them to really come into the spotlight.
And while much of this year has been unique, it’s likely that the trends we’ve seen are going to become a fact of life rather than fade away, as people look to futureproof their homes in case something similar happens again.
Read more features about kbb design in Business Insights.