October 05, 2021
Being in Covid-19-mandated lockdown, home quarantine, restricted to limited travel zones and nightly curfews in various states of Australia has greatly changed how we live.
Even as we return to some version of normality, there are societal trends occurring as a result of this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic that may continue.
Here's seven unexpected, developing trends that may be here to stay when it comes to using and decorating our homes.
1. The front yard
Most Aussies usually hang out in the backyard for a bit of privacy and to be respectful of their neighbours. But being stuck at home and allowed few or no visitors has meant many people now crave to see their neighbours and passersby, even to greet their harried courier drivers doing deliveries.
The obvious answer is the front of your home.
You'll feel more connected with your community if you can pop a chair or two on your verandah to watch the world go by as you sip a cup of tea or glass of wine and wave at your neighbours.
It gives you a safe distance to chat with neighbours and you're still within Wifi distance of your home's connectivity to do a little work outside on your laptop or tablet if the weather's nice.
Look for folding chairs for easy portability or those that cope with outdoor weather.
If you're undercover, brighten up the space with a rattan shelving unit for plants, magazines or books, drinks and glasses. Invest in some pretty planter boxes. Put a desk in your bay window. Paint your front door a fresh colour.
2. Making delivery easier
The ongoing closure of non-essential retail has meant a skyrocketing increase in click-and-collect purchases from your local store, and an even higher growth in online shopping.
With the extreme pressure on courier companies, many of them will just leave a card without actually even calling your doorbell for you to collect from the local newsagent or post office, or nearby depot.
If you're looking at upgrading your postbox, consider one which includes a regular mail slot, magazine cylinder and/or invest a secure in-built box for courier deliveries with a numerical code you can quote in your delivery details for the courier to enter and safely leave your parcel/s.
You might also want to invest in an iPhone-sized security camera so you can see immediately who is at your front door.
Other options are to replace your front door with keyhole viewing and/or side window panels.
The mudroom is a classic Northern European and North American invention to create a secure passage from the side or back door or from your garage to your inner living areas.
It usually features coat racks, baskets and shelving to hold the accoutrements needed for winter. Flooring involves coir matting or easy-care vinyl or tiled flooring to brush off excess rain and mud from footwear, and to stop tracking it into the house.
A typical mudroom can house anything from bulk dried dog food and chest freezers (for bulk meat purchases), to kids sports equipment and laundry appliances and sometimes, the family dog lives there, too!
Most mudrooms are designed to store certain belongings which needn't make it all the way into the house. Some homeowners are taking the opportunity to install vanity basins, dog baths, and showers in their mudrooms, to give their entire family the chance to scrub up before coming inside to help keep it clean.
However, mudrooms are also appealing to those in sunny climates and here, they are not rooms but smart storage facilities. You'd use them to house sunhats, beach umbrellas, sandals, thongs, towels and pool toys, not to mention wiping off sandy feet before coming inside.
4. Marie Kondo
Many people took the time during Covid-19 to watch the Marie Kondo decluttering videos. Her philosophy of keeping only the items that bring you joy led to consumers sorting through their possessions to keep, display or store - and throwing out items on a massive scale.
When you downsize of course, you have more space to allocate to your favourite belongings.
To take better care of their prized possessions, people are buying good quality wooden coat hangers to protect their clothing.
They're using items such as quartz platters to display a pretty vignette of perfume and jewellery. They're investing in ottoman trays to keep their coffee tables in order. They're treating themselves to a beautiful vase on their console table or mantelpiece.
5. Special occasion dining
With many restaurants and cafes shut, grabbing a takeaway meal for the family within your 5km radius is about as exciting as it gets on a Saturday night. But what many people are doing is trying to make their takeaway Chinese, Indian or pizza as special a dining treat as they can.
Pre-Covid, people tended to look at upgrading their dinnerware, cutlery, napery and glasses from early November in time for Christmas entertaining.
In 2020, customers started buying dining accessories in September. In 2021 they began their tableware upgrades in June!
Whether they've worn out or stained their tablecloths and napkins beyond use, want fresh sets of cutlery in anticipation of bigger get-togethers, or sophisticated barware to make cocktail hour an occasion, most families have appreciated how much closer they've become and want to make meals together as appealing and attractive as possible.
6. Christmas decorating
It's only October now but you might be surprised how many people have been adding pretty wreaths to their front doors for several months. This is rapidly becoming a year-round decoration, not just limited to the festive season, with many selecting non-traditional wreaths, such as with shells, and feathers.
Celebrating a small Yuletide dinner at home became an exciting event to look forward to, with many dressing their homes for Christmas during winter.
Others have been stringing their front garden trees, foliage and verandahs with fairy lighting strands to bring their street to life as it goes dark - and keeping them there.
Other people have been investing in two Christmas trees: a large-scale, impressive tree - often pre-lit - to be viewed and enjoyed by passersby through the windows in the double-storey vestibule of their home, and a smaller one usually of a different style altogether in their private living areas.
7. Supporting local community
With the severe impact of lockdowns on local businesses, many people have been starting to shun shopping from multinational retailers and starting to look closer to home - literally - for items they need and want.
Google searches for micro-businesses that exist within your 5-10km radius have been booming as customers want to click and collect in their immediate community.
Customers seek word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family members as well as from local community groups on Facebook for those who make and/or sell specific items.
There has a been a corresponding rise in demand for home decor products with sustainability, so customers have been opting to support local businesses which offer handcrafted products (and those which have created side hustles to support their families) that they can order online and collect at a set time and date. This has helped families without regular income thanks to Covid-19 survive and has been strengthening community bonds and goodwill.
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