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Homes impact happiness

2020 has turned

out to be a year full of challenges for a lot of people particularly the tourism and hospitality sectors. We have all spent a lot more time at home than we expected and this has lead to a flurry of interest in renovating or building a new home.

We believe that wellness and well-being are the central considerations for the design of new family spaces. Flexibility in design is becoming increasingly important - and the design considerations are now slightly different to incorporate possible future pandemic scenarios. The types of questions we consider with our clients in the design stage might include - How will the family interact and live together? How does one or several people work from home? What happens when people come to stay? Can we make some rooms multi-purpose? Are we able to ensure we have some quiet spaces within the house? How do we heat and cool our home effectively to ensure we are comfortable year round? The questions are many and varied - and differ for every client.

The idea of design favourably impacting the wellbeing of the family is backed up by a recent RIBA study. During the northern summer, the RIBA commissioned a survey of 1500 homeowners, aged 24 to 64, from across the UK to investigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on how people want to live and work at home.

The survey found that:

· 70% of survey respo

ndents felt the design of their current home has affected their mental wellbeing during the pandemic

· spending more time in their current home has made people more stressed (11%) anxious (10%) and depressed (10%); they’ve found it harder to relax (9%) and it’s negatively impacted their productivity (6%)

· 23% believe a better-designed home will directly increase their happiness; they'd be able to relax more (31%) and sleep better (17%)

· nearly a quarter of homeowners (23%) would reconfigure their existing spaces and a fifth want to create more space by extending their home.

The survey also found that membership of a professional organisation was singled out by the greatest number of respondents (61%) as an important factor in selecting an architect, and 43% stated that evidence of an architect's ability to listen and meet their individual needs was crucial in their selection of an architect.

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