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Yes, there is a distinct need for more creative use of living spaces. UAE's homeowners and developers are clued in on what's needed. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

The great shift to virtual worlds has had a profound impact on our physical living spaces. Work-from-home not only transformed our lives, but affected our home functionality. It ended up dictating the setup of our living quarters to meet our changing needs in the new normal.

Historically, there has been a strong correlation between health, design and architecture. Many features we see in our homes originated during pandemics such as the Spanish Flu of 1918. White-tiled kitchens emerged towards the end of the 19th century as people realized the threat of germs and the risk of spread through food. White tiles allow us an easier way to clean visible dirt. There is a new set of functionalities and features that homeowners should seek out when searching for the right home. Existing homeowners could also look at adding these home design features to their current properties.

Home office

Perhaps the most important added feature is a home office. For those living in smaller homes, an office space doesn’t have to be a full room. All it takes is a small desk with storage space and some creativity—it could all fit in any corner of smaller houses.

Sanitized entryways

The pandemic has taught us that removing our shoes before entering our home is no longer enough. Doorways are becoming important transitional spaces in our homes, allowing us to disinfect our hands and spray our entire bodies before entering.

Physical wellness

A playroom, craft or hobby room or even a small gym at home has never been more important. Research shows remote employees are working longer, which means we are becoming increasingly desk-bound. A designated area for exercise at home is essential to avoid the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

Mental health

According to our customer enquiries so far this year, a quarter of homebuyers in Dubai are on the hunt for living spaces that provide mental health benefits. In light of the pandemic, the correlation between a home and stress levels can’t be overlooked. According to a recent study about work-life balance conducted by mobile tech company Kisi, local residents are among the most overworked in the world.

Living spaces and amenities that bolster mental health include spa-inspired bathrooms, freestanding bathtubs, meditation corners, indoor plants and fixtures, outdoor spaces and layouts that let in more natural light.

For instance, homebuyers in Dubai are increasingly pursuing thoughtful layouts and wellness-focused designs. A new form of demand for living spaces that aim to enhance positive emotions and reduce depression emerged. Developers are now taking note of this trend to optimize living spaces for health and mental wellness.

Outdoor spaces

It can be difficult for us to juggle the demands of life and work together in one physical place. An outdoor area may help. It can be used for relaxation, barbeque and entertainment, encouraging creativity and reducing stress levels.

Waterfront views

Time spent near water makes many of us happy. Ocean and sea environments have been known to enhance the state of our bodies and minds. Keeping our eyes healthy is essential especially in the hot climate of our region that forces us to stay indoors for the better part of the year.

Multi-generational homes

For big households, a post-pandemic home should offer a multi-generational environmental that accommodates all family members together, while giving them personal zones to enjoy their privacy. A good example is a triplex home where grandparents stay on one level, parents on another and children in between.

Many of us cannot afford the luxury of these facilities. In this case, all it takes is a multi-purpose space that can be converted to a home office, recreation area, playroom, craft/hobby room or gym.