Homeowners Seeking Functionality, Style

NEWPORT NEWS, VA —As the nation approaches the year-and-a-half mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, homeowners continue to reevaluate their living spaces, “with many looking for ways to put the ‘home’ back in a more functional house.”

That’s the key conclusion of a major new consumer survey conducted by Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery in an effort to better understand how the global public-health crisis impacted trends in home renovation and updates. The survey, fielded this spring on behalf of Ferguson by G&S Business Communications, involved some 1,100 U.S. adults aged 18+, according to the Newport News, VA-based distributor of plumbing, lighting and related products.

The Ferguson survey, whose results were released in July, found that 64% of Americans made an update of some kind to their home, or to a room in their home, during the pandemic. The most popular reasons for the update included being tired of the home’s current style (34%) and needing to make changes for better functionality (32%), Ferguson reported.

The kitchen (47%) and the bathroom (44%) were the top choices when it comes to specific areas of the home people would want to redesign or upgrade based on spending more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. A growing number of Americans say they would want to redesign or upgrade their outdoor space (30% in 2021 compared to 23% in 2020), Ferguson reported.

Interestingly, the room people spent the most amount of time in last year compared to previous years was the living room (50%), with 33% of Americans working from home in their living rooms during the pandemic. A third (33%) spent more time in their bedrooms and nearly a third (32%) spent more time in the kitchen. Younger generations were more likely than older generations to say they spent more time in the bedroom and bathroom, but just as likely to say they spend more time in the living room.

“There are likely a number of reasons why the living room grew in importance over the past year, since it was used as a gathering place during quarantine, for home schooling and other activities,” Ferguson reported. “We may also see this trend, in part, because people who work from home often set up their workstation in their living rooms.”

Just over a third of respondents (34%) said they started working from home during the pandemic, Ferguson said. Within this group, a third said they have been working in the living room and a third have been working from an existing office, the company added.

Among other survey findings:

Among those who started working from home during the pandemic, 62% made changes to their lighting in their home office space. Americans prioritized functionality over aesthetics when changing lighting in these spaces. Twenty-eight percent changed their lighting to see their work/computer better, and 22% changed their lighting to look better on video.Americans also spruced up their office space in general during the pandemic, creating a more multifunctional space. Eleven percent put a coffee maker in their office and 10% installed a refrigerator to hold coffee creamer, water and other beverages for easy access.Nearly half of Americans say they would buy smart home products to make their lives easier (49%), while others say they would buy them to save time (32%) or to improve the energy efficiency of their home (31%).As an example of the desire for convenience and hygiene, 41% of surveyed Americans say they would like touchless faucets in their home. Almost a third (32%) would like a refrigerator that notifies them when the door has been left open. And although bidets haven’t traditionally been standard in America, 17% of Americans say they would like a bidet in their bathroom and 26% would like a bidet seat. A quarter (25%) said they want a smart toilet. Younger generations, not surprisingly, are likely to want these products and features (see graph above).

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