Bringing the outdoors in

Bringing the outdoors in

With a year of pandemic life under our belts, property developers and home renovators have seized the opportunity to bring more light, air and life into the living space

From much-needed home improvements to a new view on how we use indoor and outdoor spaces, there are numerous ways we’ve made our homes better during this otherwise trying year. As society has spent nearly a year in and out of lockdown, with social restrictions remaining, home owners have longed for the outside. So, how has the desire to bring the outdoors in impacted the doors and windows industry? 

With quarantines and stay-at-home mandates prompting more time spent at home than ever before, we’ve all had to take a long, hard look at how we live within the confines of our walls and fences. We’ve noticed unused spaces. We’ve witnessed just how cluttered our closets and cabinets have gotten. Home has become a place not just to rest and relax, but also our offices, our schools and our fitness studios. To improve our mental well being it has been imperative to continue to get fresh air, whether this is ventilation through a window, pottering around in the garden, or stepping foot outside for a walk. But with government guidelines this is not always possible, therefore opening up ventilation and fresh air and light inside the house has become increasingly important.

While the pandemic has surely taken a lot from us, it’s also given us the opportunity to rethink how we live, and how that translates to our home. As a result, we’ve made our homes mindful, stylish, multi-purposeful and welcoming in more ways than we ever thought possible. 

A typical year might see us either overlooking the great outdoors, or seeking it outside of the confines of our home. 2020 has caused us to crave fresh air like never before. Doing so means making the most of our surroundings right in our front and backyards. From miniscule stoops to large, lush lawns, we’ve found ways to sit outside and enjoy talking to friends and neighbours at a safe distance, read a good book, eat meals, play games and more. Home renovations have seen an uptick in added porches and balconies. Existing designs welcoming creative ways to maximise outdoor living, like foldable patio sets, hammocks, tabletop fireplaces and outdoor sound systems. If you do not have the luxury of a large outdoor space, alternative solutions have also been utilised like the inputting of more windows, skylights, roof lanterns, or glass patio/balcony doors. There have been endless solutions and innovations in this department. 

Multifunctionality

Can a living room also be a home office without sacrificing style? Can the playroom also be a hub for virtual learning without leading to distractions? If the pandemic has taught us anything about our time at home, it’s that we’re more creative than we think! Despite designating rooms for individual purposes, we’ve learned that, through the use of stylish partitions, bifolding doors, window walls, extra organisation, built-in seating for more activities and modular multi-functional furniture, style doesn’t have to be one-dimensional.

Bringing the outdoors in

Biophilic spaces have changed the home for the better during the pandemic. People intuitively search for ways to boost their mental health by connecting with nature. Larger windows and sliding doors create a seamless transition from outside to inside, while the addition of houseplants and nature-inspired patterns on pillows, wallpaper and more ensure a feeling of groundedness. Large windows or bifolding patio doors present the same effect and open up a multifunctional space and add something extra to the lifestyle kitchen or living area. 

Renovation

Who would have thought keeping people home would send them renovating like crazy and the housing market to boom. That’s helped of course by extraordinarily cheap money sloshing around in the economy. Those of a certain age might remember the heady days of the 1980s when rates in the 20 percentages stalked the market. Thankfully, those days are well behind and with people accessing cash at lower percentages, the fuel for renovation – and who knows, broader recovery – is right there.

It’s not just renovation in the domestic market, either. While construction starts dropped throughout 2020 (while we were all trying to figure out just what exactly was happening), a resurgent demand for new houses in the new year helped spike the industry. Developers have had an opportunity to learn from the past year and integrate it into their property developments with more light, space and multifunctionality. 

That demand isn’t necessarily in the cities, but also in more rural areas, as consumers have discovered the advantage, peace and mental well being of the country aesthetic. Equipped with the tools and technology which make working from home as good as working in the office, more people are opting for out-of-town residences.

Whether building new or renovating, the resulting spaces are being made for working from home and contributing to the family unit. Architecturally designed big doors and windows are in, making the shift to nature a little more complete by integrating inside with outside – barn doors, in particular are a hot item, along with ‘arts and crafts’ or ‘cottage core’ styles.

With the prices of elaborate and striking doors and windows coming down, it’s unsurprising that more people are opting for them, along with higher percentages of glazing to building area. And of course, you can expect the focus on environmentally sound designs to continue gathering pace.

Sustainability

We are transforming our homes into sanctuaries, extending our living spaces with new conservatories and orangeries, making our homes safer with quality composite and uPVC doors and replacing our windows with modern, energy efficient ones to save money on energy bills but also to bring more light inside our homes. Extensions and roof lanterns are presenting more glass and therefore more light to the primary areas of the house reducing the need for artificial light. 

Aluminium bifold doors have slim, yet very sturdy frames and large glazed areas. With many configuration options for the perfect finishing touch, bifold doors can be customised to a very fine detail to help create the perfect addition to your home. They are tested to more than 120,000 full opening cycles, providing a super smooth and reliable technology for your home.

Slim-framed sliding patio doors act as a wall of glass that will maximise the light that enters your living space and brighten up rooms. They have an effortless and silent ‘air-glide’ operation through highly durable stainless steel rollers. Large expanses of glass in a sliding patio door can transform an ordinary kitchen or living room into a spectacular and inviting light-filled space that changes with the seasons. An uninspiring dining room can now enjoy panoramic views of your garden and beyond, making it the perfect setting to enjoy a private moment in your own dream space.

Extended spaces

The working from home trend isn’t coming to an end any time soon. Many of us feel the need for extra space where we can work or relax. There is no better way to bring more space and light to your home than by adding a stunning new conservatory. A conservatory by its very nature is a room with vast expanses of glass which allows natural light to pour into your home, leaving you with the perfect place to relax and recharge your energy.

Whether you prefer contemporary or traditional design, there are many styles including Victorian, Edwardian, Gable-End, P-shaped, T-shaped or Lean-To, in both uPVC and aluminium materials. With new technology such as energy efficient windows and solar control conservatory roofs, a new conservatory is a great choice as you can enjoy your added living space all year round. 

Despite the trying year that society has been challenged with, one thing is for certain, the consumer demand has changed and the industry has profited from it. Our mental health has been brought to the forefront and companies are innovating in more ways to help meet this demand. 

Jonathan Hey, Founder and CEO of Aliwood Roof Lanterns

The inclusion of bifold doors will welcome an abundance of extra natural light into your home – an immediate attraction to potential buyers. They will also effectively increase the sense of space by creating a visual and physical link to the outdoors.

Going back to an increase in natural light, skylights or roof lanterns are both optimal choices, and both will see the value of your property soar. Whilst functioning as an attractive investment, these types of windows will do much to not only increase your home’s value, but also decrease the homeowner’s lighting costs.

If your preference lies with more traditional windows – simply upgrading to double, or even triple glazing will see your property’s value increase substantially. Further to this, it goes without saying that the more attractive the windows (or doors), the more potential buyers will be willing to spend. Perhaps consider going as far as developing a feature window, or investing in a designer front door.

When it comes to quicker and cheaper upgrades, of course ensure that all your windows and doors are clean and in perfect working order (no creaky hinges!). Perhaps add a new coat of paint or invest in a fashionable new door handle, as these tiny details can add a surprising increase to a property’s value.

Adrian Pavey, Commercial Director at Nationwide Windows & Doors

COVID-19 has meant many people have been confined to their homes for a very long time, and this has given them lots of opportunity to reflect on what they like and dislike about where they live.

Whether working from home or being on furlough for a long period, staring at the same walls day in and day out has also created a strong desire for space and freedom, to counter the feeling of being cooped up.

Open plan living has already been a very popular choice over the last few years, but we expect the ‘lockdown effect’ to intensify this even further, as consumers aim to fill their homes with as much natural light as possible. We’ve seen a big increase in the demand for large size glazing for the rear of properties, helping homeowners to achieve this.

Patio and sliding doors are also a cost-effective way to allow extra natural light inside. They provide easy access to the garden area, further creating the feeling of space, while offering high levels of security.

2020 gave a renewed focus on the entrance door as it played an integral part as the backdrop to clapping for the NHS and consumers have taken note of this. We’re seeing a willingness of homebuyers taking bolder choices with both the style and colour of composite doors.

Hopefully, we’ll soon be able to get out of our homes more and return to normality. However, I think it will be a long time before consumers lose that desire for space, light and kerb appeal when choosing a new home.