BTR Opinions Build to Rent (BTR)

The impact of Covid-19 on Build to Rent design and interiors

Given the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Domus Group discuss whether the design of Build to Rent schemes will be affected.

By Rob Alexander, Major Projects Manager, Domus Group

As we gradually emerge from the Covid-19 lockdown, our aim at the Domus Group was to understand the impact of the pandemic on the design of Build to Rent schemes – focusing on how the sector is anticipated to perform and adapt in a post-lockdown world.

Anya Sokolskaya, Creative Director at TEN believes the design of Build to Rent schemes will be affected – especially within the amenity areas, which are the main selling point of Build to Rent schemes. She explains that when designing in Covid-19 times, a new significant consideration is segmentation within amenity areas. 

The Collective Build to Rent, Canary Wharf
The Collective Build to Rent, Canary Wharf

“As designers in the Build to Rent sector, we’re now focusing on segmentation within amenity spaces to ensure shared areas incorporate more enclosed ‘protected’ spaces for smaller groups, which means whole amenity areas don’t have to close down entirely during any enforced lockdown.

“Other considerations include natural ventilation and incorporating indoor/outdoor spaces into amenity areas, with doors that open onto outdoor terraces, so residents have access to outside areas where the risk of catching or spreading Covid-19 is minimised.” 

Anya Sokolskaya, Creative Director, TEN

For this, flooring is a key consideration, and porcelain tiles are perfect. Ensuring seamless integration of tiles used throughout indoor and outdoor areas creates an expansive, unbroken view, offering visual continuity to link the inside with the outside.

The Collective, Canary Wharf
The Collective, Canary Wharf

Similarly, “introducing nature into the built environment to improve health and wellbeing will become more important than ever”. Including organic details and greenery into interiors helps ‘reconnect’ and strengthen the human-nature connection that has been proven to have a positive effect on health and mindset. 

Known as biophilic design, small details can have a big impact. Bringing nature indoors through plants along with textures, patterns and colours which imitate those found in nature, is known to calm the senses and enhance wellbeing. Separately, Anya also predicts that the home layout will become more flexible.

“Not enough emphasis has been put into the design of the actual apartment; the focus is usually on the amenity [public areas, lounges, receptions] and ways to make it stand out. 

“The apartment design is still very much the same as it was 20 years ago. If the efficiency and flexibility of the apartment are improved, then people will want to stay home a lot longer. This has huge appeal in Build to Rent, because we’re creating a product for the long-term where people won’t want to move because they love their home.”

Anya Sokolskaya, Creative Director, TEN
The Collective, Canary Wharf
The Collective, Canary Wharf

Anya explains that her studio is currently working on several concepts for Build to Rent developments where more flexible layouts are being designed, enabling bedrooms to be adapted for other uses.

With a unique product offering of high-quality tiles and flooring surfaces, Domus’ dedicated Build to Rent division provide specialised knowledge, support and design expertise for Build to Rent projects. Offering a curated range of porcelain and ceramic tiles along with wood, laminate and LVT engineered flooring, Domus has a vast range of products tailored to meet the style and price demands of the Build to Rent sector. To discuss your project, you can contact me at or on 07969924283.

Image Credits:

The Collective, Canary Wharf. Designed by The Collective in-house design team – using over 700 sqm of Domus’ Pergo Laminate flooring.

The Wullcomb (Way of Living), Leicester. Designed by Callison RTKL – using over 3,600 sqm of Domus’ tiles and Pergo Laminate flooring.

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