COVID-19’s impact on design: An ASID perspective

New research from the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) 2020 Interior Design Resiliency Report demonstrates the effects of COVID-19 on design professionals and spaces. Photo via ASID Minnesota Twitter
New research from the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) 2020 Interior Design Resiliency Report demonstrates the effects of COVID-19 on design professionals and spaces.
Photo via ASID Minnesota Twitter

The 2020 American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Interior Design Resiliency Report has released the results from its first phase, conducted during summer to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry, the response from the interior design community, and the changes necessary in design to move forward. This was conducted in partnership with the Cosentino Group, Benjamin Moore, and Emerald.

The study not only identifies issues interior design businesses and professionals have faced during this major disruption, but also tracks changes implemented in the industry, tests the viability of industry-wide changes, and showcases the value of design. The study will be conducted in multiple phases to better understand long-term resilience.

The following were the key findings of the first phase of study.


Regardless of age, gender, status, location, firm, or experience, everyone has been affected by COVID-19. All respondents reported some level of impact on at least one of the five areas: life in general, country/city, firm, interior design industry/business, and interior design education. Although general concern due to the impact of COVID-19 eased somewhat since its peak (March to April 2020), the majority of the interior design community still expresses high concerns (as measured in July 2020).

Impact is perceived as a collective and shared experience, and it is interconnected with personal and professional lives. Respondents’ lives are multifaceted and intricately woven with the external and larger society, and their social well-being was lowest during this time of physical distancing. Over 70 percent reported experiencing burnout in some frequency, having a major impact on personal well-being.


The design industry made necessary changes and adjustments, specifically focused on working remotely, technology, infrastructure, resources, and support. Focus group participants reported different degrees of preparedness, with some undergoing a seamless transition and others facing a longer adjustment. Designers also navigated transitioning clients to a virtual working relationship.

Designers collaborated to create solutions. With a greater awareness of the built environment’s role in health due to the pandemic, client needs changed and professionals pivoted to accommodate new requests. Participants from large firms in particular mentioned including medical experts, HVAC engineers, and industrial hygienists in project teams. Some partnered with product developers in creating innovative solutions.

Changes in design

The community agrees changes in interior design are expected due to COVID-19, and necessary for the future of design. More than 40 percent of respondents stated that the most challenging design issue that needs to be resolved to advance post-COVID-19 is public policy.

Designers expect major changes to happen in their process. Areas such as furniture, fixtures, and equipment selection, construction, supply chain, and delivery and installation are areas in which designers identify the need for change.

Design has always been future-focused as it identifies better solutions for people, and designers expect major changes to occur specifically in entertainment venues and shared living facilities.

Changes in home design are predicted to accommodate current and future needs, such as more defined office space or workstations, additional technology in home, clean living, more defined e-learning space or workstations, and enhanced outdoor living options.

Major changes are expected in shared spaces, not just in the light of how a virus spreads, but also in how interaction and engagement are fostered to support social well-being.

New priorities emerged from the pandemic, with air quality and spatial layout at the very top when ranking spatial components that need further improvement post-COVID-19.

Building health and exercising resilience

Building trust in design will be more important than ever. Designers must demonstrate the impact design has on the human experience through proven outcomes and promote the value of design.

Focus on health and wellness will be the norm, with a heightened awareness from clients. Designers are people-centric and aim to create solutions that satisfy their needs, including the most basic physiological need for health and wellness. Therefore, they must continue to educate themselves and their clients on how design impacts lives.

Click here to view the complete report.

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