Get in the Comfort Zone: Adobe Stock’s visual trend celebrates home as cozy microcosm

Adobe Stock’s visual trend Comfort Zone shows us we are taking control of our new normal and infusing our homes with warmth, control, creativity, and interconnectedness.

Image Credit: Adobe Stock / Javier De La Torre Sebastian/Westend61.

By Brenda Milis

Posted on 03-16-2021

As we enter 2021, the gradual trend over the last decade towards working at home has become a very steep climb. In the course of a year we went from having an average of 25 percent of people working at home to 62 percent. This change is mirrored in our outside-world lives, too. The gradual trend towards cooking and entertaining at home (led by cash-strapped and community-focused millennials) also had a sharp increase this last year thanks to shelter-in-place orders.

While this certainly felt abrupt, these were shifts many of us were anticipating. In a world increasingly shored in digital space, the home has become our analog haven — a physical manifestation of what we love so much about the non-digital world. Rather than containing us on an island, our homes are the launchpads and junctures to our lives outside. We have entered an era of the home as a hub: a central focal point for all the various axes of our lives.

Adobe Stock’s visual trend Comfort Zone shows us a world where we are taking control of our new normal and infusing our homes with warmth, control, creativity, and interconnectedness.

Creating a space for play and creativity

We often think of work life versus home life, but this dichotomy has never really captured the complicated, meandering way we live our lives. Outside the office and away from home are a dizzying array of spaces, activities, hobbies, and obligations that we juggle. Across every age group, profession, and identity, we enrich our lives by nourishing interests outside work and domesticity, whether it is joining sports, renting a studio space, playing music at a local cafe, or going to see a play or movie.

COVID-19 might have put a damper on piano recitals or salsa dancing lessons, but it certainly has not stopped us from needing to carve out time and space for our interests. The Comfort Zone collection is full of images, designs, and videos that show us making space for these parts of ourselves at home. Activities that used to take us to dance studios, like ballet practice, find a place in the living room, a space that also can double as a gym, recording studio, or spa. The kitchen moonlights as a barbershop, while the bed might become an especially soft home office.

Image Credit: Adobe Stock / Ronnie Comeau/Stocksy.

Much more than simply making-do, Comfort Zone is about how we can build creativity, play, and entertainment into our newly expanded sense of home. This year people are willing to splurge a little to make these spaces feel our own, from adding candles or aromatherapy to our yoga and meditation spaces to adding a playful swing to the living room.

Image Credit: Left: Adobe Stock / MaaHoo Studio/Stocksy , Right: Adobe Stock / Marta Lebek/Stocksy.

Less “live from work” and more “work from home”

Long before 2020, working from home was almost universally popular. According to a recent study, almost eighty percent of people enjoy working from home (what is the last thing 80 percent of Americans agreed on?). The virtues of working from home are clear: freedom to budget your time according to your needs, no time lost to commuting, and more control over your working environment.

But just because working from home was an enjoyable alternative for many does not mean the world was ready to adopt this wholesale in a matter of months. Suddenly, working from home meant endless remote meetings, screen fatigue, conference calls, and task management software, not to mention having our bookshelves and living rooms scrutinized by coworkers and clients. This year, with remote work becoming the new norm for major tech companies, workers are starting to trace new boundaries around their work and think about their spaces more intentionally.

Image Credit: Adobe Stock / Hero Images/Hero Images.

Comfort Zone documents this movement to reclaim “working from home” away from what often seems like “living at work.” These images show people building comfortable, cheerful, functional work-spaces where, a year before, we might have accepted a laptop, chair, and table. With our homes becoming a school, gym, restaurant, spa, and office, there is joy in creating individual spaces even within a shared room. And in a world where quality video and sound add richness to our digital interactions, workers are investing in microphones and vlogging stations.

Image Credit: Adobe Stock / Hero Images.

Looking outward and within for connection and community

For many, this past holiday season was the first year without seeing a grandparent, uncle, or cousin in person. All the rituals of gathering, cooking, and eating together — on which we tend to rely for bonding — have changed with our socially-distant lifestyles. Even if the novelty of Netflix watch parties, Zoom trivia, and WhatsApp voice memos has worn off, the fact remains that we are always looking to improve and strengthen our social bonds, both virtually and in person.

Comfort Zone celebrates the fact that technology this year has been the glue that keeps families together. It is the bridge that leads grandparents and grandkids to a shared window to the outside world. It is what lets us share life’s tiny moments and experience the joy together across time and space. Video games and movie watching offer us ways to experience a colorful digital world in unison.

Image Credit: Left: Adobe Stock / Hero Images/Hero Images Right: Adobe Stock / Daniel Sierralta/ADDICTIVE STOCK.

On the analog side of the connection spectrum, families and friends are indulging in more ways to connect with each other in their pods. Comfort Zone is about dedicating time to play and bond together inside. Activities that fill rooms with sound like dance parties or playing music together can transform our spaces and let our minds wander. Simple activities like building a fort to read inside or building toy boats together pull our hands away from the keyboard and into shared physical spaces.

Image Credit: Left: Adobe Stock / Jacob Lund Right: Adobe Stock / Marta Lebek/Stocksy.

A comfortable microcosm

While we can hope and reasonably look forward to the passing of COVID-19 out of our lives, the impact will linger for generations. It brought novel changes, such as the first major mRNA vaccine and the largest decline in carbon emissions in decades. But it also was the harbinger of changes we were preparing for. Whether or not there was a global pandemic, social, technological, and economic factors were pushing us towards a world where people worked at home more often.

But rather than quietly resigning to our increasingly domestic lives, Comfort Zone shows how we have met this change with a zeal for taking hold of our lives in a richer, deeper, and more playful way. Rather than shutting us off from the outside world, our homes have become a cozy microcosm of the wide world outside.

Image Credit: Adobe Stock / Stocksy.

Gallery: Explore Comfort Zone on Adobe Stock.

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