Feeling stuck at Home? Stressed out with online learning and work? Exhausted by the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions? I have definitely found myself hitting a wall (figuratively and almost literally) on more than one occasion in the last year…
In a normal world, our children would be at school full time, we would be working at the office, and weekends would be spent outside or traveling to new locations. But as we all know, these are not normal times, and our homes are now responsible for being the spaces where we eat, play, work, entertain, rest, and relax-all at the same time. That’s a tall order!
So how exactly can you get the most out of your abode so that it functions in the ways you need it to? Luckily, interior design is a very powerful tool at your disposal to help ease the pain and discomfort of the times we find ourselves living through: We are staying at home more than ever and the importance of creating a comfortable and functional space has never been more apparent. So read on to discover some of my simple, tried and true methods to make your space do the work of easing the stress and monotony of being at home 24/7.
SOFTEN YOUR ROOMS WITH FLOOR RUGS
A simple way to increase the comfort level in your home is to add a floor rug. A large rug is perfect for creating a zone of living and repose. Furniture that is placed on a rug automatically becomes grounded and no longer seems to float in undefined space; this will lessen the chaotic nature of a room. A rug is able to visually soften a space, and it also helps with the acoustics. Make sure you choose a piece that not only looks good (i.e. complements the other furniture pieces and colors in your room), but also feels luxurious underfoot. A sumptuous, soft, tactile selection will encourage you to linger in the space, rather than make you want to run away from it.
LAYER DIFFERENT TYPES OF LIGHTING
Lighting has a big impact on our well-being by directly affecting our mood: Good lighting improves our state of mind. Bad lighting (i.e. too bright or harsh) will make a space much less inviting and may cause additional stress-so it’s important to get this right.
In the interior design industry, we usually recommend having 3 layers of light within an area; this allows you a great degree of control over the feel of the room. Along with an overhead ceiling light, try to include a floor lamp to add a secondary light source. A third layer of task lighting, such as a reading lamp on a side table or desk, is useful in providing a more concentrated light for a working space. Finally, put your overhead light on a dimmer, so that you can dictate exactly the level of illumination you require depending on time of day and how you’re using the space.
CREATE STORAGE TO HIDE ALL THAT CLUTTER
With parents, kids, pets, work, studies, and downtime all under one roof now (along with their mountains of accompanying stuff), one of the constant requests I get from my clients is to maximize storage. Even if your house is spotless, if it’s bursting at the seams it will never feel comfortable or relaxed. The key to calm is being clutter-free. A budget-friendly solution to creating more storage space (without building anything custom) would be to choose furniture that does double-duty. For example, a gas-lift bed with storage underneath utilizes otherwise unreachable space. An ottoman with storage allows you to put your feet up in the living room and hide away all those little bits and pieces like the remotes.
BRING THE OUTDOORS INSIDE
While this is an over-used mantra in design, there is some real truth to it. When stuck inside it’s important that you maintain some kind of connection to the outdoors for your own sanity and health. For those lucky enough to have a backyard or a balcony this is easier to do, as you can connect directly with nature by literally going outside. However, for those of us who live in a concrete jungle, the task becomes more challenging-but not impossible! Besides the obvious addition of potted plants, one way to bring the outdoors in is to incorporate natural materials like wood, stone, rattan and rugs made from natural fibres.
Another way to increase the connection to outside, is to make choices that are inspired by nature, even if they themselves are not actually alive: A perfect example of this is hanging a wallpaper pattern that evokes the outdoors (leaves, flowers, mountains, etc.) You can do a feature wall with a paper that reminds you of one of your favorite outdoor places, or perhaps somewhere you have never been but plan on traveling once the world opens up again! If the idea of hanging wallpaper is too daunting, try something as simple as changing your paint color; this choice can go a long way to achieving a similar result. Greens reflect earth, blue reminds us of the sea and neutral tones can feel clean and serene, like a breath of fresh air.
Having a comfortable space that is a welcoming oasis is important for all of us, especially during these trying times. So take advantage of the moment and implement some changes that will improve your quality of life. No matter how big or small, these updates will make an enormous difference to your state of mind during the pandemic-and beyond!