MAKING THE BEST OUT OF THESE CHALLENGING TIMES
(lemonade out of lemons)
CREATIVE IDEAS ON HOW TO TRANSFORM YOUR HOME INTO A SANCTUARY!
And welcome to my new blog!
Like most of you, I too, am trapped in my home, doing my part to try to help to flatten this dreadful covid-19 curve. I know this is an incredibly stressful and sad time, and trying to stay positive, busy and creative can be tough, especially if you are stuck in a small confined space with a few people.
I have been pondering for weeks on how can I contribute more, what can I do to make life a bit easy for some? Unfortunately having had cancer twice, and recently a major surgery, I am very aware that I have a compromised immune system, so leaving my house to physically help, is not wise.
So, then I thought... what if I can help a few people feel better about their living-spaces with some simple and creative ideas, that with a little encouragement, effort and little to NO money, they can make their homes '24 hours a day' more live-able and love-able. Then maybe, just maybe, that’s a good thing!
As a designer, I have worked for years re-designing spaces, not only for private clients, but for many TV renovation shows as the ‘behind the scenes’ designer. It has been amazing to see how simple ideas aesthetically, can help to transform peoples lives and give them more hope, clearer minds and confidence.
... so here goes, ENJOY!
GETTING RID OF THE NOISE!
First things first. I hate to say it, and you probably don't want to hear it, but before anything can be really transformed, we need to tackle any clutter that you might have. In other words, get rid of STUFF you don't need. I am not suggesting you 'throw' things away per say, (however if you can... that's awesome!) If you don't really want to purge, then maybe for just right now, hide stuff away, put things you don't need or aren't using in storage. If you don't have a lot of storage, then perhaps place things in boxes or bags, label them and store them under your bed or in your closet.
To try to make your space cleaner, lighter and less cluttered. This is a great beginning and who know, maybe when this all over... you will never want to go back to a cluttered space!
- Make this a fun thing to do, not a chore! Put on your favorite tunes and dance your way through this. Maybe challenge yourself and do as much as you can in 6 songs!
- Get your family involved, if you have kids... why not give them an incentive, a little reward at the end of this. A treat or extra screen time. This will get them a little more motivation, then hopefully after they will also feel better.
- Take 'before and after' pictures, (just like they do on TV), this will help you to be proud of yourself afterwards, you might want to even post them on social media to inspire others.
- Clean as you go, to me this is important for healthy reasons... Spending all that time in a dusty place is horrible for your health and can also compromise your immune system. So get out the duster and cleaners, open a window and 'spring clean'.
- If this is all too overwhelming for you and you are HATING me right now... perhaps just tackle a small area each day. Little by little, this will add up.
Go viral... make a date on-line with a friend or friends. Set up a Skype / Zoom / WhatsApp date, pour a glass of wine and de-clutter all together - they do their house while you do yours. Laugh your way through to more clarity.
"The more you have, the less you have, the more free you are."
CREATE A NEW WORK / PLAY SPACE
Having trouble with your self discipline and all you want to do is binge watch all tv all day? I get it, when the days of the week all blur together and you have no boss or client giving you direction, it's super difficult to self-regulate. What I personally do is only watch TV at night. I will get up in the morning, shower change into day clothes (even if they are sweats), make breakfast, walk the dog, meditate and begin my 'WORK' day. All experts say that ROUTINE is incredibly important, especially if you have school age kids.
To re-arrange your place into a productive and inspiring place to spend your day!
Light is the most important ingredient to have to keep your mood lifted. Think about it, in the evenings when you finally do want to relax and watch TV, you don't need that light. Or even in your bedroom when you sleep, don't need light! So how about SWITCHING ROOMS! Just for fun (and the next few months)... turn the best room in the house into the room that you want to spend the most day.
- If you have a two bedroom, maybe turn the smallest room into your bedroom and convert the larger space into an office or studio space.
- If you can don't have an extra room, then move your living room furniture around to create a small workspace.
- Think about maybe placing your workspace near the window and the TV watching area in a darker place (maybe make it smaller. (again trying to limit your TV viewing time to evenings only!
-If you have a dining room and a kitchen eat-in area, maybe turn your dining room into a workspace, craft room, music studio etc. (since it's unlikely you will be having any large dinner parties anytime soon!)
-Set-up different creative areas, perhaps a table just for crafting or doing a jigsaw puzzle... an area that you don’t have to keep setting up and taking down. If you don’t have an extra table, maybe convert your coffee table and add cushions to the ground in a corner somewhere (great for kids).
- If you do have kids... try to incorporate them into the design, give them their own special 'workspace' where you can all work and create together (while keeping an eye on their productivity). More family / kid ideas to come in the following blog postings!
NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO AND HOW YOU RE-ARRANGE YOUR SPACE, TRY TO MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU AND EVERYONE. REMEMBER THIS IS ONLY TEMPORARY AND WHEN THINGS GET BACK TO NORMAL, SO CAN YOUR SPACE!
"Just Living isn't enough," said the butterfly... "You must have freedom, sunshine and a flower"
#3 AN INDOOR ESCAPE
CREATING A COOL GETAWAY INSIDE YOUR HOME
Think about when you were a kid, did you ever made tents or forts out of sheets? I know I did, it was one of my favourite things to do! Since we are having to dwell in closer quarters than we are use to, how about creating a little room inside a room? If you meditate and need a little QUIET space to escape or place that one of you can go in during the day to relax listen to music or read.
To use whatever you have around the house and make the most awesome fort ever! Channel your inner child and/or create it with your child! Find a quiet space where you and your family can go when a bit more 'self isolation' is required!
-Make it comfortable, adding pillows, extra comforter, sleeping bag etc.
-Think about adding soothing decorative lighting, using lamps with low-watt bulbs, battery lights, Christmas lights (no candles)
-If you want to read, add more light, even a small desk lamp could work.
-Instead of a 'time out' space for your kids, call it a 'time in' space where they get to go and be creative!
"Without great solitude, no serious work is possible".Picasso
-Add a vaporizer with essential oils, this can also help to build your immune system, do a little Google research on the healing properties of essential oils.
- Play some soothing music or bring in you headphones, this will help to shut out any noise outside and also not make the people 'outside the tent feel like they have to be super quiet.
- If you have actual real camping tent, this can also work! Just make sure that you air it out first, so you don't have an unpleasant odor.
CHANNEL THAT INNER CHILD. KEEP IT SIMPLE, SAFE AND PLAYFUL!
#4 DESTINATION DINING
TRAVEL TO AN EXOTIC LOCATION FOR DINNER INSIDE
Having been an event designer for a couple of decades now, I do believe we not only eat with our mouths, but we also eat with our eyes and ears as well. Think about it... you go into a themed restaurant and you are instantly transported to another place and time. The DECOR, the MUSIC, the TASTE can take you away from your day to day, allowing you to escape!
MAKE IT SILLY & PLAYFUL!
Maybe one or two nights a week you can turn an evening meal into a mini vacation! Since we are all stuck at home, why not have fun... we NEED to have a little fun. Especially if you have kids, get them involved, spend an few hours turning dinner into a 'special event'.
-Match the theme to the meal, perhaps cut out some decorations, add a colourful table cloth, you can even use a sheet or a colourful towel.
-Look around your house, make a fun centerpiece with 'found objects'
get creative... anything goes!!!
-Put on a YouTube cooking lesson, make something different with the ingredients that you have. (instead of plain rice, make Spanish rice)
-Take out your best china and cutlery, why not!
-Make a 'fake occasion' how about each week everyone in your family gets another birthday party celebration.
-You don't need to send money... balloons are cheap, use cardboard, plants, empty cans etc. there are loads of fabulous ideas on Pinterest!
-Add some candles, make it romantic! Have a DATE NIGHT with your honey. If you have kids... make them 'run the restaurant' :)
-Maybe one or two nights a week you actually dress-up and invite a friend or friends to join you VIRTUALLY. There are so many sites now that allow you to video conference for free, from anywhere around the world. This is a perfect opportunity to reach out to other and entertain! (think about the money you save, you throw the party the provide their own food and drink!
-Make a fun themed cocktail... even if it's non-alcoholic, be creative, as if you were on a tropical island somewhere!
-Don't forget the MUSIC... serving Italian, how about putting on some opera? Mexican play some Spanish tunes? escape to the tropics with some Hawaiian sounds!
-Create an INDOOR PICNIC... throw down a blanket, sheet or towel and lounge a round a festive feast! Of course if the weather is nice, literally bring the party outside to your balcony or backyard! Maybe invite your neighbours (over the fence or on another balcony).
-What about TAKE OUT MOVIE NIGHT, where you cook something and serve it in take out containers (recycled food containers) and gather round the TV.
WHATEVER YOU DO....HAVE FUN, INVOLVE THE FAMILY, MAKE IT SPECIAL!
"A party without cake, is just a meeting'
#5 ONE DAY TRANSFORMATIONS
SIMPLE, CREATIVE & CHEAP WAYS TO ADD SOME LOVE INTO YOUR HOME
Tacking a renovation can not only be overwhelming, but very expensive. So how about taking one room or even just one wall at a time, setting a goal, make it a day project, plan it... and just doing it!! With the current social distancing situation, I know going into stores right now is not on the top of peoples minds. But there are still a lot of on-line supplier that are still in business and shipping. (even some paint stores are offering home delivery). Even dig into your storage, pull out your old paint cans and do a refresh!
Birch trees cut out of white shelf paper, painted
branches and paper birds.
Be home-proud! With a bit of effort, you can make a big difference to your home and spirit. Get inspired... spend a little time on-line (Pinterest is great). There are so many awesome ideas out there on ways to spend practically no money and make a huge impact.
-I LOVE contact paper, shelf paper or peel and stick wall paper! It's amazing stuff and very inexpensive and it doesn't ruin the walls, so if you are in a rental, no worries! You can apply them to walls, cabinets, stair treads, even ceilings!
-On your next walk, pick up a branches off the ground and paint them, you can create all sorts of fabulous things with them. Frame them, hang them even use them as room dividers (for some more needed privacy).
-Have some left over yarn or twine... add it to your walls! With a few little nails or push pins you can make some cool looking wall art!
-Look into playful ways people play with using paper cups, plates toilet rolls and other things we have around the house... get creative!
-There are some great fun ideas out there on how to take simple painters tape and make fabulous patterns on you walls before you paint. (who needs wallpaper!)
-Love the stripped look, but afraid to paint it, don't forget you can always use shelf paper (very cheap - dollar stores always sell it)
-stencils are great, and very affective. You can cut your own with an exacto knife and some cardstock, or go on-line and see if you can order them.
-Paint one wall with chalkboard paint (now they come in lots of colours. This is a great thing to do especially if you have kids, many hours can be spent drawing on the walls
DON'T FORGET ABOUT ETSY... THERE ARE SO MANY ARTISTS OUT THERE THAT NEED YOUR SUPPORT RIGHT NOW! GO ON-LINE AND CHECK OUT ALL THE INCREDIBLE CREATIVE OPTIONS (from stencils, artwork, wallpapers, pillows and accessories)
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try”
#5 EXPAND YOUR WORLD
EXTEND YOUR LIVING AREA TO THE OUTSIDE
Now the weather is warming up and days are getting longer, there is no reason to spend all your time indoors. It's time to transform your balcony, patio or backyard into a fabulous oasis. There are so many resources on-line that can help guide you with your transformation. From adding a dining area, lounge or garden, try to make it as cozy and inviting as possible.
To create another room or rooms outside the house to spend time in and perhaps take up a new hobby... gardening!
-Small groupings of furniture are a great way to create more areas to hang out. Think about a dining area, a little reading area, a lounge area, and/or a little play area if you have kids etc.
-If you only have a balcony perhaps add an outdoor area rug- most garden suppliers sell them on-line.
-Add outdoor cushions for colour and texture and have some throw blankets handy to keep you warm in the evenings
-Look around your house, maybe you have some vases, statues, side tables, anything that you can use to add to your exterior vignette... the better!
-Don't forget the LIGHTING, this will make you want to hang outside in the evenings. Cafe lights are sold everywhere now, but if you want to save money right now, drag out the old Christmas twinkle lights. If you are in a covered area, add a table lamp or two. There are also lots of fun rechargeable battery powered LED globes, cubes and other shapes that can add ambiance if you don't have a plug handy.
-Make this fun for the whole family, why not even create a little outdoor movie theatre or games area!
-To keep your kids busy during these unpredictable times, think outside the box... with a little bit of effort and imagination, you can create a fun playground, filled with lots of activities that can help to keep them busy and engaged. Maybe give them their own little garden that they can tend, make it part of their 'learning'.
-Get creative... there are loads of unique ideas on-line, do a little research on Pinterest, Houzz, Instagram to get you inspired.
-Check out Wayfair, Overstock and many on-line stores have great outdoor furniture in all price ranges. Or even check out Craigslist or Facebook Market to see if anyone is selling (or even better... giving away items for FREE). Of course I must remind you that when receiving anything you MUST wipe it down thoroughly before using.
-If you don't have actual earth to plant in, maybe use lots of different size pots and layer them, use old pots upside down to support the ones in the back, creating a cascade of plants, this will give you the feeling of an landscaped garden. Also, think about a hanging garden.
-You can purchase seeds on-line right now or in most grocery stores. I recently came across a website on how to save your own seeds from the fruit and vegetables that you are eating. https://www.almanac.com/content/how-save-vegetable-seeds-seed-saving-guide
THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG HERE... GET OUT THERE, ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES, GET YOU HANDS DIRTY AND PLAY!
"To plant a seed is to believe in tomorrow"