The current health crisis is affecting each and every one of us on a global scale. Whether we live in a country with a full or a partial lockdown due to the Coronavirus, our daily life has drastically changed. The word home has taken on a whole other meaning. I think it is fair to say that collectively and individually we have been experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions. Unless you are a so-called essential worker (thank you!), you have probably been spending more time at home than ever before. What if your home does not inspire you, does not feel as the nurturing haven you crave or simply feels to crowded? In this blog post I am happy to share some easy interior design tips that you can implement as well as other tips to keep you sane and happy whilst staying home.
Personally, I have always been advocating for the importance of our home, because I truly believe that our home has a huge impact on our health and wellbeing. Our home should be our refuge, our safe haven – the place where we can be ourselves, where we recharge our batteries and where we are sheltered from the outside world. Never has this been more true than during this pandemic.
You’ve heard it before, but staying home will not only keep you safe, but also literally save lives. As you will certainly agree, staying healthy in mind, body and spirit is crucial at a time like this.
So, I’ve been thinking about how I could make a positive contribution and have come up with three ways to do so:
- Provide you with some easy interior design ideas and tips on how to quickly improve your space.
- Present you with a selection of ideas on how to make staying home more bearable and more fun.
- Collaborate with other small local businesses like myself, who are facing a challenging time ahead and support each other.
Before I share some tips on how to enhance the interior design of your home, I would like to emphasise on the importance of negative space. What is negative space you may ask? This is the space between furniture and objects and it is as important as the furniture and décor items themselves. Especially now, when we may feel somewhat ‘confined’, it is important to make some space to breathe.
Having helped several dozens of people with the interior design of their homes, I have seen my fair share of homes. I would say that about 75% of homes have too much clutter.
This is why I often recommend to my clients to declutter their home, so that we have a clear picture as to what they have and how much storage they actually need. Some people like to do this on their own, others prefer to get help from a professional home organiser. Personally, I really like the MarieKondo method, because it is efficient and effective. Michelle of Simply Serene wrote a blog post called QuaranTidy your closet to help you get started with your decluttering during the quarantine and beyond.
Easy interior design ideas and tips
1) Add fresh flowers and plants
This may seem very simple, but it’s very effective and often forgotten: Fresh flowers! You can immediately enhance and freshen up a space by adding some fresh flowers. You can either choose your flowers according to your home’s colour scheme or add a bit of contrast using a bold colour, such as red or yellow. Houseplants are also a nice way to bring nature inside and they will also have a positive effect on your indoor air quality. Flowers and some plants are currently still sold in supermarkets as well as online.
2) Add colour and coziness with candles
Candles are an easy and inexpensive way to add colour and coziness to your space. They create a lovely glow and you can easily change them, adding new colours according to the season and your mood. You may want to use a tray or a large plate to display stump candles of different heights and diameters. Maybe add a small plant, such as a succulent to the tray or a nice bowl with some matches in it.
3) Use every day items to decorate
Have a good look at what’s inside your (kitchen) cupboards and you may be surprised at how many items you will find, that can be used for decoration. Think of trays, containers, vases, bowls etc. They may be in wood, glass, metal or ceramic and will add colour, texture and dimension. You can use them to place flowers, potpourri, candles, decorative balls, candy and more. You may also wish to create clusters of items, for instance glass vases in different shapes and sizes, to decorate. You will be surprised what you can do with what you’ve got! Be creative and think outside of the box. And, remember, when buying new everyday items, look at them with a critical eye and ask yourself: ‘Would I want to show or hide this?’
4) Small changes with major impact
I often get asked how to change the look of a room without changing major pieces of furniture. Home accessories can easily be (ex)changed. Changing the cushion covers and/ or (spray) painting some accessories or even small pieces of furniture, will immediately change the look and feel of your space without breaking the bank. You can either create a monochromatic colour scheme, using the same colour throughout or a contrasting colour scheme. If you are unsure about what colours best suit you and your home, I suggest creating a mood board.
5) Add some oomph to your walls
There are many ways to decorate your walls. Personally, I like creating a feature wall. This can be done by painting the wall in a different colour than the rest, by wallpapering the wall or simply by hanging some beautiful art or photography. You could choose one large painting or create a gallery wall with several paintings or pictures in different shapes and sizes. Whenever I help design the homes of families, they usually love the idea of a picture wall displaying a range of family pictures over the years. This could be in the kitchen, the dining area, in the hallway or in the staircase. There are many ways of creating gallery walls. You can either use identical frames and/ or identical frame sizes or mix and match them. It all depends on the look you are going for. Check out my Pinterest Board how to hang pictures for some inspiration.
For those of you with kids, you probably have a large collection of children and picture books, some of which your little ones have partially taken apart and others which are no longer of interest. What do you do with these? You could donate them, but some may be close to your heart and others in too bad a condition to be donated. I suggest you carefully tear out your child’s favourite images and frame them. For more ideas on how to decorate with small children in mind, you can check out my blog post Child-friendly interior design ideas.
6) Bring light into your space
‘Where there is no light, there is no beauty.’ This quote by Billy Baldwin, a famous New York interior decorator from the 1920’s rings as true today as it did back then. Sadly in many homes it is quite obvious that lighting has been considered as an afterthought. Inadequate lighting, whether too harsh or too gloomy can have a major effect on our mood, emotions and wellbeing. I always advise my clients to create several pools of light, rather than 1 or 2 main lights. This ensure the overlapping of light sources and creates a more harmonious feel. Dimmable lights are great, because you can adjust them according to your needs. As a guideline you need to consider the following types of lighting:
- Main lighting: you can use (dimmable) recessed lights for this or a ceiling or pendant light fixture to light up a space
- Ambiance lighting: floor lamps and table lamps are great for this – directional and uplighters can create wonderful effects and plays of shadow.
- Task lighting: these would be reading lamps, desk lamps or your kitchen counter top lighting.
- Accent lighting: these serve to highlight an area, an artwork, a sculpture etc. Imagine it like on a stage, where the light falls on whatever they want to draw your attention to.
Some light fixtures are very sculptural and not only serve their purpose, but can be a focal point in their own right.
Another tip to bring more light into your space during daytime, is to hang a mirror opposite a window. It will reflect the light and at the same time make your space appear bigger, creating a sense of space.
Whilst home improvements are very important, we of course also need some other activities to keep us healthy and sane when spending so much time at home. Below, I’d like to share a few ideas and activities available from fellow entrepreneurs from all over Switzerland.
Other things to keep you busy during the lockdown
1) Plant a seed(ling)
Whether you have a garden or balcony, you can plant your own herbs and veggies. There are many online sources that sell seeds and seedlings. I came across a wonderful organisation called Green Boots. They support projects in the rainforest in Borneo and one way of raising funds is by ‘selling’ vegetable seedlings. The seedlings are on donation basis and all proceeds go to their projects in Borneo. For tips and tricks on how to start your (urban) vegetable garden you can check out Emely’s Fine Food, who has developed a planting system suitable for balconies and small spaces.
2) Healthy cooking
I don’t know about you, but I have never cooked as much as I have in the past couple of weeks! As a vegetarian and as someone who doesn’t like to spend hours on end in the kitchen, I’m always looking out for simple, yet tasty and healthy recipes. A friend of mine recommended Ity of Creativ-ity, who organises Indian cooking classes and also writes a blog including a wide range of vegetarian Indian recipes, such as Cooking in times of Quarantine/ Covid-19.
3) Keep moving with Yoga
Of course, there are hundreds of yoga videos on YouTube to choose from, but I believe it can also be nice to join a virtual class within your local community to give you that sense of togetherness. Florie of Art Yoga offers 3 classes per week (2 in English, one in French).
4) Taking care of your mental health
Last but not least, it is so important to pay attention to our feelings and emotions during a time like this. As mentioned earlier, many of us have been facing a number of emotions, including fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, loneliness, but also hope. Personally, I have experienced them all at some point and have been resorting to tools such as chatting and FaceTiming with friends and family, yoga, meditation and tapping. The latter, I find is particularly effective especially with the help of a professional. My go-to person for tapping is Life Crisis Coach Karin Hagelin, who is not only one of the kindest souls I know, but she also has an incredible gift for removing the layers and quickly getting to the bottom of things.
Alternatively, you can try this Relaxation Meditation by my friend Shereen of Healing with Shereen. She is a professional energy healer and her calming voice and beautiful energy will surely give you some peace of mind when you most need it.
I truly hope that you found the above useful and that you feel motivated to apply one or more tips to help you through this challenging time.
If you know anyone, who could use a little encouragement, then please feel free to share this post. If you have any other tips and survival strategies that worked for you, then please add them in the comments below.
Please be safe, #stayhome and #stayhealthy!
P.S. We are #inthistogether and we will make it #outofthistogether 🙂
Posted by Simone Aïda Baur: I’m a multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-passionate award winning international interior designer, award winning blogger and ex-hotelier. Feel free to learn more about my story and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.
If you enjoyed this post and would like regular interior design tips and insights, as well as my latest hotel (design) reviews, then just leave your email in the box below!