WORDS BY BRIE HAYES
Now perhaps more than ever our homes have become our sanctuaries. Our normally busy lives have slowed down and being home so much more there is a constant reminder of all the projects we have been putting off. At my house, we have found that picking a few projects has been a good way for all five of us to work together and feel a little happier while we are all staying at home. As a bonus, it is also a great way to ease some of the boredom that many are dealing with right now.
If your home now has to function as a school and an office for your family, it’s essential to create a workspace where everyone can focus. I used to love working in our dining room. The walls and the moldings are a deep teal and it’s my favorite room in the house. But it’s open to the front hall and with everyone home, it’s quite loud. So I moved a console table into the master bedroom, borrowed a chair from the dining room and set up a temporary office there where I can shut the door! If possible, work by a window as there have been countless studies describing the health benefits of seeing the outdoors while you work. Despite having desks in their rooms our kids mostly work in the kitchen, but the noise doesn’t bother them! My husband does a lot of conference calls so he also needed an office with a door. Luckily, just a few weeks prior to our “new normal” around the house, we put a door on the office. We added applied molding to the door so it would match the molding in the front hall. When the door is closed, it blends seamlessly with the molding in the front hall and fades from view. Even if working from home is temporary (we hope!) it’s important to make your space that fit your needs.
Another quick project that will add character to your home is to add a splash of color on interior doors. The French doors that open to the sunroom in our home were stark white and I have always wanted to paint them the same teal as the dining room and ceilings in the living room and entry. I finally had the time for something that I had been planning for a year! Successful painting is all in the prep work so I cleaned the doors really well first. No need to tape all those glass panels. A razor blade will scrape off any paint that gets on the glass. And you don’t have to pick a bold color but if you do, make sure it relates to something in your home. But it’s just paint after all and can be easily changed! Black is always a classic, safe choice that works with almost any style of décor.
Switching out just one or two elements in a room can make a huge impact. I remember my grandmother had seasonal drapery and pillows that she would change out twice a year. While I’m not changing out all my drapery, you can make a huge impact by changing out your area rug. The vintage rug in the sunroom hides every speck of dirt that dogs and kids always seem to track in, but I wanted to lighten up the feeling of the room for summer. I went with jute because it’s durable for high traffic and the lighter shades change the whole feeling of the room. New pillows can also change the feeling of a room. Support a local business and order a DIY kit from AR Workshop Belmont. You can customize colorful pillows and plank signs to make your home feel more cheerful and summery!
Here’s an idea that won’t cost a penny and can also make a huge impact on how your home feels. Move your furniture and artwork around or switch pieces to different rooms. You have probably been staring at the same layout for a while and a change in scenery is another great way to freshen up your home. Rare is the case where there is only one possible furniture layout. Pull your sofa away from the walls and maybe switch around end tables with night stands. Just be sure to leave at least three feet for traffic pathways. If you stick to my mantra and only bring things you love into your home, you’ll be surprised to see how well pieces can work in different spots!
These are just a few suggestions of easy projects we have done to make our house function better for our family’s needs. This extra time at home is a great opportunity to tackle some of the projects that are so easy to put off when our lives are hectic. Get the whole family involved in rearranging furniture, customizing pillows or painting to make your home work better and be a happier place for the people who live there.
Brie Hays is a certified Interior Designer and True Color Expert. She is available for design work and paint consultations through Harlow Hays Design Co. Follow her on Facebook or Instagram for decorating tips, or check out www.harlowhaysdesign.com