Beautiful Design on a Budget

10 Ways to Change Up Your Space While Social Distancing

By Moria Lawlor | 29 April 2020

I’m sure many of you have seen the meme on social media stating, “Your grandparents were called to war. You’re being asked to sit on your couch.” First, let me say that I prefer the term “sofa,” and while this droll and mocking meme will likely make you chuckle, I do believe there is some weight and gravitas to what is being asked of us. In this unprecedented time of COVID-19, life as we know it has been seriously disrupted. We’ve been asked to stop our normal activities – everything from going to work and socializing with friends and family, to running our kids to and from soccer practice. Instead, we’re asked to isolate ourselves at home, make ends meet during a severe economic downturn, and wait in line for our ration of food and basic necessities. We’ve not been asked to go to war, but we have been asked to make sacrifices for our community and the world. 

While this is daunting, I do believe we will come out stronger on the other side. I also think we must find ways to remain present, productive and positive as we work through this. As an Interior Designer (currently spending lots of time in the confines of my own home) I have come up with a list of ten ways to refresh, redesign, and reinvigorate your humble abode while staying on a budget and adhering to current safety guidelines as we wait out this Coronavirus storm. I hope these ideas help you reflect on where you are and enable you to maximize what you currently have. 

1. Rearrange your furniture:

You will be surprised by how only shifting a couple of pieces of furniture will make a space feel brand new. Moving a pair of chairs here or a stack of books there – a minimal adjustment can completely change your perspective of a room in no time. Turn an old chest into a cocktail bar or create a coffee nook to read the paper at in the mornings. Get creative with what you’ve got!

2. Add fresh flowers or greenery:

Add some beautiful roses or aromatic eucalyptus to your cart the next time you go grocery shopping (even if it’s from the sofa). Or, better yet, go outside and cut some fresh from your own garden or yard. This addition will spruce up any room in your home. For many areas of the country, spring is in full swing – so take advantage of mother nature’s bounty.

3. Light up some candles:

Lighting a candle has always been a surefire way to improve my mood. The magical action of lighting it itself, the relaxing and pleasant smells, or the mesmerizing flicker of the flame, there is something to enjoy for everyone. Whether you are cranking out some work or playing Scrabble with your family – light some candles to create an ambiance that will put your mind at ease and make any room feel homier. In this time of Coronavirus, strolling the aisles at local stores for a great new scent is not an option, so order the candles you already know you love from Amazon, Target, or Anthroplogie. This way you are getting products you will use and  are spending your money wisely.

4. Declutter those closets:

Now is the time to Marie Kondo your house! Clean out linen closets, shoe bins, toiletry stashes, and drawers. You can still pass along your items to GoodWill or your preferred donation shelter during this time by dropping the goods off at the curbside. This act will freshen up your house and cleanse your soul. Get organized by labeling and organizing your newly pared-down belongings. You will feel better after accomplishing this to-do!

5. Create your own work of art:

Everyone can become the best Monet version of themselves. Give new life to an old frame by adding a landscape drawing or a modern art watercolor of your creation. Paint a canvas or tie-dye an old sheet. Get on Pinterest for some inspiration – there are numerous tutorials on at-home art projects. Have leftover paint in your garage or in the attic? Use what you’ve got and have fun with it!

6. Take the covers off:

A little decorating secret – most coffee table books have two looks to them, but you’ve likely only ever seen one. Take the book sleeves off and voila, you’ve got a brand new set of books to decorate your coffee tables and shelves with. Explore your books to get a new pop of color in the mix. Or if you own bookshelves full of novels in a study or living room, turn the books around so that the pages face out. This change gives a striking monochromatic look to your bookshelves. Most of us have already read most of those books anyway, right? If they are just collecting dust, why not have fun with them?

7. Bob the Builder it:

Need a new dresser or tv console? In this economy, many retailers are running sales to incentivize business. Take advantage of this! Order an IKEA piece to your door – no excuses for not having the time to read through the 200-page manual these days. In addition to the current sales, many furniture stores like West Elm, CB2, and Pottery Barn give 10-20% off discounts if you sign up for their marketing emails. Be your own handyman during this time to cut out the labor costs. Now is an ideal time to re-tile a bathroom or give your kitchen cabinets a fresh coat of paint. For those of you that have all of your children home from school – make it a family activity and put them to work as well!

8. Create an at-home office:

WFH has become the norm these days. Many people find themselves hopping on multiple zoom calls a week or even a day. National news anchors, weather men and women, and celebrities are hosting their shows from their own homes. Be conscious of what is behind you on your screen. Does it reflect well on you and your home? Make it a project one day and set up a little vignette that has a nice piece of art behind you or create your own workspace in a wallpapered room. People instantly notice your surroundings – why not make it pretty?  

9. Dust off the sewing machine:

Do you own your grandmother’s old sewing machine? Did you take lessons years ago but have never had the time to start any projects? Pull the machine out from the bottom of the closet and get to it. Make some new throw pillows, draperies, or a shower curtain. Check out YouTube for easy videos on how to start your project. Pocket curtains are a simple way to get back into your groove.

10. Reach out to an expert:

Still feel like you could use some professional help? E-design can be the answer to all of your interior design woes. With the ability to work remotely these days, you can hire many talented designers without ever stepping foot out of your door. Projects can be done from the safety of your home as ideas, design boards, CAD drawings, and project updates are relayed through emails, online platforms, and webinars. Havenly, Decorist, and Modsy are a few popular online design platforms out there. And if you want something a bit more personal or specialized, many interior designers are offering e-design services during this time.

Related Reads:

Benefits of Minimalism

How Stores Get you to Spend More

Moria Lawlor is a North Carolinian living in Texas. She has been working in Interior Design since graduating from Wake Forest University. She enjoys spending time with her Golden Retriever, Boone, and her fiancé, Michael, in no particular order. Site:Moria Love Interiors | IG @MoriaLoveInteriors

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