Updated: Sep 29
So you’ve been living and working from home for almost 10 months and the walls are starting to close in on you. You’re safe at home but not really comfortable and now you’re faced with shorter days and a long cold winter. You’re also finding it really hard to get into the spirit of the holiday season.
We are here to bring you some good news! It is easier than you think to make your living spaces feel cozier and more cheerful.
Think of it as a holiday gift to yourself and your physical (and mental) well-being.
The first step is to assess what is not working for you. Notice where you end up with piles of stuff. Maybe it’s because you never decided where these things should “live” in your home or maybe your designated spot for those things is in the wrong place.
Organizing how you keep things should follow a logic of use. If you need things before you walk out the door (wallet, masks, keys, dog leash, etc.) then it should live near the door. Think about where you can store things. If you have an entry, can you fit a table, buffet or dresser? No space…can you put up hooks?
By re-thinking how you use your current furniture, you will likely find that you don’t need more furniture just more practical furniture. A dresser doesn’t need to be in a bedroom holding clothing. It can be in an entry, living room or dining room to offer more storage and a pretty surface to display objects that make you happy. If space planning and furniture arranging makes your head spin there are people who can help.
If you do find that you need a few new pieces of furniture to fill in gaps or maybe to replace something that is broken, ugly or unsturdy there are lots of places to find great pieces at low prices. Buying second-hand, gently-used furniture is environmentally and financially friendly. It also means your home will be unique and a lot of gently used or vintage furniture is made with better quality materials and with sturdier craftsmanship. You can also buy more trendy pieces at good prices at stores that sell furniture used in home staging. In addition to the cost savings, it will already be fully assembled and ready to use.
Once you’ve got the basics covered with furniture and basic organizing, you can move on to more fun things. Evaluate each flat surface (shelves, tops of furniture, countertops, etc) Each one is an opportunity to add function and/or display a curated collection. These collected displays are sometimes called vignettes. One practical idea for your entry area with a bowl for key, a tray for mail and something pretty like a vase. Ideally at least some of them should have some personal meaning for you in addition to being pretty. By creating vignettes, you give your flat surfaces a purpose and you are less likely to just dump random things there.
One purposeful way to use a flat surface is to create a small (or large) home bar. It can be any kind you want. Tea, coffee, hot cocoa, cocktails, etc. Creating this bar creates another way to take care of yourself. It can be something you use every day to help you mark the end of your work day and signifies that your home office is closed for the day.
When you treat your flat surfaces as deliberate curated collections, you are less likely to just put down random items that become clutter. This will create a more relaxing atmosphere.
Once your home is feeling calmer and more collected, you can add a layer of holiday décor. It can be just for Christmas, Channukah and Kwanzaa or you can remove and add pieces to reflect the current holiday or season. If you need help creating some custom décor you can take a class.
The importance of creating a comfortable home for yourself has even greater importance as we are increasingly required to stay home and find ways to make that comfortable and enjoyable. By creating the space in your home for something that brings you comfort and joy it will make the winter easier to endure. Plus, once we are able to socialize again, you will be proud to welcome in others to a home that is personal, comfortable and welcoming.
You can make someone else’s dream of a comfortable home come true by supporting local charities. Design Heals is sponsoring several ways to support their mission of creating homes for women and families in transition and you can learn more here.