March 26, 2020

Home as a Source of Comfort

I share encouragement for how staying in our homes can be a form of self-care during uncertain times.

During normal times, it’s easy to focus on the aesthetics of our homes, such as which colors and patterns are trending. Or what pillows and artwork we can change out to refresh our space. However, when we are spending an extended amount of time indoors or times feel uncertain, I think it’s important to think about how our homes can provide a sense of comfort. Right now, many of us are following social distancing and isolation recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19. We are unsure if this will mean weeks or months at home. However, there are many other circumstances throughout our lives when we also need to focus on our homes as a refuge. The impetus may be as simple as the climate: extreme heat, a snowstorm, or other severe weather in which it’s safest indoors. Perhaps there is a major life change in your family, such as a birth, death, or divorce. Maybe you are dealing with anxiety, depression, or other mental health challenges. Whatever the reason and however long the duration may be, it can make a big difference if your home feels like a safe and soothing place.

As a designer, I value the trust our clients place in us to understand their style, as well as their lifestyle. We always aim to design thoughtful, personalized spaces for them that are both functional and beautiful. Having to stay home for an extended amount of time is the ultimate test of how well we succeeded at our goal. In the midst of all this stress, it is encouraging knowing our clients are comfortable and enjoying their homes. I enjoy imagining that the perfectly placed accent table is holding a cup of tea or glass of wine. Or that our clients are snuggled up with their family watching a movie on a sectional we specified for their space. Or that they can look at a piece of artwork we chose and feel some sense of serenity, or even joy.

There are a few things we can all do and consider to maximize that calm feeling in our homes. First, I would begin with decluttering and cleaning. Putting away the things that don’t matter gives us more room to enjoy the relationships that do. Clean rooms are a breath of fresh air, and cleared off surfaces are ready for impromptu projects, baking, or game playing. I also find that we are less likely to feel like we need to “fix” a space by buying more stuff if it is tidy. Now is an ideal time to look at what you have with fresh eyes. If you’re craving a bit of novelty, try moving your existing furniture around or tackling a project, such as a family gallery wall, that’s been on your to-do list for ages. If you use a professional cleaning service and are able, consider continuing to pay them during this time or purchase gift certificates to give in the future. This gesture is a tangible way to show friends and family you care, as well as support small businesses during an economically challenging time. Another thing we can do to make our homes feel better is to open our blinds, and if possible, the windows themselves. Sunshine is a mood booster and seeing other people outside can be heartening. Look for your neighbors out on a walk, children playing in their yards. Even something as simple as garbage collectors and delivery people doing their work is reassurance that life is continuing. Finally, I’d encourage us all to ponder on our five senses, and how we can delight them in our home. Surround yourself with soft textures. Can you switch out a throw blanket or pillow with an extra fluffy one? Look into getting a bouquet of flowers delivered, either from your local florist (again, supporting those small businesses) or added onto your grocery order. Bake something yummy or light a delicious-smelling candle. Turn on tunes depending on what your state of mind needs. Spotify has playlists for everything from mood-boosting happy hits to peaceful piano music.

Although this message is mostly about staying home, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our amazing network of artists and tradespeople who are hurting right now. In the months ahead, we’ll be doing everything we can to support them, not only to show our loyalty, but also to continue to deliver unique design to our clients. Think about how you can support your favorite small businesses during this time, even while staying home. A couple ideas are making purchases through their online stores and taking advantage of any digital services they offer.

Before we know it, we will be on the other side of this, throwing open our doors to welcome others, and sharing our stories. In the meantime, may our homes be spaces where we can all be gentle with ourselves.

Until next time,

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