5 ways to refresh your space without spending a dime (or leaving your house)
With millions of Americans under shelter-in-place orders, businesses are closing their doors and public spaces are shutting down to help enforce social distancing. These are trying times, and getting through them will require a lot of adjustment – even for people who are already used to spending plenty of time at home.
In other words, if you’re feeling stir-crazy, it’s totally understandable. But a few tweaks to your house can make a huge difference. And there are plenty of them you can pull off with simple supplies you already have. Check out these 5 totally free ideas for sprucing up your place without setting foot outside:
1. Rearrange your furniture
Rethinking your furniture placement takes some trial and error. But hey, with nowhere else to go, it’s worth spending the time to get it right. The more comfortable you are with your arrangement, the happier you’ll be in your home. And you’ll be surprised by how much a simple change can shift the energy in your space.
When you are arranging your furniture, especially for a living room, it’s a good idea to start with a focal point. This can be a window, a fireplace, or even a TV, depending on how you spend your evenings. Arrange your furniture around the focal point, and be mindful of blocking the natural walkways. Creating conversation areas where people can comfortably talk without shouting or getting a crick in their neck will make socializing with your roommates much more pleasant.
When placing furniture, avoid pushing it flush against the wall, even in the most cramped rooms. This may seem counterintuitive, but it will help space feel roomier. Keep the side tables and coffee tables within arm’s reach, so that you don’t have to get up from your seat to set your drink down.
Remember, you don’t have to commit to one particular arrangement. Try a configuration out for an evening or two, switch it up, and find the setup that feels best for you and your housemates.
2. Put something fresh on your walls
Are your walls a little bare? Give yourself something better to look at while you’re stuck inside. Maps, drawings, posters, blueprints, paintings – anything that breaks up a blank wall will bring a vibrant new energy to your space.
If you’re making lots of conference calls or video chatting with friends, having something nice on the wall behind you will create a pleasant visual background. Consider something that reminds you of happy times with your friends and family.
In many cases, almost anything is nicer to look than a blank wall. It can be something as simple as a colorful blanket or a decorative frame. Or, if you want to get crafty, you can make collages out of old photos or magazines, paintings, or even sculptures out of wire hangers or anything else you have around the house. Even if it looks silly at first, it just might grow on you.
3. Play with your lighting
You don’t have to paint the walls to change the mood of a room. Try to incorporate as much natural light into your house as possible using mirrors and other reflective surfaces. The more light sources you have, the easier it will be to create the right level of lighting for the situation.
Bright overhead lighting can create harsh shadows and be otherwise unpleasant, but you can fill these shadows in by placing lamps around the room. If you don’t have many lamps or mirrors, you can still make your overhead lighting more pleasant by diffusing it with fabric. This is especially helpful if you use compact fluorescent bulbs because it can reduce the stress associated with the flickering light.
Sheer white fabric will work best when you want the room bright, but you can toy with colored fabrics to change the mood of the house. Make sure to leave space between the material and the bulb to prevent it from burning – even LED lights produce some heat.
It’s much easier to feel at home when all your stuff has someplace to go. So make it easy on yourself, and invest some time into organizing your living areas. For example, if you’re the type of person to unload your pockets and toss the mail on the first surface you see, give yourself a desk, closet, or tray to put things as you come home.
The COVID-19 crisis has made even the simplest tasks considerably challenging. A trip to the grocery store, or even ordering groceries for delivery, requires a lot more thought than it used to. But organizing your food will make it that much easier to plan your shopping list. Alphabetize your spices, or group them by use. Keep your pantry food in categories so it’s easy to see what you’re low on. Clean your laundry, put it all away, and make space by getting rid of clothes you don’t wear.
Alphabetize your books, records, and other media so it’s easy to find and put back away when you’re finished. Go through any random stacks of paper and either file them or discard them. The mere process of clearing disorder from your home will help you get a better sense of control. It will also make it easier to practice healthy habits, like reading, working out, meditating, or writing, once you’ve created the space to do it.
5. Set up a distraction-free zone
Having an area to take a break from work, news notifications, and your social media feed can be a great boon to your mental health – even if it’s only for part of the day. This can be a window nook, a desk (it shouldn’t be your work desk), or even the dining room table between mealtimes.
Set up a puzzle or place to make arts and crafts out of sight of your TV or computer. You can spend some time here each day, where you turn off your phone and tune the outside world out for a little bit. Write a journal, or practice sketching things you see. It can also be the perfect place to set up a board game to play with your roommates.
This can be especially beneficial if you’ve had trouble sleeping. Taking a break from screens for the last hour of the day will help your brain relax and let you fall asleep more easily. This can also help improve your focus for the next day if you’re struggling with working from home.
Find your dream home with Common
With Common, you can find the beautiful, affordable living space you’ve been dreaming of, in incredible neighborhoods across the country. And while your housing needs may be tough to predict in times of such great uncertainty, Common has you covered. We offer flexible leasing periods for as little as two months, in both private apartments and stunning coliving spaces – all fully furnished and artfully designed to make feeling at home as simple and affordable as it should be. Learn more about what Common has to offer.