If you’re suddenly working from home or self isolating, you’ve likely looked around your home and wondered if you ought to get busy. Walls are drab, closets are stuffed with heaven knows what and corners are dark and dreary. If the coronavirus pandemic is going to continue indefinitely, you might as well use your free time tackling some at-home projects.
Here are four ideas that will keep you busy and make your home more livable. Even if you can’t do the work now, you’ve got time to at least do some planning.
Bookshelves, whether they’re built-ins or actual furniture, are a great place to display favorite books, family photos, small pieces of art and other mementos that add personality to your home.
Over time, though, they become catch-all places for all kinds of things. They become so crowded with stuff that everything blends together.
For example, you can give a bookshelf a makeover in an afternoon. Your first step is to clear your shelves of everything. (This is also an opportunity to do some dusting, so you might want to clean and, yes, sanitize each item as well as the shelves.)
Then decide what really must stay and set that aside. Look through the rest of your home for other items that might look good on these shelves. Never mind if it was a little vase in a guest bath or a piece from a collection in your study. You’re “shopping in your own home” and everything’s fair game.
Put things back in a more minimalist way, using books in small stacks laid flat and standing upright, interspersed with art, framed photos and other items. Try to use more medium and large-size things and fewer small things.
There will be things that are leftover. Use them in other rooms, box them up for storage or to be rotated back in later, sell them or give them away. Just don’t put them back on the shelves they came from. For more detailed instructions check out How to Style Shelves 101.
The Marie Kondo craze has everyone going through their closets, evaluating dresses, pants and shoes for the joy they bring into our lives. Clothes closets aren’t the only places in need of cleaning out. We have closets and storage spaces full of all kinds of things.
Set aside things you don’t really want, need or use anymore. Box it up for a garage sale (to be held later, of course), sell it on Poshmark, Mercari, or Facebook marketplace or donate to a charitable thrift store such as Goodwill or Salvation Army.
Just cleaning out your closets, attic and storage space could keep you busy for a while, and you’ll be amazed at how liberating it is to get rid of things.
If she had to pick a room to start with it would be the storage closet. “That’s one place that tends to get cluttered. Get containers to organized seasonal items. It really makes you feel so much better.”
If your walls seem drab or they were painted colors that were on trend 20 years ago, consider taking on a painting project. Specialty paint stores such as Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore will take your order over the phone and have it ready for you to pick up, in the interest of social isolation. Both stores said they’ve been extra busy filling orders, so clearly there’s a lot of painting going on.
Choosing whites can be maddening because there are so many and undertones can be hard to gauge. Good choices from Sherwin-Williams include Greek Villa, Snowbound, and High Reflective White. A few of Benjamin Moore’s most popular are Pure White, Decorator’s White, or Chantilly Lace.
Great grays include Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter, Edgecomb Gray and Silver Marlin and Sherwin-Williams’ Light French Gray, Dark French Gray, Gray Screen, and Versatile Gray.
Need help with a paint color? We offer paint consultations!
Most homes are too dark. This is a time to evaluate your lighting and your light bulbs. Every home should have a combination of lights, including recessed lights in your ceiling — preferably on dimmers — chandeliers, pendants or sconces and floor or table lamps.
Even if you’re not comfortable going out to shop for lighting, you can start now by planning what you think you need and searching for ideas online. Pinterest is a great place to figure things out. As you see things you like, pin them to a board. Pretty quickly you’ll be able to see a trend.
If you have questions or ideas for other things to do, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.