We are currently living in a very strange world. Our daily routines have been turned upside down and our basic needs as human beings have been stripped away from us. Last week the state of Victoria, Australia was forced into stage 4 lockdown. We cannot leave our homes for anything except for food, medicine, exercise and caregiving. A curfew was put in place to keep us home between the hours of 8pm – 5am and we are not allowed to travel more than 5km from our home. It is hard to see the light at the end of all this, but we must make light of this situation…let’s renovate!
Being in isolation can be stressful, boring and lonely. The reoccurring headline reads “you must stay home”. If we have to stay home for the foreseeable future, then there is no better time to renovate! Embrace the fact that this is how it is going to be for a while. You won’t be going on holidays this year. No races, weddings, parties, road trips…you just won’t be doing anything fun. But look on the bright side, now you have time to declutter and renovate your home.
Use this time wisely to create the home you have always wanted. Don’t fall down the binge-watching TV hole because you won’t look back and say “I am so glad I watched all 8 seasons of GOT for the third time during lockdown”! Be productive and renovate the house of your dreams. You will thank yourself for the time you spend on your home now when you are truly busy again in the future.
As Mary Kondo would say, “Tidy your space, transform your life”. I am a bit of a clean freak myself as I cannot function in a messy environment. Studies have shown that people who live or work in a clean environment are far more focused and productive than those in a cluttered one. Getting the mess out of sight takes procrastinating away from your daily tasks. Organising your home can destress you and aid anxiety. Let’s face it, walking into a clutter-free home is far more enjoyable than walking into an untidy one. Focus on this before you begin to renovate.
TIP: If you haven’t used something in over 2 years, throw it out or give it to charity! Start with your wardrobe, kitchen cupboards and under your bed before moving to the “advanced” rooms of the house such as the kid’s playroom, home office, attic, garage or shed.
Art is a great way to bring some visual interest and personality to a room! We hang art because we like it and are attracted to it. Art is a very personal decision that reflects your personality. Chose it first or chose it last, but make sure it has a relationship with the rest of the space.
Why don’t you spend some therapeutic time painting a new piece of art to brighten up your home? There are so many helpful videos on Youtube, showing you how to create a masterpiece of your own. You can control the exact colours that go into your art, so you can choose the colours existing within your space? I personally love to work with Acrylic paint as you can easily paint over your mistakes. I also like using watercolours and building up the finishing details using colouring pencils.
If you are not interested in painting your own art, there are so many online suppliers that you can still shop with during this lockdown period. Look at Temple & Webster, Etsy, or Bluethumb for some great ready-made prints or you could try a custom piece art from some of my favourite Australian artists: Martine Gallary in NSW (I love her ocean scenes), Carolyne Hallum (her floral designs are to die for) or Emme Bergman (She uses ink and colouring pencils for abstract designs).
TIP: You could attempt dot work painting (like my masterpiece below) or acrylic pour painting. These techniques are very easy to achieve and no matter what you create, it will be beautiful!
Do you have a lot of photographs but minimal wall space? Renovate your wall with some meaningful pictures. Go for a collage with your favourite pictures in place! This can be quite scrappy but it is best to play around with your frames on the floor before you commit to hanging the arrangement on the wall. Play around with different frames for interest but keep them within the same design style for cohesion. Below, you will find a shabby/chic mix of frames I put together with black and white images. Note, this was in a rental property so don’t be afraid to hang things on your walls wherever you are. You can fix up any damage before you vacate. Mixing shapes, sizes and even adding words creates some interest within the collage.
TIP: Stick to the Interior design style of your home. Is it monochromatic? Go for black and white frames. Do you have a Scandi home? Go for light wood frames. Or do you have a Glamourous style home? Chose some metallic gold/silver/rose gold/mirror frames.
Cushions are like the jewellery of your home. They are the finer details that really bring a space to life. Changing your cushions is an affordable way to give your space a whole new look! Mix pattern and block colours to your arrangement to give your cushions interest and breathing space. Play with scale (largest at the back) and shape to give a more interesting dynamic.
There are so many ways to style your sofa or bed with cushions, but ultimately it is down to your preference and how tolerable your partner is with cushions! Mine hates making our bed in the morning as there are “500” cushions. On a three seater sofa, you could go for a balanced look of 2 x large and 2 x small cushions or you could opt for an uneven number by removing one of them on one side.
TIP: Only buy feather filled cushions as they sit nicer than foam-filled cushions. I love to “karate chop” my cushions in the centre as the stand up nicely (like below).
Bookcases are of course used to store our books. But not many people pay attention to how well they are styled. If you fill the unit with books entirely, it will look like a library. Don’t fill it enough and your collection will seem unimpressive. Go for a mix of books, vases, photo frames, baskets and ornaments to turn your bookcase into a visual gallery. This tall unit within your space can showcase some of your prized possessions. Here are some tips to help you:
If you don’t have any green babies, we can’t be friends! Plants are essential in your home! I have at least one plant in every room of my house! Studies have shown that house plants improve your concentration and productivity, reduce stress levels, and boost your mood. At one stage in my life, I couldn’t keep a cactus alive, but now I have nearly 40 indoor plants and they are thriving!
The trick is quite simple. Dig your middle finger right down into the soil. If it is moist, back off and think about the veterans with ‘trench foot’ during WWI (don’t Google it, it’s gross!!….You Google’d it didn’t you?). Your plants don’t like having wet feet either. If the soil feels a bit dry, you can water your plants in the sink and allow them to drip dry before putting them back into their spot!
I love to ‘style my plants’ just like I would do with a bookshelf or coffee table. You can play around with plants of different heights, different colours, different shaped leaves and you can play around with their pots too! I am a fan of mixing my pots up, but if you want them all to be the same, consider painting the ones you already have to be the same colour or tones of the same colour! Use a plant stand or shelves to place your plants at different heights, or get creative as I did below using old crates or other unwanted items you may have lying around the house.
Noting says renovate like a good aul DIY! There is nothing more satisfying than turning trash into treasure! Rolling your sleeves up and tackling some DIY projects around the house allows you to focus on something creative, work with your hands and enjoy the empowering feeling of creating something on your own. All of which can be beneficial to your overall wellbeing. Maybe you could reface your kitchen cupboards or add some detailing? Or repurpose something from your garage into an interesting plant stand? Or if you have any solid wood pieces needing some TLC, why not sand them back and give them a whole new look? Change the hardware for a unique finish, just like I did with these bedside tables I found on the side of the road!
The most obvious way to renovate your home is to paint the walls. Give your walls a fresh lick of paint, or change the colour entirely for a whole new look! Get the kids involved as a fun family activity, and let them paint their own bedrooms. Or create a feature wall… a small change like this can create a big impact.
Here are some painting tips:
Lighting is the most important element in your home to influence your mood. Lighting can make your room look bigger, so make sure your windows are clean and your curtains hang wider than the window to maximise the amount of natural lighting coming in during the day. Incorporate some reflective surfaces within your home to bounce light around your space (mirrors, glossy floors and metallic furniture).
Don’t use a very bright white light in your home as this can feel quite sterile and harsh. Warmer, (yellow toned) lighting feels more welcoming and cosy. It is good to have at least three types of lighting per room so that you can control the amount of light you need. General lighting over your head should be turned on most of the time while you are walking around. Task lighting should be used when carrying out a specific task like reading a book or applying your makeup. Wall sconces are nice to use as a subtle light or to highlight a feature on a wall. Accent lighting such as table and floor lamps are best for times of relaxation when we are trying to wind down for the night.
Last but not least….the deep clean! Let’s be honest, nobody really likes cleaning the fridge, oven, tile grout or windows but they have to get done! Its the cheapest way to renovate your home as it only costs your time (and a few cleaning products). We now have more time on our hands to make our homes really sparkle. So let’s get the rubber gloves on, toothbrush in hand and start scrubbing! Put on your favourite playlist and it will be over in no time. A clean home is a happy home.
Take a leaf out of this guys book:
I hope this blog inspires you to renovate your home and turn this downtime into a productive few months ahead. Reach out if you have any questions and let me know what you are going to tackle first in your own home!