How to make your home a sanctuary during lockdown – Part 2

In part 1, we reflected on the importance of creating a comfortable space at home and giving yourself permission to do little or nothing. If you are ready to spend some time and energy on your home, here are our top tips:

Make tidying easy

If you’re prone to procrastination or finding it hard to focus generally, consider spending some time organising your home. Tidy home= tidy(er) mind.

While minimalist design doesn’t work for all, disorganised clutter works for no one. The best way to stem the tide of household disorder is to make tidying as easy and satisfying as humanly possible. Some of our top tips:

  • Put storage for items close to where they are most regularly used/ needed. For example:
    • shoe, coat and bag storage in the entrance hallway,
    • homework items could be tidied in a low kitchen cupboard
    • most used items should always be within easy reach.
  • Reward- this could be as simple as organising your larder or office in a way your find beautiful/ satisfying – this will encourage you to keep it beautiful and tidy. Alternatively set goals and rewards for other (usually younger- though not always…) users of the space. Whether that’s a simple acknowledgement and thanks, food rewards or even cold hard cash. Positive reinforcement goes much further than negative. (Trust me; I live with 2 cats… and a man)
  • Finally, be respectful of the other people in your household. That means not leaving clutter out when someone has tidied but even more importantly it means communicating and accepting that everyone’s definition of tidy is different. You may need to compromise on when and how spaces are cleared, and to what level. Remember, some people function better in organised (apparent) chaos and that’s ok too- if necessary designate separate private spaces and negotiate a compromise in shared areas!

Top tip during lockdown- Each day my partner and I move our coffee table and armchair to one end of our lounge and get out our fold down table which lives in the hallway (we have a lovely but tiny house in London). This works well and is especially satisfying at the end of the day when work officially ends and we put everything ‘away’. Try doing the same- either by putting things away or closing the door on your office space.

Liz working at her fold-away desk
Edgar and Rosie don’t contribute to the housework, but they are cute…
Plants on a kitchen window sill with a view to a brick wall and bay tree
Good storage makes it easier to keep the kitchen clean and tidy

Mix up your displays

Change bedding/ move things around/ add fresh flowers etc.

To keep your house interesting (without spending a fortune or ripping it all out and starting again) change the accessories and soft furnishings regularly. (What better time to order and have homewares delivered?!)

  • Artwork of the same size can be swapped inside the frame (in gallery walls try to stick to the same colour/ context too).  Alternatively you can switch frames over if they are of the same size (NB natural light or dust can create shadows on the paintwork around artwork which will show when you swap for a smaller sized frame).
  • Swap your soft furnishings: have a summer and winter set (cushion covers, blankets curtains, rugs, towels, bedding etc) to be switched in spring and autumn. This is an excellent way to make the space look new and get excited for the next phase of the year.
  • Move around your favourite decorative items: you’ll be able to enjoy them afresh. If you have lots of accessories, organise them into collections (small items always in groups of 3), choose some to display now and others to store. Switch your collections around annually.
Mirror shaped like an eye in house renovated by Absolute Project Management
Before: This lovely gold eye-shaped mirror has been carefully packed into storage for use in a future refresh
Mirror with hand-painted wooden frame in house renovated by Absolute Project Management
After: Switching in this hand-painted mirror from Marrakech for a change of look!
Decorative Objets in a house renovated by Absolute Project Management
Arrange decorative objets in groups of three

Top tip anytime- do a clear out when you switch items (whether that’s summer or winter clothes, soft furnishings or collections of accessories/ artwork etc). If you find it difficult to part with old items- store, labelled with the date last used/ appreciated or worn. This will make you reassess the item more clearly when doing your next clear out- could it be better used elsewhere or by someone else?

Get the details right

whenever we begin new projects with clients they are often (and understandably) thinking big picture and of big ticket (i.e. expensive) items like the building work/ the kitchen/ the bathroom. However, it’s the details that make the difference between a good renovation and a great one.

These take time to consider and often cost more than you expect- but, from experience, they are so worth it. The lockdown has brought this into sharp focus in my own home- I’m happy that I spent the money on getting these right:

  • Fit attractive faceplates throughout (brushed finishes are so much easier to maintain than polished) and invest in USB sockets for high usage sockets (kitchen, lounge by the sofa and by beds/ desks)
  • If you get something- do it right! My favourite example is to replace the skirting when fitting a new wooden floor- rather than opting to save money by adding an edge ‘bead’. This instantly cheapens the finish and is infuriating when you try to put furniture against a wall!
  • Spend time thinking about, drawing up and considering artwork before hanging on the wall. Every time I’ve had a virtual meeting, I’ve smiled at the view of the gallery wall behind me! Also, I’m so glad I paid extra to get good frames- including mounting and anti-glare on the glass.
Gorgeous monochrome artwork of abstract shapes and a flower in black picture frames. In a house renovated by Absolute Project Management
Good quality frames with mounts and anti-glare glass show off these gorgeous pictures to best effect
Artistic living room with gallery wall styled by Absolute Project Management
Liz’ beautiful picture wall is the result of careful planning

If the lockdown is giving you a little more time to assess your living space and you’d like to make positive changes/ take the time to get the details right- please get in touch.