A few weeks ago, your day-to-day world consisted of your home, your car, an office, maybe a school. Now, you are among the millions across North America who are spending most of their time inside because of restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19. While a comfortable home is a good place to spend your time most days, the coronavirus-related lockdowns or quarantines currently in place have many – including your clients – looking for quick ways to improve function, space and comfort.
It is the same home, but now you have new storage needs. Organization becomes more important. And you need a game plan to ensure the home operates with maximum efficiency to increase enjoyment and reduce the potential for tension. You might notice repairs you were willing to live with before or think about what upgrades you’ll make once life returns to normal.
We spoke with Paula Kennedy, a designer in a COVID-19 hotspot – Seattle – about quick changes you can make in your home and your clients’ to reduce stress, improve function and make it into a comforting environment for everyone there.
Start with Space. The home may have just gone from being largely empty during the day to a place where children are learning and multiple people may be earning their living.
“Everyone needs to know where everything goes,” said Kennedy. “The more organized things are and the more routine it is, that will reduce stress. I would encourage homeowners to make a plan so all family members are aware of how the home works.”
Stay in your lane during the day. Keep the work areas for working, the learning areas for learning. Look at how you can alter your space to make life easier. The family may be used to gathering in the living room around the TV, but having everybody in one room might be a recipe for stress.
“Move the TV into the formal dining room,” said Kennedy. “Spread the family out instead of everyone being in the living room. Use the home efficiently so you’re not on top of each other 24/7.”
Simplify Life. Now it’s time to think about what you can bring into the home to make your life or your clients’ easier. Appliances like countertop ovens, portable steam ovens and sous vide cookers can speed up meal preparation and give you healthy cooking options. Many smaller appliances can be bought online, so you can save yourself a trip to the store.
Additional food storage, like refrigerators reserved for beverages and snacks, can save space in the main refrigerator, help manage foot traffic and make us feel more comfortable at home. Think about adding an extra freezer, under-cabinet refrigeration or a vacuum sealer for the countertop. A recent jump in the sale of freezers suggests many are putting additional food storage measures in place.
Build comfort. People have different tolerances for noise, including sound generated from appliances and foot traffic. Take steps to bring the home’s noise level under control. “That’s on my list for wellness,” said Kennedy. “How we manage that sound is important. Rugs, mats or soft finishes can help absorb some of it.”
Air quality is also a factor in wellness and comfort. Make sure the kitchen ventilation is working properly and consider adding an air cleaner. Bringing elements of the outdoors, like more natural light or vegetation, into the living space may also help reduce stress and increase productivity.Orignal source