Okay, we’re all thinking it, so let’s just put it out there: this summer, in particular, compared to all the others, has simply gone too quickly.
In fact, I have to say I feel bad closing windows, putting heavy blankets on the beds and I am flat-out avoiding turning on the furnace. Normally this time of year I’m ready to start baking, to start nesting. I’m an obsessive nester... but it makes me happy, and these days I’ll take what I can get.
The truth of the matter is that the potential of having to stay indoors AND stay away from others is a difficult one. These are trying times, indeed.
So, I think that this year it’s going to be so important to do some good things for ourselves and to do good things for the homes-offices-classrooms in which we will spend the next 6 months. Call it, self-care for the home.
If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to start creating the domestic haven you’ll need as the colder months approach. Consider these tips to make your interior space one that brings you comfort and a sense of well-being:
Now's the time to bring the outdoors in. There’s science behind the health benefits of being surrounded by greenery. Growing plants indoors encourages a sense of purpose while improving air quality. Drop by your local garden centre and ask for help selecting a small tree and some plants that will do well indoors over the winter months.
Is your porch or deck cold weather friendly? These could be perfect, cozy spots to see guests for short visits while social distancing. Add blankets, a tabletop fireplace, patio heaters, vintage light strings and a video projector to amp up the entertainment value!
As you’re closing your yard down for the season, consider pruning or reducing in size any outdoor shrubs or trees that may block windows and prohibit natural light from entering your home. And while I often recommend layering up window coverings this time of year to keep the warmth in, it will be equally important to create a habit of opening blinds and draperies daily in order to infuse light into rooms where you spend the most time.
Interior lighting is crucial all the time, but now in particular. Swap out any old light fixtures that flicker or cast a dark yellow light. Select bulbs marked ‘natural daylight’ and/or don’t buy the bulbs until you’ve seen them switched on in the store and know they're bright enough. Avoid cool or ‘blue-white’ bulbs that will make your home look cold and sterile. Now is a great time to change dark lampshades for lighter ones to give your room a cheery, uplifting feel.
If you’re renovating now, consider incorporating soundproofing into your overall insulation plans. Sound insulation in interior walls and ceilings will help give everyone who is working or studying at home an additional tool to minimize distractions.
I’ve always been a proponent of buying Canadian. These days, it can make you feel good to support a local company, whether it’s a furniture manufacturer, artist or lighting business. Local craftsmanship is typically better quality than imported “made in China” products and while generally more expensive, classic, well-made items will ensure you spend your hard-earned dollars on décor that will stand the test of time.
I think we’ve all started to realize that we can, in fact, live with less. We’ve learned to make things last a little longer and can often get by with the things we already have in our homes. We’ve managed to be creative and to think outside the box when coming up with solutions to our new living arrangements. Consider whether or not you can make do, repurpose or reinvent items in your home to accommodate this new normal.
Stay healthy and stay in touch.