COVID-19 ~ Time To Get Cozy: How to Make Staying at Home a Luxury ~
“Shelter at home” is becoming as commonplace a phrase as “eat your veggies,” but like that ubiquitous childhood phrase, there’s something off about the juxtaposition of “shelter” and “home.” It conjures cold war images of dank, dimly lit cellar spaces where we huddle beneath scratchy wool blankets and wait for the all’s-clear sirens.
But that’s not home! Yes, the coronavirus continues to have an impact on our daily lives, and, yes, most states now have stay at home orders. That doesn’t mean, however, that we have to live a “shelter” existence. This time of enforced isolation can be a chance to rediscover the comforts of home, to refurbish, rearrange, and redecorate, to make your home a luxurious space in which to relax as you wait out COVID-19.
Keep Work as Work
It’s too easy in these work-at-home days to let your job seep into every hour of your life. To manage a work/life balance, designate a space that is work only and don’t enter that space except during work hours. That being said, you can, of course, make that space lively so that your work days are enjoyable.
For those lucky enough to have an office space at home, separation is easy. Just close the door. But for those living in smaller spaces where rooms serve multi purposes, a good feng shui tip is to purchase a beautiful rug that acts as an outline for your office area. A nice comfy chair for reading in, offers a shift of space and focus even in the smallest of areas. And since this is home, why not keep a soft, plush blanket on hand for snuggling under while reading those long documents. Who’s going to tell?
Find Your Stops Along the Way
Our normal daily lives are marked by movement, by changes of space and focus, and that can be recreated even if you never leave the house. Look for ways to essentially create stations through which you can circulate as if, say, you were going out for a bite to eat, dropping by the pub after work, or going to a movie.
Food is Comfort
One space that needs no special demarcation is your kitchen and yet even there you can find things to make it feel new. Spruce up an eating area with new chairs and a table or purchase a new set of dishes to make eating-in feel like a luxury. And while you’re at it, invest in a dutch oven, crock pot, or large soup pot. There’s nothing that makes a space feel cozier than the slow simmer of your favorite recipe wafting through the house.
Here’s another comfy adage: make bread before you break bread. Making fresh bread is a process that requires steps and time. You can complete a step then move on to something else as you wait for the next part of the process. And don’t worry about failure. As one baker said, the worst loaf of bread I ever made was still better than any of the processed stuff I buy. This adage isn’t just about bread. One way to recreate the sense of eating out is to experiment with new styles of food. Why not a little Korean Bulgogi? How about purchasing your own makisu (bamboo mat) and giving sushi a roll? Whatever your favorites, you now have the time to experiment with foods you’ve always relied on others to make.
Try a Quarantini
If there’s ever been a time to test new cocktail recipes, it has to be now. Set up a bar space in your house, and for an added sense of luxury and comfort purchase a couple of elegant new bar stools. Here’s the kicker: when quitting time comes, arrange a Zoom meeting with a friend. Whip up your favorite cocktail, pull out the laptop, tablet, or phone, dim the lighting, click into your meeting and, voila, it’s happy hour with friends.
*Check out 10 fabulous Quarantini recipes from Town & Country!
A Variety Show
Finding entertainment at home has never been easier, but the challenge in these long hours at home is to find ways of avoiding a sense of monotony. Create a snuggle space where you can cuddle up with a partner, your family, or pets to watch those TV shows or movies you’ve had on your list. You can even make it a theater experience by providing bowls of popcorn and boxed candy. Or for more intimacy, keep an oversized blanket on hand for snuggling, pour a glass of wine, and light a scented candle.
And don’t look down your nose at gaming. Today’s online environment offers a variety of entertainment from those X-Box style games your kids love to fun group games like Jackbox’s Quiplash or Fibbage. Even for the older generations who aren’t as interested in techie pursuits, you can find online outlets, such as Bridge Base Online.
Non-technical entertainments can also offer not only quick breaks but also a change of space to make you feel a sense of movement in your day. Try setting up a coffee table in a different area of your home and layout a puzzle you can complete a few pieces at a time as you see fit. Or choose a game you can share with a friend where you meet once a day for gameplay or to exchange moves (chess is great for this).
Finally, a must-have entertainment in the world of lockdown is to discover a space in the sun. Whether it’s a porch, deck, patio, or simply a window, place a comfy chair in a place where you can soak up rays. Even better, purchase a few decorative planters and fill them with plants so that you bring some of the outside in.
Can’t Change Locations? Change the Space.
There’s no time like when you’re stuck at home to redecorate and reorganize. Take what you have at hand and add a few new pieces. Try new arrangements of your furniture and tidy up spaces while you have the time. A new coat of paint can make a room feel brand new, and you can fool the senses by introducing scented candles or fragrant oils that make each day a little different.
Now is certainly the time to take on those do-it-yourself projects you’ve been putting off. They’ll not only offer another way to shift focus during your day, but the new environment they create will make your home space feel a little more luxurious.