Right now, the most important thing you can do is to make your home comfortable. You’re going to be spending even more time in it. With the continued rise of the global pandemic, we are all living in our homes a lot more than we ever have. 

While initially, you probably took pride in your newly organized closets and storage spaces, however, you might be starting to notice clutter has now piled up. If you’re like me, the days all run together and so does your space. Your furniture doesn’t feel quite as comfortable or certain paint colors seem outdated.  This isn’t bad… hey, you’re noticing!

You’ve been searching high and low for that new-found free time everyone is talking about but if you are not accustomed to working at home, then managing your time may not be a strong suit. Suddenly 5 pm becomes 8 pm and dinner is an afterthought. BUT you can still make changes to your home that have a purpose, especially in heavy, emotional times like these. 

About Tiffany Hanken Minneapolis Interior Design
Minneapolis Interior Designer, Tiffany Hanken

Adding Design Elements For Comfort

You’ve heard this a bunch of times by now, but this is a perfect time to clean out the clutter and repurpose or donate things that you don’t really need or really love. It truly is amazing how much one can accumulate without even noticing it. The more clutter or “stuff” in any given space, the more stress there is – even if you don’t realize it. Cleaning and organizing your home is definitely the first step in creating a relaxed space. My rule of thumb is if something has been untouched for a year or more (unless it’s purposely packed away), then off to the Goodwill (or your choice of an organization) it goes.

The next step on your journey to make your home comfortable would be to look hard at each room and think through how you’d really like to be using that space. With all the time you’ve spent at home, you probably already have gone there mentally laying in bed at night. For example, if you have a fireplace in your living room, is there a great spot for you to snuggle up with loved ones to watch it, or get cozy and read a book by it? If not, start there. You’ll have similar epiphanies in many rooms in your house including the garage.

Home Renovation and Interior Design
Tiffany Hanken Interior Design

Comfort and relaxation should be part of your design

Have you ever heard the term, your bedroom should be your sanctuary? Well, your entire home should be your haven – a place where you feel totally comfortable and at ease. When you look at any given room, you should always try to solve the challenge of how people will be happiest in it. The key is to identify the purpose of the space (gathering, entertaining, relaxing, working, etc.) and go from there. Let’s say you want your family room to be where you and extended family celebrate birthdays and holidays. You know you need seating for 12 people on these occasions, so you would want to make sure that you have a sofa that was comfortable and maximized seating.

Adding in some upholstered ottomans that could be moved around for extra spots to sit, a few accent/occasional chairs that have a more decorative feel, but also provide more places for people to sit during large gatherings.

Pillows and rugs

You can also do throw pillows in a mix of colors that you love, and then you can use that same palette to do something similar and fun on the accent chairs. Ensuring that all of your colors are related so the space feels harmonious is important for your mental health. Consider a neutral base palette that is punctuated by color and beautiful accents such as rugs, lighting, and artwork. There needs to be a common thread, otherwise, your space will feel like chaos.

Add artwork

Artwork is a really important part of human life and mental wellbeing. We travel cities and countries looking at it and pondering its history and meaning. Bringing artwork into your home can create that same sense of bringing a larger world into your safe haven of relaxation and wonderment. I find myself looking at it for longer periods of time while enjoy my favorite tea or glass of wine. It calms me and refuels my soul.

Many people are intimidated by the thought of buying art because they don’t know what will “work” in their space. My best recommendation is to simply buy what you love and or resonates with your soul. To take a note from the discussion above about eliminating things from your home that do not belong, this holds true for art. Do not buy art just to hang something on the wall. You are better served to leave that space empty while you immerse yourself into galleries and functions where art can be seen and purchases. When a particular piece calls to you and your last thought is the price tag – that’s the one.

There are, however, misconceptions about how much you need to spend on art. Some people think that unless it is a popular name or costs a lot of money that it’s not “worth” it to buy art. This simply isn’t true. If you found a cute top at Target for $14 that fit just perfectly in your wardrobe, you wouldn’t walk away from it to spend $150 on something that isn’t quite right. The same holds true here.

Support local artists

There are many wonderful multi-media artists in the world and millions of resources on the internet. Unless there is a timeless treasure you’ve had your heart set on from around the globe my recommendation is to support local artists in the city in which you live.

Oil painting by Dan Raphael - Minneapolis Artist
Oil on Canvas by Dan Raphael. Minneapolis Artist.

Love The Home That You Are In

We spend so much time at home now, we should absolutely love our space. To some people that have spent their lives or careers on the road or perhaps single, this is a foregin concept. But the more you build your haven, the less you’ll want to leave it. You’ll be healthier, happier and more relaxes.

Trust me.

Add music

Another bit of advice is to add music to your home. Take some time to think about what type of music may inspire different aspects of your family’s time together.

For instance you could fill the inside and outside spaces of your home with one of the many AI-driven music services and their devices. The entire family could wake up to classical music throughout out the house for a peaceful morning of breakfast and daily devotionals.

Working from home? Try telling Alexa to “play Cuban music everywhere”. Your afternoon will become a fiesta of lively music that inspires creatively and joyful work.

Bring the outdoors in

Lastly, what does your plant situation look like? Placing flowers and plants strategically around the house can boost up your happiness level and really bring a splash of raw, beautiful color to your design scheme.

Interior Design 901 North 3rd Street
A splash of color with fresh flowers

Last bits of home decoration advice

It’s a great time to knock down all of the home projects that have been on your list for a long time. And yes, we realize your job may be in limbo right now so start with those things that just require your time. Clean out the clutter. Build the donation pile. Only add things that make you feel full of joy. Stay active and productive and add new elements based on how they make you feel.