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How the pandemic changed the way we live in our homes

After 2020, home became everything. No longer the space we return to after a busy day, it’s now the place we work, exercise and socialise as well as sleep, eat and relax. Dressing tables have been replaced by office desks, kitchen islands have stood in for the bar at our local and living room rugs became yoga mats as we were forced to conduct our lives indoors. Although human beings are endlessly resourceful and adaptable, this change presented huge challenges that shouldn’t be underestimated. Here’s a few ways to make your home work for you in this new way of living.

Quick fix, major revamp or relocation?

You’re not alone if you feel that your home isn’t working for you. DIY and other home improvement activity increased dramatically during lockdown and estate agents have seen a surge in enquiries from people who’ve decided that moving home is the only answer. If you’re staying put but desperate for a change, consider the following:

  • Evaluate the function of each space in your home. Is it fit for purpose? Would a spare room be better used as a home office? If you’re not using a particular room or area regularly, it’s wasted space so think about how it could be put to better use.
  • Is your home a reflection of you? Don’t decorate for an imaginary guest or future buyer. Instead, ensure you express your personality in your choice of furnishings and surround yourself by things you love.
  • Small changes make a big difference. Sometimes, simply moving furniture, accessories and artwork around is all you need to effectively refresh a space.
  • Paint is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to breathe new life into a room.
  • New curtains and blinds are transformative!

Create an effective workspace

In April 2020, statistics released by the UK’s Office for National Statistics showed 49.2% of adults in employment were working from home as a result of social distancing measures. For many, the transition to remote-working was straightforward with the availability of faster and more readily available Wi-Fi and broadband. Our ability to be productive at home however is influenced by more than the technology we have at our fingertips. Our home-working environment is key.

Those of us who don’t have a spare room to convert into a home office have had to use a corner of the bedroom, kitchen or living room instead. Kitchen suppliers are starting to offer integrated desks as well as integrated appliances as standard and there’s evidence that the design industry more broadly is adapting its offer to this new way of living. However and wherever you work at home, try to ensure the following:

  • A comfortable, ergonomically sound chair and a work surface at the right height.
  • Plenty of natural light. This is an important consideration if you’re specifying new curtains or blinds. Opt for a long curtain pole that can be pulled away from the window and hang blinds outside a reveal or high above the window.
  • An interesting view. If at all possible, position your workspace so you’re looking out of a window rather than at a wall. Rather than distract, this connection with the outdoors will improve your sense of well-being.
  • Surround yourself with houseplants. A bit of greenery aids concentration, improves productivity and purifies the air. A houseplant can be found to suit every situation and some are advertised as ‘unkillable’!
orange curtains flowers in vase home office space

Cut the clutter

Clutter can adversely affect our sleep and ability to focus. It can make us less productive and more anxious. Most of us don’t set out to have a cluttered home but it’s all too easy to accumulate ‘stuff’, particularly when we’re spending so much time indoors. To combat clutter, try the following:

  • If you’re working in a multi-functional space (as most of us will be), ensure you’re able to pack away your work paraphernalia into a cupboard or drawer at the end of the day. Not only will this create a tidier space and make you feel better but it will provide a critical delineation between work and home.
  • One in, two out. Many a de-clutterer attests to the rule that for every new item that comes into your life, you should get rid of two existing ones. Possibly easier said than done.
  • Seek to rationalise the number of objects in a space. Reduce the number of ornaments on a shelf or window sill. Group less objects together leaving space between the groupings. Even replacing a number of small pictures on a wall with one large artwork can create a greater sense of calm.
    Like many of you, the Stitched team is adapting to radically new ways of working but we’re always here to help. So, if a beautiful new pair of curtains or blinds are what you’re looking for to improve your home environment, get in touch with us today.