Decorating Your Life
1. A FACELIFT FOR THE HOME
Our homes have become the focus of our lives these past few weeks, and probably for some time to come. We can’t make any major changes of course, but something as simple as the purchase of a beautiful cushion can transform a sofa and the ambiance of a room. It’s all about creating the right atmosphere with minimal fuss.
Therefore, what better way to be positive and look forward to the day when you can give a celebration party, and show off your re-vamped home.
See my posts: 20 easy tips to style your home
10 Simple kitchen decorating ideas
Is small space cramping your style?
Table for One
DECLUTTER is the top priority. We all accumulate stuff over the years – files, magazines, souvenirs purchased on travels, bric-a-brac, kitchen gadgets hiding at the back of cupboards, unwanted presents, clothes… Now is the time to be ruthless. Sort into piles – give away; charity; the recycle bin; keep.
COLOUR has the power to transform a room and enhance life.
You are going to stare at the same walls for a while. So, if you are good with the paintbrush, there are ways to introduce new colours without having to re-decorate the whole room. Painting just one wall in a contrasting colour can do the trick.
Or, how about a funky wallpaper on just one of the walls? It will completely change the mood of the room.
FURNITURE – Because it has been in the same position forever doesn’t mean it cannot be moved. You might even gain more space in doing so.
A coat of paint can turn an old piece of JUNK furniture into a work of art. Changing the door handles doesn’t cost much and might also have a big impact.
A RUG can help redefine a space, and the simple addition of some small furnishings, like new CUSHIONS, or LAMPSHADES, can provide a welcome pop of colours at a minimal expense.
A GALLERY WALL will introduce some character to a room. Now, more than ever, we need to surround ourselves with things that make us happy. It can be an assemblage of paintings, postcards from favourite holiday destinations, or family photographs, all treasured memories.
Make your own graffiti art, or give your young children paper and pencils and ask them to draw portraits of the family.
Changing the position of your artworks around the room can bring new life into it.
Last but not least, bring some PLANTS indoor to connect with nature.
2. ART LOVERS
The wonders of Art viewed from your sofa
Where does an exhibition addict go for his art-fix?
On line, of course! No crowd, no queues, no standing behind several backs. While no virtual museum can compete with the thrill of meeting a masterpiece face to face, it should tide you over until the gallery doors are open again.
And there are plenty to choose from: The National Gallery in London, The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, The Guggenheim in New York, The Uffizi in Rome… The list is endless.
But while many virtual gallery visits on websites and YouTube are excellent, there are other ways to engage in one-on-one with art:
Rhizome is the world’s museum of online art. There you will find different programmes, from the exhibitions section to commissions, to new artists, to lectures… a real treasure trove.
The Serpentine Gallery has the most dynamic programme of online digital art among British institutions.
The Whitney Museum of American Art has twice daily programmes.
Other museums worldwide have similar offerings. You need to search.
Contemporary artists have been quick to use the lockdown as a period of creative introspection and have come up with fresh ideas: Tracey Emin has launched the White Cube’s Instagram Diary Project. David Hockney recently showed new work from his Normandy home, drawn on his iPad.
And Grayson Perry is teaching art weekly on Channel 4.
And when you want to splash the cash and cheer yourself up, many auction houses will be welcoming you!
3. MUSIC LOVERS
We have seen how Italians respond to the virus. They sing opera from their balconies.
Theatres and concert venues may have shut their doors, live events like Glastonbury and Glyndebourne have been cancelled. The good news is that rock and classical musicians have come up with new ways to reach listeners, and make world-class performances available from the comfort of our living rooms. Look out for Opera North, The Met in New York, La Fenice in Venice, and many others.
Recently, Elton John hosted a star-studded fundraising concert from his home in LA.
Pop acts are broadcasting gigs online and on social media. And amateur singers also have their opportunities to perform: “The Sofa Singers” is an online choir, or join “Gareth Malone Community Choir”.
BALLET LOVERS, SPORTS LOVERS, ARTS & CRAFTS LOVERS, FASHION VICTIMS etc… all have dedicated programmes online.
4. HOW ABOUT LEARNING A NEW SKILL?
Rosetta Stone has been at the forefront of language software for years. Their app aims to teach you to speak like a native. Very useful when the pandemic is over and you plan your next dream holiday.
LEARN TO PLAY AN INSTRUMENT
The Grammy Award violinist Nicola Benedetti does daily tutorials on YouTube, and Olugbenga Adelekan, bassist with the Funk band Metronomy, is giving lessons from his own studio. Zoom for others who are also doing classes.
As they say –”you can always teach an old dog new tricks”
Staying fit is crucial during this lockdown. Whatever specific fitness equipment you have at hand, or you are using everyday objects in a new way, there are many solutions to keep active from the comfort of your home. Fitness apps, TV series, social media… are at the press of a button, there to help you find the right programme for you.
6. FAMILY TIME
Parents often have problems with juggling home working and homeschooling. I suggest they set some specific times to work, to teach, and to have fun.
When it comes to the FUN TIME, you have to be creative: If you have a garden or a patio, organise a treasure hunt.
On a sunny day, prepare a picnic with tasty treats. The food should be super-simple and fuss-free. And, everything easy so the children can help put it all together.
But, before that, think about simple ways to decorate the place. As well as a blanket and colourful cushions, a few patterned handkerchiefs, could be used to make floating bunting over the picnic area. You could also ask the children to jazz up an old parasol with bits of ribbon and some safety pins.
Make a hideaway place in the garden or in the cupboard under the staircase – in true Harry Potter style.
A humble garden shed can be easily transformed into a quirky space, give it a coat of paint, and use a riot of colourful fabrics, old deck chairs, a collection of bric-a-brac, china, and some old metal tins.
Young kids love camping. Help them build a tent with a table cloth, a few pegs and a length of string. Eh voila!
Learn to be a Master Chef, and let the children – or teenagers – create their own recipes.
Tour the History or Science museums online.
Watch a theatre performance. The London Palladium is screening a production of The Wind in the Willows, while cinema groups are re-releasing old favourites: The Wizard Of Oz , Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat… happy memories!
Choose a theme to make a collage. Depending on their interest it could be sports personalities, celebs, cartoon characters… Or simply stick postcards and photos together. Colour swatches and bits of fabrics can create a work of art.
Dress the children as their favourite pop stars. Turn a corner of a room into a stage, and ask them to give a performance. You are the audience.
The world is your oyster. Make the most of it.