Home Design Tips Amid Social Distancing

Around the globe, local and national officials are urging people to stay at home in order to "flatten the curve" of COVID-19. Now more than ever, the home is becoming vital to both mental and physical health. We polled designers on how home design may further productivity and happiness amid these uncertain times.
Image courtesy of Sally Steponkus / Angie Seckinger

For those of us in the design industry, the love of home is nothing new. We are well aware of the power of a well-designed space. Feng shui, excellent flow, good vibes, whatever you want to call it. When a room is designed with purpose and passion, it just feels right.

The past few weeks (and even months) have not been easy for those not used to spending exorbitant amounts of time in their home. Many of us are only now paying attention to what makes a space amenable to productivity. When your kids’ room used to double as a storage space, it was probably a difficult transition to the new normal. It is time to assess the best way to use every inch of your house. Because when there is nowhere else to go, the home can pull double duty as an office, daycare, cafe, you name it. Learn how designers make a space productive, relaxing, and unique.

Dedicated Space for Kids

With schools closed and home schooling duties imposed, many parents are grappling with where in the home should be dedicated for kids. Does the playroom accommodate studying? Or playing? Or both? In the design below by Sally Steponkus, Interiors, a small table is arranged to allow for both learning and playing. The chairs are upholstered with Perennials Fabrics, so messy activities like painting and drawing are welcome.

Image courtesy of Sally Steponkus / Angie Seckinger

“When designing a playroom, I look for two things in fabrics: FUN and PRACTICALITY,” says designer Sally Steponkus. “Plushy in Hotsy Totsy feels so good and looks bold and playful as well as being a serious performance fabric. Our clients love it, especially the little one for whom we did this space.”

Indoor to Outdoor

Being cooped up inside all day can be draining. Studies show that humans thrive in nature. A breath of fresh air or water view can do wonders for mental health. If you are blessed with private outdoor space, use it. Perennials advocates bringing indoor comforts outside to make the most of Mother Nature.

Los Angeles-based designer Jenn Feldman is quick to prioritize outdoor space, given her Southern California clientele. Many of her projects involve clients and families that spend quality time together around the pool or lounging in the backyard.

Backyard Design by Jenn Feldman Designs

Of the design above, Feldman says, “We created this space as an extension of the indoor kitchen and family room which is right on the interior side of the home. Inspired by the fresh, clean water in the pool, we used the same colors and textures as the interiors, but took the outdoor palette to a more watercolored version, creating a seamless and connected feeling from inside to outside.”

Versatility is Key

If hurting for more space, it is pivotal to make the most of every room and corner of the house. A breakfast nook can double as a working desk. The sitting room that you rarely use? Add hand weights and a yoga mat, and you now have an at-home gym.

“These are extraordinary times of stress and uncertainty. And while we’re all adjusting to navigate our new normal, we’re also learning so much about ourselves and how our homes shape our lives,” designer Sara See of Sees Design explains.

As designers, we’re lucky to play a part in creating places of refuge – in our clients’ homes, our own home, and even hospitality projects. As I study the sight lines in my own home, I’ve found that versatile spaces are the most valuable.

Elegant durable dining by Sees Design
Versatile breakfast nook by Sees Design

See continues, “For example, a comfy kitchen banquette that can be cleared after breakfast for the first remote meeting of the day. Or a desk space that’s as calming as it is functional. Maybe even a cozy corner of our home, once used for after dinner unwinding, is now where we share a glass of wine with friends via FaceTime. It’s the old Form/Function conversation. And now, more than ever, I need both to thrive in this climate!”

Keep Reading

Fortunately for the home-bound, you do not need much space to curl up with a laptop and learn new skills, browse stress relief, and brush up on old hobbies. Our friends at AD Pro and House Beautiful are posting phenomenal content on everything quarantine-related.

As we’re all navigating a new level of home nesting, it’s important to create spaces that feel joyful and calming. Don’t be afraid to change the scenery – just the simple act of moving from room to room throughout the day can add some variety – and if we’re lucky maybe a bit of happiness and inspiration!

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