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Expert Interview: Avoiding Aesthetic Monotony in Your Rental during Quarantine

Expert Interview: Avoiding Aesthetic Monotony in Your Rental during Quarantine

If you’ve lived in your apartment for a while now, it is sure to carry your unique style with it. However, being indoors all the time can make the apartment feel a bit too flat, since you’ve probably gotten used to the layout and the overall look of your design. That’s why it is a good idea to look for design tips and implement some creative solutions for avoiding aesthetic monotony in your rental.

These solutions can range from rethinking your layout and moving the furniture around, to painting your walls or adding some accents. Depending on your lease and your level of commitment, there are different options for you to try. Below, you will find some tips from interior designers on how to do just that.

add art colors

Also, as more and more people start working from home, another innovation is likely to pop up in your apartment: a home office or a workspace. Although many people think it takes a whole lot of space, that mustn’t always be the case. Check out what practical tips these experts have about creating a productive workspace.

Beth Diana Smith, owner of Beth Diana Smith Interior Design

interior design advice“Art and décor are both quick and simple ways to transform a space; plus, they’re easy to take with you when you move. If you’re not ready to make a large art investment, prints and digital prints are budget-friendly especially when you use places such as Etsy, Minted, and Juniper Print Shop. As far as retail décor goes, CB2, Jung Lee NY, and West Elm are great online choices.

When it comes to creating a workspace, keep it clean and create storage for the items that you want easy access to such as pens, scissors, AirPods, and charging cords. And you could easily do that now by using items you have around the house; for example you could use a mug for pens and scissors, a simple binder clip to help you keep the cords at bay, etc.”

Kesha Franklin, principle designer of Halden Interiors

interior design advice“With the standard restrictions that come along with renting an apartment, renters can sometimes feel like it’s not worth investing in decorating their home. But, there are ways to add interest in the space. One of my go-to recommendations is hanging art on the walls. A gallery wall in particular can make a great statement and show off your personal interests. Another cool visual option is removable wallpaper which has a big impact; it’s easy to install and won’t cost you anything to bring the apartment back to its original state when it’s time to move on to bigger and better things!

Let’s discuss the home office situation. Typically, a rental apartment means there is limited space. So, having a designated area to work from home during times like this can be a challenge. A few tips that I would offer are to find a spot near a window to pull on the outdoor energy to feel productive. You can also purchase a folding screen to create a work area with a small desk and chair, that you can use and keep visually separate from the rest of your living space. Lastly, a C-Table is a great option to easily use at your sofa where you can place your laptop, phone and notebook. They come in a variety of heights, widths and finishes and are aesthetically pleasing to compliment your existing décor!”

Mally Skok, founder of Mally Skok Design

interior design advice“I am an Etsy fiend. Nothing warms up a space like a fun Turkish or Morrocan vintage rug. The Etsy shipping is usually free, the vendors are reliable, and there’s a whole lot of bang for your buck. Also you can roll the rug up and take it with you when you need to move.

Colorful pillows are a way to make your space feel distinctly yours. John Robshaw has ready-made pillows that are gorgeous; if these are too pricey, you can always find some cheery ones on West Elm or Crate and Barrel.

There are some clever new ways of hanging pictures on the walls without a nail. I am all for piling up the things you have hanging around in your life — old posters, old photos or postcards. Buy ready-made frames off Amazon and go bananas on your walls.

Another great idea for a quick improvement is plants. Do some research on plants that do well with limited water and sunlight. There are many! Having another living thing in your space — even though it won’t talk back — will make your apartment a whole lot homier.”

Stacey Sheppard, founder of The Design Sheppard

interior design advice“When you live in a rented property it is often difficult to put your own stamp on it. Many landlords are not particularly flexible with what they allow you to do to a property, but there are plenty of creative ways in which you can adapt your home to avoid aesthetic monotony. Changing up your textiles is a great way to make a space look different. Adding new cushions, blankets, rugs or curtains/blinds is very simple. You can change them with the seasons and — by switching to a new color palette — you can give a room a whole new look.

Repainting is a cheap and easy option that has the ability to completely transform the look and feel of a room. You don’t necessarily even need to paint entire walls. Making a feature by painting geometric shapes in different colors can work wonders. Wall art is also a great way to add visual interest. If you aren’t allowed to hang pictures, consider investing in larger framed pieces and simply lean them against the walls. And don’t forget the power of plants. Plants are not only good for our well-being and our health, but they can really bring a room to life. Move them round to change things up, buy new ones to fill empty spaces or — even better — propagate your existing plants to breed new ones.

add plants

To comfortably work from home, you should design a space for your home office. You don’t need a huge amount of room to set up a productive workspace. There are plenty of space-saving desks on the market that will fit into narrow spaces, unused corners or even that fold away when not in use. Make the most of the space you have available by putting wall shelves up above the desk to store all your office supplies. If your landlord won’t allow you to drill into the walls, consider buying a freestanding shelving unit that has a small desk shelf built-in. It is extremely important to invest in a good office chair that supports your back and provides maximum comfort. Whatever your desk space is like, try to ensure you position it in an area of your home that gets plenty of natural light, is quiet and comfortable. You’ll be most productive when you enjoy spending time in a space.”

We hope these tips proved useful and you’re ready to embrace a bit of change. Even the simplest details can wake up your apartment, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Start small and build your way up to refresh your home.

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Published at Wed, 06 May 2020 11:51:30 +0000

Expert Interview: Keeping Kids Happy and Healthy While in Quarantine

Isolating at home with kids is a task that requires constant creativity. Thinking of ways to keep them active and engaged and coming up with activities and games they enjoy is no simple endeavor; parents need to adapt and overcome these situations. Luckily, there are many sources for inspiration online, as well as free tools and advice.

If you’re in need of extra help, we’ve asked some expert parenting bloggers what their tips for dealing with this new situation are. From ways to keep kids active to discussing the much feared screen time, here’s what these parents shared with us:

Julie, founder of Fab Working Mom Life 

parenting blogger“Living in a small space — especially during this time when parks are closed — is a challenge. Try to go on family walks around the neighborhood, and find some options for good exercise for the entire family.

My son loves doing silly minute-to-win-it type games and arts and crafts. Those are great ways to keep him motivated and having fun (and off his tablet). He’s in Pre-K so the amount of homeschooling we need to do is minimal, but I try to do a few letters and early reading activities with him daily to continue preparing him for kindergarten. If parents in a similar situation are able to take family walks along their neighborhood streets, do so daily. Parks might be closed but the outdoors is still available for a healthy lifestyle.

cooking with kids

Try to make any activity meaningful. For example, during the walks, point out specific flowers and have your kids count the different types you see. Parents living in an area where long family walks are not as easy to accomplish can have fun, active time with their kids by following along an online video, such as Cosmic Kids Yoga. Break out the board games if kids are older, and even make clean-up a fun competition. This is the time to simplify and focus on the few things that matter so we don’t get overwhelmed with it all.”

Tara, founder of Feels Like Home

parenting blogger“First of all, don’t panic about screen time. Accept that your kids are going to have more screen time than usual during this weird and difficult time. Just like you are feeling the need to be more connected to the outside world, they are feeling the same need, and getting on social media or YouTube helps. More screen time also helps to keep them engaged and out of parents’ hair during work from home time. It’s not ideal, but it works.

Every kid has passions. Help yours cultivate their unique passions, even if it means more screen time or making messes. One of my daughters is in love with Minecraft. She plays Minecraft on the phone and watches endless Minecraft YouTube videos. When I lamented about this infatuation to an educator whom I really respect, she reminded me of all the things my daughter is learning while she plays and that problem solving and creativity are just as important and valuable as math and reading skills. It was an eye-opening moment for me as I realized that Minecraft is not time wasted but a valuable activity because she’s pursuing something she loves.

kids activities

Finally, encourage independence in your kids. Allow them to self-monitor their activities and switch when they want. Remind them to clean up after themselves, and help a little if they need it. Show them where the (healthy) snacks are and allow them to feed themselves throughout the day. Prepare enticing “stations” where there are interesting activities or games, and give your kids the freedom to wander into and out of the stations. Don’t harass them to do what you think they should do; let them guide themselves.

My favorite thing to say to my kids is this: “Boredom is good for your brain.” I say it anytime someone tells me that she’s bored, because it’s true. Boredom sparks creativity and passion. Let your kids be, even when they’re bored. Feel free to use my line, tell them that you know they’ll come up with something good to do, and let them do it.”

Vicki, founder of Honest Mum and author of Mum Boss

parenting blogger“Parents like myself have a challenging job right now, as we juggle homeschooling duties with work during the Coronavirus pandemic. It’s crucial that parents make time for self-care so they can be strong and well for their families. This means taking some time off, eating well and exercising once a day (getting the heart rate up to burn off stress).

What you can do is head out once a day for exercise, kids in tow, wracking up a minimum of steps each time, following the social distancing rules. Use this time as an extra-curricular educational moment, exploring nature trails, logging birds, insects and flowers, using these findings during home-school activities, researching what you’ve discovered on your trips out, and illustrating the observations.

Another good activity is cooking as a family more at home. Parents tend to focus on baking with kids, but I’ve decided to teach my sons more about healthy snacks and main meals to help them slowly become more independent. You can do the same with more detailed chores. Give your kids more of a chance to skill up and learn about the daily chores of maintaining a home.”

There’s no right recipe for caring for your kids, and as such you should follow your instinct and listen to their needs and requests. Everyone is different, but we hope these other perspectives helped you out in understanding what others are also going through. Take it easy and stay safe!

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Published at Sun, 03 May 2020 09:50:41 +0000