In much the same way we benefit from structure to our day, we benefit from structure to our living spaces as well. Creating a defined space for working from home, home-schooling your kids, or even a little sanctuary for yourself can go a long way to cultivating some calm in our lives. Our brains are hard-wired to seek out patterns, which is why routines help provide us with a sense of predictability and safety. Maybe you have a favorite corner with a comfy chair that’s your go-to spot for reading or a little table by a bright window that’s perfect for crafting or other creative pursuits. Now that we’re all spending more time at home, it makes sense to take a fresh look at where we live and think about re-purposing spaces for our current needs. Here are some simple steps to get you started:
Photo Credit: Alexander Doherty
1.Start with Purpose: Are you working from home? Is your spouse working from home, too? Are you home-schooling your kids? Is there a place you can escape to when you need some private time or a space where you can all gather and just share time as a family? Once you determine what the purpose of the space is, you can start to further define it by function.
2.Figure out Functionality: What functional aspects does this space need to have to optimize it? Do you need a quiet spot to do your work? Do your kids need a versatile space that can incorporate homework and activities? Do you need an area away from everything to clear your head or a central location where everyone can gather to re-connect? How much room do you need for essentials? Group everything you need for this space in one place so you can get a sense of what you need right at hand and what you might be able to locate elsewhere. For instance, do you need your printer to be right by your computer for efficiency or could you manage with that somewhere else?
3.Get Personal: One person’s cozy work nook is another’s claustrophobic closet. Figure out what you and your family members’ needs are before you dedicate a space for a purpose. There’s no sense making a “perfect” windowless corner your office space if you need natural light to keep inspired and motivated. And it can be much more efficient for you to be in the center of things, keeping an eye on the kids doing schoolwork or to simply feel less isolated than tucking yourself far away in a quiet corner – consider noise-cancelling headphones if what you need is some occasional silence.
4.Scout Out Your Space: Forget about your current room/space designations. Maybe your dining room gets re-dedicated as the kids’ classroom, or your kitchen does double-duty as both your office and meal prep space. Think about your space’s purpose – where something would be most functional, and how well it does or doesn’t suit your personal needs. You’ll no doubt have to compromise on somethings, but make sure the space meets your most important needs and what matters most to you.
5.Define by Design: Even in an open floor plan, color is a simple and effective way to define your re-purposed space. Outline an area with a colorful rug, then carry the color through by picking up a color in the rug and painting a wall, shelves or table the same hue to tie it all together. Sometimes, even a little touch of color is all you need – paint the inside of bookshelves the same vibrant hue as your chair or create interest by painting a subtle pattern on a focal wall in the space.
The Benjamin Moore ColorReader is an easy way to color match paint to your favorite design elements, and with the integrated Benjamin Moore Color Portfolio™ app, you can access visualizer tools that let you see what your space will look like before you even pick up a paintbrush.
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Keep going by adding things you love, like a favorite cozy throw in a gorgeous color on the back of your office chair, and find creative organizational solutions like different color mason jars to hold kids’ markers, pens and pencils or painting one wall in fun-colored chalk paint to turn it into a large assignment and activity calendar. Re-purposing your space for your current needs doesn’t have to be a big investment in time or money – just a new way to look at a familiar space with a touch of color.
Photo Credit: Benjamin Moore