By Noor Charchafchi
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There is no place, right now, other than home.

April 13, 2020

It's probably too late to be buying a new place with more space even though I'm sure many of you have considered it, and I'm included on that list, but it's definitely the right time to reassess how you want to use your space given we are likely to be in this situation for some time.

Within the same space we now have to work, homeschool, exercise, feed and entertain ourselves and then relax and sleep and the same again the next day.

If we don’t adapt our living spaces to accommodate our new reality, we’ll start feeling trapped but how do we mentally bring ourselves to change around a space that we either spent huge amounts of time planning and designing like myself or even if you aren’t someone that has done that you may still be thinking why go to the effort of changing things now just for temporary comfort when this could all go back to normal in a few months’ time.

Well firstly I truly believe the old normal may take a little longer than we all expect to get back to, and that may be a good thing, there's nothing wrong with a new norm, but what I know for a fact is our homes should be made and designed for the sole purpose of our comfort and just like a piece of clothing it needs to fit perfectly, you shouldn’t be trying to squeeze into it just for sake of telling yourself you got into the size 8.

Space for the kids

As a mum the first thing on my mind is always the kids and trying to make sure they aren’t glued to the TV all day although sometimes I may wish that were an option. So, ask yourself if they have a space of their own that isn’t cluttered with toys and junk, somewhere which is entirely theirs. The answer to this may be no so you have a few options, the first is to get them to help declutter their own space with you and literally make space where there wasn’t any just by getting rid of unnecessary things. The second option might be to get one sibling to camp out in the other’s room leaving a free room to just play. Finally, something as simple as moving aside or storing away your coffee table and side tables could give them a little more space to dance and play and get a little more comfortable.

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Office Space

My second biggest concern is trying to make sure I can get a full day of work done with the whole family around, if you are a mum like me that may mean having to swap shifts with your other half and so even though it may be nice to be at an office desk all day with a perfect desk setup you may have to settle for the sofa and laptop with a portable desk setup. In all honestly this can sometimes be more comfortable than the traditional set up, take advantage of the fact that you have a super comfy place to work, I love being on the sofa with a hot coffee and laptop and being able to oversee or definitely hear my kids in the background. If you don’t have a laptop you can use a side table or coffee table propped up with coffee table books to place your computer on and take it from there. I always like to have a briefcase by me filled with transportable paperwork and samples and stationery to hand that I tuck under the sofa when I'm done.

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If you do however need to set up a serious office space you have a few options, if you are lucky enough to have a substantial garden space and a good budget you could build a Shepherds Hut in your garden but if not you could rethink some of the unused rooms in the house, the most likely one to be able to reconfigure if you have one is a guest bedroom or a dining room if this is separate, alternatively you could move around some of the furniture in your living room and section off a small area to create your desk space and new zoom area, investing in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones with kids around is a great idea and you can put this and any other work tool you need neatly on a tray to keep it all tidy. Do add photo frames to your new desk and perhaps a bud vase or small vase with some fresh flowers. We are launching some new bud vases that you can buy directly from our site and lux deco which are perfect for a home office desk space. If you are going to be on Zoom a lot do spend some time looking for some nice artwork and this can just be posters in frames if you don’t want to splurge or if you can go that extra mile look at some of the artwork on Lux Deco or Amara.

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The home spa – A place to unwind

To make the space truly sanctuary like it does need to feel really clear and empty so do declutter first and make sure you have a really clear space to help clear your mind.

You may be finding it incredibly hard to unwind at home right now with work tidying up kids and cooking, if you are anything like me you may not be having very restful nights so why not create a space that’s all about unwinding and relaxation and I don’t mean your bed, why not turn your bathroom into a spa.

When I first think of a spa and relaxation, I think of the background music so you can recreate this by keeping a music player in one of the cupboards and purchasing a spa CD so that’s on hand all the time.

If you don’t have any nice display areas and you have some free wall space then perhaps consider adding in some shelving which you can garnish with a selection of rolled up crisp white hand and face towels and maybe even treat yourself and throw in a nice bathrobe.

Whether you have space for a large plant or a small bud vase, do add in some greenery it just gives the whole look a little more authenticity and keeps it feeling fresh.

Curate your own scented candle selection to have on display, maybe add in a small faux fur or wool rug, definitely treat yourself to a few new books and magazines and a nice magazine rack or even better if you have some space invest in a small side table and to finish it all off you could even add in a nice jug of water with lemons and a glass on a tray.

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Dining Out on lock down

We have zoom for company, a wardrobe filled with evening ware that probably needs a little more use, phones that can probably download any type of music, beautiful dinnerware and glassware for entertaining, newfound cooking skills and a table and chair to sit on, going out at home has never been easier.

There is literally no reason for us not to be dining out at home every Friday and Saturday evening and for some of us maybe even a few more nights.

Creating a new norm filled with fun experiences has to be a part of the positive that comes out of all of this and I really do feel strongly about the fact that we need to push ourselves into doing things like this. Staying in wasn’t what we chose but it's what we have got for now so let’s make the best out of it and bring out our beautiful dresses and dinnerware and table settings, light some candles and cook an amazing meal for ourselves or if like me you’ve had enough of cooking pull out your frozen pizzas or give your other half the job of cooking for a change and dine out at home with friends and music in the background.

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Home Gym

For those of you who keep regularly fit, not being able to go to the gym has probably been one of the hardest things about being in lock down and so adapting has either meant a vigorous daily run in the park and some viral exercise videos which is great but now is also as good a time as any to create a really great space for a gym in your home if you can find it. You don’t need to go all out with gym equipment and are probably fine with a set of suitable free weights a mat, a step up box and maybe even a cardio machine and if you can invest in some large clear mirrors and make sure you have clean white walls around you are nearly there. Adding in some shelving to keep some nice rolled up face towels and small water bottles can wrap up the look and make you feel ready to start your routine.

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Indoor Garden

If you don’t have any outdoor space, why not fill one little space or room or corner with lots of overgrown plants and greenery and maybe even throw in some flowers. Try and make sure wherever you do this there is a window that can be opened to let the Spring breeze and light come through and give you that feeling of having your own little terrace or outdoor space. You can sit here for a few minutes a day or longer and just get a sense of being in the outdoors.

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