New Orleans designers share tips for making your home cozier while sheltering in place
We’re all stuck at home right now, so there’s no time like the present to primp your place. We talked with New Orleans designers Regina Correa of Studio Riche Designs, Penny Francis of Eclectic Home and Herb Oldknow at Herbivore Floral Designs for their tips on how to make your house feel cozier.
- Clean Up Your Act: The designers agree that keeping your home neat and tidy is a good place to start. Organizing your home and ridding it of excess mess goes a long way toward making the space feel bigger, more open and not as suffocatingly quaran-tiny. Clean off surfaces and remove those piles of — whatever. Sort through old boxes. Clean out your freezer, fridge or cupboards and throw out those stale saltines or jars of mayonnaise from 2012. Oldknow suggests organizing the closets. It’s not the most fun way to spend a day, but the payoff is worth it, and you’ll make room for any supplies you are stocking up on to cut down on trips to the store .
- Brave the Elements: Removing the clutter, however, doesn’t have to mean removing everything. You don’t want to clear away the pizazz — or the coziness — from your home, and you don’t want your space to become barren or boring. The designers say that personalized stuff in your house is important. They advocate elements such as rugs, curtains and wall art, to “soften the hard surfaces such as walls and floors,” says Correa. They then suggest adding additional layers with decorative touches, including throw blankets, pillows or fresh (or fake) greenery. “Surround yourself with things that are meaningful to you and be creative with them around the house,” says Correa. “Not everyone likes curtains and rugs and throw pillows, and that’s OK. You can create your own version of cozy.”
- Switch it Up!: One of the cheapest and easiest ways to give your place a cozy-inducing facelift is simply to rearrange your furniture and décor. Whether this is moving pillows and rugs around, switching your favorite tchotchkes to a different shelf or something more substantial like rearranging the furniture or taking the art off the walls and hanging it somewhere else — where the light hits it differently, for example — simple changes can make your home feel fresh and renewed. “If you buy what you love, it can move around the house, and you will still love it,” says Francis.
- Get Out of the House! (Well, at Least as Far as the Backyard): If you’re suffering from cabin fever, now is the perfect time to take advantage of your backyard, courtyard, deck or terrace. While enjoying some much-needed fresh air, open space and nature, use the opportunity to fix up your outdoor area. This could mean planting flowers or a tree, landscaping or investing in new outdoor furniture. A simple string of outdoor lights can make a huge difference. “The patio or backyard is a space that gets neglected,” says Oldknow. “Take this time to create that outdoor space that you’ve been dying to have.” He suggests Pinterest as a good source of inspiration.
- Come to Your Senses: When going for cozy vibes, the designers say to keep all of your senses in mind. For sight, think color. Correa suggests painting an accent wall — or the entire room (paint stores are doing online curbside orders now). She says pastels are especially cozy. For smell, try fresh flowers or scented candles or oils. As for sound, Francis says, “The sounds of music ignite energy or make you feel calm.” She advocates “the sounds of outdoors, wind chimes, open windows and water.” Finally, for taste, Francis explains that well-displayed and appealing food can be its own design element. Just think how much excitement is evoked by the company-wide email that there’s king cake in the office kitchen. Well, since no one’s having donuts in the conference room these days, put something enticing out — such as fruit or fresh-baked cookies — on your own table or counter. To further satisfy the taste sense, Francis says it’s worth taking the time at the end of the day to relax with a glass of wine or another adult beverage.
As you sit back and sip your quarantini, look around your newly revived home and enjoy the coziness you’ve created by turning your shelter into a sanctuary.