Whether we’re still sheltering in place or staying home by choice for our health and safety, it inevitably becomes very challenging to be cooped up in one place for weeks and weeks. Some may experience feelings of restlessness, irritability, and disconnection. So, it may make a big difference to our mental health if we refresh our living space to make it feel new or different.
There are plenty of creative changes you can make—and the smaller the space, the more noticeable they’ll be. Here are a few big and small ways you can freshen up your living space and make it more enjoyable during the coronavirus pandemic.
Make it a mini-spring cleaning
While the actual season for “spring” cleaning is on its way out, a refreshing your living space can be done any time of year. Just making your home clean can be enough to feel great without changing anything else. It can also help boost energy and create a calm environment, which can benefit mental health.
Apartment Therapy put on their own class for spring cleaning during the pandemic, broken up into 10 doable assignments. (To avoid fall risks, we recommend that seniors skip Day 3 or wait to get help.) If you want to start small and even do them piecemeal in any order, this is a great way to make spring cleaning manageable.
And while you’re going through each area, it might also be a time to consider downsizing. If you live in a house, you may have accumulated a collection of “stuff” that you feel now is just taking up space. Even if you live in a smaller apartment, it can be easy to collect clutter. If you’re interested in tips on downsizing, sign up for Era Living’s downsizing guide here.
Play with color and new decor
Color can have a strong effect on our mood; bright colors can energize, while neutral or cool colors can have a calming effect. Bedding, curtains, throw pillows, and wall hangings can all act as main room colors or strong accents and can help to change the room’s energy while serving a clear purpose.
If adding or purchasing new décor to spruce up the room, try the rule of ‘one in, one out’ to avoid accumulating, especially if you’re in a smaller space. This rule may help you figure out if there’s a true need for something new, and if what you already have has come to the end of its life.
Build around your tastes
Take a little walk around your space. What feels the most like you, and what are you ready to part with? It might be a mid-century lamp, a favorite color, or a peaceful painting—they can all be used as your inspiration for the focus of the room. It could be as simple as removing other items to highlight what you love. Start with what you love to look at every day and map the refresh around that.
Adopt a plant—or three
Plants have been shown to help improve quality of life in many settings. The fact that they help improve the air quality by removing some toxins and dust is reason enough to get them. But the act of caring for plants has shown positive benefits for mood, social skills, anxiety, depression, and even cognitive and health issues. Pollen-free plants, like succulents, trees, and herbs, are good options for avoiding allergic reactions. And if pets are a concern, there are ways to keep them out of reach.
Plan out your steps
It may help if you decide if you want to focus on something specific when refreshing your living space: spring cleaning, organizing, decluttering, or adding/rearranging décor. All of those are easily projects in and of themselves, so you may want to try choosing one area and see how it goes before tackling another.
And as with any project, it’s recommended to pace yourself. Allow for your energy levels to change from day to day and give yourself permission to change the plan if needed. And know that even small changes may be enough for your space to feel different and fresh.