Tips to refresh your living space

Taking the time to refresh our living spaces is important since we’ve been spending so much time at home. When you’ve been living in the same few rooms all year, spaces can feel claustrophobic and add to the monotony of lockdowns. Making small improvements can help to break up the months spent indoors and create a much needed change in scenery.  

We asked our interior design team for their tips on how to create a fresh look as we come into summer. Their advice is below.

Paint – It may seem obvious, but the quickest way to makeover a space is to change the color. Don’t feel limited by the four corners of the wall – get creative with your application by thinking about ceilings, trim and doors.

You can add personality to a room by creating a feature wall using wallpaper or different shades of paint – it’s a quick win that can help frame a room and set off the whole space. Don’t be afraid to play with different textures or do something bold – doing so will create the perfect focal point to draw the eye in. 

Maximize your space – If you’re working with an open-plan living area, section off the room into functional spaces using rugs and room dividers to avoid furniture getting lost. At Sonder, we like to start with a large rug to anchor the room and then work up to the furniture and accessories. 

Or, if the room you are working with is on the smaller side, you can give the impression of more space using some clever design tricks. Paneling is very on-trend and can be used to trick the eye into making spaces seem bigger. Use vertical panelling to draw the eye upwards and give the impression of higher ceilings, or use horizontal panelling to elongate walls. Doing so will also give character and texture to your room. 

DIY and upcycle – Making your room feel new doesn’t mean throwing everything out and starting again. Changing the color of something can make a huge difference and that applies to furniture too. 

When we inherit properties with existing pieces of furniture, we often look for creative ways to enhance key pieces to better align with our vision and style. In one of our New Orleans properties, we recently painted furniture to give it new life and purpose in our design.

Maximize light – Creating the impression of a light and airy room can open up a space and make it feel bigger. When trying to enhance the amount of light in a room, think about the colors you’re using. As a general rule, cooler colors will reflect light and give the impression of more space, whereas darker colors and heavier textures will create a cozy feel. 

You can also emphasize natural light through curtains. Maximize the amount of light that enters a room by using a double curtain rod with both a sheer and opaque curtain. Not only will this bring a softness to the room, but it will let you block light when needed while diffusing it throughout the day. When hanging curtains, we always suggest fixing the rod halfway between the top of your window and the ceiling to give an elegant drop. Also, make sure that the ends of the curtain rod extend beyond the window frame so that you can open your curtains fully to let in as much light as possible. 

We love natural light, but not all spaces are blessed with big windows. When using artificial lighting, pick your lamp shades carefully as the color and the type of material used to dress light fittings can impact how much brightness comes through. Heavier, darker materials can dramatically change the level of warmth in a room so use them sparingly and try to avoid altogether if you are working in a small space that doesn’t get the sun.

Organize your work-from-home space – Keeping your work-from-home space tidy is key and having somewhere to stash everything away can help with creating a degree of separation between work and home. 

Organize your supplies in a small basket so they’re easily accessible throughout the day but can be put out of sight on the evenings and weekends. Using a folding fabric screen to section-off spaces will also dramatically improve the acoustics of your next zoom call and help with managing noise levels. 

If you live in a small space, don’t feel trapped into always working in the same place! Think about pieces that have the potential to be multifunctional. Leaning bookshelves could become standing desks, a side table that’s easily movable could become a place to work outside if the weather allows.

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