Take time to make sure your living spaces are as inviting and comfortable as possible.

by Patricia Cove

It is so difficult to be upbeat right now when everyone is scared, and there is no respite in sight. So, rather than talk about beautiful interiors, I thought I would offer some ideas that can help create nurturing surroundings during difficult periods. We all know that gentle and peaceful environments can add comfort and reassurance and the hope of brighter days ahead.

Play music My favorite is classical, either using an app like Sonos, or simply turning on the radio to WRTI. But any genre of music will do, as long as it brings you joy.

Create a “hangout” space Our daily lives up until this point were filled with activities, obligations and work, work, work. Now, you may have the time to create a space within your home that can become a space just for reading a favorite book, writing in a journal, knitting or crafting.

A smallish loveseat or comfortable chair will do, an end table to hold that cup of coffee or tea and a small leather or wooden caddy to hold pencils, pens and scissors. Add a floor or directional table lamp and a decorative throw pillow or two, and you have created a space that can bring comfort, and a bit of restful seclusion as well.

Lighting Lighting plays such a critical role in the appearance of a room. Take the time to study where your lamps are located. Make sure the light in the room is balanced. If not, take a lamp that is not often used from another space and place it opposite an existing lamp in a room where you spend a lot of time. By creating light balance, the room can take on an entirely new appearance, making the space much more inviting. And when we all get back to normal, consider putting your light bulbs on dimmers. It is the easiest and most economical way to give your rooms real ambience!

Relax the bedroom If your bedroom is not a place of real rest and solace, now is the time to make it so! I was given a set of fleece sheets this past Christmas. Have you ever gotten a gift that you never realized how much you needed? Talk about comfort — the warmth of these sheets can make any below freezing evening comfy and cozy.

There also seems to be a real trend right now in satin sheets and pillow cases. Yes, these used to be only for the most adventurous among us. But not anymore. Satin keeps you cool on the warmest of evenings. And if you still want to stick with your 500-thread count cotton, consider just a satin pillowcase. Talk about cool! And have you heard what satin does to keep a hair style in place, and prevent wrinkles? Order me a dozen.

Organize the Kitchen We are all spending more time in the kitchen these days, and you may have noticed that your kitchen set up is not as functional as it could be. If you are lucky enough to have that well designed kitchen “triangle,” then you have a great start! Take a look at your cabinets and decide if their size and placement are conducive to the way you cook.

If not, it does not mean you need a new kitchen. Maybe just some rearranging is in order. Then, take a small throw rug from another space in your home and place it in front of the counters, or under the kitchen table, and place a tiny lamp or candle on the table, or on one of the lesser used counter spaces. Turn down the overhead lights, and voila! All of the sudden, your kitchen has warmth and that well deserved moniker, “Heart of the Home”. Then pull out that fabulous chocolate cake recipe and surprise your family with a decadent dessert.

I realize these simple suggestions may not bring back a sense of normalcy to our lives right away, but once we get back to our normal, they will be small changes that can lift our spirits as we move on! Stay safe and healthy!

Patricia Marian Cove is principal of Architectural Interiors and Design in Chestnut Hill, and can be reached through her web site: www.patriciacove.com.

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