People ask me how they can spruce up their homes easily and comfortably to give them a feeling of both emotional and physical support during this time of change. Change is key in so much these days and design is no different. 

Previously, we left our homes to fulfill many functions, and now we look to our homes to provide those things. We need additional rooms for teleconferencing with work and family, space for privacy and hobbies. It seems downsizing is no longer necessary. 

By spending more time at home, our personal environment has become a complexity of purpose and meaning for our new and old needs.

As I began creating design and lifestyle ideas for this fall, the list was endless. There are many different improvements you can make because the need for your home to support you is bigger in ways we never thought of, and they must be personalized for you.

Before starting to make changes in your personal spaces, consider the two fundamental parts of creating a home environment: design and lifestyle.

First, you must consider lifestyle. Ask yourself how you live in your personal spaces. Is something in your environment leading you to live

this way?

Next comes the design. Everything in the world is designed. Consider the design of everything in your home, from the chair you are sitting in to your toothbrush. Design must look beautiful and function as well.

With this information, what choices are you considering to bring the best design and lifestyle choices into your world and your most personal spaces?

Allow me to offer a few suggestions:

  • To make a bold statement of change, bring in big, bold patterns as accents on your upholstery with pillows, throws or even lampshades. Using solids as a base is wonderful for longevity reasons, but spice up your style with some outstanding patterns that speak to you — possibly an accent wall covered in fabric or wallpaper.
  • Mix up styles and finishes. Be daring, and combine a French-style armoire with a contemporary chair for an updated eclectic look. Mixing these also is an opportunity for two people living in the same space to have one design voice.
  • Painting walls and ceilings can be an easy and inexpensive way to bring in color and brightness. Sticking with all neutrals may be safe, but you are missing an opportunity to add some excitement to your decor. Try introducing your favorite color into the room. You can accent a fireplace or art wall or define an area in the room for separation and interest. If your walls have the popular grey cast, bring in an accent green, yellow or blue or your own surprise color. And don’t forget the ceiling for color accent too.
  • Leather is back. Try incorporating some fun into the practical with colorful and textured leathers into your interior. There are many synthetic leathers too — you will never know the difference.
  • Mirrored furniture creates sparkle, and hanging mirrors will open your space. But always be sure to hang a mirror where you will want to see
  • the reflection.
  • Avoid matching all of your furniture pieces. To create that designer look — make sure to mix and match both finishes and styles. 
  • Try placing your furniture away from a wall. Your room will be much more interesting if you can find another way to arrange your furniture. If you “float” your seating, your space will appear larger as well. And always make sure you are facing something beautiful. JN

Barbara Kaplan, interior designer, works with clients to enhance their video conferencing messages and designs homes for work and play. Visit or for more information.

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