Over 15 Chaminade alumni attended a virtual event on Saturday, May 16 to gain insider tips for updating their space during stay-at-home orders. The event, Designing Your Space, was hosted by Alumni Relations and featured a panel of four Environmental + Interior Design graduates who shared tricks for updating, organizing and styling home spaces.
With so many people obeying stay-at-home orders and spending more time in their homes, Nicolle Soriano ‘18, junior interior designer at WCIT Architecture, offered ways to maximize space and feel less confined. Some tips included using furniture to section off spaces, measuring areas to ensure the furniture you use fits appropriately, using neutral colors to make spaces feel more open and using shelving for storage and artwork.
Many people are also finding themselves suddenly working from home. Catherine Valentine ‘18, project designer at Philpots Interiors, offered tips for designing a workspace when you don’t have a home office. The first step is to find a place away from your bedroom, kitchen or typical relaxing area—when you finish work for the day, you don’t want to be reminded of it while you’re cooking, relaxing, trying to sleep or playing with the kids. She also mentioned that lighting and air ventilation can make a big difference in productivity. Ultimately, pay attention to what your work station is like in your office at work and in places where you do your best work, and try to replicate that setup at home.
There are also ways to mitigate noises while you’re trying to work from home. Gerlie Valdez ’17, senior designer at Pyramid Premier Properties, offered both short-term and long-term solutions. If you’re looking for a short-term fix, consider using fabrics and rugs to help reduce noise transmission. You can look for fabrics that have a sound transmission class (STC) rating, or you can simply use fabrics that have double layers, like burlap or velvet. Even blackout curtains help absorb noise. If you’re looking for a more long-term solution, consider adding mass loaded vinyl (MLV) under your carpet, or using decorative acoustic panels on your walls.
It’s also important to consider color. According to Marisa Saito ’17, junior interior designer at AHL, colors can dictate your mood so choose the right colors for the right space. For example, use brighter colors like reds, oranges and yellows to bring in more life and energy. Use blues and greens to create a calm or serene feel. Also, pay attention to color intensity—more vibrant colors can often be distracting and too intense. The best thing to do is to analyze how you want a space to make you feel, and then plan accordingly.
Other tips that the panel shared included:
- Spend the bulk of your budget on a statement piece—something to draw your eye that you’re proud of and that brings you joy. You’ll get more bang for your buck and it will help make your space more personal.
- If you’re on a limited budget, consider using things like accent paint, plants, hanging artwork and accessories to bring a space together and make it your own.
- If you own your home, consider how long you plan to live in it before undergoing a complete remodel. While you want your home to be personal, you also want to maintain its resale value.
- If you rent your home, work with what you have, and not against it. It’s important to choose the right furniture to fit your space, and you can do small things like change light fixtures or curtain rods, cover floors with rugs and hang artwork to bring it all together.
- Create separate spaces within your home by decluttering and using a rug to highlight an area, plants to separate places, and accent walls to define spaces.
- Consider scale and room size before decorating. If you’re working with a small space, avoid bulkier pieces to ensure you have ample space to walk and move around. If you’re working with a larger area, use taller, elongating pieces to maximize space.
- Don’t forget about the outdoor areas. Utilize your outdoor space and bring the outdoors in with plants and images of nature.
Ultimately, it’s about making your home personal and creating something that you can feel proud of and feel comfortable in. With so many of us staying home, now is as good a time as any to finally turn your house into a home!