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Practical, Pretty and Professional: Three Home Improvements For 2021

Photo by Manja Vitolic

If you think about where you lived exactly five years ago, the picture in your mind is probably very different to what you see when you look around right now, isn’t it? Possibly because you’ve moved house, yes, but even if you live in the same place, it’s likely not the same place – as a matter of course, we tend to change things about where we live on a regular basis. The changes might be small – adding some cushions or replacing a rug, for example. They might be much larger, like adding an extension. Regardless, change happens.

Most of us have seen more of the inside of our homes this year than we have in any other. Chances are, we may be experiencing lockdown in some form for a while, so we’re set to see a lot more of it still. This makes it all the more likely that there will be something we want to change about it in the near future, giving our home a little freshening up (or a major facelift) to take it into the new year.

But what kind of change? Something cosmetic, to make the home look more welcoming for the extra time we will spend there? Something practical, offering additional efficiency in everyday life? Or, perhaps, considering that so many of us will be working from home, we could add something to make that part of life easier? Below, we’ll look at three enhancements we can go for: one pretty, one practical and one professional.

Pretty : give your walls more character

This isn’t something you need to do in every room, but if there is somewhere you are liable to spend a lot of time, it may be a good idea to give the room a bit of an upgrade. Relaxing colours like magnolia and dove are all well and good for an area where you will mostly be chilling out. If, however, you’re going to be spending full days in a room, a little more visual interest is a good thing – it really assists mental acuity in a major way.

For example, you could swap paint for wallpaper, and add some texture to those walls. It is now possible to buy paper that apes some funkier looks, like exposed brickwork, in order to get a more dynamic feel in at least one room. This kind of change may be a little severe for a family living room, but if you are a young professional living alone or with others, it can be just right for the shared spaces.

Practical: smarter storage in your kitchen

2020 saw record numbers of people working on a sourdough starter – as some of us gained unexpected additional free time due to the pandemic, it gave us the chance to take to the kitchen and experiment. Although fewer of us will have as much freedom as was initially the case, it’s likely that the love of kitchen pursuits will have stayed with us. With that said, the more time you spend in the kitchen the more stuff begins to accumulate in there. It’s a wise choice to fix this issue by adding more storage in the hub of the home.

This can take a number of forms. You might like to simply add hidden storage, such as shelves which attach to the back of the kitchen door or the inside of cupboards and contain spice jars or other ingredients. If you have under-counter space, you could also benefit from an ottoman or some storage boxes into which you can place ingredients and/or utensils you don’t use so often. The key is to make things less cluttered, and make it easier to lay hands on the things you need on a regular basis.

Professional : make a proper home office

Many of us have been working from home this year, and have had to work on the best possible angle for our webcams so that Zoom calls show off our bookcases (as opposed to the window sill with a sleeping cat on it that’s just out of shot). But here’s an idea – if you’re going to be working from home more regularly (and many of us will), then why not actually add a home office?

It can be as simple as turning a box room into an office by putting a desk in there and buying a few ornaments. Or you can, potentially, look at secured loans and either:

  1. a) turn an existing room into a real office, or
  2. b) build an additional space in the garden which can be used for work.

Both options have their advantages, but there is definitely something to be said for having a devoted space that you go to in the morning to start work, and which you can leave behind when the working day is finished.

Now is the time to plan any little boosts to your home for 2021; the above are a few ideas, but you surely have some of your own.

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