The idea of “new year, new me” is suspect in many ways.
New year, improved home? Now, that has potential. Rather than feeling like we need to reinvent ourselves because a calendar dictates it, we can look externally to small attainable improvements to our quality of life that will, in turn, help us feel better about ourselves.
With the new lockdown in Ontario people are facing a month inside staring at their four walls. Paying attention to our spaces and how they make us feel can help maintain that feeling of home and prevent lockdown from turning our apartments and houses into prisons.
A great way to channel creative energy or perhaps even any frustration or claustrophobia that may be setting in is to decorate and redesign during lockdown.
Toronto-based interior designer and Youtuber, Alexandra Gater says “I feel like I don’t say this enough on my channel but I really do what I do because I feel like our homes are so important when it comes to dictating our mental health.” Here, she suggests four easy ways we can approach the interior designer of our homes and changes we can make that will significantly improve this rocky start to 2021.
AG: I think for the new year, it’s so important for people to take stock of what they have in their space. Not to sound too much like Marie Kondo—but I walk into so many people’s homes and they have so much stuff. I think that can really affect our mental health and our mood and our productivity. So I always recommend clearing our spaces and then taking stock of what we need.
I find that creating a design for our space can be so much easier once we declutter because then we’re left with the things that we love and that we want to be on display or surrounding us at all times.
And then just adding in things that make us feel good, whether that’s a fluffy blanket or a couple new throw pillows like you don’t have to revamp your whole space to make it feel homey and cozy.
AG: Whether it’s turning a closet into a home office or creating a little nook that feels cosy—you can create separation even if you’re working in an open space.
I think that is really important, especially now that so many people are still working from home. For me, having a closet to close at the end of the day when I’m working at home is really important. But you can just stash your laptop under your sofa or find a little corner in your space and paint it a different colour than the rest of your room and then you instantly feel like, ‘Oh, I’m in a separate space.’
So sometimes it’s not about using a physical divider but figuring out creative ways that you can create a divide without a physical wall. Sometimes it’s just paint or wallpaper or shoving a desk in a corner really.
Experiment with Colour and Take Risks
AG: I’m noticing that people are getting so creative when it comes to colour and people are really embracing colour in a way that they kind of haven’t been before. If you go on Pinterest it’s flooded with these bright airy white rooms, and I think I’m really excited about dark and moody spaces and painting entire spaces navy blue or dark green.
People are embracing colour to make them feel happier or their spaces more calm. So I definitely think we’re going to be seeing people use more colour in like an interesting way. So maybe not just painting walls the dark green but painting ceilings and trim and just having more fun in their spaces. I feel like people are taking way more risks than they normally would because they’re bored and they’re also seeing their spaces in a different way than they did before.
Change, and then Change it Up Again
AG: I feel like our generation [millennials] is so into constantly changing and revamping their spaces. I think that we’re more likely to change our spaces way more than we ever have before because we’re consuming so many Pinterest images and there’s so many trends that fly by all the time.
Maybe it’s just because I’m a creator—but I’m constantly looking at new ways to change my space and I think other people are too. With Tick Tock, the whole DIY space of Tick Tock, people are constantly changing up their spaces. I think even if trends don’t last I think we as a generation are able to adapt to that and kind of just try new trends.
People often used to ask me when I started my rental reno series, ‘why are you investing so much in a rental?’ But I’m not, I’m investing in furniture that I can take with me place to place. And it’s the accessories and the paint and all of those fun things that that bring in that creativity and make it feel new and different.
All photos are from Alexandra Gater’s Instagram, @alexandragater.