Before what is now the new norm of staying inside, I was constantly out and about. Between a full-time job, going to the gym and just spending the majority of time outside, I viewed my apartment more as a place to refuel and put very little effort into the look and feel of it. Luckily, I’m a minimalist and could easily attribute my white walls and lack of decor to this. Plus, as we all know, there isn’t a lot of space to work with in a tiny New York City apartment, so wherever I landed to do something, that’s where it happened! Bring my work laptop into my bedroom, sure, no problem. Eat in my bed and watch TV—why not?! This has been my norm for the last six years in my 525 sq ft 1-bedroom apartment.
Over the last few weeks working from home, I realize that this approach no longer works. I needed to figure out how to make my apartment homier and more relaxing. To
do this, I had to really think about the space, what each area meant to me and what my needs were.
The most important area I wanted to focus on was my bedroom, and I knew everything else would fall in place by simply focusing on my bedroom. It was no longer okay for me to work or eat in my bedroom. I very quickly came to the realization that a bedroom should just be for sleeping, so I focused on a more mindful design. The first thing I wanted to do was take the TV out of my bedroom. Being in a manual wheelchair and moving a flat screen TV out of my room wasn’t the easiest task, but I managed and was on a roll.
Next, I decided to turn my bed. Again, not the easiest task, and this one required more effort. This was probably the one time I was thankful for a small apartment because I was able to push off one wall with one arm while pushing my bed frame with my chair and using the other arm to steer the direction of the bed. Because of the layout of my room, turning the bed created what looks like so much more space. With these small changes, my bedroom suddenly felt so much more open and relaxing.
Now that I was spending almost 24/7 at home, I realized my minimalist style was a bit too spare, and I wanted to create an environment that not only made me feel comfortable but reminded me of my world outside. I got a few other items to decorate while still maintaining my minimalist style. Looking in from the doorway, I finally got the vibe I wanted. My only complaint was my sterile, white walls, so I decided to take some photos off my phone of cool places I’ve visited and was able to go on a site to turn these into canvas tiles. They actually just recently arrived, and I can’t wait to get my black and white shots of some beaches along the Mediterranean up on my walls. I know this will complete the serenity and purpose that I wanted for my bedroom.
To accommodate my new lifestyle, I created a nook in my living room which was entirely dedicated as an office. This way, every morning I can wake up and “go to the office.” Then, at the end of the day, I can shut down my computer and leave “the office.” This really has helped me create boundaries within my apartment.
Now that I am spending all of my time in one location, it is important to me to compartmentalize my space and define purpose to live comfortably and well. These small changes and way of thinking have made a world of difference and have truly shifted how I look at my apartment. As we continue to quarantine in New York and look at a near future that includes more time indoors and spent working from home, I am excited to rethink my living space and what is involved in the new indoors.
Keep your bedroom zen and relaxing. No TVs or laptops.
Make your mark on your home. Add pictures of family and friends. Blow up travel images to remind you of the world outdoors.
Set up a nook where you can go to work then leave at the end of the day.
Rethink your organization system and make your home as streamlined as possible.
BRING THE OUTDOORS INSIDE
Add some plants and herb gardens. Not only do they look pretty, they help improve air quality.
Start smartening up your home with everything from remote controlled lights to home assistants.
INVEST IN KITCHENWARE
Fewer restaurants means more cooking. Time to purge the Teflon and invest in the good stuff.