Published on May 4, 2020

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Photography by Meghan Lavery

Home should be your happy place—now more than ever. Head to the #MakeYourselfAtHome hub to find tiny projects, feel-good recipes, and clever decorating ideas to make each day a little bit brighter.

When your home is not only your place of residence but also your office, gym, and local cocktail bar, things that you may have previously taken for granted take on a whole new meaning. The plates you impulse-bought at a flea market are suddenly the setting for every single meal. The crochet kit you got as a birthday gift years ago but never had time to use is now your post-work entertainment. These are our new essentials: seemingly commonplace items that we’re leaning on more and more while we navigate staying in.

For our favorite designers and artists, the list is unsurprisingly great fodder for shopping inspiration. If you’re looking to pick up a joy-inducing trinket (and support small businesses), look no further than their go-tos.

The Early Morning Companion 

“The main thing that keeps me sane each morning is my mug. I have to refill it a few times to get my caffeine fix, but the joy it brings me every time I get down to the last drops of my coffee is well worth it. I got it a couple years ago, and it’s become  a ritual since being home so much more.— Joyce Lee, Head of Design at Madewell

The Bar Cart Favorite 

“I’m really leaning into day drinking. There are undoubtedly better coping mechanisms than having white wine at noon, but none that are as delicious and immediately effective. I’ve always been very anti-‘interesting’ wine glasses, but these ones are just so charming and delightful to hold. They make my noon ritual feel elegant and sophisticated and my tinned-fish-and-crackers work lunches feel extremely opulent.” — Connie Matisse, Cofounder of East Fork

The Mood-Setter

“I’ve been intentionally burning this candle while I’m not working as a way to mentally take myself to the spa. I bought it in early March, not realizing how it would play a big part in keeping myself levelheaded during all this unexpected time spent at home, but I’m thankful I grabbed it when I did!” — Cierra Britton, art consultant and curator 

The Design Bible

“I’m carving out some time each night to slow down and dive into reading more on some of my favorite artists. Taschen has some really great books at affordable prices—they’re literally all over my studio. They were always just laying around as part of my collection before, but now it’s almost like a mini Master Class each night.” — Josh Young, artist and interior designer

The Artistic Escape

“I bought this set when I was working on hand-painting banana leaves for our Paradiso collection. My kids love it, too, and I’ve been painting with the watercolors daily in my new bedroom-studio space to calm my mind and stay creative.” — Rachel Cope, Cofounder of Calico Wallpaper

The Makeshift Workspace

“Our dining table set is the first thing you see when you enter our apartment, and generally it’s cluttered with mail and projects. But now, it’s become our new office; it’s only filled with the essentials, like a laptop, a notebook, and our coffee cups. We have a vintage mid-century Danish teak round table and 1970s beechwood Bruno Rey ‘Rey’ chairs.” — Meghan Lavery-King, Cofounder of Home Union 

The Cozy Footwear

“I am living in my slippers! They transition easily from day to night, master bedroom to living room. As someone a little on the short side, I’ve lived most my life in heels and am having a ‘light-bulb moment’ about how good it feels to walk around on little fluffy clouds all day instead. Post-pandemic, I fully expect to be spotted wearing these down the street.” — Alex McCabe, Cofounder of Kip & Co

The Soothing Scent

“I’ve been reaching for essential oils now more than ever. Being home all day is new and challenging for most of us, and essential oils provide a sense of calm: a few drops of eucalyptus in my morning shower, frankincense in the diffuser for afternoon yoga, and lavender at night to help ease anxiety.” — Nisha Mirani, Cofounder of Sunday/Monday 

The Mealtime Hero

“More than a few days inside have felt structured around meals or yet another snack. I use these bowls multiple times a day for yogurt and granola, chopped fruit, soup, pasta… you name it! I purchased them as a housewarming present to myself when I moved back to Philadelphia in 2016. They’re roomier than your average bowl, dishwasher-safe, and the perfect shade of pink.” — Shannon Maldonado, Founder of Yowie

The Comfy Retreat

“With the lockdown, we have found ourselves gravitating to the living room more, and using our lovely five-year-old Habitat sofa daily. Our kids have their school Zoom calls from it, they make dens out of it, and on Friday nights we watch Studio Ghibli animations from it. It’s such a simple piece of furniture, yet it has become the ideal place for us to congregate and share quality time as a family.” — Sindiso Khumalo, fashion and textile designer

It’s hammer time: Follow @reno_notebook for easy rental updates, clever DIYs, and tips to nail your next project.

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