Published on July 1, 2020

Everyone has that one project they say they’ll get around to eventually: Maybe they never have enough time to commit to a complicated DIY, or they just haven’t found the right piece to finish off a room. It’s a real, relatable problem—and one that even designers and design bloggers face. So when stay-at-home orders started inspiring countless people to finally tackle their laundry list of home updates, these experts turned their skills to their own living spaces, too.

If you’re still looking for a final push of motivation to spruce up your space, take inspiration from these projects. Here’s proof that all kinds of updates make a big difference, whether you’re simply swapping in a new rug or completely changing the purpose of an entire room.

The Simple Spruce-Up

Entryway with bench and small circular tablePin It
Courtesy of Mikel Welch

Because designer Mikel Welch had been traveling frequently before quarantining in his Queens, New York, apartment, his space didn’t totally feel like home. “I had found myself tied up with work and basically furnished my apartment with the bare minimum,” he says. “So I’ve been using this time to pull out boxes of decor and give my home a much-needed refresh. It’s been nice to actually sit and admire my prized possessions that were locked away in the vault (aka my storage closet).” In particular, he’s updated his entryway with some textiles and art.

The Work-From-Home Upgrade

Like many people in quarantine, interior designer Ruqiya Imtiaz considered how to make the most of a remote-work reality—so she used this time to finish the home office she had started a year ago. At the time, she just swapped the carpet out of her guest bedroom and left it at that. But while isolating with her family in their Sugar Land, Texas, home, she and her husband tackled the rest, installing bookshelves and styling them. “We included a handful of antique hand-me-downs, like my dad’s first pair of binoculars and my mom’s vintage side table, along with some beautiful art the kids made,” says Imtiaz. “Slow, intentional design is very important to us, and though it took some time to finish this part of the office, we are pleased with how it turned out and love the story behind the pieces we collected.”

The Garage Makeover 

Oloro Interiors founder Chanae Richards painted four different rooms in her Philadelphia home while in quarantine, but her biggest project was turning her garage into an art studio. “It’s truly been what has kept me sane through all of this,” she says. “I wanted the vibes to be so chill that I’d momentarily forget about what’s happening in the world.” She finished the transformation after eight days of work, using furniture she already owned. Now she uses the space to paint at night—one of her neighbors even purchased a piece of art while walking by. 

The Living Room Tweak

Living room with white sofa and rugPin It
Courtesy of Laura Hodges

“I had been looking for a sectional sofa and area rug for two years,” says interior designer Laura Hodges. “When I couldn’t find the right look, I decided to design my own earlier this year during quarantine.” As the cherry on top, she also scooped a vintage Moroccan rug to complete the serene, cozy scene. Best of all: The performance fabric of the sofa and the wool surface of the rug are soft while also being easy to clean.

The Sound Structure

Finding a home with good bones can feel like the luck of the draw—but that’s not to say you can’t easily update your space’s architecture. DIYer Danielle Guerrero has experimented with adding texture to her walls plenty of times, but more recently she felt like making another change: She installed molding in her living room. “Before, we only had a shiplap accent wall and I loved it, but part of me felt it was a bit too modern farmhouse for my liking,” says Guerrero. Molding would add a fun, classic feel to her space—and the hardest part was figuring out exactly the right way to align it on the wall. “It looks more intimidating than it actually is,” she notes.

Introducing Domino’s new podcast, Design Time, where we explore spaces with meaning. Each week, join editor-in-chief Jessica Romm Perez along with talented creatives and designers from our community to explore how to create a home that tells your story. Listen now and subscribe for new episodes every Thursday.

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