Tips from Top Interior Designer, Rita Chraibi

To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a disruption to our lives is a gross understatement. The disease is causing people to live in a shadow of fear as they face anxiety that seems almost unavoidable. Going out to buy groceries and escaping to the gym for exercise are no longer examples of straightforward activities. Maintaining social distancing, quarantining if symptoms of the virus arise, and “shelter in place” orders have been going into effect across the country. People will be remaining within the confines of their homes for days, weeks, and possibly even months.

However, while the world seems to be in utter chaos, we can maintain control over our homes and creating a space that aids in alleviating stress instead of adding to it. Rita Chraibi of International Designers, one of the top interior design firms in Miami and Casablanca, offers some suggestions and tips for how to make the most out of your home environment as you may now find yourself confined to it. Your bedroom may also serve as your office, and your living room may be doubling as your gym. Rita encourages her clients and the public to make their home environments a reprieve and source of comfort.

We face an influx of information—much of it negative, as the news reports provide the latest grim numbers of people infected with COVID-19. However, Rita suggests people consider using their time at home as a way to exercise control over certain aspects of life that may be overlooked amidst all the challenges we now face. You may not be able to have an interior designer enter your home to suggest home décor ideas to create a Zen-like atmosphere. However, there are many things you can do on your own to promote an atmosphere of tranquility and well-being.

Keep It Simple

Rita notes one of the first things a person can do to create a space that evokes feelings of peace is to be mindful of the first things that greet their eyes when they enter a room. Vision is our most dominant sense, and we use it to take in information quickly. When we come to a place that’s cluttered, we are sending our brain in overdrive as it takes in the abundance of surrounding information. People often identify feelings of stress and overwhelm when they are living in an environment that has too much in it. We live in a consumerist society where there is pressure to collect more material items. However, the process of purging extra knick-knacks and things that sit on a shelf unused or unappreciated has its benefits. While you are homebound, you can start collecting items to donate once it’s advisable to venture out. If you’re crafty or inspired to take on a project, you might consider reusing items or finding a different purpose for them. Maybe the figurines you picked up on vacation can be used as bookends, or you can reuse a clear glass vase as a candle holder. Once extra space is created, you may feel as though a burden has been lifted—something we could all use these days.

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

As people are advised to stay inside their homes as much as possible, they may have the opportunity to embrace their ideas for home interior design and home decoration ideas. While the process of residential interior design may appear daunting to individuals with no background or experience, Rita Chraibi explains that everyone can create. One way people can begin the process of designing is to map it out in their heads or create a rough sketch of their interior design ideas. Perhaps it’s time to finally rearrange an entire room. If this is the case, giving yourself the freedom to experiment is necessary. Maybe you’ve always wondered what your favorite chair would look like in a different corner of your traditional living room. Or you want to find out what it feels like to move your bed closer to the window to have the sun greet you when you wake up. Regardless of how you may decide to shake things up, rearranging a room creates a new spatial map. This is a good exercise for your brain as you look at your house from a different perspective. We could all use a fresh perspective from time to time!

Employ Your Senses

When people think about interior decoration, they may only focus on what is pleasing to the eye. However, Rita explains that well-thought-out interior design ideas consist of details working in harmony to give a room a certain feel. Small changes to a room may evoke feelings of happier times, but we should rely on our other senses, as well. For example, if you miss spending time outdoors during this necessary home confinement, see if you have a candle you can light that emits a scent of nature (floral, sea breeze, eucalyptus). Of course, it won’t be the same as actually going outside, but noticing and focusing on small details within a room (sights, sounds, smells, etc.) is a practice of mindfulness—paying attention to the here and now, which has been given a lot of attention in the world of stress management. It’s also important to appreciate the way certain textiles make you feel (on both a physical and psychological level). Maybe you have a silk pillow that was placed on your bed as decoration. Consider bringing it out to the living room to feel the smooth silk to put your mind at ease while you read through mounting emails. Rita points out that catering to more of our senses can have a soothing effect and make us feel better, overall.

During these overwhelming circumstances, try to find the motivation to create a comforting space for yourself. Open up windows to let in the sun, get around to that do-it-yourself project you’ve been putting off, and finally take the time to hang up your favorite piece of artwork that has been pushed aside in the closet. So many things are outside of our control, but creating a beautiful space to shelter and nurture ourselves is something we all deserve.

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