“Stay at Home” Projects


Last week, we asked our Instagram followers to recommend and vote for their favorite blog topics for the coming weeks. Because of the stay-at-home order issued during the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us are now spending inordinate amounts of time indoors. So, not surprisingly, many readers asked for at-home update ideas they could do themselves (no outside contractor or designer needed). Spending most of our time at home means many of us are taking particular note of the state of our interiors. For example, we may notice an outdated paint color or needed touch-up we might not see in the day-to-day rush of life. Similarly, faced daily with our “stuff,” some of us may have the desire to organize certain home spaces better — or simply feel the urge to purge.

Now that we are home, we have the extra time and inclination to address home improvement and organizing tasks. Pursuing these projects gives us the opportunity to take action and anticipate predictable, positive outcomes. Today we will share some “stay at home” project ideas that can be tackled while we all have a bit more time at home.

Flawless Paint Touch-Ups

Take a walk around your house, making particular note of high-use areas like baseboards, doors, and doorframes to see what might need attention. Also, take note of high-traffic entry foyers or mudrooms. There is nothing like a new coat of paint to breathe life into these areas that see constant action. Before beginning any touch-ups, be sure to:

  • Clean the surface area with a mild detergent and water. Dust and dirt can affect paint adhesion, so be sure it any debris is carefully removed.
  • Repair any scratches or nail holes. Sand with fine-grit paper to smooth the area and, if needed, use a spackling compound to fill any crack or hole.
  • Prime the space for proper color blending. Without primer, the touched-up area will stand out from the overall painted surface.
  • Use the original paint color and apply it in the same manner it was first painted (using roller, brush, etc.).

Brighten an Entryway or Stairwell

Spending more time in our homes, we may recognize that a foyer’s once-popular paint color needs updating. Or, notice that the stairwell could benefit from a brighter, neutral shade. If someone in the home is a competent painter, this might be time for a color change. We have an affinity to an interior paint combination our clients consistently admire (shared in an earlier blog), which we affectionately call “Ahearn White,” a mixture of two colors from Benjamin Moore’s off-white color collection: 50% China White and 50% Linen White. It’s tricky picking a great white paint color, especially with hundreds of shades on the market. But, this color combination offers just the depth and light reflection to beautifully brighten and update a space.

Organize & Purge

Whether it’s the mudroom or a cramped garage, homeowners are likely noticing areas that need reorganizing. Items accumulate in our daily lives and, before we know it, they are taking up space that could be used more efficiently. We suggest scanning the mudroom and entryways for items that are taking up space, which could be stored elsewhere or discarded. Take note of benches and hooks to see if they are still serving their intended purpose, or if they should be moved or rehung for optimal use. Likewise, go through the garage and clear out items family members no longer need or use. While sorting, one way to feel less overwhelmed is to create categories like sports, gardening, and tools. This can become a family project where, together, members decide which items should be saved, donated, or purged. Then, add simple shelving or hooks to make saved items more easily accessible and tidy.

Get Ready for Warmer Weather

Now that it’s April, many homeowners are looking forward to spending time in their outdoor living spaces, which will soon become an extension of their house. For those with outdoor decks, this is the perfect time to clean and reseal the wood. Most wood decks (including pressure-treated wood) simply require soapy water to remove winter debris (power washing is an alternative). If mildew is an issue, a solution containing oxygen bleach is recommended. After cleaning, let the deck dry completely before sanding or applying sealer. Bluestone patios can also be cleaned using warm water mixed with either dish soap or a pH-neutral cleanser. Preparing these outdoor living spaces is a great excuse to get some fresh air and provides a refuge from the all-too-familiar indoors.

Because we are home, we are both noticing and tackling projects that might otherwise be overlooked. Maybe it is re-hanging the living room artwork, or organizing a neglected linen closet. No matter the undertaking, this is an opportunity to take action and feel better. We hope these ideas are helpful and wish you health and luck with all of your stay-at-home projects.

Home improvement stores are considered essential and remain open for business, however, we urge everyone to follow all guidelines put forth by the CDC. If you can’t find or purchase your items online, you can contact your local hardware store to order ahead for curbside pickup or sometimes even delivery.