See you later 2020. It’s so nice to see you go, that I almost feel bad.
I was on an elevator once when someone brought on an ancient service dog that looked so sweet as he entered, but that made my eyes water by farting his way up to his floor. As he was being led out, he looked up at me as if to say, “Sorry lady, I’m just doing what I do.” 2020 was a little like that for me. And now I’d also like to tap 2021 on the shoulder and say, “Excuse me, but so far you feel suspiciously a lot like 2020.” I mean, I know 2021 is poised for improvement and all, but so far it feels just like another old farting dog. I’m not a patient person.
So in response, I’m looking to some home projects that offer quick fixes and instant gratification. And what is your strongest ally when it comes to that? Paint of course! It’s affordable, relatively easy, and the results have a huge impact. Take on a small fun project, and pick a spot that will be make you smile. Be bold! Have fun! If you hate it - you can just paint it back. Use a cheerful hibiscus, or a summer sky blue, a warm tomato-soup red, or a jewel green – just something that you love. And where to paint? Just about anywhere. Paint the door to your basement, the back panels of your bookcase, the cabinets of your kitchen island, the ceiling of your bathroom, the bench in your mudroom, your stair risers, your cat - anything is fair game. Because it’s just paint! Is it a little risky? Yes. But that’s why the projects are small. Unleash that beast for a weekend and just see where you land.
Ohhhh - that abandon just feels so good. I spend all my days making really careful and well-documented decisions for other people’s homes. But there is a brilliance and a wisdom that can come from that place of pure expression. And when I capture that for my clients—when they let me in enough to really reveal themselves so I can help them express their version of that? Well… that’s where the magic is. That’s when I’ve made their house a home—one that is a true extension of themselves. That’s when I know I’ve done a really good job.
Anyway, now that I’ve got you (or is it just me?) all charged up… what else can you do? Well wallpaper is back IN and it’s going everywhere. It can go on all the same surfaces I listed for the paint - including certain types of furniture and your cat. There are tons that are peel and stick for easy install and removal. And you’ll also find all different kinds of wall decals—which is a very low commitment way to get that wallpaper look when you apply them carefully and evenly spaced. Google it all, and plan carefully—even if it is just a small weekend project.
I remember a tumultuous time in my early twenties, when I went to my regular hair appointment and on the spot decided to go from long hair to a pixie cut. And when she was done and sweeping up my long locks from the floor, I stared into that mirror and felt that tumult still in my belly and thought, “Well, I guess it wasn’t the hair.” So, yes, break out of your comfort zone - but in the process make sure you’re not doing any lasting damage that will be difficult to undo. This is not the time to take down a wall, or paint that family heirloom. And don’t really paint the cat.
One last idea to look into? Peel and stick tiles—they are self-adhesive pictures of tiles. These work best when you match the size of, say, that 4” x 4” baby blue tile backsplash, with a 4” x 4” tile sticker. You put them on individually and leave the grout. And within a few hours you can, poof, be in a Mexican cantina or an Italian grotto or in a hipster coffee shop—it’s up to you. (I wish they had these when I was apartment hopping in Boston years ago.) They aren’t exactly cheap, but they’re not that expensive either for the impact they offer. Supposedly some are good for high traffic and wet areas—which I have trouble believing, but try them out and tell me what you think. They are perfect for a powder room or backsplash. You’ll find lots of them on Etsy.com with before and after pictures and reviews. And you can buy just a few at first, to try them out.
Does any of that help? Did it distract you for even just a minute from the fact that New Year’s Day was really just like any other quarantine day? I hope so. We are told there is a light at the end, but so far all I see is tunnel. So while we’re all here, let’s tile-sticker the hell out of that tunnel. And maybe the cat too.