Guidebooks for DIY room glowups from Sophia Calima

With all the time we have been spending at home lately, we have probably noted some areas for improvement already.

To give us a feeling of control over our environment, many of us are likely to have been tempted to makeover some of the rooms we frequent in the house.

As luck would have it, doing so by ourselves may not be too hard, especially with the guidance of interior designer Sophia Calima.

Having completed her Interior Design degree from the renowned Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan, Italy, Manila-born Sophia set about finding synergy between modern, western and eastern sensibilities. After honing her talents with stints with with Susan Fredman Design Group Chicago, Droulers Architecture Milan, Lor Calma and Partners Manila, The I.D. Dept Singapore, and Kenneth Cobonpue Cebu, she gained design chops that earned her the moniker “Home Designers That Should be on Your Radar” from Mega Publishing.

She recently launched a book series which is comprised of handy digital guidebooks targeting homeowners who want to make their design goals a reality.

Sophia Calima e-books

Sophia Calima e-books

Sophia Calima e-books

These e-books showcase tips on measuring spaces properly, layout planning for good flow, choosing pleasing color schemes and putting all elements together to transform existing home spaces towards their real purpose such as:

Making the Living Room an inviting place to gather together with loved ones and share meaningful moments

Arranging the Bedroom as a place of respite where people can rest and recharge

And for those who have shifted to working from home, setting up the Home Office to be a place for focus and creativity.

To get your copies of these highly informative e-books, download from SophiaCalima.com at Php350 per book.

Sophia also offers eDesign, an affordable alternative to end-to-end design services wherein consultations, custom design, tips and shopping lists are all provided online with no need for the interior design team to step into the house. This service is ideal for DIYers or clients on a budget as well as those who want to limit physical access to their household spaces in accordance to quarantine restrictions.

For more details on eDesign, click here.

Being stuck at home has afforded us the great opportunity to make it the place we truly want to spend time in. Let’s take advantage of this chance and the excellent resources available to accomplish our home design goals.

Disclosure: Complimentary copies of the e-books were provided to facilitate this feature story.

Header photo Credit: Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

Examples of room design taken from Sophia Calima’s Instagram.

Tips for organizing your home for the New Normal

It has now been several months into the quarantine, and many of us, albeit reluctantly, have found ourselves making adjustments to cope with our New Normal.

A huge part of our new reality is that we are spending more and more of our time at home. Being the space that is wholly under our control, the home has become our safe zone, a refuge from the many risks and dangers from the outside world.

If you haven’t re-organized your home since the start of the quarantine, you might want to think of doing that now. We may be stuck in our current predicament for a long while yet; the sooner our personal environments are set up to be useful in the New Normal, the better off we will be.

Basic principles

The good news is that the basic principles of home organization still applies, albeit with a few tweaks.

Eliminate the non-essentials.

Non-essentials are items that currently have no clear use or purpose in our current situation. These basically clutter up our spaces and leave little room for us to move around to do our work or accommodate what’s actually important.

Look through your belongings and see what things you may have no use for in the coming months such as cosmetics, office attire, formal and travel wear and more.

Items that belong in this category can either be thrown out, or donated to someone who might be able to use them.

Find the proper home for each essential item.

Items that have a clear use and purpose should be housed or stored in areas that maximize their utility.

Also remember: out of sight, out of mind. An item that’s deemed useful but cannot be found when it’s needed is not really useful at all. It would be advisable to store essential items in such a way that they can be easily seen and obtained when needed.

Organize according to how you live.

Don’t rearrange your stuff in a vacuum. Consider how you and everybody else in your household move around and use your spaces.

Items that are placed well out of reach of those who need them, or areas seemingly made inhospitable to some family members because of how they are arranged, will become wellsprings of resentment later on.

Consider as well how some things just logically go together. Group together items that have similar functions and house them near the areas where they are used most frequently.

Establish and maintain the organization system.

Once you’ve tidied up and created well-organized spaces, you need to maintain them. Agree with your household members on which item goes where, how to keep everything neat, and how often to do major and minor cleanups.

From time to time, you will need to check if your system for organizing your spaces and belongings is still working for you. It may need to be adjusted as your situations change whether as a result of the quarantine or other factors.

Each room’s purpose

To apply these principles to the various rooms in your home, you should think hard on what purpose you will assign to each room especially in the New Normal, then design and arrange the room’s layout and contents accordingly.

Bedroom

The bedroom should be a place to rest and regain one’s strength at the end of the day. It should be a haven for you where you can spend the slow and quiet hours for rest or reflection.

Organizing Your Home During Quarantine

To have a bedroom that serves as the relaxing spot where you can slow down and recover from the day’s challenges, keep the area around the bed, especially the floors and the nightstand, free of items that do not contribute to having a restful experience. Stow away items in your dresser or under the bed to improve the flow of the room. Having a couple of indoor plants will also add some spots of color and life to the space.

Closet

Many of us have the tendency to just stash our stuff in our closet and hope that we can find them when we need them. Seldom does this work, however, and we end up wasting precious time and energy searching for a piece of clothing buried beneath piles of other clothes.

As the central repository of your clothes, your closet determines how you present yourself to the outside world. It should, therefore, equip you with what you need to wear, depending on the season and situation. This will not be possible with a disorganized closet.

Organizing your home during quarantine

As you regularly update your wardrobe throughout the year, so should you also be decluttering and arranging the contents of your closet. Group similar clothes together and consider tossing out those that are too worn to be presentable, or ones you haven’t worn for the past year. Especially now, when you may be working from home, items such as formal blazers and suits may just be using up space in your closet. Consider placing them on storage or tossing some out to free up space for clothes more suitable for our current situation.

Kitchen

Given all the lockdown restrictions on dining out, as well as our reduced food budgets, many of us are cooking and baking at home nowadays. Some have even begun to sell food online as a business. To help us in preparing food that nourishes our family or brings money to our pockets, we need to have our kitchen items in order.

Organizing Your Home During Quarantine

Check out the food stored in your pantry and refrigerator for those past their expiration date. Toss out utensils and equipment if you already have something to replace them such as old measuring spoons or worn out egg beaters. Remember: your kitchen drawers are prime real estate when it comes to storage so they should contain items that are ready to be used everyday.

Dining Room

The lockdown, in a way, has provided households and families with more opportunities to share meals. Such times are welcome instances for everyone to catch up on each other’s activities and enjoy each other’s company.

Organizing Your Home During Quarantine

The dining room, therefore, should be a place that encourages sharing and conversation. The dining table and chairs, for example, should be clear of items that are not needed during mealtimes. When meals are served, the items on the table top should be within easy reach of family members. When mealtimes are done, all dishes, utensils and linens should be cleared away as well.

Living Room

With more family members spending more time at home, the living rooms has been seeing a lot more action. This area is sometimes made into a makeshift classroom, or the family’s home theater for movie nights. What’s important is that this should be a space for family members to comfortably congregate and spend time together.

Organizing Your Home During Quarantine

To achieve a family living space that’s welcoming and relaxing, make sure the space is free-flowing and clutter-free. Get rid of papers or knick-knacks that may have accumulated on the console table and other flat surfaces. Organize the cords under the TV and other devices by clipping them together. Utilize the space behind a sofa by placing a trunk to store throw pillows or a low bookcase to showcase the family’s book and movie collection. Move furniture around to free up floor space and improve the flow of movement around the room.

Home Office

Now that more people are working or learning from home, we are realizing the importance of setting aside space where we can think and concentrate on our work.

Organizing Your Home During Quarantine

As usually directed to us in our offices or classrooms, our workstations at home should also be kept neat and uncluttered. Plus, we also need to tidy up the surrounding areas to have presentable backgrounds for our video calls just in case we haven’t set up fake ones in Zoom.

As our primary base of operations, our homes should be set up to support our goals and activities as we all adjust to living in a postCOVID19 world.

How do you plan to re-organize your home for the New Normal?

Photo credits: Header (Jason Briscoe), Kitchen (Naomi Hebert), Bedroom (Shop Slo), Closet (JamestheThomas5), Dining Room (Danill Silantev), Living Room (Patrick Perkins) and Home Office (Isabel Achison) on Unsplash

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Making your place look like a million bucks

While anyone can easily admire a chic pad that looks like it came straight out of a magazine, not everyone has the budget for a major renovation or hire a world class designer to spruce up their homes.

Taking design cues from some of the metro’s most sought-after condominiums, these are simple design inspirations anyone can pull off even on a budget.

1. Add depth to your ceiling!  

Ceilings have a great influence on how we feel in certain spaces. Low ceilings prompt quick action as small rooms make us unconsciously want to leave faster, while the inviting aura of a room with high ceilings make us want to take our time and relax.

You can highlight the size of your living space using recessed lights for a more modern, understated way of lighting. Likewise, full-length mirrors further expand the space in the room.

In the one-bedroom model unit from Mi Casa, for instance, the interior design done on the ceiling adds visual depth. This works well for an area where you regularly welcome guests. The living room and dining area are good areas to apply this concept because they will greatly benefit from the impression of a bigger space.

2. Let nature illuminate your home for you.

Natural lighting is the best way to brighten up any space.

Federal Land

Actual photo of Marco Polo Residences model unit

Condominium units with floor to ceiling windows not only provide sweeping views but give off the impression of a bigger and more calming living space. You will only be able to take advantage of spectacular views, of course, if your unit is on the higher floors of a condominium unit and where the building itself is located strategically.

Marco Polo Residences in Cebu plays this up perfectly with not only floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows that provide unobstructed views of its mountainous surroundings, the city and the sea in the distance. On the other hand, if you have smaller windows, you can achieve this same feeling by keeping the window area clear of clutter.

3. Opt for earth tones.

Earth tones are timeless and versatile, making it suitable for any kind of home.

Federal Land

Actual photo of Four Season Riviera model unit

The neutral colors, just like in the showroom model unit of Four Season Riviera in Binondo, Manila drive just the right amount of attention to your home and allows you to add your own accent colors here and there. You’ll save on expensive paint jobs by strategizing which segments of your living space to highlight and which you can leave bare.

4. Experiment with open spaces.

Although your studio unit has no pre-set divisions, this does not mean you that you need to fill the void with clunky furniture. You can utilize every fixture and piece of furniture you own to achieve a clean and organized look.

A good example would be using a slim table in a bar-like set up which can help divide your kitchen from your living area through a more open concept.

You don’t need walls to define spaces. You can use partial wood and frosted glass partitions that double as shelves or different colored tiles and rugs to segment floor areas for different spaces. In this model unit at The Capital Towers in Quezon City, the bedroom area is defined by using tinted glass, while the dining and living area are fused into one to maximize floor space.

Federal Land

Federal Land

Actual photo of The Capital Towers model unit

5. Tastefully maximize storage space.

Keep knickknacks out of sight with built-in storage like the shoe cabinet, bedroom closets, and kitchen floor storage in The Seasons Residences in North Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

Federal Land

Actual photo of The Season Residences model unit

Using beds with hidden compartments underneath for clothes and shoes, as well as hollow ottoman seats that double as storage boxes will help eliminate clutter around the house and keep your intimate belongings away from prying eyes as well.

By lessening the use of heavy furniture, you will be freeing-up breathing space in your stylish abode making it easier on the eyes and a delight to move around in.

Lastly, while your design options may be influenced by your current budget, never sacrifice personal tastes. Any luxurious house will feel like home when it reflects the personal style of its owner. To get your own feel of luxury, visit the nearest Federal Land property show room today or get a virtual tour at www.federalland.ph.