Interior designer Sydney Frazier shares little projects and upgrades to make right now — and how to plan for future home projects

By Gillian Telling
May 07, 2020 04:02 PM
kelly clarkson

Sydney Frazier, an interior designer living in New York City, is, like the rest of us, stuck indoors and figuring out ways to make his home more welcoming and livable on a day-to-day basis.

We asked, so he shared some of his favorite simple tips for sprucing up your own place. One takeaway? Don't try and do everything at once. There is plenty of time at home now, so pick a room to focus on, and keep that focus until you're ready to move on to the next room or project.

Create a Dedicated and Stylish Workspace

Working from home is challenging if it’s not something you do on the regular. Even if you can only dedicate a few feet of space (looking at you, city dwellers), having a place to sit up straight where you can be at work can help with productivity.  Add a lamp with a warm light bulb for those nighttime emails and Zoom calls.  And if you have a bulletin board, lean that against the wall in front of you and pin some photos, postcards or images of your favorite paintings or destinations on it so you have something nice to look at when you can move your eyes away from the screen."

Mothers Day Flowers
Credit: The Bouqs Co.

Bring Spring Indoors with Flowers

"When out on your once-weekly shopping trip to the grocery store, make sure to add fresh cut flowers to your list. Vases full of tulips, daffodils and other seasonal varieties can really make staying indoors so much more pleasant.  Don’t forget to add a bud vase holding a couple of blossoms to your new office area!"

Freshen Up a Drab Room with Paint

"Since you won’t be able to go to the paint store and pull color swatches, most major paint brands have fantastic websites, which allow you to see their full range of colors in room settings so you can get a feel for what the paint will look like in reality.  Stick with bright fresh colors that will bring light and happiness into your home and call ahead (yes, use the phone) with your order.  Discuss your room size with the salesperson to determine the amount of paint you’ll need and make sure you add spackle and a spackle knife, a good edging brush, rollers and pans, painters tape and drop cloths to your order so they can bring everything you need out to your car for you."

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Upgrade Your Bed Linens

"Take advantage of the online sales going on right now and order new sheets and bedding to refresh the look in your bedroom.  Make sure to mix it up from what you’re used to. White-sheet-only type of person?  Try ordering sheets with a pattern or contrast trim.  Only use a comforter pulled all the way up over the pillows? Try a duvet folded into thirds at the bottom of the bed on top of sheets and a coverlet (or blanket) tucked in all around. Don’t forget the hospital corners!"

"Once they're delivered, make sure to launder the new linens. If you have the time and wherewithal, iron the sheets! There is nothing like slipping into a bed with crisp, freshly-ironed sheets to help promote a good night’s sleep."

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Spring Into Cleaning

"It’s actually that time of year, and since everyone is at home, could there be a more appropriate moment for this activity? I’ve gone through every storage space possible in my house, thrown out the things that have been sitting there for years untouched and not needed (that pile of CDs I’ve been clinging to for some reason?!), and cleaned and organized the remaining items. Take your time...clean one space a day.  It will be something definitive to put on your schedule every day, that allows you to focus on something other than the news."

Update Your Photos

"During a big clean you’re bound to come across tons of photographs you’ve completely forgotten about. Go through them and pull favorites that you can put into frames around the house replacing those images you’ve been looking at for years. While you’re at it, make sure to send digital copies to friends and family that are in the images you find. What a great way to put a smile on people's faces and to check in on friends and loved ones during this time."

kelly clarkson

Set the Table

"We’re all in the house together and let’s face it, we’re all eating...a lot. So make it memorable!  Break out the good China (or just your real plates), placemats and cloth napkins, and set the table for dinner. Even if you’re having take out, eat it off of a nice place setting, together as a family away from the TV. Light some candles, enjoy each other’s company and think about the things you have to be grateful for right now. If you’re ordering from a favorite restaurant and you have the means, add a gift certificate to your bill for future use to help them stay in business during these challenging times."

Plan for the Future

"Being at home this much definitely causes the list of home projects to grow.  Does that wallpaper in the powder room need updating?  Want a new master bath?  Could your living room sofa benefit from reupholstery? Instead of watching the news,  start following designers, showrooms, magazines and hashtags on Instagram to help you get ideas for projects to be tackled when we come out of this isolation and into our new normal."

"Pull photos from magazines and create a file. Start Pinterest or Houzz folders with online images.  You can even make initial contact with design professionals you’ve heard about from friends or that you research and follow on social media and start a discussion about their services and how you might be able to work together.  They will appreciate hearing from you!"