Back-to-school looks a little different this year for many families, mine included. I’ve been a work-from-home for the past 13 years, so I’m used to the rigorous scheduling of being a stay-at-home mom while balancing working full-time, only this year, I decided to add going back to school to earn a Master’s degree in the middle of a pandemic. On top of that, and the world being on fire, my girls are embracing virtual learning because I have a dreaded “underlying condition”. We had to make some concessions and tweaks on expectations because it’s hard, all of it, for all of us.
Disclosure: I am a Wayfair homemaker ambassador and this is a compensated post, however, all opinions are my own.
I’m sure that we can all agree that the “new normal” is not normal at all. My girls are learning from home because it’s the safest option for our family. I actually love having this extra time with them, when our time is so limited. In a couple of years, Bella will be heading off to college and that fact is not wasted on me. I know these CoVid days at home are a gift to us. Still, working from home while going to school with both girls learning virtually and not being able to do the things we normally do or even the simplest things like vacation, is absolutely exhausting.
So, we try our best to find the extraordinary in the ordinary moments and appreciate the challenges for giving us fresh perspective on our blessings and still, even with all the positivity we can throw at it, it’s still been really hard on all of us. I’ve learned to pick my battles, as a wife, mother, student and freelancer, let things go and give grace to others. I’ve become more forgiving and understanding and even still, there are days when it’s almost too much to bear.
One thing that has helped me throughout this pandemic and not leaving our house has been to be able to change our spaces. It sounds simple but some plants, some paint, a little blood, sweat and tears and a few new pieces of furniture can be a simple way to create a completely new feel in an old space. Aside from refreshing bedrooms to make them more calming and relaxing, streamlining bathrooms and scrubbing kitchens, the most important refresh I’ve done is creating functional schooling areas for the entire family.
I have a home office but normally, there is just me at home. With three people going back to school in a pandemic, in Zoom meetings, trying to read, write papers and stay focused, there had to be more than 1 office. We can’t all squirrel away in our bedrooms and work, that would be too depressing. I spruced up the office with a mini makeover and the cutest Ghislain daybed because during a pandemic, even big kids need naps sometimes.
My latest spruce-up efforts have been directed towards the virtual schooling oasis AKA our living room. It just didn’t feel particularly uplifting and definitely not inspiring. The furniture is big, heavy and dark-colored. The walls were actual 1970’s brown paneling. PANELING! It felt like being stuck in the past. We removed the paneling and primed and painted the walls in a more contemporary grey with bright white molding. We painted the brown shelves and beams white. I covered the brown leather couch in a teal couch cover. Covered the cold hardwood floors in a white furry shag rug and placed a matching throw pillow cover on the sofa.
In addition to that I updated the look with, my favorite piece, the Janelle End Table that replaced the oversized wood tables. Since it was going to be transformed into a study area for one of us, I also added a new lamp to provide better lighting and added some plants for fresh air. Throw in a small modern shelf with some classics and inspiration is everywhere. I love the way it feels and looks. The more open, bright design and concept feels like a breath of fresh air when your brain feels too tired to go on.
What would you do to freshen up your virtual school area?