As more restrictions come into play, we’re all spending more time at home. Make the most of your space by organising your home and adapting it to suit our current lifestyle.
While it’s a shame that we haven’t managed to kick the virus out of 852, we’re hopeful that the tougher times will pass so we can get back to some sort of “normal” at some point. Meanwhile, as COVID-19 vaccinations and tests are on the rise, we certainly need to stay safe and stay indoors in the comfort of our home, where we’re studying, working, and spend quality time.
While a full lockdown hasn’t happened (yet), why not make the most of our time at home rather than getting bored with the same four walls? Let’s be productive and create a cheerful yet enabling environment while we are at it! Be it small spaces or adapting to the new change in terms of home design, try these practical, functional solutions to every in-house-challenge. Combat this chaos and learn how to consciously organize spaces to enable a streamlined way of life and work with functional and multi-purpose designs and layouts while organising your home.
Organising Your Home: Zone Out Your Space
In a busy household, many of us struggle with efficiency when we need to work from home, study or for kids to play, sometimes all at the same time. Create “zones” by assigning designated spaces to specific functions. It is a great way to bring structure, a bit of method to the madness. For example:
- Work zones can be a closed space where mum/dad can work, take calls without being disturbed by other members of the family
- Learning zones for kids to study, online learning with zoom calls, homework – make it clear that siblings do not interrupt them in this zone
- Free play zones for kids to have fun, enjoy playing games, artworks – a place where you can go all out
- Prepped-up learning zones for young children to have a fun yet educational space with puzzles, blocks, charts (akin to kindergarten playrooms) with floor cushions or playmats
For example, if, like my business partner (who is also a designer), you have younger kids who don’t understand a big list of rules, a “free-play zone” is the way forward. Clearly marked as such, the kids can enter that zone to do whatever they want – through an adult is always close by. It’ll help balance perfectly when you need to work undisturbed but keep one eye on the situation.
Read more: Top Tips For Working From Home With Kids
Four Ways To Create Your Zones
Keep Spaces Separate But Also United
We are all in this together, and our Hong Kong homes are connected through a common thread – insufficient space. If creating different zones in different rooms is not an option, consider ways to divide your rooms such that they are united or separated, as required. Living rooms can be divided with sliding door partitions if you are open to renovations. Having a folding or sliding partition (depending on the space and budget) is a great way to create spaces that unite and separate easily.
If you are renting the space and renovations are not practical – you can rely on tall and slim bookcases, foldable screens, ornate room dividers or colourful curtains to cordon off zones. It is also a great way to “dress up” the clutter, hide the mess or make a statement in your décor. It is a win-win situation.
Another idea is to create a “faux wall”. Many can relate to the situation — you need a home-office while watching the kids do their online learning or homework during the day. Create a faux-wall – a wall of storage with a mix of simple shelving (that you can see through) and affordable decorative pieces. This can be combined with a hanging fabric behind the wall for a pristine look.
Visual Cues For Zone Allocation
Sometimes when organising your home, all a space needs to feel “separate” is something to draw the eye toward a subtle division. When physical partitions may not be possible, opt for different lightings, different colours, clever use of décor elements to convey a specific use for different “zones”, and the specific objective of the area within. For example:
- Use cooler white light and task lights for home offices to convey high focus area while warmer colour dim lights to convey relaxed tone in rest of the living space
- Segregate home-office area from play area with different rugs, each marking out a zone for itself
In Hong Kong, there is a vital need for innovative furniture that can be used in multiple ways to maximize space, function, and efficiency. Bunk beds and pull out beds are some of the obvious space savers. Besides, companies like Spaceman have adaptable furniture on offer – fold away wall beds to free up the floor space for other uses or beds that can fold up and provide you with a desk or a sofa. There are many variants that can be customized to suit your specific configurations and needs.
Consider multi-use furniture pieces like a coffee table that can turn into a study table (with flexible height adjustments). It makes for a great work environment when combined with the right ergonomics, lighting as well as soundproofing (think noise-cancelling headphones if needed). Foldable/pop-up desks are inexpensive and effective for kids and adults working from their beds! Wall-mounted pop out desks makes another excellent option for small spaces.
Utilize the bay window seating that many Hong Kong homes have in the living room or bedrooms. Custom-built desks placed at the bay window fulfils two aspects – natural light and a great view (if you are lucky!), plus great utilization of an otherwise underutilized corner of your home. Or opt for a seat cushion to create a cosy little reading nook for you or the kids, making a nice style statement for your home as well.
Decluttering And Other Tips While Organising Your Home
Wi-Fi extenders are lifelines that ensure the internet signal is strong and active in every corner of your home. Often an overlooked aspect, this can immensely help you and your family to work and study from home in your respective “zones”.
Finally, focus on your work (or home learning) by decluttering your mind space. It helps to have minimal distractions, clear desk, or room (put away toys or unnecessary documents behind closed storage) to avoid feeling overwhelmed and have a pleasing environment for you and kids alike.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in August 2020 by Sonal Bhandari and updated in February 2022.