Sometime in 2020, I moved my work table in front of a giant bookcase in my living room so I would always have an appropriate background for Zoom meetings. That’s just one of the many physical ways my own space changed over the course of the pandemic.
A few friends built something like a mini studio—in the bedroom, garden, living room, wherever there’s extra space—for their side-hustle or hobby. That tiny space is used for anything at all from live-selling and making scented candles to filming TikTok videos and baking sushi. It could even serve as a mini gym or mini yoga studio.
With some work, a spot with good lighting can serve as the perfect Instagram corner for taking photos of things we like to post on social media: meals, books, knick-knacks, or what-have-you.
We are shifting things around, breaking down walls, creating the right space that will serve us well this year, based on what we learned through experience since the start of this pandemic in 2020. We’re remodeling and designing our homes so we can thrive this year and, in a way, get back some of what we lost because of COVID.
A good home needs to have a separate room with its own toilet and bath, in case a member of the household needs to isolate during illness. Big windows where fresh air and sunshine can stream through would benefit the room’s occupant, as well as access to wifi that will surely help during long periods of quarantine.
Well-stocked supply shelves
We know that stores can run out of anything really quickly during an emergency—rice, medicine, canned goods, masks, toilet paper, alcohol, and so on. So it makes sense to get serious about stocking up on essentials. In case stores close down or the public’s movement is severely limited, at least we’re sure we will survive a few days or weeks without having to leave home. The same goes for when power, telephone and internet service, or water supply get cut off.
We need a garden
To supplement our pantry items, we also need to plant some of our food. Not having space isn’t even an excuse anymore because there are so many gardeners who have managed to raise and harvest fresh produce from tin cans on the kitchen counter. We can easily grow herbs for making tea and spices, as well as basic plant food like okra, tomato, eggplant, talbos, kalamansi, pepper, lettuce, etc. I bought plenty of seeds, soil, and pots and even tried growing microgreens in 2020 in anticipation of a big food shortage, which thankfully, did not happen.
A quiet place to work in
The quest for the perfect home office space continues. Some of the requirements include having a nice Zoom background, as already mentioned, having all the techie conveniences like a SMART Board, good lighting, nice acoustics and soundproofing for people who have to record audio or video for podcasts, classes, presentations, etc. As a nice-to-have, some people are having wet bars built in their workroom for late nights “at work”.
Maximizing outdoor space
As soon as it was considered safe to see friends face to face—while wearing masks and maintaining the recommended distance—I created a simple setup in our tiny front yard for receiving guests. It’s still not a good idea to let anyone inside the house, for the protection of both parties, so the next best thing is to have an outdoor reception space. It can be as simple as a small table and two chairs. Those with bigger outdoor spaces are installing awnings, building fire pits and outdoor kitchens, or converting space into a relaxing lounge for both residents and visitors.
Let’s not forget the plants
We’re still bringing the outdoors in by having more houseplants, using natural materials, painting with green and earthy colors, decorating with nature’s elements as a focal point, and generally creating a sustainable and healthy environment for ourselves and our families. We recycle, reuse and upcycle as much as we can, and try to minimize the use of energy and water by opening windows and catching rainwater, for instance. Last Christmas, I bought solar-powered Christmas lights for outdoor use and did not take out our old one anymore.
I’m sure more ways to help save the earth will be revealed to us as the year moves forward.
Indeed, the home of 2022 is a home that is consciously created based on our personal truths and recent experiences, and consciously designed to meet our changed needs.