People come to Kauai for a lot of reasons. The beaches, the rainforests, the azure seas. But what they also indulge in is our exquisite sense of remoteness. Our feeling of complete detachment. We have one two-lane road. We sit thousands of miles away from any major metropolis. Our beautiful isolation brings with it a sense of calm, peacefulness. Our natural setting imbues a feeling of health and wellness. Now that staying home is in many cases mandatory, using our indoor spaces to replicate this feeling of zen, security and wellbeing is more essential than ever before. And so it goes that we are seeing a return to the basics: sanctuary spaces that are enjoyable and flexible, interior design that satiates our craving to connect to the outdoors and the outside world.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, wealthy city dwellers are fleeing to vacation homes in remote mountain retreats while the COVID-19 pandemic rages. Will they ponder a full-time move away, and will others follow suit to faraway places like Kauai? That remains to be seen. But with both homeowners in busy metropolitan areas and those who are fortunate enough to escape to wide open spaces, we’re seeing a definite trend toward more of both functionality and flexibility inside and outside of the home. Fear not. We’re here to help you future proof your home! Whatever your current situation or budget is, we’ve compiled achievable goals – small efforts and large projects alike—to help you prepare your property for the post COVID-19 real estate market.
DECLUTTER. ORGANIZE. CLEAN. A tidy space will bring you a sense of control; an organized space saves you time; and a deeply cleaned space is a healthy space. All of these together can boost productivity, creativity and help reduce stress and anxiety. For cleaning and tidying, sign up for Apartment Therapy’s 10-Day Spring Cleaning Class here and see the Calendar guide for the list of doable assignments here. Sign up now (it’s free)! To better your organization game, utilize bins, baskets, drawers on casters, and don’t forget a label maker and cable management boxes, ties and concealers.
COLOR. The psychology of color is real -- the colors you surround yourself with will have a profound effect on your mood. Paint is a great way to bring in color, or create a calm or an energetic feel in the room. If you’re unsure about how to choose a color, take a look in your closet and draw inspiration from some of your favorite clothing. Here in Kauai, Hawaii, the star of the show is the ocean, in addition to the various and wide ranging tropical landscapes. So as not to detract from Kauai’s beautiful views, we predominantly like to begin with a neutral slate inside the home. For a tranquil, light and airy vibe, a popular go-to for Hawaii home interiors is the soft and neutral, Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee. Next, bring splashes of color inside by incorporating upholstered cushions, throws and pillows. Blues are the natural go-to here, as the color blue evokes a calming feeling within. Paired with the soft white walls, light will be reflected well, and the space will feel open. To take a bolder route for a smaller space, try Pantone’s color of the year- Classic Blue, or a mood elevating color like Blue Danube. On the contrary, if you are looking to liven a workspace up, you might opt for something warmer like Golden Straw. To get more comfortable with color, try going bold in smaller spaces you don’t spend a lot of time in, like the laundry room, powder room, or hallway. Creating small surprises throughout a home adds interest and fun to everyday life. Try this by painting a powder room a bold color, or adding colorful tiles to a bathroom. Trying out the same with a laundry room, say for instance painting the walls a bright, fun color can bring a little joy to a mundane task. If painting is a big first step, try adding more color with accessories like pillows, blankets, and hand towels. But remember, you can always repaint later! Whatever you choose, make sure that the room you work in makes you feel the way you want to feel whether that be alive, calm, productive, or inspired.
FUNCTIONAL FURNITURE LAYOUT. Take a look at your furniture layout and see if there’s room for improvement. Can you move around your space easily? Are your rooms convertible for different activities i.e. work, exercise, and play? Flex spaces are becoming more and more integral to living and working at home. Living rooms that can convert into workout studios, mudrooms or dining rooms that can convert into secondary office spaces. We can achieve flexibility by streamlining the pieces in our space, so that when it’s time to convert it, or open it up, there isn’t as much to move. It can be as simple as incorporating a multi-purpose upholstered ottoman with a performance fabric so it can easily be wiped clean after use as a coffee table, extra seating, or workout bench. It can also be easily stored away at times when you need an empty floor space for workouts, playtime, or otherwise.
ART. Art can help bring life to your interiors. It can add color, lift your spirits, start a conversation, or tell a story. Do you have a connection to all of the art in your home? Does it inspire you, create joy, or did you find it while traveling and exploring a new culture? Is there a piece you care to replace? If so, acquire new art that moves you in some way; maybe you know the artist, or the subject is something you resonate with. Not everyone can afford fine art, so if it’s something you love, you’re on a budget, and the artist is open to offering you a print, opt for the print instead. Different art mediums can help you incorporate various textures and add depth to your space, such as sculptures and textiles. Color contrasts and medium variety will offer you the pop every space needs. On top of that, the more personal the piece is, the more priceless it becomes. According to a recent Medium article, investing in the creativity and originality of your space is equally an investment in your emotional and mental well-being; the more inspired you are, the more you increase your opportunity to be your best self.
CONSULT THE PROS. Take advantage of the fact that most designers can work remotely to help you plan for the future. Take photos and measurements and jot down ideas for your space. If you need help with materials, furnishings, or your vision for a space, South & Home is here to help. We can scale up or down, offer you full service design and installation or merely pinpoint where the deals are right now and steer you in the right direction. Here’s to a successful reset and rebirth of our spaces, in hopes of finding more joy and productivity in our daily lives.
South & Home is a full service interior design company on Kauai, Hawaii. Contact South & Home at or by visiting southandhome.com. South & Home is also active on social media platforms