Smart Solutions: Make your home a refuge

By Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

As a worrier by nature, I’ve been keeping a close eye on the latest recommendations and guidelines for travel, school closings and quarantine. Still, you shouldn’t have to be forced into seclusion to up the comfort level in your home.

Once you have an adequate supply of necessities, you can begin to consider other factors that might make your extended stay more tolerable. With many of us constantly coming and going, we don’t really know what it would be like to be home for a prolonged period of time.

Here are a few ways to stay occupied and comfortable in case of a mandatory quarantine situation.

A cozy spot to read can make an extended stay at home more comforting.

Streaming services like Netflix can be a great distraction from the latest news about coronavirus. Keeping a decent supply of reading materials by your side can also provide a welcome escape.

Pretty visuals offer a temporary respite from current events. Pick a gloomy day to awaken a bare wall with an array of mirrors or family photos or whatever else lifts your spirits.

Bake a cake for no occasion or check items off your to-do list like cleaning out a closet or a junk drawer.

Repurpose surplus pieces, such as baskets that can keep seasonal items like sunscreen and bug spray together in one place. A spare mail sorter with multiple sections can hold your planner and active files in a convenient spot.

Elevate your everyday experiences to make them feel more decadent. Treat yourself to a cup of tea Downton Abbey-style with a vintage cup and saucer instead of the standard mug. Add a biscuit or two for another royal touch.

Set up comfort stations for rest and play with proper seating and pillows and throws. Invest in a plush robe and a pair of slippers to keep you cozy during your required stay.

Spend quality time with family (I can see my teenage daughter’s eye roll at this suggestion) even if you just sit and reminisce about old times or discuss future plans.

Get one project out of the way whether it’s preparing your taxes or purging old receipts. Make a list of home improvements, maintenance and repairs that need to be scheduled.

Working remotely means stocking up on supplies like printer cartridges and paper and a possible upgrade to an ergonomic chair along with a quiet place to be productive.

As we become more and more dependent on our personal devices like smartphones, it’s important to take a break. Play a board game, do a puzzle or watch the sunset. For me, taking an afternoon nap with the dog would be an added bonus.

Be sure to get some fresh air by opening windows and doors when weather permits. You might even sort through seasonal clothing as you anticipate the arrival of spring.

The luxury of time is what we often crave and it may be coming our way. We might as well make the best of the situation whenever possible as we hope for better news on the horizon.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at