'Trading Spaces' alum Genevieve Gorder says home improvements can affect mental health: 'Let the light in'

Video produced by Gaby Levesque

When things get really bad, home does really good, Genevieve Gorder believes. The interior designer and TV personality — who marks Sept. 11 and the 2008 stock market crash as crescendoes in her home career — says that’s because “it's where we nest and it's where we repair, we recalibrate and reinvent so we can go out again.”

While stay at home orders in many states are easing, home life — or the cradle, as Gorder likes to refer to it — is still emphasized, and will continue to play a larger part in people’s daily routines. Because of the increased time spent inside, the lifestyle expert from Trading Spaces fame and Netflix’s Stay Here says that we see all the layers of home in a different and deeper way, like the cracks and old furniture, and when all those little details aren't working together, it can almost feel like you're stubbing your toe every day.

That’s why Gorder, speaking during Yahoo’s Reset Your Mindset event, believes that even small fixes can be a really great medicine. “Let the light in, open the windows, bring in some brighter colors to change your mood. It really is more than just psychology. It is absolutely true,” she says.

Gorder explains that by maintaining a cheery abode, it can help families and individuals feel grounded amidst the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. She also points out that we finally have time for a lot of fixes we haven’t done in the past.

Genevieve Gorder on home improvements during the coronavirus pandemic
Genevieve Gorder on home improvements during the coronavirus pandemic

“These little projects that you can even set daily can have such a huge affect on psychologically how we feel and how we treat others and ourselves, in our home and outside of it,” she continues. “It’s an important time. Focus on the cradle.”

In order to do so, Gorder recommends four simple tips that begin with setting a budget for a few new things to bring into the home. “Whether it’s a new lamp for your bedside table or a new pillow for the bed to get rid of the one that your dog ate,” she suggests.

Another tip, however, is to start with some changes that are completely cost-free. “Move the stuff you already have around, change the layout,” she says. “Make an old chair feel new by moving it across the room. It really does change your whole mindset.”

The color on your walls can also help to make a big transformation for a minimal price. “Paint is really inexpensive and probably the most dramatic mood changer, room changer, space changer there is,” Gorder notes. Again, it’s a project that can take up some unused time and result in an entirely different state of mind.

Lastly, Gorder recommends focusing on the small stuff. “The really fun things,” she exclaims. “The objects, the sculpture, the art, the decoration. Move your art around the room. Stop being committed to the same accessory layout that you’ve had for the last five years.”

All of these efforts will result in what feels like an entirely new space, which will hopefully help relieve some anxiety. In fact, these tips will even improve the space so that it becomes not only what you want, but what you need.

“If we really think about the silver lining of this weird time, we can come out of it however new, improved, different we want to be,” Gorder says. “That’s a gift. Take advantage of it.”

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides. 

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