• Jocelyn Ridgway

Working from home is not for everyone. I am useless at it! After I sold my store Green Grass Home & Body Bulimba two and a half years ago, I traveled for a bit and then thought that I would re-start Little Bowerbird Interiors working from home. Ummm, no. I had to move into a outside office to get anything done, plus I was missing the face to face interaction with others.

I know that I'm not the only one who has had to work from home and really struggled. I spoke with two friends this week, one has been staying in her PJ's for most of the day and the other togs and a robe because she has a pool! Both felt like they were really unproductive. I'm better at it now, so here is what I have learned about working from home and how to get though it...

1. The most important one is this: set your alarm for the same time as usual and do your usual morning routine. If you aren't doing some form of exercise in the morning then start earlier and finish earlier so you can fit in at end of the day. I think it's critical to at least fit in a walk. You have to get out of the house and see the world. Have breakfast and get dressed!

2. Make a designated work space if you can. This might mean setting up a small desk in the corner of your living room or spare room. There are lots of `home desks' available that are more narrow than a regular commercial type desk so they will fit better in a smaller spot. Also, make sure have a comfortable desk chair not a dining chair. Your back will thank you for it. Set it up with what you need but don't forget to add some personal touches so you love sitting there. I'm a bit of a neat freak, I can't work with mess around me so off to Officeworks for some desk accessories.

Home desks are generally only about 500 Deep so fit well into smaller spaces:

3. Make sure you have good light. Office light is generally broadly lighting your desk but at home make sure you have great natural light or a good lamp. Eye strain will zap your energy. I prefer a warm bulb in all my lighting rather than cool, I find it easier on the eyes and makes you look better!

4. Make sure you take breaks but don't turn the TV on at lunch! I don't know about you but I can get sucked into daytime TV rubbish and next thing I know 2 hours has gone by! Have a healthy lunch on your balcony if you can and not at your desk.

5. Lastly, spend the last 15 mins of your working day writing in your diary a list of things for tomorrow or rest of week. Pack away your laptop and tidy your desk, especially if it's in your living space or bedroom. This way you are less likely to work after hours. Really, unless you need to, let it go at the end of the day and give your mind a break. Working from home is about setting boundaries, especially now that everyone knows we are at home. Don't check your emails, leave them for tomorrow and enjoy your life!

I hope this gives you a few tips on working from home, remember friends...boundaries! Saying no to something outside of your normal work hours is totally ok. It takes a while to get into a new routine and I am no expert but I try and break up my work into different chunks so I'm not working on one thing all day. I find this helps keeping my focus. Good luck everyone!

And of course, don't hesitate to get in touch if you need any assistance with a home office!


Principal Designer

PS. I am going to post my pumpkin and coconut soup on our newsletter, so many people ask me for it and now that we have more time...I thought why not! Sign up for our newsletter if you haven't already. x

Every Christmas holiday break I make sure to spend some time reflecting on the past year and envisaging some new goals for the coming one. It's not something I have to force, as a creative person the ideas are always bubbling away, but some time out of the office gives me the head space to formulate some ideas. One of the things I reflected upon was how many people I talk to who tell me they have no creative side!

First of all let's look at what your definition of creative is. The dictionary defines it as 'relating to or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something'. As you can see it does not mean you must be a master painter, ceramicist, or sketcher. You might be fantastic at floral arranging, baking, inventing or starting a new business. Let's not assume that creativity is the sole domain of the artist! Creativity does not mean that you have to be 'on trend' or know what is in fashion, simply following your heart and opening your mind to allow yourself to daydream is a good start. Stop telling yourself that you can't is another....that's just a story you are making up. Embrace vulnerability and perfection, perfection is the killer of creativity. It's ok to be 'good enough'.

So why is daydreaming and creativity important and why am I so passionate about it?

It's important to have a creative side to let your imagination loose. Without daydreaming and using your imagination we stop our dreams or goals, we stifle our purpose and authentic selves. I can't tell you how many people I know who have denied themselves creative thoughts telling themselves that it's a waste of time or frivolous. Creatives and dreamers are the ones who move us forward in the human race, they dream it and make it a reality. When you allow yourself to be creative you have a surge of energy, confidence and will feel engaged in your life instead of sleepwalking through it!

The hard part of living a creative life.

Uncertainty. It takes a brave person to live a creative life. You are putting your ideas, imagination and often blood, sweat and tears out on show for the world to see. Holy crap that is scary! You have to learn to accept criticism, indifference and uncertainty about the outcomes. But I wouldn't live any other way. Enjoy the process and be proud that you are doing something for you. Let me tell you there is a lot of deep breaths and tears but there are also amazing feelings of happiness as well. When my clients are happy with my work, there is no better feeling! 'Choosing courage over comfort' is the key. (Thanks Brene Brown for the quote!

Thought I'll leave you with:

If you are feeling restless, bored, dull and disconnected, ask yourself if you have given up on any of your desires and dreams. What did you do as a child that you have given away as an adult? What is blocking you from starting that side hustle, buying an easel, sewing your own clothes? Just start, then fail and then start again. Creativity is simply a practice, believe me, when you start you will find your passion. It might be different from what you thought it would be but if you remain open it will come to you.

Joce x

Principal Designer

  • Jocelyn Ridgway

Updated: Jan 13

It occurred to me recently when I went to a clients home to discuss some new ideas for layout and style that furniture placement does not come naturally to most people and simply re-arranging your furniture can make a massive difference to the feel of your space.

Ask yourself, is your furniture still in the same place that the removalist put it? Have you put your sofa against the biggest wall just because that seems logical? There are some simple ways to get a brand new look and feel without spending a cent, here are some simple rules!

1. Choose a focal point.

It doesn't have to be a TV that's for a start although it can be. It could be a fireplace or beautiful window with a view. Choose a focal point and stick with it.

The focal point here is the fireplace and secondary the TV, notice the furniture away from the walls too!

2. Don't push furniture against the walls

This is a biggie! The size of your room will obviously dictate this rule but give your furniture some breathing room. There is absolutely no reason why your sofa has to be hard up against a wall, even bringing it out by a few centimeters can make a huge difference, it will make the room feel larger. Of course if you have a large room make sure you bring all the furniture into the center creating conversation areas leaving several meters between the wall and furniture.

Some great examples of a small room, even here then have been able to move some furniture out from the walls.

3. Create conversation areas

Even with a television in the room, not all chairs have to face it. If your room is smaller and you have space on either side of the TV that can fit a chair facing your sofa, this can create a great way to entertain with friends and makes it easier for conversation. Or think about putting two armchairs next to each other on the side of a sofa instead of in front. Finding that right balance is key. Using the right rug can also help define spaces, make sure either all or at least the front legs of all your furniture is sitting on it.

4. Consider the traffic flow

Make sure it's easy to get around, you don't want people stubbing toes or tripping, if you are concerned a space is a bit tight, try a round or oval coffee table to help soften the space and make it easier to navigate. Ideally you should have about 50 cm in front of any sofa or armchair and a coffee table but close enough to reach. Side tables should be either the same height as the armchairs arm or lower and within easy reach as well.

5. Lighting

For me lighting is everything. Too many houses these days are filled with down lights. These are expensive to run and create a flat overall light with no highlighting. Standard lamps in the corner of a room next to an armchair is a great little spot for reading a book late at night. Lamps create warmth and indirect light that is calming and eases you into bedtime. They also create atmosphere for parties and small gatherings. Make sure you get warm bulbs!

Beautiful lamp lighting, book ending this sofa.

So you can see, there are some very simple ways to change the look of your space, for my client last week we broke up her L shaped outdoor sofa into a smaller sofa and two armchairs together all facing each other creating a conversation area rather than all facing the same way. This made room to bring an outdoor table around from another hidden corner to near the kitchen windows, making an incredible difference to how they are going to live and entertain out on their deck.

Sometimes it just needs a fresh set of eyes on your current furniture to maximise their potential! Little Bowerbird is currently taking on new projects, if you need help even just looking at your current furniture and spaces to see how they can work better for you, head to our new time packages page. These are services we provide in specific time blocks so you know exactly what you will be getting and how much it will cost. We'd love to help!

Joce x

Principal designer/director

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Little Bowerbird Interiors, Brisbane, Australia | EST. 2009