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hamptons master bedroom by tlc interiors chris carroll in bedroom with light blue walls and white bedding

15 Things to Do During Home Isolation: Low-Cost Projects and Style Buys

It’s fair to say we’re living in some crazy times right now. If you’d have told me a few months ago that I’d be writing posts on things to do during home isolation I would have laughed. But here we are: stuck inside and looking for ways to pass the time.

All is not lost though, truth be told. It’s actually a really good opportunity to enjoy a slower pace. To embrace the quiet. Of course, we have to balance that with not going absolutely bonkers, which is how this post was conceived.

Below I want to share some really easy and low-cost things you can do at home to make it better. I also want to encourage you to splurge a little during this time. Indulge where you can, and make sure you treat yourself. If not now, then when?

I’d love to hear from you at the bottom of this post in the comments section too. What things to do during home isolation are you taking part in? Let me know how you’re doing and what you’ve been getting up to with the family to stay sane. We really are all in this together (except staying 1.5 metres apart at all times!) 😉

nine grid of black and white framed photos gallery wall above upholstered bench seat in entryway

1. Put Together a Gallery Wall

We’re kicking off my list of things to do during home isolation with this beauty. And honestly, you already have mountains of photos at your disposal in boxes or on your computer. So you’d be mad not to try this. And I know you have a blank wall that’s crying out for some art. So this is your chance to personalise your space, and you won’t have to spend a tonne. 

Get Inspired: You’ll find lots of inspo in my 10 Gorgeous Gallery Wall Ideas Post.

Make it Happen: I order frames for my clients from Frame Shop. Simply order nine frames of the same size and you have the perfect gallery wall grid ready to hang. The image above is from my CBD project and it’s such a nice and personalised entryway moment.

indoor vertical garden using fake plants on kmart industrial ladder shelf

2. Create an Indoor Vertical Garden

Whether you love real plants, or the fakies like me, adding greenery to your home is such a nice way to make it feel more homely. If you have lots of small plants around the house, showcasing them in the one zone will really add impact to your room. The indoor garden above is perfect for renters too as you’re not attaching anything to the wall.

Get Inspired: I’ve got your step by step guide to Creating a Vertical Garden here.

Make it Happen: I used two Kmart Industrial Shelves for this project you see above.

black metal shelf with kmart vases west elm vases and fake plants and sheer curtain

3. Rearrange your Shelf Vignettes

It might seem like a daunting task, but honestly, we all have the time right now. This is a no cost way to make your rooms feel like new. And all you have to do is take everything off your shelf, dust and clean it, and then put everything back in a new configuration. 

Get Inspired: I show you how to Create the Perfect Vignette in this post.

Make it Happen: The shelving unit you see above from my Bentleigh project is the Alexson Shelf and it’s perfect for creating your own vignettes on.

scandi living room with grey sofa and blue armchair

4. Change your Living Room Layout

Out of all the things to do during home isolation, this is an absolute freebie! have done this so many times at home and it always makes me feel amazing. I love nothing more than trying new layouts in a room. But if your space can only really work with one layout, consider swapping pieces from room to room if you have a second living space. A different set of cushions, changing out the side tables, or re-jigging the art between rooms. There are so many different things you can do here.

Get Inspired: I think you’ll find this post on biggest open plan layout mistakes very informative!

modern provincial living room with beige provincial sofa and blue and white cushions

5. Update the Sofa Cushions

Four new cushions and a new throw will honestly completely transform the look and feel of your room, I promise you! And given that we’re entering into the cooler months, it’s a lovely time to buy some low-cost soft furnishings in moody tones. This year, rich reds and dominating, but mustard is also a gorgeous go-to. Or if you’re less trend-focussed, go for a timeless set like the ones above.

Get Inspired: See this one living room three ways post, where all I change is the soft furnishings.

Make it Happen: Ensure your cushions have feather inserts. These from Spotlight are great.

lorraine lea nook dark grey bed linen styling

6. Splurge on Some New Bedding

Let’s be real here: we’re literally spending money on nothing but groceries and bills right now. And I know finances might be tight, but if you don’t splurge on something and treat yourself, you’re going to go mad. I’m all for rewarding one’s hard work, and you totally deserve it during this trying time!

Get Inspired: Let me show you how to style cushions and throws on your bed here.

Make it Happen: I’m preparing a blog post this week on the best places to get bedding from locally, so stay tuned. If you’re not already signed up to my Tuesday newsletter you can get that here.

the block 2018 bathroom reveals hayden and sara bathroom with vertical garden wall

7. Day Spa your Bathroom

My new apartment doesn’t have a bath and it is killing me, because I’m all for a soak in the tub during Autumn and Winter. If you do have a bath, the good news is that this also won’t cost you much. You just need to indulge in a new candle, a bath bomb or salts, have a portable speaker at the ready and a glass of wine prepared. Sometimes the things to do during isolation are more indulgent than designer, and I’m OK with that.

Get Inspired: I have tips on how to create a day spa bathroom here for you.

Make it Happen: I’m currently crushing on candles from Soy on the Hill. They’re affordable and smell so so good!

living room concrete feature wall with round marble coffee table and fake plant

8. Paint a Feature Wall

Don’t scroll past this one! You absolutely have it in you to do this. And I know you’ve been feeling the white walls at home closing in on you. You can order everything you need to complete this project online, or click and collect supplies. One weekend, one wall, and you have a whole new room vibe.

Get Inspired: I just published a post on the best paint colour ideas for your walls.

Make it Happen: You can order paint online from Bunnings here.

lorraine lea pillow collection boomerang pillow

9. Treat Yourself to a New Pillow

Sometimes feeling good at home isn’t all about what you see. Sometimes it’s about how you feel. You can’t beat a good rest, and so often it’s a horrible pillow that’s preventing you from getting one. So now is the time to figure out what your sleep style is and get the right pillow to suit your individual needs.

Get Inspired: It all starts with figuring out your sleep style here, and then getting the right pillow.

Make it Happen: My mates at Lorraine Lea have a wide range of pillows available here.

How to make art from your kids finger painging tutorial finished product

10. Turn your Kids Paintings Into Art

Those of you with kids are bound to have them painting at home during lockdown. And I’m sure you already have tonnes of their old art you can’t bear to part with. The good news is that you don’t have to. You can turn multiple pieces of their art into one stunning masterpiece!

Get Inspired: See this tutorial on making a masterpiece from your kids old art.

Make it Happen: You need a gorgeous frame for this project. We get ours from Frameshop.

ikea wardrobe storage hanger by tlc interiors

11. Organise your Wardrobe

There’s something so satisfying about pulling everything out of your wardrobe and giving your clothes a cull. But before you shove everything back in you’d be wise to organise your wardrobe into neat sections. And the good news is that there are loads of affordable wardrobe organising products to help you here.

Get Inspired: Check out this recent post on affordable ways to organise your wardrobe.

Make it Happen: Kmart has lots of wardrobe organisation products on their website here.

grey and maroon rental apartment interior design mood board

12. Mood Board your Rooms

Everyone in lockdown is looking at their rooms differently now. You’re assessing what you love and loathe about it, and wondering how to make it better. This is the best time for an overhaul of a room in your home, and it all starts with building a mood board so you get the design right.

Get Inspired: Let me show you how to put together the perfect mood board.

Make it Happen: I use Style Sourcebook to make electronic mood boards for clients.

grey slip cover armchair from temple and webster reading nook chairs
Image via Temple & Webster

13. Create a Reading Nook

It’s such a good time to read more when you’re isolated. Trust me, I’ve exhausted all of the home design shows on all streaming services. So now I’m turning to books to keep me entertained. But I don’t want to read them in the living room. I want my own little zone. Enter the reading nook: a cosy little corner just for you! Well, you and a glass of wine 😉

Get Inspired: I walk you through everything you need to create a gorg reading nook here.

Make it Happen: Lighting your reading nook is crucial. Bunnings has some affordable options.

order cheese and wine hamper online from gourmet deliveries

14. Order Cheese and Wine

You have to find ways to make these boring days celebratory and rewarding. And I turn to my two favourite things to achieve this: cheese and wine. Simply place an order with a gourmet delivery service and you have a cheese board and wine hamper delivered. We deserve it!

Make it Happen: Forget the inspiration and let’s get straight to the ordering. Check out a place like Gourmet Basket for fantastic hamper options.

kmart stationery on oval marble coffee table from fantastic furniture and diamond rug from the rug collection

15. Put in a Stationery Order

Last but not least on my list of things to do during home isolation is my other great love: stationery! In times like this not only do I love to write to-do lists each day to keep me focussed, but I like to journal as well. Splurge on some chic notebooks, journals and pens and you can invest some time in yourself, your thoughts and your dreams.

Make it Happen: No need for inspo, let’s just get you a stationery pack on order. I love this range from Officeworks.

chris carroll tlc interiors styling lorraine lea conor quilt cover

How Are You Staying Sane during Isolation?

When it comes to things to do during home isolation, what have you been doing to stay sane? Have to tightened the purse strings or have you found this to be a time to splurge? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Drop me a comment and let me know how things are going at your place.


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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14 Responses

  1. I love everything you’ve suggested. Your positive vibe was a welcome visit to my inbox today.
    Our family is surviving by having a weekly facetime of 5 extended family members (all working from home) online. We start with an ‘around the table’ check-in, then share some funny moments and stories and even had a birthday cake online for our niece. Today we even laughed so much, we had tears rolling down our face.
    My daughter is doing a photo frame wall; while I organise donations to a Vinnies centre who are open for contactless donations. Keep up the good work!

  2. Good Morning Chris
    Thank you for all your ideas and inspirations you submit each week
    Your ideas and examples are great.

  3. Thanks Chris.. Yes, I agree a shelf would be a very nice and functional addition. I’ve started mine by way of adding a hanging plant in one corner. Now I just need to find a small, but comfortable chair to fit in the space as it’s only 1m x 1.5m. A real ‘nook’ in every sense of the word!

  4. Great inspiration in this article Chris! Thanks. I especially love your reading nook idea – keen to create one in a small recessed alcove in my bedroom. Do you recommend a reading nook in the bedroom or is this a bit of a no-no in interior design?

    1. Not at all Kerry – I love a reading nook in a bedroom. I have an alcove in my bedroom too and I was thinking of doing exactly the same thing. There’s room for a shelf in there so I was thinking of adding that in and making it a mini library vibe. Go for it! 😉

    2. “Looking for ways to pass the time”. Not me. I am certainly busy catching up on chores I have wanted to do for ages. I might be back at work (from home) in May so I am counting down the number of days I potentially have left.

  5. I’m moving homes in a couple of weeks – downsizing from a big 5 bedroom Queenslander to a 3 bedroom unit so lots of sorting and culling happening here! Fortunately I’m not a hoarder and my motto in life is: if in doubt, chuck it out ;). Stay well x

    1. Haha! I’d probably just buy some new options and keep the older pieces as back up to rotate styles. Every house should come with a storage unit for excess furniture and decor.

  6. Hi Chris:) Thanks so much for the inspiration! I am,as we speak redecorating my bedroom .I bought a lovely, new vintage washed linen dooner cover & pillow cases in an off white from adairs & that knitted,tassel throw from bed,bath & table you recommended in blush.Also assorted cushions from target & a gorgeous print from adairs as well.It’s definitely keeping me from going bonkers,especially with 5 crazy kids at home.Hoping you & your loved ones all stay safe & sane during these crazy times xxx

    1. Bedroom decorating is my fave room of all June, so it definitely sounds like fun to me. We’re hanging in there at TLC headquarters. I am blogging now more than ever thanks to not being able to leave the house, and surprisingly the design side of the business has actually continued and picked up. So, no complaints here 🙂

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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