Soraya Tamaddon, an interior designer and owner of Design and Staying Group in the Village of Leesburg, said there’s one thing people have come to appreciate more during the COVID-19 pandemic — their home.

As people prepare to move into the fall and winter months, Tamaddon shared tips for how to create a healthier home.

With a shortage of home products and services due to the pandemic, she said it's never too early to start considering the holidays.

Here’s tips from Tamaddon on how to create a “healthier” home this upcoming season.

Declutter and purge

Tamaddon said she understands decluttering and purging is not easy, but it's essential for a healthy home.

“The space around your furniture is as important as the furniture itself,” the designer said.

“Same thing is true for the art on the wall,” she said. "As a wise client once told me, 'Be Picky, Soraya!’ I realized that being picky can be a good thing! I used a trick for myself when I needed to declutter and purge.”

Tamaddon said while cleaning the drawers and cabinets in her kitchen, she only picked pieces that she enjoyed and used all the time. She removed everything else.

“I did not spend any time making any decisions on the things that I did not use or love,” Tamaddon said.

“Everything went in a box and immediately got transferred to the garage,” she said. “This was a couple of months ago and I have not gone to the box for anything. I think it is safe to donate that box now.”

Find a new space

Tamaddon said instead of buying something new, find a new use or place for what you kept in the decluttering phase.

“Use that beloved chair in a different room, hang that picture you love in a hallway or even a bathroom and change and rotate accessories from one room to another,” she said.

Decorate and cozy up your home

Tamaddon said when she lived in Florida the ample sunshine kept her in summer mood, but with the seasonal changes in Virginia, so too did her decor change. She said recognizing the seasons and celebrating them has helped her get through them much easier.

“I am still getting used to winter here, but bringing little lights and warmer colors in sure helps,” she said.

Use your senses

Tamaddon advises people should never underestimate the power of their five senses.

Starting with the sense of touch, Tamaddon said residents should bring out the soft blankets and their child’s favorite plush animal to the family room.

With the sense of “sight” and “hearing,” she advises adding an accent light to rooms and play holiday music.

“Christmas lights do an excellent job in creating a cozy mood in the room,” the designer said. “If you do not celebrate Christmas, you can add fairy lights to your plants, for example.”

Tamaddon said playing holiday music helps to bring a lot of memories.

With the sense of “smell,” she said to try scented candles, or baking cookies and cooking some “soul” food.

“Use your crock pot, and if you have a Dutch oven, then use that,” she said. “I think many of us are trying the air cooker. I got one as a gift recently, and I love it!”

And finally, the sense of “taste.”

“Everyone loves to eat,” Tamaddon said. “Make sure you eat the seasonal fruits and vegetables and use them in your cooking.”

“The bottom line is that we need to commit to ourselves and our families to make this holiday season a great one to remember,” Tamaddon said.

“So, eat, drink and be happy that you are here and enjoy this time with the loved ones that are present with you and remember the ones that live in heaven now,” she added.

Design and Staying Group in the Village of Leesburg is located at 1609 Village Market Blvd #115.

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