Juliana Oliveira has spent her career building out spaces that spark creativity and a sense of home. She has spent her entire life surrounded by a family that prized architecture as the foundation for creating these safe spaces.
“I was exposed to the world of architecture, engineering and design by my dad’s side of the family,” shares Oliveira. “My father and each of his siblings (except for one) were either an architect or a civil engineer. As a child, I’ve always had a love for modern architecture and design as far as I can remember.”
Initially Oliveira wanted to follow in her family’s footsteps and pursue a career in architecture that is until she realized she had an effortless and passion driven knack for interior design.
“Through my journey I stumbled on interior design work in which each felt so effortless for me to execute that I had trouble considering that I could make it a legitimate profession,” explains Oliveira. “I thought that my career had to be complicated and difficult, but quickly realized that design was my talent and superpower.”
Oliveira started by building out a client list made up of those who were in her circle — friends and family who allowed her to help them redesign their own spaces, from homes to businesses. Now, with over a decade of design work under her belt Oliveira is sharing what she’s learned with other Latinas who may want to follow in her footsteps, as well as with the thousands of people who have now transitioned to a completely work from home setup because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“There’s a big void in the industry when it comes to Latina designers and I would love to encourage our talented, creative community to pursue their dreams in this field,” states Oliveira. “Latinas have a very special advantage in the design world, as we have a very unique perspective with an additional layer of cultural influence from our family of origin — our homelands. This will translate into the design work as in feeling more comfortable experimenting with color, patterns, and pushing the barriers via innovative concepts that will break the mold of any particular set of societal rules.”
Below Oliveira shares how you can refresh your own space to be more conducive to creativity and calming feelings during this transitional time.
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Invest now to enjoy more of the payout
During a time of economic uncertainty, investing doesn’t just mean a financial investment. Taking the few extra hours to rearrange your space to make it work better for your new normal can help in setting you up for success in the long-term, suggests Oliveira.
“Investing in your home will pay dividends in your mental and physical health, relationships…and time management,” explains Oliveira. “I always tell my clients that the sooner they make their house feel like their home, the longer they will have to enjoy those dividends.”
Start piece by piece
“There’s a tendency to overthink things when it comes to refreshing your space,” adds Oliveira. “Most of the time, there’s a rush to get everything done that leads to getting overwhelmed so it’s important to start with one area and once completed you move on to the next section. Also, work piece by piece – it’s beneficial to start with the one piece you know you love then start making decisions based on that.”
Giving yourself a few days to learn what your new needs are when working from home will actually make that half a day or full day you spend reorganizing way more effective.
Get rid of what doesn’t work
Don’t be afraid to purge. This may be the first time you’ve had to use your space in such a specific and long-term way. Items that you thought were going to be forever items may not fit into the vision or function of the space anymore.
“Remember – you don’t have to keep everything! Sometimes we feel stuck with things we have accumulated over the years and we carry it around until it becomes a burden. Reorganizing is a great time to purge and make room for new things in your life. If it doesn’t serve a purpose and doesn’t bring you joy – let it go.”
Plants can help stimulate creativity
Adding live plants to your space during a time when you’ll be spending way more time indoors than out is a perfect way to bring nature into your home. Spotting your succulents while you work may not completely make up for the limited outside exposure you’re getting, but even a little bit is more than none.
“As humans we have an inherited need to be close to nature,” explains Oliveira. “It’s a subconscious thing that is very real. There’s actually a term for it: biophilia or biophilic design. Bring plants inside, if you don’t have a green thumb bring in fake plants, there are still huge health benefits from that. Also, try to work close to a window as it gives you a view of [the outside.]”
Prioritize color, from decor to notebooks
Refreshing your space isn’t just about big furniture buys.
“Within your office space, incorporate supplies that make you happy,” suggests Oliveira. “Incorporating color is really important to help you drive that motivation to stay productive at home. There are some people that function better with neutrals and others that love pops of bold color.”
Take the time to figure out what your needs are and what’s going to make you feel most productive and effective while working from home. The visual cues from your space may help assist a mindset shift that makes the new normal a bit more tolerable.