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How's Your 'Zoom Room' Looking? Interior Designers Offer Tips

Marika Brussel, ODC instructor and freelance choreographer, takes notes while watching her ODC teen lab ballet class students over Zoom during the coronavirus outbreak in San Francisco, Friday, July 10, 2020.
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Marika Brussel, ODC instructor and freelance choreographer, takes notes while watching her ODC teen lab ballet class students over Zoom during the coronavirus outbreak in San Francisco, Friday, July 10, 2020.

Have you ever wondered what the person on the other side of the screen thinks of your home during a Zoom meeting? Until now, a lot of us haven't.2020 will forever be known as the year spent mostly indoors and online for many. Virtual meetings, hangouts, and events played a huge part in staying connected with one another. And those extra hours cooped up at home sparked a desire for individuals to perform new renovations to their homes.

So it's no surprise interior decorators and designers have experienced an uptick in business since the pandemic started.

Cheryl Magnuson, owner of Majestic Interior Design In Bloomington, says she believes the recent increase in business is coming from people spending their time at home more than anywhere else.

"Everyone has been at home they are in their rooms trying to make their offices look nice. They are trying to make their dining rooms and offices and on top of that people are redoing kitchens. We have never done so many kitchen and bathroom remodels," Magnuson said. "Because people are they're not traveling right? Because they're not spending (on) those large ticket items. They're like, this is the year we're going to put that backyard patio in or redo our kitchen or bathroom."

However, Magnuson also says the pandemic isn't a boon for interior decorating, necessarily. COVID-19's impact on factories and production companies has led to less product becoming available.

"Even working here in town with a local furniture store, it's been one of their best years ever. The thing is, it's so busy that they're really backed up. You have factories that have COVID shutdowns and requirements, restrictions. So everything's gonna slow down in the industry, as far as like getting products," she said.

While doing things virtually and from the comfort of your home has its benefits, it also has its drawbacks. Communicating via screen has been known to create insecurities in individuals both about how they personally appear on camera, but also how their home appears.

Mellisa Phillips, a design consultant at Bella Grove in Peoria, has some advice on how to create the best presentation on camera.

"Lighting is obviously important. And you want to have the lighting in front of you not behind you. It's actually better if you sit kind of straight onto a wall. Don't have your camera shooting into a corner: actually have a wall behind you," Phillips said. "The main thing is really just kind of get some kind of depth or dimension back there. So if you have a bookcase, or bookshelves, or a fireplace, that will help give it some interest."

Kathy Crank, Co-Owner of Lippman’s Furniture and Interiors, says soundproofing a room is also conducive for holding the best virtual meetings.

"We would recommend you try to soundproof your room to a degree which from an interior standpoint, a lot of the homes today have hard surfaces on the floor, whether it's wood or a vinyl of some sort," Crank said. "So you would put a rug in that area, fabrics will help absorb sound that might be background noise when you're having a meeting."

Phillips also recommends avoiding too many personal items on display in the background of a meeting.

"We would probably suggest that you maybe stay away from anything too personal. If it's a, you know, a business situation that you're having a meeting. You don't necessarily want to have, I would say, lots of family photos or anything too political or too personal that some people might get uncomfortable staring at that behind you," Phillips said.

Magnuson said she believes the virtual world in which we are currently living is going to continue to benefit the interior design business.

"I think it's actually going to be good, because we've been pushed to this world of Zoom and virtual. So that's going to mean it's easier for us to do long distance," Magnuson said. "Condos, for example. We have clients that have condos in Chicago. They move out of state and they want our help from there. So now we're all comfortable with Zoom, and I think it's going to be even more potential for business."

All three women say people should feel comfortable and enjoy where they spend most of their time. For a lot of us right now, that place is our home.

WCBU's story.


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Olivia Streeter is the WCBU Summer Intern.
Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.