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Smart Solutions: Sometimes, it's the little things that count


Jeanine Matlow  |  Special to The Detroit News

Comfort comes in many forms. When incorporating it into your home, all it takes is a few simple additions to create a peaceful place that puts you at ease and cushions the blow from the real world.

For me, physical comfort comes from a bedrest pillow I found for my back at T.J. Maxx that was a definite step up from the one I had in my childhood home. The latest styles feature soothing hues, plush fabrics, and handles that make carrying the bulky pieces a breeze.

Our collection of throws also provides physical comfort as they offer an added layer of protection from the cold.

The pandemic has taken an emotional toll, whether you’ve been directly impacted by the virus or feel a sense of isolation and longing for your old life. Having welcome distractions can take your mind off the obvious for a short period of time.

Practical projects can ease your daily routine, like the  kitchen drawers I organized that lessen my efforts as I can easily see what I need, whether it’s a pair of scissors or a piece of tape.

Visual reassurance comes from the history behind family heirlooms and the familiar faces in old photos that take my focus in a far more pleasant direction than the daily headlines.

Sometimes comfort comes from enhancing what you already have. When a friend sent me a puzzle for Christmas, I ordered a storage system with drawers and a sizable surface so I could work on it anywhere in the house without taking up an entire table.

In a similar vein, I’m still searching for the right reading light to shine on the art and design titles and shelter magazines that let my mind wander and offer comfort in their creative ideas and images.

Watching the occasional streaming series transports me to another world for an hour or less at my own pace, on my own time.

During a pandemic, certain sounds can be comforting like the church bells we often hear near our house that have a calming effect. Scents that come from cooking (not mine), baking or candles can also convey a sense of security.

Technology keeps us informed and connected to loved ones we cannot see at this time. A new phone stand or charger can make yours easier to locate and maintain.

Sometimes a simple hand-me-down from another member of your household can streamline your daily routine like the digital clock I got from my daughter. The turquoise shade perks up my neutral bathroom where the compact timepiece keeps me on track when getting ready to head out.

A custom handmade ornament from a friend turned a photo of our sweet border collie that left our lives last year into an exact replica. Displaying the felt creation on a corkboard by my bed makes me feel like he’s still by my side.

To get through the winter, I plan to set up a seasonal tray with some pretty teacups and saucers for the comforting beverage. Simple steps like these can keep the cold away and have a calming effect throughout the day.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at jeaninematlow@earthlink.net.