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Virtual concerts: The next great tool for home decor

photo of keyboard in front of window

    Stay-at-home orders: They’re for celebrities, too! Since musicians haven’t been able to hit the road as usual this year, they’ve turned to virtual concerts as a way to engage with their fans. And in addition to allowing us to hear our favorite tunes in more intimate settings, some of these online shows have raised money for COVID-19 relief. BET hosted a virtual concert jam-packed with big names, including Kelly Rowland, Usher, Ludacris and Charlie Wilson. The concert established a fund with the United Way to support African Americans impacted by the pandemic. Meanwhile, Post Malone and Travis Barker’s Nirvana livestream tribute earned funds for The United Nations. These concerts are worthy causes, and it’s great seeing artists using their platform to put them on. But there’s another hidden benefit to virtual shows: They provide decor tips.

    Sometimes the artist will remain in one spot the entire show, allowing us to study how they’ve renovated a certain room. On other occasions, we get a tour of a wider area, offering peeks into wall furnishings and arcade cabinets. These musicians are putting their homes on display, and it can inspire some creative remodeling projects. Here’s a look at four home do’s – plus a major don’t.

    Take advantage of natural lighting
    Even if you’ve replaced all the light bulbs in your home with the exact same model and wattage, the rooms will vary in brightness. The positioning of the light fixtures plays a part, but you also have to factor in natural lighting. Depending on the way the room faces, you might get a heavy dose of sunlight throughout the day. Most windows are built in a way that will limit UBV rays. That means you won’t get Vitamin D simply by sitting near a window, but they provide plenty of other benefits.

    For example, sitting by a window can help with Seasonal Affective Disorder, and a Cornell University study found office workers reported an 84 percent drop in symptoms of eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision, which are all associated with computer vision syndrome.

    That’s why it’s so important to be mindful of your windows or glass doors while decorating or renovating. Setting up a work from home desk next to a window is a great way to keep your body within its natural rhythm. Alicia Keys does this to perfection with her piano room. She tickles the ivories while the California sun shines in from outside. And when she’s done playing the piano, she can relax and gaze out the window from her velvet sofa.

    Natural lighting also helps tremendously with video and photo – that includes your webcam. With all the Zoom and Teams calls we’re taking from home now, you’ll look a lot more vibrant with the power of the sun on your side. 

    Even if you just have a smaller window, you can take advantage of natural lighting. Set up a reading chair by the windowsill, or do a workout routine nearby so you can catch a few rays.

    Create an illusion of space
    Some homes are sprawling landscapes, expanding as far as the eye can see. However, many of us live in places that are less Michael Jordan’s mansion and more in line with the rest of our neighborhood. That might lead to times where you wish you had a little more room.

    Luckily, you can create an element of vastness without increasing the square footage at all. As Sam Smith demonstrates, adding a mirror to your wall can open up the space in your home.

    The illusion of more room isn’t the only positive thing about wall mirrors. They also serve as a way to model a new outfit – who among us hasn’t done a little online shopping this year? – and offer some unique angles for any photo shoots.

    And if you’re one of the many people who have developed a gym at home, mirrors are a great guide to check your form. Whether you’re following along with a digital workout or doing it all on your own, you can look at the mirror to ensure you’re doing the activities correctly, without putting too much strain on your back or neck.

    Shout out to John Legend, as well, for showing us another example of how to capture natural lighting.

    Embrace the power of organized multipurpose rooms
    The Backstreet Boys performing “I Want It That Way” offers us a glimpse into five different homes. Each member of the group highlights something unique – Nick Carter remains outside throughout the performance, offering a nice look at how he lounges on his patio. Kevin Richardson’s kids make a cameo, helping out on percussion. Howie Dorough appears to be standing in front of a movie projection screen.

    But it’s two of the lead singers on this song that offer the best home decor tips, highlighting clever ways to add flexibility into your home by creating functional and organized multipurpose rooms.

    AJ McLean’s piano room gives him a comfortable spot to practice and write new music (though he could open those window blinds for a little natural light!), but that’s not the only use the room has. McLean also stores his extensive sneaker collection there, filling up an entire bookshelf with kicks.

    Meanwhile, Brian Litrell is singing from his spacious downstairs, and we see how he divides the space into clear areas. The sofa is likely in front of a TV, offering a way to unwind after a tour. There appears to be a bar organized in the back, providing a place to test out new cocktails. By the staircase, a pinball machine lets him play a few games before retiring upstairs to bed. Each of these areas also uses different lighting fixtures, creating an additional personal touch.

    While you likely have bedrooms or bathrooms that very clearly have a sole purpose, a lot of homes have rooms that are open, whose purpose is more murky. Create an organized multipurpose room by taking advantage of corners, building vertically, and segmenting different areas by how they’re most frequently used. To provide added flexibility, you can use foldable furniture or pieces that serve as double duty.

    Provide your personal flair
    When you first move into a home, chances are it’s unfurnished, and thus, empty. While that kind of blank canvas can be inviting to some, it’s intimidating to others. Where do you even start?

    Checking out Goldfinger’s music videos might be a good place.

    The band has been putting on a series of “quarantine concerts,” giving fans a taste of some of the biggest hits from their catalog. In addition to rocking out, they’ve also been providing a masterclass in home decor, particularly how to add your own flair to a room.

    In the video, each band member adds their own personal touch to their recording areas. Bassist Mike Herrera is also an avid photographer, so he lines a bookshelf with vintage camera equipment. Guitarist Charlie Paulson is an NBA fan and adorns his wall with a large photo of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant while draping a Lakers flag over his guitar amp. Guitarist Philip Sneed gives a nod to Goldfinger’s inclusion in the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game with skateboards along his wall. He also includes some personal mementos in the form of posters from his tours.

    By decorating your space with things that have sentimental or practical value, you can add an extra sense of comfort into your home. 

    Don’t keep things empty
    While virtual concerts offer plenty of decor inspiration, they also offer some guidance on what not to do. As we take more virtual calls, we’ve been figuring out our optimal angles and working on just the right amount of headroom to leave. 

    What Christine Baranski highlights in an otherwise wonderful collaboration is just how barren her lounging area is. We’ll go ahead and ignore the less than ideal angle of the camera looking up at her.

    Instead, focus on the walls behind her. There doesn’t seem to be any decor to spruce up the unexciting white walls. Baranski is also wearing white, which only adds additional drabness (though she does add a splash of color with a glass of red wine).

    You don’t need to paint the walls in your home a flashy color, but you should have some way to break up the monochromatic feel. Otherwise, you won’t stand out on video calls, and more importantly, you’ll eventually feel the lethargy of an unadorned room. 

    The next time an artist you like puts on a virtual show, take note of their home background. On top of the music, you just might find something else you enjoy.

    The ZebraResource Center