7 Small-Space Hobbies to Try When You Need a Break from Puzzles

published Feb 4, 2021
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You’ve baked the bread, tended to the plants, and started up a new at-home workout routine. Maybe you’ve even rearranged your spice cabinet (finally!), tried a few new recipes, or rediscovered your love of puzzles. Whatever your indoor hobby has been for the past few months, it’s OK if you’re beginning to lose steam and are interested in trying something new.

No, we don’t mean buying yet another jigsaw puzzle — though if you’re in the market for a new design, there are plenty of options waiting for you. There are plenty of hobbies that are perfect for small spaces, many of which can be confined to a small tabletop for easy clean-up. Try one of these easy and tactile options, or rotate a few of them to keep them fresh.

Test your focus with Jenga tower that doubles as decor.

This isn’t the Jenga tower from your childhood — the colorful blocks and wood die up the ante on the classic game. Play with a partner, or test your own strategy skills by dismantling the tower solo. Think of it as undoing a puzzle, with higher stakes.

Brush up on your backgammon with a pretty set.

You’ll need a partner to play, but this limited edition backgammon set is pretty enough to tempt anyone to play a round or two. Bonus: It’s shaped like a board game, for easy storage.

Or, if you’re looking to invest in a more traditional backgammon set (i.e. one that looks like its own tiny briefcase when closed) this colorful option from the MoMA design store is equal parts game and accent piece.

Get crafty with a macrame kit.

Nervous about miscounting a stitch as you knit? Worried about stabbing yourself with an embroidery needle? Try macrame. This kit from We Are Knitters contains everything you need for a handmade project you can hang on your wall after you’ve finished. Bonus: The company filmed easy-to-follow videos to help you master any knot.

Stump yourself in a game of Solitaire.

Or if you’re sheltering in place with someone, invite them to a game neither of you have played before. You can learn it as you go — and bet on chores if you want to up the ante a bit. This deck of cards by Pendleton comes with a matching pouch and would match any rustic home decor.

Learn calligraphy.

Brush up on your penmanship with a calligraphy kit. This set contains everything you need to learn the art of hand-lettering, from the pen and ink to practice paper with easy-to-follow lines. Once you feel comfortable, grab a few pieces of stationary and send your friends some old-fashioned snail mail!

Line up a train of dominoes.

Dominoes are easy to play solo or with other people. This set features colorful camouflage prints by famed artist Andy Warhol for a savvy spin on the traditional numbered dots.

Upcycle your old vases into painted masterpieces.

Looking to turn an old vase or candle cup into a faux-terracotta piece? Grab some baking powder, a brush, and acrylic paint. This how-to explains the simple process to upgrade your old pieces — and if you don’t have anything lying around, a quick trip to Home Goods can help. Use your designs to display flowers, or give them as gifts.