We’re all looking for a way to spruce up our homes. No matter if you’ve built a custom designed home or you live in a home that is 100 years old, there’s always something that can be done to add a fresh look and feel to any decor. I’m not talking about remodeling the lower level or installing a sports court (both great ideas, just a different post for another time), I’m talking about the simple things you can do today or over the weekend to make your home feel fresh again.
Let’s face it, we all go a little house blind to that stack of newspapers sitting on the bottom step, or that pile of sports equipment that the kids dump there after school. Even worse, most of us have grown used to a certain amount of clutter in the house. Whether it be a drawer (or several) or just a pile of shoes in the back hallway, clutter can take over. Getting rid of it can make the whole house feel new (okay, I have a fair amount of clutter I need to deal with).
Here are some tips for sprucing up your home (just in time for the holidays!) for under $100, as long as you’re willing to provide a little elbow grease.
1. Paint – Nothing says fresh and clean like a new coat of paint. The current trend is for neutrals but that doesn’t mean you can’t go bold. Choose one wall to express your creative side. Create patterns with painter’s tape or consider applying wallpaper to one wall. It’s only paint, if you don’t like it you can always paint over it. Check out these great painting ideas on Pinterest.
2. Lighting – Lighting is one of the best ways to change the way a room feels. Consider adding a dimmers so you can easily control the amount of light in each room. Lighting can now be controlled on a smartphone adding to your safety at night or when you’re away. Adding accent lights on end tables or desks can make a room feel warm and cozy.
3. Outdoors In – House plants are a wonderful way to add color and texture to your living areas. Bringing the outdoors in works best if you don’t have a cat. If your pets can’t be trusted to chew on the plant be sure it isn’t poisonous to them. In addition to house plants which can live forever if you have a green thumb, cut flowers can cheer up the darkest of winter nights. Put cut flowers or small plants in unexpected places such as the powder room and rear foyer.
4. Clear the Clutter – Cleaning off the kitchen window can go a long way in changing the way you view your kitchen. Get rid of the things that have collected there over the years such as buttons, lids to water bottles, empty spice jars you mean to refill, and the dog’s medication. Spend the weekend finding a space for everything and then putting everything in its space. You’ll feel organized and empowered because you won’t waste so much time looking for things. Same goes for the junk drawer. It’s okay to have a drawer that collects all the things we don’t know what to do with but periodically clear it out and get rid of what hasn’t been used in six months or more. If you use it, find a dedicated space for it and put it there so you know where it is.
5. Welcome – A new welcome mat and cleaned up entry way makes visitors feel welcomed. In addition to increasing curb appeal a welcoming entry can set the tone for the way you feel when you arrive home. There’s nothing worse than coming home after a long day at work to see chipped paint on the door, a broken door bell, and a ratty old welcome mat. For me I think “great, I just got home and now I’ll have to tackle things like laundry and cleaning and cooking”. A messy entry is a trigger for all my house cleaning chores so get rid of it by sprucing up the entryway.
6. Create a Retreat – You can turn a regular bathroom into a spa with a few candles, a boombox (or iPod and earphones) and a waterproof pillow. Stop by Lush and pick up some wonderfully scented, all natural, bath bombs to make your evening soak even more luxurious – just tell everyone to leave you alone for half an hour. Here are some other great ideas to Spa-ify your bathroom on Pinterest.
7. Build a Fort – Remember those nights when you turned your bed into a fort? Remember how much fun it was to hide from the rest of the house and read your favorite book? You can recreate that feeling with blankets, throw pillows and string lights. Here are some great how-tos if you want to turn your bedroom into a fort, even if only for a weekend.
8. Take the Sniff Test – If you have indoor pets your home probably doesn’t smell as good as you’d like it to. You can use a plethora of products designed to mask the smell of pets or you can neutralize them. At least twice a year you should steam clean the carpets and rugs. This gets rid of the odor and also eliminates the dander that collects – which can cause allergies, and it reduces the creepy crawlies that come inside with the pet.
9. Create a Theme – Creating a theme to your home can be fun or it can be overwhelming depending on the size of your home and the chosen theme. A seaside cabin easily lends itself to a nautical theme while an urban home might be more difficult to pin down. Add a theme or two to a bedroom for starters. A child’s bedroom is an easy choice as you can use their favorite story book character to decorate. Carry that theme through their bathroom if it’s private. Add a theme to the living room by using black and white family photos or only colored landscapes. Let your creativity go wild.
10. Don’t Forget the Walls – The walls of a home are like a blank canvas, over the years they get filled with framed photos and artwork. Adding a mirror to a small room is a great way to trick the mind into thinking the room is larger. If you have a smaller home use the wall to hang everything from coats and hats to bags and books.