Close your eyes and imagine your dream house. Go through it room by room (don’t forget the patio and back yard). What colors do you see? What kind of furniture is there? What do you find on the walls and the floor? You may want to write everything down, make a board using photos from magazines, or try out a free online design program. Now, think about how you can translate the feel of your perfect space into areas of where you live right now.
Painting is an easy and fairly inexpensive way to completely transform a room. If you’re feeling stuck in a decorating rut, try a brave new color. Buy a few samples of different shades (you can usually buy a pint for about $3) put them up, and live with them for a while. See how the new colors make you feel at different times of day.
2. Give it away
Studies have shown that being in a cluttered space can cause feelings of anxiety and anger. If you’ve got a room that is subliminally stressing you out, do yourself a favor and clear the clutter away. You may uncover some forgotten treasures, or possibly discover the joy of an austere, open room. Donate items you no longer need to a local charity, or hold a garage sale.
3. Make a quiet place
Children make forts, Superman has a Fortress of Solitude, and you deserve a quiet space to relax and make your plans for saving the world. It doesn’t need to be an entire room; a corner in the kitchen or your bedroom can work. Your space can even be outside. The important thing is to make it yours: your comfortable seat, a convenient table for books or a tea mug. Don’t let clutter build up there. No coats thrown over the chair or bills piled up on the table.
4. Update one room
Make a goal this year to completely redo one room in your house. If your kitchen is cramping your style, or your master bedroom is for the birds, contact a local contracor to at least see what’s possible and what kind of figures are involved. For some cosmetic fix-ups, hit garage sales for inexpensive rugs, tapestries, vases, or art. Rearrange the furniture, or change the window coverings to bring in a fresh new look.
5. Change your linens
Textiles are another simple way to liven up a room. January is white sale season, which is a great time to buy a new comforter or tablecloth or some bath towels. Experiment with a different color or pattern (or lack of pattern).
Whatever you do to update the look of your home, make the change for you: your comfort, your joy. The design experts on TV can give you inspiration, but you don’t need to follow their decrees. Trust your own sense of style; bring home what appeals to you. Remember that your home, like your life, is a work in progress, so have fun with it and enjoy your space as your own personal canvas on which to paint your personality.