January is when most will tackle the dreaded task of taking down and packing away the holiday decorations. While you are putting your house back in order, I have a challenge to take it a step further?
I have a simple and realistic plan to transform your home using the basic principles of Design Psychology. The idea is to break your home into the following 10 zones and address making improvements one month at a time. The last two months of the year can be a time to tackle larger improvements and to get ready for the holidays once more.
Just follow my list of ideas for each area or come up with your own. With a little effort and some soul-searching, you might be surprised how a few simple changes around the house can change the way your feel by lifting your spirits.
Try to see the area objectively, as if you are a first time guest. It is easy to overlook what is really going on in your space. Ask a friend of family member to help by giving their honest opinions.
Then ask yourself the following questions:
Is it broken or looking worn and shabby?
Do you love it – does it bring good memories?
Does it reflect your lifestyle & preferences (favorite colors or interests)?
Does it serve a purpose?
Does it tell your story?
If the answer is NO to any of the questions above – clear it out, fix it or change it! Move something from another room that works better or perhaps just put it on a wish-list to replace as soon as possible. If finances don’t allow for doing all of the improvements or making the purchases needed, start a special savings to be used for your wish-list.
The goal of this exercise is to slowly transform your home to reflect who you are and to tell your story. So let’s get started….
Exterior & Entrance
Make it Grand! It should be well lit and the doorbell working. If you can’t paint the front door a new color for a fresh new look – bring in color with a new welcome mat and new plants & flowers. A hook, mirror and a place to put down mail are great in the Entry. And don’t forget to provide a place for “Purse Parking” for visitors.
Main Living Area
Sometimes it helps to clear out everything but the main (and heavy) furniture pieces to be able to see the true bones of the room. Wash the walls and baseboards or throw on a fresh coat of paint in a new color. Ask yourself those 5 questions before you bring back anything in the room. Rearrange furniture, collections, artwork. Remember, you can use something from another room.
An easy way to bring in your favorite color is to replace rugs, throw pillows and window treatments. Frame those travel photos or children’s artwork that are just sitting in a box. Remember, if you treat it special – it will be special.
No one likes to clean & organize but boy, does it feel good after a working system is in place! Get a label maker and set up a file area that can help control paper clutter. Sign up for paperless statements. Maybe this is the time to update your computer and tech gadgets. Throw away that charger for the phone you no longer have. Be a hero – clean and organize the dreaded family junk drawer. Everyone will be thankful!
Kitchen & Dining
Before you can get to the decorating – address what lies underneath. Clean and organize the pantry, plastic storage containers area and cupboards. Make room by donating any appliances that you haven’t used in over a year (honestly, how often do you use that mini-donut maker?). Clean the clutter off the refrigerator! Recover seat cushions, replace your placemats, and get new dishes and glasses if they are outdated or looking tired. Then tackle improving the lighting, backsplashes and faucets.
Make this the most important room. Splurge on new luxurious sheets, bedding and art. Upgrade your lighting and the window treatments should be complimentary to your sleep needs. If you can only sleep if the room is completely dark – replace the sheer curtains immediately! Replace knobs on the furniture or paint it a new color. Find a new location for the exercise equipment. Clean out your closets and donate anything you haven’t worn in a year. Vacuum under the bed and behind the furniture. Even if no one else can see it – you will feel better knowing your room is sparkling clean.
One of my favorite sayings is “just because you have children, your home should not look like a daycare center”. Immediately clear the clutter in the main areas of the house and find a spot in the child’s room for toy storage. Update the Winnie the Pooh wallpaper in your teenager’s room. If you don’t have children living with you, make this room functional beyond just storage. Clean out the closets and turn it into your dream space. It can be a library, office, hobby/craft room, music room, media room, etc. You get the picture.
Touch up the scuffs, use a rug runner, paint it a bright color, hang a collection of watercolors, black & white photos or antique mirrors. Re-frame or paint the frames to match that hold all of the family photos. And don’t forget to clean out and organize the hall and linen closets.
Think of your favorite accommodations while away and be inspired. Guests should have a place to set their bags, hooks, a robe and fresh flowers, linens and towels to greet them. Set up a little area with a stack of your favorite books and magazines. Leave stationary and a pen on the bedside table and in a small photo frame, have your wireless code so guests can easily access the internet.
Other – Bathrooms, Den, Media, Etc.
For Bathrooms, replace lighting, towels, hardware, knobs & fixtures. Replace tile, clean the grout or install a medicine cabinet. You can paint the cabinets, wallpaper the walls and replace window treatments. Change out the art and re-frame the mirror. For the Den or Media areas, clean out old games and movies. Perhaps this is the time to finally tackle transferring your VHS home movies to DVD. Bookshelves should have breathing room. Paint a jazzy color on the back of the shelves to add an unexpected touch.
The garage is typically the catch-all for unfinished projects and items we have trouble letting go. Invest in storage bins and racks and use that label maker. Clean – Organize – Donate!!! Need I say more?
Bring in the Professionals
It may be time to call a Designer, Contractor or Handyman to help with the larger projects or the finishing touches. Splurge a little on your wish list.
Well, it is time to drag out all the Holiday décor once again. After all of your hard work, throw a party to show off your new and improved home!