Fact: Every house has its share of half-finished projects. But because the new year is the time for fresh starts, now’s the time to put the blank walls, dark corners, and drab wall colors officially on notice. To help get you started, we came up with nine musts for your home improvement to-do list. Read on and get motivated!
This year, resolve to:
Get rid of clutter. This won’t cost you a dime and is one of the best ways to spruce up your home. Good rule of thumb: If you haven’t used it or looked at it a year, toss it out or donate it.
Get organized (finally). Easier said than done, I know, but making sure all of your stuff has a “home” can save you precious minutes in the morning, prevent you from buying what you already own, and make your space seem bigger and cleaner. Work on one room at a time, and pay special attention to problems areas, like closets and front entryways.
Be fearless with pattern and color. Pops of color are proven mood boosters and are easy to inject into any space. Start small with color-rich accessories or, if you’re feeling more daring, paint an accent wall or even the ceiling. Need color ideas? Try experimenting with neons or Radiant Orchid, a striking purple and Pantone’s Color of the Year. If your living room or bedroom is feeling a little staid, shake things up with new patterned throw pillows or bedding. Get tips on how to mix and match prints like a pro here.
Make necessary repairs. Turn a critical eye on your home and try to see it as a first-time guest would. Look for any blemishes that make a room look tired and fix them. Common problems include scuffed baseboards, cracked lampshades, stained rugs, errant nail holes in the wall, and frayed or sagging throw pillows.
Try one DIY project. We’re not talking about rewiring your house or anything. There are plenty of small-scale projects that are beginner-friendly and can add a serious “wow” factor to a room. Some ideas: repaint an old dresser with a funky pattern, like chevron or stripes; reupholster a bench with a luxe fabric; or add nail trim to the dining room chairs.
Find art you love. Dress up those bare walls once and for all. You can get some fabulous art for much less than you’d expect. Hit up estate sales, college art fairs, flea markets, even smaller galleries, or online shops.
Add a few well-chosen accessories. A funky light fixture, metallic vases, a lacquered bowl — you’d be surprised at how much an unusual accessory can perk up a room. It’s okay to start small here until you get a better sense of what you like. Just try to have at least one thing in every room your home that you absolutely love, then build off of that.
Re-evaluate your lighting. Having the right kind of lighting in a room can improve your mood and make your things look more expensive than they are. Overhead lights can be harsh, so consider adding a dimmer or an LED lightbulb with a temperature of 2500 to 3000 Kelvin. (It gives off a soft, warm light that works in virtually any space.) For something more dramatic, hang a chandelier or add beautiful table lamps of varying heights to a room.
Give yourself time (and room) to get it right. The possibilities are endless when it comes to redecorating, which, depending on your personality, can be liberating or paralyzing. Do some planning before you start on a project. Creating a mood board or cutting out pictures of things you like is a great way to kick things off. Then give yourself time to find exactly what you want and permission to make a mistake or two along the way.
What’s your decorating must-do in 2014?