10 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR HOME THIS SPRING
A CONTEMPORARY APPROACH
This is the time of year when many of us want to revitalize our homes and, at the same time, we often don’t have lots of money to spend following Christmas and New Year expenditure! Here are 10 tips for revitalizing your home on a limited budget. View your living space as a project! Imagine you are seeing it for the first time and run a critical eye over it. Restrict your project to just one room or, for the more ambitious of you, review the whole of your living space. It might surprise some of you that I have included Spring cleaning in my tips, but its amazing how many people spend fortunes on refurbishing their homes and forget about ongoing maintenance!
1. Make a list of the things you like and don’t like about your living areas, paying particular attention to everyday things such as clutter, levels of cleanliness, items that are no longer useful, and items you just don’t like!
2. Clear out! Be ruthless! Throw away or send to your local Re-cycle facility all the items that you no longer want to keep. Clear out your cupboards and try to avoid saying things like, ”It might come in useful one day!” The whole point of this exercise is to create more space. William Morris said there was no place in the home for anything that did not possess beauty and/or function – these are good criteria to start with when clearing out your possessions.
3. Clear up! Use the new space in your cupboards to store items that don’t have any beauty or function that necessitates their being left out. Even toasters and other kitchen equipment can be stored away if they are not used regularly
4. Clean and scrub! Having cleared out and cleared up do a really thorough clean. Either do the Spring cleaning yourself or splash out on a company clean. I use CG Scrubbers who are fantastic. Its amazing what a difference they make and sometimes rooms that appeared as if they needed redecorating look fine once they have been spring cleaned. Include carpets and upholstery in the cleaning – it’s worth it.
5. Move items of furniture around. Draw a rough plan of the room you are reviewing and the furniture in it. You can use cut out images of your furniture to experiment with moving the furniture around on the plan. Sometimes, after you have lived somewhere for some time you become locked into certain things belonging in a particular place but this might not be the only solution. Changing the position of all or just some of the furniture can make the room feel completely different. Sometimes you can find a place for an item of furniture in another part of the house or apartment.
6. Replace the old and worn. Replace any items of furniture that are no longer able to fulfill their function. New items are not necessary – sometimes a favourite chair can be reupholstered in a contemporary fabric, or an old dresser can be painted to freshen it up. Old and new can also work very well together if carefully chosen.
7. Redecorate Only if you think you really need to or if you want a change. The safest way to choose a new paint colour is to look at the furniture you have in the room and pick a neutral shade that will tone with your largest item. Greys and taupes are still very fashionable – creams and yellow tones less so. Its also on trend to paint the whole room in one colour – including architectural details, walls and woodwork. Wallpaper is also hugely popular right now but all over – feature walls are out!!
8. Choose new accessories Cushions, vases, interesting objects, books, picture etc. can all add interest and make your living space feel like a home. A key tip is to choose only one or two colours for your accessories for a calm and coordinated look. Less is more – paying more for one or two items that make an impact will usually be better value than filling the space with lots of accessories that cost less. Too many accessories defeat the object of being able to see and admire what you have. Accessories can either be in neutrals, to match the paint colour, in which case lots of different finishes, patterns and textures will add interest; or you can choose an accent colour – for example to match an existing chair or painting.
9. Use fresh flowers There’s no substitute for these and they are no longer an expensive luxury. Choose shades that match your colour scheme – sounds obvious but not always done!! One species of flower looks more modern than a mixed bunch.
10. Use scented candles Scents invoke atmosphere and raise the spirits. True Grace, Diptyque and Jo Malone are all great brands – pricey but will last longer and provide a stronger scent.