I often feel like there are areas of my home that could be improved upon without needing a full renovation and without breaking the bank. Sometimes, all it takes is a little reorganizing, re-purposing and refreshing to make a space feel fresh and new.
1. First things first. Clear all of the clutter out of the room that you are working on. This includes taking artwork and hooks off the walls, taking down draperies (you can give them a wash while you’re at it) and rolling up area rugs. By clearing everything out, you will be able to visualize the room without the constraints of what you’ve been living with.
2. Give the room a really good cleaning, top to bottom, including dusting the light fixtures and book shelves and vacuuming the window screens and backs of closets.
3. Now that the room is decluttered and clean, you can look at it with fresh eyes and begin to plan what comes next. Any room in your house should have only items that you love or that you need to keep for practical reasons.
4. Write down what was working in the room and what wasn’t. For example, if it felt cramped, perhaps you had too much furniture or furniture that was out of scale for the room. If it felt overwhelming, perhaps you had a large piece of furniture with a very loud pattern that needed to be downplayed with neutral throw cushions or a quiet rug. Did the room feel cold, uninviting, unfinished or did people avoid it altogether? Think about why that would be. It’s only once you really consider what wasn’t working that you can make the move towards fixing it.
5. Once you know what the room needs, you can rearrange furniture to make the most of the space, the views and the light.
6. If you have missing elements, take a look around your home to see what can be shifted from one room to another or what can be given new life by giving it a new purpose. An old steamer trunk could be taken out of the basement, aired out and used in the living room where it can double as a coffee table plus store blankets and board games. An old piano bench can become a bedside table in the guest room. A small hutch can become a beautiful cabinet for the bathroom.
Example of a quick, budget-friendly bathroom fix:
• Take everything out that isn’t a permanent fixture. Throw out all of the old products that are not being used, take out the towels, bathmats and shower curtain as well.
• Scrub and clean the place up.
• The fixtures really can’t be changed or moved around on a tight budget but you can hire a contractor for bathtub refinishing and countertop refinishing.
• If you need more storage space, take a look around your home for a small vanity, dresser or cabinet that could be cleaned up and repurposed into a bathroom cupboard.
• Choose a bright cheerful paint color and give the room a fresh coat of paint.
• Hang the towel bars and hooks so they are at optimal heights and locations.
• Hang a new shower curtain that coordinates with the wall color. This is a great way to introduce pattern into the room. If you have some old fabric or curtains that you love but aren’t currently using, you can easily sew them into a shower curtain and simply add a shower liner to protect them.
• Place soft, plush towels on the bars.
• Add some natural elements such as a plant, seashells, stones or grass mat. You don’t need all of them, keep it simple.
• Put up an inspiring piece of art and enjoy your newly reinvented bathroom.
Green Tip: reinventing and repurposing are the best ways to keep your home improvements eco-friendly.
Although these steps may seem like simple common sense, they are often overlooked. Don’t underestimate the power of decluttering, repurposing and reinventing to make a room feel new and lively.