The holidays are a time for get-togethers and quality time with the ones you love. You may be hosting a small cocktail party for your co-workers, having your friends over for Christmas Eve, or hosting your in-laws for an entire week. In this sense, the end of the year is also a time of dire realization (as anyone who has ever hosted a last-minute holiday party can attest): How did you manage to accrue all this extra clutter? How will guests feel about your mismatched dining room chairs? Do you even have an extra set of sheets for the spare bedroom?
It’s easy to get carried away in December and scramble as you attempt a last-ditch effort to redecorate from top to bottom before your guests arrive—but between piling up presents under the tree and stocking the fridge with extra bottles of champagne, it’s hardly the most financially sound time to do so. Luckily, there are a ton of crafty solutions that don’t involve throwing money at the problem—and they’re probably easier than you think.
If you have just a few free weekend hours to spare in between brunch and re-watching Friends on Netflix for the 119th time, there are a ton of affordable (and insanely easy) projects that can make you see your home in a whole new light: Can you alter the ambiance by installing dimmers? Maybe you can improve the flow of your space by moving a few pieces of furniture around? How about finally using that leftover paint that’s slowly been crusting up in the basement? Try these 7 easy projects to make your home feel more polished before your guests arrive—you’ll even have a beautiful new home to start the new year in.
Declutter Your Space
One of the easiest ways to make your home feel new again might be more within reach than you think—and it starts with entirely decluttering your space. In order to do this successfully, it’s important to be ruthless about every last item you own—especially the ones that are in plain sight.
Do you really need a dozen scented candles? Are your shelves packed to the brim? Do your books, frames, and other personal mementos inspire you? Or do you simply hold onto them because you feel bad throwing them away? Sometimes, a clean slate is all you need to re-inspire you to make improvements to your space.
Lighting has the power to entirely alter the mood in a room, so if redecorating is out of the question, consider installing dimmers on your existing lamps and light fixtures or even just swapping the light bulbs for ones with lower wattage.
Especially in the winter when we crave cozy spaces, creating the right mood by turning on softly dimmed lamps or lighting a few candles can transform any room into a space that’s ready for hosting friends or snuggling up for a Netflix marathon. Bonus: it will hide all the imperfections you can’t bear to look at until you fix them.
Move Items From Room to Room
Is there a small dresser in your guest room that could be better used in your living room? Do you have a turntable gathering dust in the basement? Is there a nook in your family room that could be put to better use? Could you brighten up your dining room by swapping the rug with the one in your bedroom?
Sometimes, it only takes an assessment of what you already have to realize that you can redecorate by shopping your own home. When taking inventory of your furniture and decorative accessories, consider anything from smaller furniture to artwork, lamps, and even rugs—and try styling things in a whole new way.
Bring Greenery Inside
Do you have a backyard or garden? Are there any plants on your balcony? With temperatures dropping, now is the ideal time to turn your home into a veritable greenhouse, using plants you may even already have outside.
Even if you live in a city apartment devoid of any outdoor space, a simple walk around the neighborhood park may inspire you to display fallen branches from the park in a tall vase purchasing a few small succulents to add to your windowsill.
Rethink Your Layout
Do you have a home office you never set foot in? How about a dining room where you only eat once a year? Is your guest room gathering dust? Think about how you could use these spaces in a way that would serve you better. Consider turning your home office into a reading nook or your guest bedroom into a walk-in closet. Using pieces you already own, try to repurpose unused spaces.
In the same vein, move furniture around in your living room or bedroom to improve the flow—can you create a more conversational space by moving the focus away from the TV? Can you make room for a workspace in your bedroom by swapping a nightstand for a desk? You’d be surprised how many impactful changes you can make by re-thinking your existing furniture.
Use Leftover Paint
If you’ve painted any room in your home (or even just the front door), you probably have leftover paint somewhere. Time to put it to good use. This does not necessarily entail painting a wall—chances are you may not have enough leftover paint anyway. Instead, think outside of the box.
Can you repaint your front door or entryway? Can you create a graphic statement with a painted archway? Can you repaint only the door and window frames or focus only on the ceiling? These types of smaller projects are easy to tackle in one weekend and they can have a huge impact on the way your space looks and feels.
Re-Style a Vignette
After you’ve decluttered and moved furniture around, focus on small vignettes in your home: an entryway console, a bookcase, a desk—how can you make that area of your home feel more functional, put together, and elevated? Can you add a throw pillow, re-style your books, or organize your console with a tray or catchall?
When you’ve spent so much time in your home, it’s easy to overlook the smaller moments that could use a little bit of zhooshing up. One of the oldest tricks in the book is to arrange things by collections: Can you group all your décor books together? Corral your various spirits and create a minibar in the living room? These small moments are the ones who can make a world of a difference.
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