It starts with a feeling…you know you want to refresh your home. Other than feeling that it’s just not working for you, you don’t know where to start. You also want to do this in a sustainable and budget-friendly way. You are not about to throw everything out and start again.
That’s why I’m here, I will guide you through the process of updating and refreshing your home so it’s not overwhelming. It’s not an instant fix but if you follow the guidelines below you’ll at least have made a start. There is no deadline on this, you don’t have to have it all done in a week, a month or a year. Just make a start.
Creating a home takes time
“You have your whole lifetime to create your home. Take your time and be intentional with what you do in it.” – Style At No.5
What I would say is that going out and buying random accessories on a whim will not get you where you want to be. I know it feels good at the time, I’ve been there, but you’ll only come home with more “things”that you’re not sure work or fit.
You want to make this year the year you think sustainably and create a home you love, without spending unnecessary money.
Look at your home with design and function in mind
This is probably the hardest undertaking. You live there every day so it’s hard to see things objectively. You want to think about how the house functions for the people living there, not only how it looks.
This is a physical task, you’re going to walk around your home and look at it as objectively as you can. Maybe wait until everyone else is out of the house and you have an hour or two to yourself to really look at your home. Also make sure it’s fairly tidy, as you don’t want to be distracted by mess.
Walk your home
Walk through your house, room by room with a notebook and pen and/or camera. Look at each area critically, but don’t be over critical. This is an exercise to allow you to make small changes that will improve your home, it’s not an exercise to make you think you need to redesign everything!
Take a photo
It might help to take a photo of each room and come back to it later. Again this is not for you to criticise every aspect of each room. Look at it and see the things you love as well as the things you might want to change. Maybe you love the artwork in the room but want to change how it’s displayed. Maybe you love the sofa but the cushions on it are a bit dull. Think of the memories created in the room and how it has worked for you over the years. It just might be time for a change.
Critique the room
Either as you walk around or later when you have some time to yourself have a look at each room and think about the following areas.
First thing to look at is the function of the room, either its planned use or how it is used by default. Be honest, there is no point saying it’s used as a formal dining room when in reality it’s beside the kitchen and gets used as a laundry room.
- What is this room used for?
- When is it used? Day or night?
- Who uses it?
- How often is it used?
- Does it work in it’s current state?
- Do you want or need to change what the room is used for?
Look at the furniture you have in this room. Think about whether it works.
- Is there a flow when you enter the room, is it easy to get around the furniture?
- Could you change the furniture around?
- Is the furniture the right size for the room?
- Would the furniture work elsewhere in your home?
- Have you furniture elsewhere that you could move in here?
- If the room is a sitting room, for example, is there somewhere to sit and put a cup of tea down beside you? Can you see the TV easily and comfortably from every chair in the room?
Colour in a room is very important, trust me I’ve tried out many paint samples in my time trying to get the right colour for a room.
- How do I feel when I come into this room?
- Are the colours working for me? Do I like the colours in this room?
- Are they creating the right feeling in this room – energising, calming, welcoming etc.
- When I look around the room are there any colours that stick out. This could be intentional like pops of colour on a bookcase or mantel but just notice them and whether you like them.
Lighting really helps to create an atmosphere in a room and obviously it’s very important in the depths of an Irish winter! You don’t need every corner to be lit up but think about what happens in the room and if there is sufficient light for it.
- Does the room have task lighting and atmospheric lighting?
- Can you turn off the main light and have warmer, softer lights turned on?
- In the kitchen for example is the worktop lit sufficiently? Can you see what you’re doing or is the light behind you and blocked by you standing there?
Every room has “stuff”. Some of it necessary, like in the kitchen a kettle, a toaster, crockery etc., some of it less necessary, like piles of laundry, bills etc.
- How much stuff is there in this room?
- Do you need all this stuff in here? Could some of it be moved elsewhere or recycled?
- Can you see it all or is some of it hidden in storage?
- What stuff is decorative and what stuff is just functional?
Make a plan to refresh your home
When you have gone through every room in your home, it’s time to make a plan. Be realistic, look at your budget, your available time, what you have coming up in the next few months and any deadlines you want to hit.
Think about what rooms you want to tackle first. Some rooms might only need a quick refresh while others might need more work.
The easiest way to refresh your home is to declutter. I know, I know, this is the dreaded step but it needs to be done. Follow any method you like, “one in one out”, “does it spark joy” a la Marie Kondo, hide stuff away for a month and see if you miss it. Whatever works. If you want to follow a checklist for organising your home using the KonMari model check out this article from Happy DIY Home.
Just remember you don’t need to do everything at once. Start with something small like a drawer or shelf and work from there. Set aside 30 minutes a day to decluttering and don’t give up if you miss a day or two. I guarantee you will feel better when you do it.
It goes without saying recycle what you are getting rid of, either to a charity shop or a recycling centre.
Shop your home
Sometimes all it takes is simply moving something to a new room or changing it’s position in an existing room to refresh how it looks. Move furniture to make the room function better. Move plants into different corners, put together your prized collection of vases and display them, change a piece of art from one room to another.
Upcycle what you have
I’m not going to tell you to go out and buy a whole new selection of furniture for your home in 2020. That is neither sustainable nor budget friendly. Look at the pieces you have, are they good quality but maybe a bit tired? Could they be painted to refresh them (by you or someone else) or could you get them re-upholstered?
Sometimes just buying a tin of paint and painting a wall or walls can make a huge difference. It can make your existing furniture and possessions come alive and invigorate you when you walk into the room.
Alternatively consider painting your kitchen cupboards to give them a new lease of life.
Refresh your home, one room at a time
These are only a few tips but I hope they were helpful. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.
I’d also love to write a “Refresh Your Home” guide for the various rooms in a house, if you thought that was helpful. Let me know in the comments below.
If all of the above has gotten you thinking about refreshing your home but you feel you need a helping hand, contact me to find out how I can help you to style your house sustainably and create a home that you love.