Saturday, May 14, 2011

Refresh your home in 30 days

1 Switch up your bedding.
After a long day at the office or night on the town, your bed can be the most welcoming sight in the world. Transform your sanctuary with something as simple as new bedding. Choose colours and fabrics that conjure the best parts of the season—soft fleeces in lavender or mossy greens are wonderful in winter, while spring suggests bright, airy fabrics.  

2 Jazz up your windows with valances.
Even the most insignificant of windows will look gorgeous with the addition of a valance. You can match the fabric to your drapes, or mix it up with a solid. This is a project that will take a little longer than the others, so make sure you tackle it on the weekend.

3 Add some stripes to a powder room
Painting your bathroom a cozy colour can make your first port of call on those cold mornings so much more bearable. Why not be a little daring with stripes, two-tones, stenciling or a faux finish? In a small room, this won’t be an overwhelming project and can be reversed or updated pretty painlessly.

4 Introduce colour with new cushion covers
Colourful toss pillows or even new cushion covers can update the look of your living room in an instant. Tip: Go to your favourite furniture or design store and ask for their discontinued fabric samples. These often come in sizes that make for easy-to-sew slipcovers, and you can mix and match patterns for original and reversible options.

5 Organize the contents of your fridge.
The key to an orderly fridge is to keep big items in the back, condiments in the door and perishable goods close to the front so you don’t forget they’re there. See through containers let you make snap decisions about what to have, while dry-erase markers let you decide when to have it by.

6 Update an accent chair with a fab fabric.
First turn the chair upside down and undo the screws to remove the seat pad. You’ll need a piece of material about the size of the old seat pad, adding an extra three to four inches on all sides. Place the fabric pretty side facing down and put the old seat pad on top with the bottom face up. Pull the fabric over the edge and staple several times—first on the right side, then left, top then bottom, pulling as taut as possible. Finally, fold the corners into clean simple creases, then staple underneath using diagonal corners.

7 Clear out your closet each season
Be ruthless. It doesn’t matter how much you love a piece of clothing -- if you know you'll never have a chance to wear it, donate it to charity. And when you can find your clothes more easily, it’ll feel like you have twice as many. 

8 Hang some new artwork on the walls.
Whether you’re at the poster, print, or original artwork stage of your life, what’s on the walls gives your home its real personality. Blow up your favourite photographs of family or travel for an instant original piece, or pick up beautiful old paintings at an antique fair and get them reframed.

9 Shuffle through your storage.
After years of stockpiling, you may not even recall the gems you have stored away. Perhaps some of your past loves or old heirlooms have come back into style. Reorganize your storage areas and linen closets to rejuvenate your look—in with the old, out with the new!

10 Repurpose books as art.
Buy a coffee table book on a theme (a book on ships, for example, would be great in your nautical living room) then cut out the ten best images. Buy a variety of interesting salvage frames from antique or flea markets to accommodate the different shapes and sizes of the photos.

11 Paint your front door.
When choosing a colour, think about your home’s architecture style, colour of brick or siding and even  drapery or blinds that are visible from the outside. Postbox red is cheery and classic, black is dramatic and versatile, and blue-greens remind us of a lake house or beach retreat. Tip: Take off the hardware before you begin and if you’re painting a totally different colour and remember to prime first and keep the door ajar for a few hours when you’re done so the paint has time to fully dry. 

12 Organize your kitchen.
Drawer, counter and cupboard organizers can totally revolutionize the landscape of your space and put all your day-to-day needs at your fingertips. Few other home improvement undertakings will increase your everyday happiness more than this—so don’t skip this step. If you think typical organizers are sterile, why not be creative? Woven baskets and vintage boxes are attractive and versatile.

13 Wallpaper a feature wall.
The key to wallpapering is to internalize the simple instructions, measure twice, cut once, and exercise a few simple tips. Cut two lengths the first time, making sure to match the pattern, then put up the first piece. Cut the third to match the second before you put up the next one—and so on. Tip: Add four inches to the length (2 top and 2 bottom) for easy handling and cut the excess with a craft knife when the whole job is done. 

14 Add a throw rug to your kitchen.
Do you spend half your time entertaining in the kitchen? Consider putting a few throw carpets on a ceramic floor to create a warmer, more social atmosphere. Persian rugs in the kitchen are so chic and classic with most décor.

15 Rearrange your kitchen's real estate.
Put the trusty sandwich griller away and take out the multi-faceted stand mixer. Switching up your small appliances will not only change the look of your counter space, it may also remind you of foods you love to make.

16 Install a new showerhead.
If you still have the showerhead that came standard with the house, think about upgrading to the decadent rain shower version, or even splurging with a massaging option. Most fixtures can be changed in a six easy steps: Turn off water. Remove old showerhead. Clean. Wrap with plumbers tape. Attach new showerhead. Test.

17 Revamp your bedside lamps.
Pick up some new lampshades in a cool texture or colour. If your lamps are beyond saving, search out a mismatched pair from a second-hand shop instead of splurging on brand new ones, then paint them a new colour. Remember: Plug in and test any pre-used electronics before you leave the store.

18 Rearrange your furniture.
Move around smaller accent pieces to liven up an old composition or dream up a completely new vision using your current pieces in a brand new layout. Note: Be creative and flexible. Live with the new layout for a few days to get used to the change before making your final decision.

19 Don't forget about the nooks.
A room of one’s own is a must-have, but sometimes even a corner will do. When re-organizing your space or rearranging your furniture, remember to leave room for that cozy reading corner in the office, craft station in the basement, or spa-worthy shrine in the master bathroom.

20 Toss the trinkets.
Notice that designer rooms in magazines never have 'trinkets' lying around; every item is placed with purpose. Look around your home with fresh eyes at the things you’ve bought in the past, but don’t really want or need. Then donate or sell them. 

21 Create your own artwork.
Show your creative side with a simple art project. Pick up a wood-mounted canvas at your local art supply store. Following the same staple gun method as the accent chair, cover a patterned fabric that complements your current decor. 

22 Straighten up your junk drawer.
Turn your 'drawer of plenty' into a go-to-station. Elastics, stamps, paperclips, safety pins, twisty ties and all thingamabobs are right at your fingertips. You can even add a compartment for mail, extra keys and instruction books for everything from your plasma to your exercise bike!

23 Light up your space.
Sometimes home makeover ideas aren’t just about form and function. Why not green up your space in a small way and do something nice for the environment? Replacing your old light bulbs or florescents with halogen or energy-saving versions will save money and the planet at the same time!

24 Keep fresh flowers in your home.
Fresh flowers breathe new life into any space. Pick up a bouquet on your way home from the office and your whole car will smell lovely by the time you get to the house.

25 Turn your bathroom into a pretty space.
Display perfume bottles and pretty bath products for a personal touch or if you prefer a more utilitarian approach, fill glass apothecary jars with cotton balls and buds.

26 Add a signature aroma.
Try to match scented candles to the theme of your room, like a signature fragrance, or switch it up with seasonal scents to evoke your favourite memories, like cedar or freshly baked bread. Tip: Candles composed primarily of essential oils not only smell good, but promote wellness, too.

27 Switch up your hardware.
From door handles to light switch plates to plumbing fixtures, new hardware is an easy way to bring a new look to your home. Tip: Buy hardware that matches the mounting measurements of the ones you’re replacing, so you don't have to drill new holes or patch old ones.

28 Bring your garden indoors.
Rosemary, basil, mint and parsley are delicious in a variety of dishes and smell heavenly. Plant them in a little trough on your kitchen sill to welcome a new season and consider moving them outdoors when the warmer weather finally comes.

29 Introduce a new colour into your decorating scheme.
Add a new accent colour to modernize the look of any room without the commitment of a redesign. If your upholstery is garish, invest in slipcovers. If your dining room table is a hand-me-down, buy a trendy tablecloth and accessorize in the same palette.  

30 Relax and enjoy your space!
Finally, throw a cocktail party so you can celebrate and show off your fantastic new space! Swap tips with your friends and gather new ideas to implement them in your next 30-day makeover.

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