It’s the start of a brand new year, which means we’re all inspired to make changes in our lives: to do better, to be better, to live better.
It’s hard to know where to start: should you sign up for a gym membership, or start a new diet, or start searching for a new job? If you’re satisfied with most things in your life, those options probably won’t appeal to you. It’s a good idea, then, to go closer to home and to make some changes to your house. That way, you can create a space that feels welcoming when you come home from work. You’ll find that everything else feels a whole lot more bearable when you have somewhere wonderful to return to at the end of the day.
The Living Room
One of the most important places in your home is your living room. It’s where many people spend most of their family time, whether that’s playing games with your kids or watching the latest DVD box set with your partner. Your living room is a family hub so it’s crucial that it’s comfortable and welcoming for your whole family. If your couches aren’t in great condition, if they’re uncomfortable or threadbare or if your cat has used them as scratching posts for the last few years, then it’s time to invest in new ones, particularly in the New Year sales, when you can get good deals. Make sure that you go for couches with removable covers so that you can change them if you want to, or in neutral shades. If you have young kids, it’s probably also a good idea not to go for colours that are too light, or for leather so it’s easy to wipe sticky marks off! Get a comfortable throw to put over the couches so you can stay warm and cozy on winter evenings.
One big problem that many communal spaces in the home has is clutter. If this is an issue for you in your living room, go over it and make sure that you return everything to its rightful place in the house. Don’t be shy about throwing things away, and make sure that you keep a box next to the door to fling clutter in that gets tidied out once a week, to keep the room clean in the future. Make sure that your family knows that taking care of communal spaces is everyone’s responsibility and not just yours.
Have you noticed that you aren’t sleeping particularly well at night? Chances are, your bedroom is one of the main culprits preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep. If your bed’s bothering you, or if you’re waking up sore and achy, then you’re probably having some issues with your mattress or pillows. If you find that your skin is irritated and itchy, go for hypoallergenic pillows that can be washed easily. When you dry your pillows, put a clean tennis ball in the dryer with them to make them extra fluffy and fresh. If your mattress isn’t great for you but you can’t stretch to getting a new one at the moment, try a memory foam mattress topper. This will mould to your shape, meaning that you’ll be able to relax and get a good night’s sleep.
Make sure you clear up your bedroom before you go to bed – if you can see untidy surfaces and dark pools of discarded clothes on the floor, you’ll just be irritated by thinking about what you have to do the next day. Declutter all the surfaces, and go through your makeup to throw away old products that you don’t really use any more. It should all have use by dates on it, so it’s time to throw away that old dusty eyeshadow from your college days as you don’t want to get any eye infections. If you have problems with noise or light coming in from outside, invest in some black out blinds or even sound proof curtains that will enable you to ignore the most irritating of outside distractions.
Finally, make sure that you don’t keep any electrical devices on in your bedroom. Put your phone outside to charge, and unplug your TV and stereo at the wall so that the red lights don’t distract you as you’re trying to sleep.
Over Christmas, you probably spent a pretty sizeable portion of your time in the kitchen, which means that you had a chance to become thoroughly irritated with its limitations. Right after Christmas, you probably won’t have the spare cash to consider any really big changes to it, but it’s important for you to consider what exactly you use your kitchen for. If it’s mostly for cooking and you eat in a separate dining room, make sure that your appliances are of the highest quality. If you have a table in there taking up loads of space, go for a breakfast bar instead, which is more modern.
If you and your family tend to eat in there every evening, then make sure that the table is comfortable and that there’s plenty of space for all of you and for any guests that might be invited over. One problem that a kitchen often has is lighting: you need bright white lighting so you know exactly what you’re doing when you’re cooking, but it often feels clinical and unpleasant if you have that lighting overhead when you’re trying to eat your dinner. Get a stand up lamp that will cast a more pleasant, dimmer light over the kitchen when you’re eating, creating a warm atmosphere.
If you want to make some aesthetic changes to your kitchen, try stripping down and revarnishing or painting the cabinets, or adding new knobs and handles to them. If your kitchen opens out onto a patio where you like to eat in the summer, try out a new set of doors like those at http://bifold-hardware.com/us/hardware. Not only will they look good but they’ll also allow more light to stream into the room and provide a better view of your back garden.
The Entrance Hall
One of the most neglected spaces in your home, your entrance hall is the last thing you see before you go to work in the morning and the first thing you see when you get home, so you should make it a comfortable and attractive place. If you’re sick of getting home to a dark house, then add a lamp in your hallway to cast a golden glow over the whole space – if you don’t want to leave it on during the day because of wasting energy, add a timer so it comes on fifteen minutes before you get home. Make sure that you’ve put a mat down so that you and any guests who may be entering your home clean off their shoes before walking into your house. You could even keep a shoe rack beside the door to remind yourself and your family to take off their shoes before coming in properly.
You could also use your entrance hall for storage. You might not have space for cupboards, but if you have a table that you keep your house phone and keys on, put in a cupboard instead, so you can keep things in there and you’re fully utilising the space. If you’re a big fan of books, why not put some of your book shelves in your entrance hall? There should be plenty of space in there, and what’s better than informing everyone who comes into your house that you’re a big reader?