Staying Indoors This Summer? Here Are Some Easy Ways To Spruce Up Your Home

Most of us have been spent much more time than usual at home this summer, staring at the same four walls for weeks on end. And since many of us may continue to both work and relax from home for the foreseeable future, this is the ideal time to freshen up and invigorate your space. Here are eight simple things you can do to breathe new life into your home, no matter what style or décor you prefer or your budget.

Most of us have been spent much more time than usual at home this summer, staring at the same four walls for weeks on end. And since many of us may continue to both work and relax from home for the foreseeable future, this is the ideal time to freshen up and invigorate your space. There are a host of simple, low-cost things you can do to breathe new life into your home, no matter what style or décor you prefer or your budget.

It’s important to be aware of your limits when it comes to DYI home projects, experts say. Even if you know how to wield a drill or can easily assemble furniture, certain jobs are best left to those with expertise, especially projects involving electrical work or plumbing. Even if DYI isn’t your thing, however, you can still make many improvements.

Here are eight easy, inexpensive ways to enliven your house or apartment.

 

MAKE LIKE MARIE KONDO AND DECLUTTER

Before you begin redecorating or buying any new items, a good first step is to thoroughly evaluate what you have and start to declutter. Sort through your closets and storage areas and throw away, recycle, or donate any items you no longer need or want. If you aren’t sure where to start, look up the methods developed by organizing guru Marie Kondo and let her be your guide. (According to Kondo, if the belonging you hold doesn’t bring you joy, it’s time to say good-bye). Don’t forget about all the little things you have stuffed inside of kitchen cabinets, dressers, and bathroom drawers.

 

DO A *REALLY* DEEP CLEAN

Keeping your home as clean as possible is especially important during the pandemic. Assemble your supplies and embark on a top-to-bottom cleaning. You can wash windows, clean out your refrigerator, and scrub your oven. Dust and vacuum all those spots you haven’t gotten to in a while. Don’t forget to wipe down your microwave. Frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, kitchen and bathroom fixtures, phones, keyboards, and other handheld gadgets should also be wiped down. Toss things in the laundry that usually don’t get cleaned, such as your curtains, throw blankets, and pillows. Don’t feel pressure to get everything done in a day; coming up with a calendar for different tasks may help make it less daunting.

 

REARRANGE WHAT YOU ALREADY OWN

One easy way to obtain a fresh look is to move around furniture and other objects. Whether it's artwork, side tables, or larger pieces of furniture, rearranging items can open up space and transform a room. You can also look around your home and in storage spaces to see if you have any pieces of furniture, lamps, or artwork that could work better in another room or area.

 

PUT ON A FRESH COAT

Adding a new coat of paint can give your space an entirely different feel. And there are many options for painting projects. You can paint all the walls in a room, or just a single accent wall. You can use a similar shade of paint or try a complementary color. If you want a smaller project, try painting the trim along floors or windows, give your kitchen cabinets a new hue, or liven up your bathroom walls.

 

EVALUATE YOUR LIGHTING

It’s easy to forget about the lighting in our home, especially if it’s been the same for a long time. The way you light up your home can be both practical and attractive, and is another arena to look at when you want to freshen up your space. You might want to try brighter bulbs for more light. A new lamp can add a decorative element to any room. Sometimes changing a lampshade may be provide the change you are looking for. If you don’t want to install anything new, you can invest in a standing lamp to brighten things up.

 

MAKE SMALL CHANGES

Little things really do go a long way when it comes to home decor. Getting a new shower curtain is one way to change up your bathroom. If you have been using plastic curtains, you may want to invest in a fabric style. A new, brightly colored area rug can change the feel of any room. You can also pick up (or make) some new wall art or add a mirror to open up a smaller room. A brightly colored set of dish towels in the kitchen can add some pop.

 

CULTIVATE YOUR GREEN THUMB

Plants add color and life to any room. They also detoxify the air and bring nature to you when you aren’t able to get outside as often as you would like. Even if you aren’t a green thumb, there are many types of plants that will thrive without too much effort. Small succulents are easy to care for and can brighten up ledges, bedside tables, and bathroom counters. A large potted plant such as a palm plant adds a dramatic touch to any room. You can also start growing spices and herbs, even if you don’t have a backyard or outdoor space. Herbs such a rosemary and mint are easy to grow inside at home. Online sources such as The Sill and Bloomscape have a large selection of indoor plants. Even better, contact your local plant shops, many of which are offering delivery or curbside pick-up.

 

UPDATE YOUR HARDWARE

Another easy change is to swap out plain knobs and drawer pulls for styles with color or more character. You can look into vintage items or modern styles, considering the shape, material, and finish of each one. This simple step can instantly upgrade your cabinets and dressers.

This article is part of LJ's ongoing coverage for the Your Home Librarian weekly newsletter, designed to help library users get through the COVID-19 crisis by staying informed, entertained, and organized. The newsletter provides readers of all ages book recommendations, multigenerational activity ideas, and tips on home organization.


Melanie Kletter is an educator and freelance writer and editor.  

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