How to Make Your Home Feel Like New Again (Without Breaking the Bank)

Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/porsche-linn/">Porsche Brosseau</a>/Flickr/<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">Creative Commons License</a>

Sometimes it feels like there are two cycles of spring cleaning that happen in a relatively short period of time — the cleaning you do at the end (or beginning) of every year to regroup and refresh, and the cleaning you actually do in spring as you reorganize for warmer weather.

After hosting all those holiday gatherings and staying huddled inside the house all winter, you might be feeling antsy and anxious for a new environment. Since picking up and getting away isn't always an option, here are a few things you can do around your home to make it feel like new again — all without spending a lot of money.

Decorate, even if you don't celebrate the seasons. There's more to making a home feel festive besides autumn gourds and Christmas lights. You could buy fresh flowers every week for the room you spend the most time in. You could change out your pillow covers or lay down a different throw blanket every couple of months. You could swap tea towels and tablecloths to match your mood. Maybe you want cinnamon-scented candles in winter and gardenia-scented candles in spring. Small changes that perhaps only you would notice still make a big difference in how you feel in that space.

Rearrange the furniture. There's no easier way to make a room feel like new (without buying a single thing) than to rearrange it. Try moving side tables and rugs around, or giving your room a more interesting diagonal layout if all the furniture has always been set squarely against the walls. Put new books on the coffeetable and reorder the ones on the shelves. Reorganize your kitchen cabinets and counters (and while you're at it, toss out anything in the pantry that's old, expired, or suspicious looking... and donate the good items that you'll never use.)

If you've had the same family pictures or artwork displayed for a while, change them out or move them into a different room. (Updating a collection of frames also makes for a great rainy day project! And forces you to finally turn those thousands of digital files sitting on your computer to tangible prints everyone else can see.)

Even if everything ends up back in the same place again, at least it would've given you a reason to dust and vacuum in areas you rarely reach.

Replace one piece of furniture. And we're not talking about a sofa or some other investment piece... but maybe you want a lighter-colored rug for the bedroom. Or a new lamp that better illuminates the living room. If you're tired of looking at that outdated ottoman you've had for years, now's a good time to hit up the sales or scour the flea markets for something new.

A piece of furniture you no longer like might just need a little refurbishing to feel fresh again. Paint it, wallpaper it, reupholster it, or cover it up with a runner, a quilt, or just a pile of pillows.

Clean the house. When in doubt, always clean. It's not the most fun of household chores, but you'd be surprised at how much more airy a space can feel just by doing something as simple as clearing your kitchen counter. Put away appliances that aren't used that often, move dishes from the sink to the dishwasher more frequently, wipe down the stove and counter after every use, recycle unwanted mail or newspapers right away.

Even if you can only commit to cleaning for five minutes a day, those five minutes will eventually add up to an entire weekend that you could have been spending each month cleaning and organizing!

About the Author

Linda Ly runs the award-winning blog Garden Betty, which chronicles her adventures in the dirt and on the road. From her South Bay abode, she shares farm-to-fork recipes, raises backyard chickens, bakes bread and makes jam and sti...
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