So many of us are now working from home, homeschooling our kids, making home-cooked meals, and generally spending more time in our houses and apartments than ever before. No matter if you’ve settled comfortably into nesting or are itching to get out, your house may be starting to feel a little, well, stale. If you’re in desperate need of a home refresh but aren’t necessarily interested in a big DIY project or major renovation right now, these mini moves can help. Even little changes, like introducing houseplants or improving the smell of your house, will make you love your home a little bit more.
Bring the Outdoors In
Spending more time cooped up at home may mean cabin fever sets in earlier this year. Adding natural elements that connect your space to the outdoors—especially houseplants—can help. Opt for low-maintenance houseplants that are most likely to survive the winter indoors like ponytail palm, Chinese evergreen, ZZ plant, snake plant, and succulents.
Clear the Air
We tend to focus on how our homes look, but how they smell is also an important factor affecting how we feel. If you’re spending lots of time at home, you may no longer even notice the scents in your space. Start by trying to deodorize your home, then consider using an essential oil diffuser to waft a soothing scent, like lavender or eucalyptus.
Add Accent Lighting
Pro designers think a lot about lighting—and for good reason, it has a huge impact on the feeling of a space. Consider ways to add accent lighting around your home, whether it’s a small table lamp on your kitchen counter, a bowl of string lights in the living room at holiday time, or a bedside sconce. Alternatives to harsh overhead lighting, such as floor lamps and table lamps, make a room feel cozier.
Give Your Sofa a Mini-Makeover
Raise your hand if you’ve been spending more time bingeing TV on your sofa than ever before. (Me too.) To upgrade an outdated couch, try these tricks. Simple changes like adding more fiber fill, swapping out the legs, or investing in new throw pillow covers can make an old sofa feel instantly more luxurious.
Invite Friends Over
No matter if you have friends over in the backyard or host a virtual book club via Zoom, opening up your home to others will help you appreciate your space in new ways. Entertaining also creates meaningful memories tied to your home, no matter how casual or elaborate the event. Plus, there’s no better speed-cleaning motivation than knowing guests are coming over in an hour.
If you have an outdoor space, embrace the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv, or “free air life.” Even if it’s colder outside than you’d like, bundle up with a blanket or turn on an outdoor heater. Take some inspiration from Scandinavian culture and bring hot drinks to the backyard, patio, or terrace to help you warm up.
Tidy Up the Countertops
The kitchen counter is notoriously hard to keep organized. Try our editor-in-chief’s trick and use a tray to corral odds and ends. When the tray overflows, you know it’s time to curate the clutter.
Grab a Paintbrush
Painting anything—an accent wall, an old piece of furniture, even the back of a closet—is an easy way to wake up a boring space.
Stage Your Own Art Gallery
After we’ve lived with it for a while, we start to no longer notice the art on our walls. To appreciate the art you already own, try moving some pieces to a new location. Or assemble them into an eye-catching gallery wall.
Make It Cozy
Channel winter cabin and ski chalet vibes by piling on the woven blankets and textured throw pillows. Search your linen closet and storage space for spare blankets, then drape one over the arm of the sofa and place another in a basket next to your bed.
Upgrade Your Sleep Space
Step one: clear off your nightstand to create some breathing space. Step two: refresh your mattress – vacuum the top of the mattress with a nozzle or brush attachment of a vacuum to remove dust. Then, sprinkle the top of the mattress with a layer of baking soda, let sit 10 minutes as it works its deodorizing magic, then vacuum it up. And while you have the mattress pad off of the bed, give it a spin in the washing machine (check the care label to make sure it’s machine-washable). Bonus points for also vacuuming all of the dust bunnies lurking under your bed!
Carve Out Your Own Space
If time at home is making you antsy or the family feuds feel never-ending, creating your own reading nook, meditation corner, or chill-out zone can help. It doesn’t have to be big (even a corner of your bedroom will work), just let your family or roommates know that the space is a “do not interrupt” area.
Find Room for Fun
If you’re working from home or your kids are doing remote learning, it can feel like your house has suddenly turned into an office. Consider carving out space for hobbies. Go ahead, let the dining table get taken over by a giant jigsaw puzzle for a few days or make room for a pottery wheel in a spare bedroom.
Invest in Hotel-Quality Bath Towels
Loving your home doesn’t necessarily mean spending more money on it, but if you’re going to make one small investment, splurge on some high-quality bath towels. They’ll make daily showers feel instantly more luxurious.
Focus on Things You Love
Look around each room in your home and locate one item you love. That vase in your living room? Move it to the mantel so it can be the star of the space. That quilt from your grandmother? Relocate it to the sofa, where you’ll see and use it more often. Surround yourself with belongings that hold special meaning.
Re-Style Your Shelves
If you’ve been displaying the same knick-knacks on those living room shelves for a decade, it’s officially time for a refresh. Rearrange bowls, vases, books, candlesticks, and collectibles to create new vignettes. This is one of the easiest ways to give a room a mini makeover.
Curate Your Bedside Reading
Instead of letting your nightstand hold every title on your to-read list, narrow it down to just one or two books. You’ll be more likely to pick up a book (and put down the phone) before bed if it’s the title you’re most excited to read next.
Donate 5 Things
Letting go of things you no longer need is not only freeing, but donating these items prevents them from heading to the landfill.
Arrange Fresh Flowers
The next time you go grocery shopping, pick up a cheap bouquet of flowers. When you get home, divide the blooms into a few different bud vases (or even glass bottles). Place one mini arrangement in the kitchen, one by your bed, and a third in the bathroom. You’ll feel like your home is filled with flowers, all for less than $10.