Stuck living in a house that you KNOW is not your forever home? Are there aspects about your home that drive you crazy? Is it too small with not enough storage space? Does it have awkward rooms that don’t make much sense?
Or maybe you ARE in your forever home but you are not in a place financially or otherwise that you can make the changes you desire to have in this home. You might be chomping at the bit for a kitchen reno that you know won’t be coming for at least another year or two. Probably all of us have something we would like to change about our home.
While these places we call home are just buildings, when we spend so much time in them, we want to feel happy, inspired, and content to be there. When life does not hand us thousands of dollars to fix the headaches in your home, or the ability to move out altogether, we need to find ways to bring ourselves joy in this building we call home.
Here are a couple inexpensive or completely free ways to tide yourself over until you are able to make a move or some big changes in your house.
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Give it a good clean.
This probably doesn’t sound like very much fun, but a sparkling clean house is hard to complain about. Sometimes when I’m feeling cramped in my kitchen that has very little counter space, I take EVERYTHING off my counters and scrub the surfaces top-to-bottom (backsplash, stove, drawers, handles, sink, faucet, everything!). Before I put anything back on the counter I think, “How often do I really use this?” Do I NEED it on my countertop or could I find another place for it to give me the illusion of more counter space?” The only things I keep on my countertop are items I literally use everyday to cook. Everything else needs to find a new home- this one is too valuable to me.
I also feel happier in my house when there’s a feint smell of lemon from dusting all the shelves, pictures and furniture. Or streaks in the carpet from the vacuum cleaner (this aspect of me is ridiculous, I know). Or I open the fridge and actually SEE my shelves and an organized groceries rather than piled up leftovers spilling out onto the floor. It’s totally free to clean your house, and usually leaves me feeling proud and content.
If you need a little help getting your family or husband to help you clean, or see what needs to be done without you nagging them to do it, I’ve created this Cleaning Checklist
2. Organize it.
This takes some time, but if you have to live in this space for the foreseeable future, you need to make it work in the most efficient way possible. Small closet? Baskets and a label-maker can do wonders. You can also work vertically with any bare wall and behind-the-door space.
3. Rearrange your furniture.
My husband thinks I’m crazy sometimes for doing this- but rearranging my furniture is a) fun and b) gives me a fresh perspective of a room that I’m tired of or annoyed with. It’s also completely free.
4. Shop your house.
This goes along with #3. Don’t be afraid to move furniture pieces or accessories to different rooms in the house. The end tables in our living room weren’t working for us so we sold them at a garage sale. We didn’t have the money to purchase new ones right away but we definitely needed somewhere to put our drinks while watching tv at night. I was sitting in my daughter’s room one night and realized, I could totally take a table that wasn’t really being used and put it in our living room as a side table for the time being. Who knew it would look so great and get the job done?
5. Bring in some fresh flowers.
A simple gesture. Brings color and life and joy to any room. Worth it? Uh, yah. Would you believe I got these gorgeous peonies from Shop Rite the other day?? Six stems of peonies and three stems of hydrangeas- $12.00. Please and thank you.
6. Buy some fun accent pieces.
Sometimes buying a few inexpensive pieces can seriously bring so much happiness and life to a tired room. Adding new throw pillows, a new piece of art or wall hanging, even a fresh new dish towel can sometimes put pep in my step when walking through my house.
I like to shop for throw pillows at Target or Home Goods when I’m looking for a quick change-up. Pier 1 also has a great selection and can offer some great deals if you’re looking for some fresh color and texture in your living room or bedroom.
I’m a sucker for Crate and Barrel dish towels. They are always so cute and colorful and they change all the time. There’s dish towels for every season and holiday. Target also has a great selection of cute and fun dish towels. I’m telling you, it’s the little things.
7. Put out a new doormat.
Nothing gives you a fresh feeling about your home than being greeted with something fun and pretty as soon as you walk in the door. Am I the only one that would smile when seeing some of these bright and cheery doormats when walking up to a front door?
All of these changes are simple and inexpensive. It can be risky to invest too much into a house you will be selling if you’re not going to get a great return on that investment. These little things can hold you over and make your space happy and inspiring without going through a long and sometimes torturous renovation.
I can honestly say that even though I can think of a laundry list of big things I could do to improve my house, when I sit in my living room at night and look through to the connecting spaces, I truly love our little house. It’s happy and colorful but peaceful at the same time. Hopefully these tips and tricks were helpful to you- let me know if you have any other ideas for brightening up your space without a huge budget. Good luck and get creative!