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stylish kitchen and living room laminate floors

Small, inexpensive changes in your home can make you feel like you live in a new place. Here are a few ideas to mull over before you rent a moving truck.

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Does your home or apartment feel stale? Do you need a change of scene? Are you tired of the floor plan? Do you feel like moving?

Shake up your living space with simple and inexpensive fixes to get rejuvenated. Moving is not always economical or practical, but you can pretend you have new digs by changing it up in small ways.

The basics

1. Make changes in the areas you use every day – living room, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. And don’t forget your entryway!

2. Be sure you can see what you’ve done. You want to be able to walk into a room or up to the front door and gasp at its newness and freshness. You want to feel relieved you have freed yourself from your old place.

3. Make an impact with color, texture, pattern, and shape. Don’t be afraid to go in the complete opposite direction of what you have now. Go from eclectic to classical or the other way around. Crank up your DIY creativity.

Purge and deep clean

Sometimes we don’t realize that the ‘stuff’ we have is dragging us down.

4. Go through closets and storage areas (attic and basement). Sell, donate, or pass down things you don’t use anymore.

5. Have a yard sale! Organizing what’s left will give you a sense of freshness.

6. A deep clean will remove dust and dirt you didn’t know was there. You will feel lighter just by having a brighter living space.

Throughout the house

7. Completely rearrange the furniture. This changes the traffic flow, which can have a major and positive psychological impact. You have to get used to a new traffic pattern when you move, so adjusting to a new one in your existing home will be refreshing.

8. Swap out sentimental furniture items that you don’t feel so tied to anymore. Sell them or take them to a consignment shop, and pick up something new. By shopping at second hand stores and yard sales, you can make your home decor one-of-a-kind. Paint or refinish them for something really unique.

Speaking of refinishing furniture, take to your own. A new color or pattern, or new upholstery or slipcovers will freshen up any room. Throw colorful blankets on couches and chairs.

9. Get colorful or creative switch plate covers for your outlets. Search arts and crafts fairs for ceramic, porcelain, steel, wood, or tin covers. At a pottery studio, you might be able to paint your own. You can even paint the ones you have or cover them with fabric.

Kitchen

10. Put new hardware on the cabinets. Spice it up with the varied colors of Talavera tile knobs. Buy wooden pulls, and paint them yourself.

11. Paint the cabinet doors a lively, bright color. Paint the kitchen chairs to match. Or not. Try painting each one a different color.

12. Buy new towels. This is always heaven to me, just because they actually absorb liquids, unlike the old ones. But those splashes of new, colorful patterns can make your kitchen attractive again.

13. Buy new flatware. This is something you use several times a day, so a change here will be very noticeable. If you have patterned handles, get plain ones. If it all matches, hit up the second hand stores, and buy mismatched pieces.

14. Hang paintings or drawings of fruits and vegetables.

Living room

15. Rearrange your bookshelves. What you don’t need can go to the library or a school.

16. Buy a large, sculptural houseplant as a focal point. If you have one, then create a grouping of smaller plants with a variety of texture and shape.

17. Switch up your lighting. Get new lamps or lampshades. For an eclectic feel, make sure they don’t match!

18. Buy new window coverings. Take down the old drapes, and put up blinds. If you have blinds, replace them with drapes.

19. Paint an accent wall.

Bedroom

20. Get a new bedspread and linens.

21. Hang new curtains. Use the colors to create a new color scheme.

22. Paint, stencil, or collage your dresser. Just like in the kitchen, add new drawer pulls.

23. Add an area rug. Or if you have one, take it out.

24. Refurbish an old trunk for storage and seating at the end of the bed.

Bathroom

25. Get a new shower curtain. Use that big space to make a splash!

26. Get new towels and bathmats. New bathmats and towels feel luxurious and can add color and spice. Colorful towels on open shelves add texture and visual interest.

27. Paint the door different colors inside and out for an impact.

28. Hang some water-related art.

Outdoors

29. Paint the front door and/or the door you enter through most often. Flank it with pots of colorful flowers or interesting weatherproof sculptures.

30. Build a new walkway, and install solar lighting along the edges.

31. Put in a dramatic planting at the entrance of the driveway. A couple of majestic evergreens will have year-round impact. Add flowering shrubs and perennials at their bases.

Small things mean big change

Much of what you do will depend on your budget. Concentrate on one room at a time. Try out one idea, and go from there.

Ask yourself a few questions.

  • What do I see when I drive up?
  • What do I see when I walk in the door or in a room?
  • What do I see when I walk out the door?

Keep your eyes open, observe, and change what you see most. Try new things, and release the old. Be fearless, and move into a new house without the bother and expense of moving!

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Nan Fischer

Nan Fischer has been living and building green for over 35 years. Nan’s emphasis on the BuildDirect blog is about how to make your dollar stretch further, while also moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle, as well as upcoming and existing technology to help us live in an ecologically-friendly way. Nan also authors posts on the website of her seed business, sweetly seeds.