Simple tips to bring a new look to your home this year

To ensure that your rooms do not look or feel cluttered or stuffy, keep 15 to 18 inches of space between a coffee table and a sofa. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • Whenever you buy something new, consider donating something old, or giving it to a friend. This gets rid of needless clutter, and can make someone else happy.

It is a new year and there is a general  urge for homeowners to update  their  homes. To do so you will need a few tricks and tips that will not  constrain your already burdened income.  Although there might be some small cost implications, most of the things or resources are readily available at your disposal.

Clean up

A thorough clean-up will make the home  look better immediately. Also, by cleaning, you get the opportunity to see how things are arranged and think of ways to rearrange the furniture or choose better storage locations that are more effective or pleasing to the eye.

Getting rid of clutter will also clear up space and will make the rooms look bigger than they did when they were crammed with things. You may find that moving items from one room to another will help clear up space and make your home more functional without you having to spend a single penny.

Update the kitchen

They say the heart of every home is the kitchen, therefore, the condition of your kitchen will affect the overall feel of your home. You can do minor updates that will significantly improve a kitchen and consequently make your home look welcoming and attractive.

 Nanono recommends putting a fresh layer of paint as it will make  the home look brand-new.

“Choose a colour and finish that blends well with the kitchen design that will create a high visual impact and is easier to clean and maintain,” she advises.

Repainting the cabinets and replacing knobs and handles will give them a facelift and change the overall kitchen appearance at a much lower cost.

Consider a lighting upgrade

Updating the light fixtures in your home is a quick and affordable way to add flair and ambiance. The bonus is that one can do these upgrades without spending too much.  For instance if your chandelier has seen better days, you can always give it a new look by either repainting it or changing the globes.  Also consider painting the lampshade with a few coats of acrylic paint. If you prefer a pattern versus a solid colour, go wrong with stripes or polka dots to give you that whimsical touch.  Alternatively, dress up a plain lampshade with fabric in a stylish pattern that will blend in well with the rest of your décor.   

Change wall paint

You cannot underestimate the transformative power of fresh paint.  Faridah Brown Babu an interior designer, recommends choosing paints that are safe for you and your family.

“Think about what feeling you want to give people and choose a colour around that. If you do not have a budget for entire walls just add a fresh coat of paint on the trim or ceiling to help freshen things up,” says Babu.

As a rule, bright colours open space and dark close it. You should choose a light shade of a colour if you want a room to be bigger and a dark one if you want it to be smaller or cozier. If you want a room to appear smaller or bigger you can use paint to do the trick.

Put old fabric swatches to use

“Dig up any fabric swatches that you have and put them to use either individually or collectively by covering pillows and bolsters for your bed or couch,”  says Nanono.

She adds that you can create a patchwork pattern or frame those swatches that are most interesting to create fun and colourful wall art.

Display your wares

Whether you are an avid collector or simply have lovely and unique items, it makes no sense to keep them tucked away behind closed cabinet doors and drawers.

Bring out the decorative dishes, bowls, pitchers, the muffin tins and rolling pins. Then collect the items and display them proudly, you can hang them or group them together on tables, counters and in bookcases. And instead of having various candle holders scattered throughout the house, Nanono suggests you bring them together in one location and display them in a group.

Try nature

Nothing breathes new life into a room as quickly and easily as a new plant. The best part? There are plenty of budget-friendly ways to grow new plants, including picking up plant cuttings from a friend or growing your own plants from seed. You can also bring the outside in with freshly cut flowers, branches, river rocks, pine cones and whatever natural, organic ingredients you can find. This is a great thing to get the children involved. Place flowers and branches in tall glass vases, group your rocks, and pine cones on platters, trays and large glass bowls. Place these organic wares strategically through your home.

Go to the fruit drawer

Fruits are a natural accessory. They add such a visual and textural element to a space. Nanono suggests placing a collection of citrus fruit in large glass jar(s), vases or bowls for instant and natural colour. Rotate the fruits and swap them out from time to time to remove the pieces that are blemished. However, as the seasons changes, the expert says swap the citrus out for apples, pumpkins and gourds depending. ‘‘With all the natural and existing resources in your home, you can easily make your house a home without spending much,’’ she notes, adding,

‘‘Do not forget to dry the flowers you get naturally, they make a beautiful colour you can also paint some of them and still put them to good use. ’’

Rearrange your furniture

Ethel Nanono, a decor expert from Iconic Hedges Ltd, says something as simple as rearranging furniture, will make a room look and feel fresh. “Play around with larger pieces such as the couch, table, dresser or bed. You can choose to add one or two more elements or better yet, remove some which will make the room feel larger,” says Nanono.  But before you start moving furniture around, first remove everything. This will make it easier for you to choose a focal point to decorate around. Rearrange the large furniture pieces to suit the space around the focal point and for the purpose of the room. If the room is large, or has several purposes, set up zones such as a reading nook or a game area. To ensure that your rooms do not look or feel cluttered or stuffy, keep 15 to 18 inches of space between a coffee table and a sofa. There should be a minimum of three feet around the most prominent objects in the room, such as behind dining room chairs. High traffic areas need 30 to 48 inches of space.

Resolutions for a cleaner home

New Year’s resolutions vary from fitness to finance and everything in between. One of the most important resolutions is getting our homes in better shape and keep them that way. Here are some practices that will help you keep your resolution of a cleaner and safer home.

Throw out all garbage

This does not just mean trash; this means donating clothes you do not wear, appliances you do not use, and even technology you do not need. The truth is you probably have more than you need, so if you have anything you have not used over the last year, chances are you will not need it this year either.

Bring something in, take something out

Whenever you buy something new, consider donating something old, or giving it to a friend. This gets rid of needless clutter, and can make someone else happy.

Organise your clothes

Organising your clothes makes a world of difference. Your clothes stay clean and wrinkle-free, while your room stays tidy. If you do not know where to start empty your closet then start putting the clothes back in a practical order.

Keep your sink empty

Nothing makes the kitchen look unhygienic more than a sink filled with dishes. This is a battle you will not fight alone, enlist the rest of the family to never leave dirty dishes in the sink.

Similarly clean up your kitchen cabinets, go through all those spices and throw out what you do not need and what has expired. This frees up space and keeps your place looking nice.