**Disclaimer: A few early commenters expressed that they felt bummed by the original title of this post – which used the would “should” instead of “could”. They felt that it implied that everyone must make these updates to their homes in order to feel happy living in them. The usage of the word was an oversight on our part and we never, EVER want to make anyone feel like their home isn’t already a happy place or that they NEED to change anything to be happy. We’re so sorry if the original title of this post made anyone feel this way. Our posts, including this one, are only intended to inspire people with ideas and possibilities. Every house is already a home if you and your family are living there.
Moving into a new place is exciting, it is a place to nest, to make your own, and to really take control of. It allows you to create a space that is uniquely yours. So today we are rounding up a handful of the quick and easy changes that can be made to your home that will give it a new lease on life and have you feeling proud of your space at the same time. Every home is different and will have its own set of “design challenges” and some of these things may not apply to every home or space but here are the ten easy things you could start with this weekend to drastically change the look of your place.
There is nothing worse than low-light, and dated “landlord lighting”, so swapping out your old fixtures with a few new ones is an easy and transformative trick to give some life to your space. You’d be surprised how different the space can look with just a new fixture or some additional light. Although this one sounds intimidating it isn’t. Swapping out a light involves a little bit of hard wiring, which can be DIYed if you are feeling up to it, or you can call a handyman or an on-demand service like “Handy” or “Task Rabbit” to do the labor for you. If possible we also recommend adding additional lighting to illuminate the space. So if you used to have a pendant light in your dining nook with just one bulb think about swapping in a new unit with a few additional bulbs to bring some light into the space.
Install Dimmer Switches:
This goes along with the previous trick. Installing dimmers on some of the lighting in your house is affordable and will change the way you use your space. Our tip is to install lighting that has “too much” light output (for instance a double sconces vs. a single) and then turning the dimmer down on it to create just the right amount of glow. You can pick up a new dimmer switch at your local hardware store for around $5-$10 and it’s easy enough to install yourself. It doesn’t need to be done to every room, but a few here and there can help change the way the space feels just with the click of a switch (no pun intended).
Swap Out Hardware:
Swapping out your hardware is one of the easiest, cheapest and quickest things that you can do to drastically give your kitchen or cabinetry a facelift. There are no real tools required other than a screwdriver and just an hour or so to take out the old ones and swap in your new favorites. Much like a little bit of blush or mascara on that face of yours, a new handle or knob can take your cabinets from drab to fab.
Paint or Temporary Wallpaper:
“Landlord White” is not one of our favorite neutral paint colors. So do yourself a favor and if the landlord is repainting before you move in ask him/her if you can suggest the paint color and have them paint it. If they aren’t feeling so generous most landlords will allow you to paint as long as it isn’t too crazy of a color (black, red, purple, etc). Here are some posts with our favorites neutrals and non-neutrals ( if they say it’s okay). If your landlord isn’t into the whole painting idea or if you are looking for something a bit more graphic then look into temporary wallpaper which is an easy weekend project and will give the room a new look. We walked you through how to install it in this post and we also used temporary wallpaper in this nursery.
Don’t be afraid to hang art on your walls. Making holes in your walls can be scary, but the payoff is worth it. And if your art isn’t too heavy you can always get away with hanging the piece with a command-strip. If you need a few ideas for large-scale pieces check out this post, for a few of our favorite places to shop online for art see this post and lastly here is a post on how to properly hang your art so it looks it’s best.
Invest in Organization:
Picking Monday’s “meeting outfit” out of a disorganized mess of a closet can be almost as depressing as having to go to an 8:30am meeting on a Monday. The same goes for trying to find a bottle of Windex under your sink that is mixed in with 34 other half used bottles of cleaner. Do yourself a favor and invest in some organization not only for your closet but for the rest of your space as well. Think vertical with your storage. There are so many good options out there for small space living that can help you organize every inch of your life.
Replace Window Coverings:
Mini blinds are functional but unfortunately not beautiful. If you have the budget for it invest in readymade curtains and hang them up on a rod. They will make your windows feel twice as large, give the room another layer of texture and can help to cover up less than beautiful windows (or neighbors) when necessary. In case you missed it here is a post on how to hang those nice new curtains the right way.
Furniture For the Space:
We get it, you might love that reclining sectional you and your friends all fell in love with during your college days, but when you have your own space it is important to find furniture that fits within that space and works the best for the layout. For instance if you have a small dining nook area, consider using a round table to help with flow and floor space. If you are in the market here is a roundup of some great small space dining options. If your space is tight, consider multifunctional pieces that have built-in storage or can expand when needed. If your space isn’t so tight then use our Living Room or Dining Room rules post to help make sure you have all the right pieces picked out for your place.
Add Rugs or Peel and Stick Flooring:
Typically this is one of the last things on peoples todo list which means it often gets forgotten about and the same floors stay in your place from tenant to tenant. But, that doesn’t mean that you should take a little time to give it some TLC. Brady covered his old linoleum kitchen floors with peel and stick vinyl tile (which we covered here) and was able to completely transform the look of the space for just $50 and a few hours. If you don’t have an area to do this in then don’t underestimate the power of a good rug. There are so many good affordable options out there that can bring a lot of new life to your floors. Check out our budget rugs post if you need a few ideas.
Bring In Your Personality:
Last but not least, don’t forget to make the place feel like your own. Your space isn’t truly yours unless there are elements in there that you love and make you feel at home. Whether that is your family photos displayed on the fridge, a vintage textile draped over your sofa, or a little trinket mixed into your bookshelf that might not be the most beautiful thing but has sentimental value to you – don’t be afraid to mix it up with your own stuff to make the space feel unique and personal.
So there you have it, your weekend TODO list may have just gotten a little longer, but your home just got a little bit of love as well. These are meant to inspire and hopefully one or two of them are something that you might be able to attempt on your own. Let us know if you have any questions or if you have any other good (and easy) hacks that you have seen online that we can add to this list. TGIF friends, we will see you on Monday.