I think we’re all feeling it. Almost a year now of staring at the same four walls is driving some of us stir crazy. That initial burst of enthusiasm we had last year for doing up the house, and tackling outstanding jobs is long gone. Maybe we got stuff done. Maybe we didn’t. Don’t sweat it. But what we’re probably all feeling now is tired, bored, and uninspired by our homes. Add to that a lack of cash, and it’s no wonder we can’t wait to escape to somewhere warm, exotic and sunny. But wait a minute, we can’t go on holiday yet! So let’s just think of some ways to make us fall in love with home again.
Make a List
Making a list is usually the first thing I do when I’m overcome by inertia. All you need is a notebook, a pen, and a chair naturally. And probably a cup of coffee nearby. Start a new page for every room in the house and start listing all the things that need doing or that you’re not happy with. Some of the jobs will be bigger than others, but try to limit the list to things that don’t require too much effort, or a mortgage from the bank. (So, needless to say I’d probably leave that kitchen extension off the list for now.) I usually find that once it’s on the list, it has more chance of getting done. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as putting a tick against something that’s been irksome for a long time.
Image: M&L Paints
The list might consist of a fresh coat of paint on a wall, tidying up the understairs cupboard, varnishing that old wardrobe, or framing those prints you’ve had for like, ever. All of those small jobs that soon add up and become an insurmountable mountain in your mind. Trust me, writing them all down helps, but making a list is not the end of it of course. You have to actually do the jobs. Why not schedule one per week. Not too onerous then is it?
Image: Dear Designer
Cast a Critical Eye
I think we all become so used to the contents of our homes that we stop appreciating them. Often, it takes a guest to admire something, for us to really look and see the beauty once more. So in order to start ‘seeing’ our lovely things for what they are again, we generally have to move them to a different spot. Or even a different room. Rearrange those shelves with different items. Swap cushions around, or even furniture. Add a lamp where there wasn’t one before. Borrow it from the guest bedroom if you have to. Style up a trolley or a sideboard with cocktail glasses and drinks for that day when we can entertain again. Replace artwork that you don’t love anymore. You might find yourself ‘shopping your home’ for items to use elsewhere and it won’t cost a penny. You will be amazed how even just a small change can make a big difference.
Image: Annie Sloan
Re-Use and Re-Purpose
We all have items of furniture and ‘stuff’ that have been consigned to the loft or garage before they eventually make their way to the tip. But is it really beyond saving? Can it be useful again? I’ve become obsessed lately with giving new life to old things. (Well, not only lately. I’ve always been obsessed.) So much so that I’m running out of pieces, and I’ve been casting covetous eyes over other people’s junk on local market places. And if you really do need a new table or armchair, this really isn’t a bad place to start. Most items of furniture can be improved with a rub down, a fresh coat of paint, or new upholstery. Wallpaper can be added to the inside backs of cabinets, tiles can be added to trolley tops, and cane webbing can be added to cupboard doors. All for a fraction of the price of new. And the best thing of all, is that you will have something unique to freshen up your own home. Plus you are doing your bit to save the planet.
Image: Benjamin Moore UK
Plan for the Future
Once you have exhausted your list of things to do, you’ll no doubt still have areas of the home you’re not happy with. It’s natural. Painting the kitchen cabinets is not really going to replace the need for an extension. But planning doesn’t cost anything. In fact planning every last detail down to the last nano detail will save you money in the long run. So, browse Pinterest to your hearts content. Keep a folder of tear sheets. Order paint samples. Draw up plans. And in the meantime, those freshly painted cabinets look fabulous.