No complete makeover necessary.

By Katie Holdefehr
October 14, 2020
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If you told me a year ago that I would spend this much time at home in 2020, I never would have believed you. But in the midst of a pandemic, many of us are suddenly working from home, homeschooling our kids, making home-cooked meals, and generally spending more time in our houses and apartments than ever before. No matter if you've settled comfortably into nesting or are itching to get out, your house may be starting to feel a little, well, stale. If you're in desperate need of a home refresh but aren't necessarily interested in a big DIY project or major renovation right now, these mini moves can help. Even little changes, like introducing houseplants or improving the smell of your house, will make you love your home a little bit more.

Photography by Christopher Testani / Styling by Sara Smart / Flowers by Livia Cetti

1

Spending more time cooped up at home may mean cabin fever sets in earlier this year. Adding natural elements that connect your space to the outdoors—especially houseplants—can help. 

Tip: opt for these low-maintenance houseplants that are most likely to survive the winter indoors

2

We tend to focus on how our homes look, but how they smell is also an important factor affecting how we feel. If you're spending lots of time at home, you may no longer even notice the scents in your space.

Start by trying these tricks to deodorize your home, then consider using an essential oil diffuser to waft a soothing scent, like lavender or eucalyptus. 

3

Pro designers think a lot about lighting—and for good reason, it has a huge impact on the feeling of a space. Consider ways to add accent lighting around your home, whether it's a small table lamp on your kitchen counter, a bowl of string lights in the living room at holiday time, or a bedside sconce. Alternatives to harsh overhead lighting, such as floor lamps and table lamps, make a room feel cozier. 

4

Raise your hand if you've been spending more time bingeing TV on your sofa than ever before. (Me too.) To upgrade an outdated couch, try these tricks. Simple changes like adding more fiber fill, swapping out the legs, or investing in new throw pillow covers can make an old sofa feel instantly more luxurious. 

5

No matter if you have friends over in the backyard or host a virtual book club via Zoom, opening up your home to others will help you appreciate your space in new ways. Entertaining also creates meaningful memories tied to your home, no matter how casual or elaborate the event.

Plus, there's no better speed-cleaning motivation than knowing guests are coming over in an hour. 

RELATED: How to Turn Your Garage Into a Safe and Cozy Place to Hang This Fall

Christopher Testani

6

If you have an outdoor space, embrace the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv, or "free air life." Even if it's colder outside than you'd like, bundle up with a blanket or turn on an outdoor heater. Take some inspiration from Scandinavian culture and bring hot drinks to the backyard, patio, or terrace to help you warm up. 

7

The kitchen counter is notoriously hard to keep organized. Try our editor-in-chief's trick and use a tray to corral odds and ends. When the tray overflows, you know it's time to curate the clutter. 

8

Painting anything—an accent wall, an old piece of furniture, even the back of a closet—is an easy way to wake up a boring space. 

RELATED: 5 Paint Colors That Can Actually Help Your Home Look Cleaner 

9

After we've lived with it for a while, we start to no longer notice the art on our walls. To appreciate the art you already own, try moving some pieces to a new location. Or assemble them into an eye-catching gallery wall

10

Channel winter cabin and ski chalet vibes by piling on the woven blankets and textured throw pillows. Search your linen closet and storage space for spare blankets, then drape one over the arm of the sofa and place another in a basket next to your bed. 

Christopher Testani

11

Step one: clear off your nightstand to create some breathing space. Step two: try this quick baking soda hack to refresh your mattress. 

12

If time at home is making you antsy or the family feuds feel never-ending, creating your own reading nook, meditation corner, or chill-out zone can help. It doesn't have to be big (even a corner of your bedroom will work), just let your family or roommates know that the space is a "do not interrupt" area. 

13

If you're working from home or your kids are doing remote learning, it can feel like your house has suddenly turned into an office. Consider carving out space for hobbies. Go ahead, let the dining table get taken over by a giant jigsaw puzzle for a few days or make room for a pottery wheel in a spare bedroom. 

14

Loving your home doesn't necessarily mean spending more money on it, but if you're going to make one small investment, splurge on some high-quality bath towels. They'll make daily showers feel instantly more luxurious. 

15

Look around each room in your home and locate one item you love. That vase in your living room? Move it to the mantel so it can be the star of the space. That quilt from your grandmother? Relocate it to the sofa, where you'll see and use it more often. Surround yourself with belongings that hold special meaning.

Photography by Christopher Testani / Styling by Sara Smart / Flowers by Livia Cetti

16

If you've been displaying the same knick-knacks on those living room shelves for a decade, it's officially time for a refresh. Rearrange bowls, vases, books, candlesticks, and collectibles to create new vignettes. This is one of the easiest ways to give a room a mini makeover. 

17

Instead of letting your nightstand hold every title on your to-read list, narrow it down to just one or two books. You'll be more likely to pick up a book (and put down the phone) before bed if it's the title you're most excited to read next. 

18

When you're trying to pretend that your bathroom is your own personal spa, spotting some disgusting mildew on the shower curtain is sure to kill the vibe. Follow these steps to clean a glass shower door or learn the trick to a mildew-free shower curtain

19

Letting go of things you no longer need is not only freeing, but donating these items prevents them from heading to the landfill. 

RELATED: 5 Things to Declutter During Quarantine

20

The next time you go grocery shopping, pick up a cheap bouquet of flowers. When you get home, divide the blooms into a few different bud vases (or even glass bottles). Place one mini arrangement in the kitchen, one by your bed, and a third in the bathroom. You'll feel like your home is filled with flowers, all for less than $10.