Looking to make an impact on your home this weekend that you can afford? How about free? It'll cost a little energy, time (and muscle strength) but if you're looking for some ways to improve your small (or any size) space, try these five free ideas.
1. Improve your home's traffic flow
How you and guests move through your space has a big effect on how spacious your home is perceived. If you've never evaluated how traffic moves through your space (or haven't done it in awhile) take a few (free) minutes to move through your house, from room to room and in each room. The movement should make sense (like you shouldn't have to walk all the way around a room to get to the next), flow smoothly (you shouldn't have to stumble over things in the way), and have a nice wide (as in no having to squeeze past a table and feel like you're about to knock something other feeling) feel to the path that takes you through rooms and from each room to the next. Adjustments to your home's flow could be as dramatic as a full room rearrangement to moving furniture a few inches to even just decluttering entryway wall hooks (so mountains of coats and bags don't impede a walkway).
2. Rearrange with the goal to visually lighten & balance
The idea behind this is to move the "heaviness" away from the entry of each room and/or spread the weight equally around the room. So instead of having the first thing you see in a space be a heavy piece of furniture, make it be something visually light, low or even just space. By dispersing the weight of a room equally (not having all your heavy furniture on one side of the room, and balancing out heavy furniture pieces with equally dominant/eye-catching design elements) you'll keep your eye moving throughout a room. Don't be afraid to rearrange furniture from room to room to achieve better balanced visual spaces, either. And though some small spaces sometimes have limited ways the furniture can be arranged, it's worth experimenting.
3. Clear counters and floor space by storing non-daily items
In small spaces (and really all spaces), the clutter you keep on your counters and in full view should be the things you access daily. If you keep the toaster oven you use once a month out on the counter, it's just not helping anybody, and it's not that big of a deal to move in and out when you do use. Is there room in a cabinet for it somewhere? But that's just one example; the idea could apply to bathroom toiletries you don't use every day or even to bigger items like extra seating. Yes, storage may be tight, but get creative. Declutter your current storage and maximize shelving for more room. Tuck or nest small furniture pieces under larger ones. Even consider hanging items on hooks (won't be hiding it, but will get items off of your floor and possibly help feel more spacious — Alana's Brooklyn Railroad has a great example).
4. Take off dramatic, bulky window coverings
Not done properly, this trick could leave a space too bare. But, if you've got window coverings on a window that you don't need for privacy, see if the space could benefit from a window covering decluttering. Depending on your type of window, if you take off window coverings altogether, it could give the space a more architectural feel, and it'll certainly let more natural light in. But if you need some window covering, consider streamlining them so they don't take over a room; shorten long flowing curtains so they don't pool on the floor or try tying drapes back tightly.
5. Clean those forgotten spots
Yes a good house cleaning in particular is of course a great way to make a home feel better for free, but don't forget about those forgotten spots! They'll let more light in (aiding to spaciousness) and just make a space feel better.
Re-edited from a post originally published 4.13.14-NT