The Totally Free Home Refresh: 5 Things You Can Do to Instantly Re-Energize Your Space

published Sep 10, 2014
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(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

Often I find myself tempted to buy things for my home not because I actually need new things, but because I suffer from ennui. I suppose it’s the human condition: a space which seems exciting and fresh one year can seem a little same old, same old the next. But there are plenty of ways to make a space feel fresh and re-energized without pulling out your wallet. If your home is feeling a little stale, try one of these five strategies for refreshing your home without spending a dime.

1. Get rid of things.
Earlier this year I got rid of about half my furniture. I was sort of forced into it: I was staging my house to sell, and everyone knows that a house looks bigger with less stuff in it. My house did look bigger, post-purge, but what surprised me the most was how much more I liked my house. (It almost made me not want to move after all!) Getting rid of furniture meant that the pieces that were left were ones I really liked, and that they had room to breathe.

So try this at home: go into a room, and pick out one piece that doesn’t really need to be there. Or just get rid of a little bit of clutter. Bonus: if you sell your old things on Ebay or Craigslist, you can actually make money while improving your home.

2. Move furniture (and art!) from room to room.
When I shot Sarah Hazel’s house tour, she gave me a bit of advice for keeping your home feeling fresh: “I think that furniture gets bored staying in the same place all the time. Rearrange often.” Sure enough, the next time I visited her home, furniture, art, and tchotckes had wandered all over the place. Even though it was the same stuff, I felt like I was seeing these things for the first time.

So shake up your house with a little re-arranging. Move a rug from your bedroom into the living room. Hang a big painting in the bathroom. If you’re feeling really bold, you could switch two rooms entirely. You’ll feel like you have a whole new house, but it won’t cost you anything (except maybe beer for your furniture-moving friends).

3. Finish a project you’ve been working on for a long time.
Everyone who is even slightly DIY-inclined has a dirty secret: at least one project that lies moldering in a cabinet or garage, waiting to be completed. Want your home to feel fresh and new? Finish it! You’ve already paid for the materials, and finishing that project will free up space, add something new to your home, and give you the satisfaction of completing something you started.

4. Do a deep clean.
Yeah, yeah. Cleaning is boring. But cleaning, especially when your home really needs it, is also deeply satisfying. Tidy up, do a deep clean, open up the windows for some fresh air, and you may feel like you have a whole new space.

5. Change your perspective.
Don’t feel like moving furniture? You can always move you. As I write this, I am sitting on the same side of the dining room table that I always sit on. On the other side of the table, there is a whole half of a room that I have never experienced. I think we all get into these house ruts — sitting in the same spot on the sofa, sleeping on the same side of the bed. Try changing it up. You may see your home in whole new way.

Re-edited from a post originally published 9.10.14-nt